Penny Smith

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Penny Smith
Born (1958-09-21) 21 September 1958 (age 63)
Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England,[1]
Occupation Newsreader, television presenter
Notable credit(s) Sky News
GMTV (1993–2010)
BBC London 94.9 (2013—)

Penelope Jane "Penny" Smith (born 21 September 1958) is an English television presenter, newsreader and radio presenter. As of 2015 she was presenting The Breakfast Show' for BBC London 94.9 on weekday mornings. She presented for Sky News and Classic FM, and for GMTV.

Early life and education

Smith was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire[citation needed]. She attended Uppingham Primary School[2] in Uppingham and the Rutland High School for Girls (later Rutland College) in Oakham.[3]


Smith began her career as a reporter and feature writer on the Peterborough Evening Telegraph in 1977.[4] After four years, she left to backpack through Central and South America and South East Asia where she reported and presented on a current affairs programme for Radio Television Hong Kong. In 1984 she joined Radio Trent as a reporter/presenter and then worked for Central Television as press officer for documentaries and drama.

After that she co-presented Lookaround, the local evening news for Border Television and in 1987 she joined Thames Television to co-present Thames News with Andrew Gardner. Smith left the station toward the end of 1988 to help launch Sky News in February 1989. In April 1993 she joined GMTV where she stayed on the programme until 4 June 2010.[5][6][7]

Smith has also presented Crime Net, Crime File and Crime Fighters for Carlton, Crime Monthly and Most Wanted for LWT, Going for a Song for the BBC and Celebrity for ITV. She also co-presented the 1995 series of The Krypton Factor alongside Gordon Burns.

In 2006, Smith starred in the BBC2 show Just the Two of Us. She sang with Curtis Stigers and was eliminated on 3 March. She came fourth. She later appeared on Never Mind the Buzzcocks in 2006,[8][9] and several episodes of Have I Got News for You.[8][10] She also appeared in Garfield 2 when Garfield was watching television. In February 2009, she appeared on the ITV1 daytime programme Loose Women as a panellist on occasion. She was asked to appear at the last moment because of snow blizzards in London preventing some of the regular panellists from reaching the studio.[citation needed]

In August 2010, she appeared as a panellist on ITV's new show 3@Three.[11]

Since September 2010 she has reviewed the newspapers on ITV's This Morning and is a regular contributor on The Alan Titchmarsh Show.[citation needed]

From 18 October 2010, Smith presented Market Kitchen: Big Adventure alongside Matt Tebbutt (weeknights at 7.00 pm on the Good Food channel).[citation needed]

She presented The Wright Stuff in place of Matthew Wright on Channel 5 30 July 2012.[citation needed]

In July 2010 she presented Kiri Prize, a nationwide hunt to find an opera star on Radio 2.[12]

Smith also covers the Friday Night Arts Show on BBC Radio 2 when Claudia Winkleman is away.[citation needed]

On 7 January 2013 she began co-presenting the weekday breakfast show on BBC London 94.9.[13]


1993 – 2009

On 19 April 1993 began her career on GMTV as the show's main News Reader, as well as becoming the main presenter of the Reuters News Hour alongside Anne Davies, Matthew Lorenzo and Ross Kelly. In 1994, John Stapleton joined GMTV and then joined Penny as her co-presenter of the Reuters News Hour. In 2000, GMTV rebranded all of their programmes. With the loss of Matt Lorenzo and Ross Kelly, Smith and John Stapleton became the main presenters of the GMTV Newshour, as well as becoming the main News Reader and relief presenter for GMTV Today. During this period Smith was sent to do travelogues in Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Florida and the Greek Islands, and also interviewed many celebrities like Ali G, Elton John, and Robert Pattinson.[citation needed]

2009 – 2010

In 2009, GMTV had a major relaunch, with all of their programmes rebranding and new studio. This meant that the GMTV Newshour and GMTV Today became GMTV, with Penny and John presenting the first hour of the show. Smith and Stapleton were the first faces and voices of the relaunch. Smith continued to be the main News Reader of GMTV. In July 2009, Kate Garraway went on maternity leave. This meant that Smith would become the show's main presenter alongside Ben Shephard until Garraway's return in October. During this time, Smith was the main relief presenter for GMTV.[citation needed]

In 2010, Smith presented the 9:00 news update from the GMTV newsroom for GMTV with Lorraine. In the Spring of 2010, Smith began to share presenting duties with Helen Fospero until her departure in June.[citation needed]

On 3 March 2010, it had emerged from Smith's Twitter account that she had decided to leave the programme after 17 years of being the main face of the show. This was said to be part of a cost-cutting exercise by ITV, which then turned into the demise of GMTV.[citation needed]

On 4 June 2010, Smith presented her last show, with John Stapleton presenting from Cumbria, and spoke to her via video link during the last 25 minutes of the show, which was dedicated to Smith. Former co-presenters Matthew Lorenzo and Ross Kelly returned to the sofa alongside Curtis Stigers, who performed a song for Smith. Highlights of her 17 years on the show were shown leading the her final speech: 'Thank you to all of you, thank you to all of you watching'. But despite saying she would 'battle on' with the message, she became too tearful to continue, saying 'that's enough'. She also received flowers, a portrait painting of herself from a fan and a giant cake, which featured models of her and Stapleton sat on the sofa.[citation needed]

Other work

Smith has written for a number of national newspapers and magazines, including a beauty column for "Femail" in the Daily Mail and articles in Essentials magazine, Good Housekeeping, and Woman and Home.

She has produced three yoga videos: Penny Smith's Power Yoga, Penny Smith's Essential Guide to Yoga presented alongside Howard Napper and Penny Smith's Yoga Masterclass.

Personal life

Smith married journalist Tony Birtley in May 1984 in Grantham, but they divorced in 1987. She counts Rory Bremner and Paul McKenna amongst her ex-boyfriends. Since September 2001, Smith has been in a relationship with the actor Vince Leigh.[14]

She is a friend of Mariella Frostrup and lives in Notting Hill. Smith's passions are opera, tennis, hiking and yoga.[citation needed]



  • Smith, Penny (4 October 2008). "Diary". The Spectator. 308 (9317): 9. Retrieved 13 December 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  1. "Eastwood-born Penny Smith of GMTV on her new novel". This is Nottingham. 20 November 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Uppingham Church of England Primary School". Uppingham Primary School. Retrieved 4 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Penny Smith remembers flushing her sports pants down the loo and hanging out with the bad-girl outlaws" Daily Mail 31 December 2011
  4. "PENNY SMITH: 'I won't give up my day job' – Environment". Peterborough Today. 2 March 2006. Retrieved 4 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. GMTV stars Penny Smith and John Stapleton leave the sofa in cut backs Mirror, 4 March 2010
  6. Old pro Penny Smith keeps mum on the GMTV sofa after being axed... but tweets: 'Let the partying commence' Mail Online, 4 March 2010
  7. Tears as Penny Smith leaves GMTV BBC News, 4 June 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 Penny Smith Internet Movie Database
  9. "Nevermind Mind The Buzzcocks – Series 19, Episode 4". Google Video. Retrieved 4 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Have I Got News for You Series 39, Episode 9 BBC One, 3 June 2010
  11. 3@Three Presspack, ITV Press Centre, 26 July 2010
  12. 'I'm off the sofa at last': Penny Smith on leaving the hot seat at GMTV Mail Online, 6 June 2010
  13. Presenter Penny Smith to join BBC London 94.9 FM BBC, 10 December 2012
  14. Richard Barber (7 April 2008). "He's is a puffed-up co-presenter on an ego trip – but GMTV's Penny Smith says the character in her novel is NOT based on Eamonn Holmes". Daily Mail. Retrieved 4 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Coming Up Next: Penny Smith". Retrieved 4 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "After the Break: Penny Smith". Retrieved 4 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Penny Smith at Vipopedia, biography, posters". Vipopedia. Retrieved 4 June 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Preceded by
Gordon Burns
Host of The Krypton Factor
Succeeded by
Ross King