Vanessa Feltz

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Vanessa Feltz
Vanessa feltz podium.jpg
Vanessa Feltz at the Stonewall Awards 2011
Born Vanessa Jane Feltz
(1962-02-21) 21 February 1962 (age 60)
Islington, London, England
Nationality British
Education Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls
Trinity College, Cambridge
Occupation Broadcaster, journalist
Years active 1980s–present
Notable credit(s) Presenting:
The Big Breakfast
(Channel 4)
Vanessa's Real Lives
The Vanessa Show
(BBC One 1998-9, Channel 5 2011)
Being a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother 2001
Ultimate Big Brother (2010) (Channel 4)
Columnist The Daily Express
Spouse(s) Michael Kurer (m. 1983–2000) (divorced)[1]
Partner(s) Ben Ofoedu
Children 2

Vanessa Jane Feltz (born 21 February 1962) is an English television personality, freelance broadcaster and journalist. She currently presents an early morning radio show on BBC Radio 2 and the Breakfast show on BBC Radio London.

Early life

Vanessa Feltz was born in Islington, London and grew up in Pine Grove, Totteridge. On her radio show she frequently refers to Totteridge as "the Beverly Hills of North London" and her middle class Jewish background as like "growing up in Fiddler on the Roof".[citation needed]

Her father Norman was in the lingerie business.[1] Her mother Valerie (née Ohrenstein) was a housewife who died of cancer in 1995 at the age of 57.[2] She has one sister who is three years younger.

Feltz was educated at Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls, an independent school in Elstree, Hertfordshire. She then went on to study at Trinity College, Cambridge graduating with a First Class Honours degree in English.[3]


1980s & 1990s: Career background

After she left university Feltz moved from temping work to writing for The Jewish Chronicle then the Daily Mirror.[citation needed] She often specialised in sex advice, writing for the magazine Men Only, and her sex tips for girls book called What Are These Strawberries Doing on My Nipples? I Need Them For The Fruit Salad![4] She also presented a Jewish radio show on BBC GLR (now BBC London 94.9).[citation needed]

Feltz replaced Paula Yates on Channel 4's morning TV show The Big Breakfast, presenting a regular item where she interviewed celebrities whilst lying on a bed. She has alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Rolf Harris while interviewing him on the programme.[5]

In 1997 Feltz was tricked by the spoof TV show Brass Eye.

She presented the ITV daytime television chat show, Vanessa, made by independent TV company Anglia Television. She moved to the BBC to host a similar show, The Vanessa Show, in 1998 in a reported £2.7 million deal.[6] ITV replaced her show with Trisha.

In 1999 The Vanessa Show show suffered from bad publicity as some guests were alleged to have been actors. Despite her having had no involvement in the booking of guests, Felz was seen to be at fault, and the show was cancelled soon after.[7]

2000s: BBC London 94.9, Celebrity Big Brother and more reality television

In 2001 Feltz joined the local radio station BBC London 94.9 to present a phone-in show and it has continued to run since then. Currently it is on air from 09.00 to 12.00 Monday to Friday.

Also in 2001 Feltz was a contestant on the first series of Celebrity Big Brother. She has appeared on its spin-off shows Big Brother's Big Mouth, Big Brother's Little Brother and Big Brother's Bit on the Side on numerous occasions.

In 2002 she made a cameo appearance in the comedy film Once Upon a Time in the Midlands. In May 2003 she was voted 93rd[1] on the list of worst Britons in Channel 4's poll of the 100 Worst Britons.[citation needed]

In 2004 she made an appearance in a sketch in the first episode of the second series of BBC comedy sketch show Little Britain, playing a spokeswoman for fictional slimming club Fat Fighters. Also in that year she appeared in the second series of reality TV show Celebrity Fit Club in a bid to lose weight.[8]

Feltz has also appeared on three different episodes of The Weakest Link. In two episodes she made it to the final round but lost to Sue Perkins on one occasion and to Tony Slattery on the other. The third episode she appeared on was the Special 1,000 Celebratory episode to celebrate 1,000 episodes of The Weakest Link being made. She was the 6th one voted off.[citation needed]

2010-2014: Radio 2, Channel 5 and Strictly Come Dancing

In 2010 Feltz and Ofoedu won their episode of the Virgin 1 show A Restaurant in our Living Room, preparing a dinner at their home for 25 people.

Feltz returned to the Big Brother house on 3 September 2010 during Ultimate Big Brother,[9] the last series to be broadcast on Channel 4.[10] She was evicted from the house on 8 September, two days before the final.

Feltz took on a greater workload of radio and TV presenting in 2011. She took over the BBC Radio 2 Early Breakfast Show on 17 January 2011 broadcasting from 05:00 until 06:30 each weekday in the slot formerly occupied by Sarah Kennedy. Writing of her Radio 2 debut, Daily Telegraph radio critic, Gillian Reynolds described Feltz's voice as "like lemon tea with honey."[11] She often covers Jeremy Vine's news and current affairs show on Radio 2 when Vine is away, with her early show covered by another presenter.

On 10 January 2011 Feltz launched her TV chat show The Vanessa Show on Channel 5 produced by Princess Productions broadcasting on Monday to Friday from 11:00 to 11:45. The programme suffered from poor ratings with a rapid drop in its audience from 170,000 for the debut show to only 40,000 just a few days later.[12][13]

On 7 March 2011 Channel 5 moved The Vanessa Show to an afternoon slot at 14:15 following disappointing ratings for the morning slot. The move allowed Feltz to record live editions of her TV show after her morning radio commitments.[14] In March 2011, the Daily Mail reported that The Vanessa Show could be facing the axe at the end of its run in June due to mixed ratings since the change in scheduling.[15] Ratings eventually improved and a second series of the show was planned to commence in September 2011 but it never went ahead. The's "Media Monkey" blog dubbed Feltz "officially the hardest working woman in broadcasting" due to her weekday broadcasting commitments.[16]

On 29 August 2013 Feltz was officially confirmed as one of the fifteen celebrity contestants participating in the eleventh series of Strictly Come Dancing. She was partnered with professional dancer James Jordan. She was voted off the show on 13 October 2013.

On 7 September 2013 she re-entered the Celebrity Big Brother house to take part in a task. She left the house the same day.[17]

Personal life

She married Michael Kurer, a surgeon, in 1983 and they have two daughters, Allegra and Saskia. They divorced in 2000.[18]

In December 2006 Feltz became engaged to Anglo-Nigerian singer Ben Ofoedu[19] and originally planned to marry the following year.[19] Ofoedu later said that the couple would marry in late 2011 [20] but no wedding took place. In October 2013 Feltz told the Daily Mirror that her previous experience of marriage was holding her back from marrying again.[21]

She lives in St John's Wood, London, in a house previously occupied by Reverend John Hugh Smyth-Piggott and by Charles Saatchi. It was featured in Sir John Betjeman's 1973 film Metro-land.[22]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 When more is more The Guardian, 29 November 2006
  2. Why I feel betrayed ... by my own father Sunday Mirror, 5 July 1998, archived at BNet
  3. Meet Vanessa Feltz at Retrieved 8 September 2013
  4. What are These Strawberries Doing on My Nipples?: I Need Them for the Fruit Salad!
  5. "'Vile' reaction to Vanessa Feltz's Rolf Harris claims". BBC News. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Vanessa Feltz My Hampstead Archived 22 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  7. Vanessa 'will be back' on BBC BBC News, 10 June 1999
  8. Celebrity Fit Club
  9. Ultimate Big Brother: Makosi and Nadia evicted as Vanessa Feltz enters as Victor's 'bride' Mail Online, 4 September 2010
  10. Josie wins Big Brother before ex-housemates return BBC News, 24 August 2010
  11. Gillian Reynolds Vanessa moves in for permanent slot on Radio 2
  12. Colin Robertson Feltz flop The Sun, 19 January 2011
  13. Georgina Littlejohn Vanessa Feltz's return to daytime tv flops by tens of thousands... in just three days Mail Online, 19 January 2011
  14. Channel 5 moves The Vanessa Show Digital Spy, 3 March 2011
  15. Paul Revoir 'Vanessa Feltz's show 'facing axe' as viewing figures continue to fall' Daily Mail 23 March 2011.
  16. Media Monkey Media Monkey's Diary, 24 January 2011
  18. TV Vanessa Pulls the Plug on her Husband Sunday Mirror, 1 October 2000, archived at BNet
  19. 19.0 19.1 Winter wedding for Vanessa Feltz Confetti, 21 May 2007
  20. Vanessa Feltz's fella Ben Ofoedu reveals their wedding plan
  22. Vanessa Feltz's House History BBC London, June 2007

External links