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Fern Britton

Britton in 2009 at Wendy Richard's funeral service
Born 17 July 1957 (1957-07-17) (age 52)
Ealing, London, England
Nationality British
Occupation Television presenter
Employer ITV & BBC
Home town Gerrards Cross
Known for Television presenting
Spouse(s) Phil Vickery (m. 2000–present) «start: (2000)»"Marriage: Phil Vickery to Fern Britton" Location: (linkback:
Clive Jones (m. 1988–1998) «start: (1988)–end+1: (1999)»"Marriage: Clive Jones to Fern Britton" Location: (linkback:
Children 4
Parents Tony Britton (father)
Ruth Britton (mother)
Relatives Cherry Britton,
Jasper Britton

Fern Britton (born 17 July 1957) is an English television presenter, known as the former main co-presenter on the ITV magazine programme This Morning alongside Phillip Schofield. She left the show on 17 July 2009, her 52nd birthday.


Early life

Britton was born in Ealing, London to English actor Tony Britton and his wife Ruth Britton. She is the younger sister of scriptwriter Cherry Britton and older half sister of actor Jasper Britton. After spending her early life in Buckinghamshire she proceeded to launch her career on Westward Television as a continuity announcer. She attended Dr Challoner's High School at Little Chalfont and the Central School of Speech and Drama where she trained in stage management.



After working with a touring theatre company, Britton commenced her broadcasting career in 1979 at Westward Television in Plymouth, the then-incumbent ITV regional company, as a continuity announcer and newsreader on the nightly local bulletin Westward Diary. During the period of time that Westward lost its franchise in 1981, Britton moved to the local BBC headquarters as a presenter with Spotlight in the South West, before moving to BBC One's News After Noon where she became the BBC's youngest-ever national news presenter.[1] She then went on to work at TVS in Southampton, co-hosting the South edition of the news programme Coast to Coast with Fred Dinenage, as well as Coast to Coast People, The Television Show, Magic Moments and as assistant presenter with Stefan Buczacki on some series of That's Gardening.

Britton has since worked on a variety of programmes including Carlton Television's After Five, BBC's Breakfast Time, GMTV, London News Network's London Tonight and (as a guest reporter) BBC One’s Holiday. She also appeared in the first two series of The Brian Conley Show. In 1994, Britton presented the popular television cookery gameshow Ready Steady Cook, which she continued to do until 2000 when chef Ainsley Harriott took over. In 2002, she was the host of the Pride of Britain Awards. Britton has also appeared twice as a panellist on the satirical panel show, Have I Got News for You, which she later guest presented on 27 April 2007 and again on 17 October 2008.

In 2006, Britton co-presented the reality television show Soapstar Superstar and, in the same year, co-hosted the British Soap Awards. She has also made a guest appearance on the comedy show Extras. On 31 May 2007, she hosted the Classical BRIT Awards at the Royal Albert Hall and she also co-hosted the British Soap Awards in 2006, 2007 and 2008, with Phillip Schofield.

Britton co-hosted the popular television magazine show This Morning with Phillip Schofield. The two are famous for their outbursts of laughter and giggling. She has hosted This Morning since 1999. When Britton joined the show, This Morning saw viewing figures rise considerably.[2] Since Britton and Schofield began presenting This Morning, the show has won the TV Quick Award for Best Daytime Viewing in both 2003 and 2004, and a National Television Award for Most Popular Daytime Show in 2004. On 13 July 2007, whilst Britton was presenting This Morning, members of her family appeared on the set after the show had organised a mini-celebration for Britton's 50th birthday. In December 2007, Britton went on a secret trip to Basra for four days to broadcast behind-the-scenes footage of the troops.

In 2007, Britton presented her own nostalgic ITV1 Saturday night series called That's What I Call Television. In each show, she was joined by a celebrity co-host who selected their favourite TV moments from the 1980s and then reunited some of the original stars of selected shows. Julian Clary was her first co-host, followed by Matthew Kelly on the second show, and finally Bradley Walsh for the third. In December 2007, a Christmas edition was broadcast with co-host Ronnie Corbett, and a week later another was broadcast, this time with Desmond Lynam. On 12 January 2008, Britton won on the first episode of the television comedy series Thank God You're Here, presented by Paul Merton.[3]

In April 2008 Britton and her colleague [Phillip Schofield presented a revival of the ITV show Mr and Mrs, this time it was an 'all star' version, airing as a six-part series on Saturday nights.[4]

In November 2008, Britton announced she was to take a break from This Morning and return after the Christmas break in January 2009.[5][6]

Fern announced on 25 March 2009 that she was leaving This Morning at the end of the current series after 10 years.[7] Two days after quitting This Morning, Fern Britton pulled out of hosting the 2009 British Soap Awards alongside co-host Phillip Schofield.[8]

A new series of All-Star Mr. and Mrs. began on 2 May 2009 on ITV1, again cohosted by Britton and Phil Schofield.

On 17 July 2009 (Britton's 52nd birthday) her farewell This Morning programme was aired after working for the programme since 1999. The presenter wept as the cast and crew and her celebrity friends paid tribute.[9]

In 2009 she was a pannelist on the TV trivia game shows As Seen on TV and Would I Lie to You?.

On 2 November 2009 she appeared as a stand in host on The Paul O'Grady Show.

From 29 November 2009 she hosted a series for BBC One called Fern Britton Meets... in which she interviewed high profile personalities about their religious beliefs. The series attracted particular attention for an interview with former Prime Minister Tony Blair in which he said that it would have been right to remove Iraqi president Saddam Hussein even without evidence he had weapons of mass destruction.[10]

Weight loss controversy

Britton attracted considerable criticism for claiming that she had lost weight naturally though diet and exercise, telling Now magazine, "I just ate a bit healthier and took up cycling to work ... It's taken me two years and a lot of hard work."[11] Although to a certain extent, this is true, with an ITV spokesperson saying: "We weren't aware of this matter, but over the last two years Fern has cycled down the Nile, she exercises most days and has a very healthy lifestyle and healthy diet. As far as we're concerned, she lives and breathes what she talks about." [11] She had in fact had gastric band surgery and despite initial denials by her agent admitted this was the cause of her weight loss when exposed by the News of the World newspaper.[12] Britton didn't apologise for keeping her operation secret,[13] something exacerbated by the fact that she appeared in advertisements promoting Ryvita as a method of losing weight and had even produced an exercise video.[14] All of Britton's employers were totally unaware of the surgery.[13]

However, other TV presenters such as Paul O'Grady came out on their shows to defend her, claiming that it was "tantamount to bullying.. look at Jade Goody and what happened" [15] whilst co-host Phillip Schofield in an interview with The Sun stated "It's no one else's business that she had a gastric band fitted, despite the public backlash against her." [16] Newspapers which weren't swept up in the furore over Fern's decision to have a private medical procedure contained articles defending her right to privacy, such as in the column by Barbara Ellen which outline exactly why Fern Britton should be allowed to make her own private decisions [17]. Recently after the News of the World published the reveal of her surgery. Fern confessed to the surgery on her own show, whilst also stating that she "spoke carefully" about her weight loss and that "I didn't lie, there was no need to lie" about her surgery. "A girl likes to have something to herself" after telling her viewers that many quotes from her that tabloids conjured up were fabricated and she hadn't said anything of the sort.[18]

Other work

In 1988, Britton took part in a Cinderella pantomime where she played the title role at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. She was presenting Coast to Coast from the city at the time and her preparation for the part was filmed for the programme.

Britton has appeared as herself in advertisements for Ryvita Minis.

March 1998 saw the launch of Britton's first book, Fern's Family Favourites published by Andre Deutsch, written with cook and home economist Susie Magasiner.

In November 2008 Fern, My Story was published by Michael Joseph. It went straight into The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller list where it remained for 12 weeks.[citation needed]

Personal life

Britton's husband is celebrity chef, Phil Vickery, with whom she lives at Holmer Green in Buckinghamshire with her children, twins Jack and Harry (born 1994) and Grace (born 1997) from her first marriage and Winnie (born 2001) from her second marriage.

In May 2008, Britton announced that she had had a gastric band fitted to help her lose weight. She reported that she was very pleased with the band, but urged others not to follow her example. In a statement she said, "Many people are interested in my weight loss. As interest is so high, I am making public that I had a gastric band operation two years ago. I did this for myself and I would not wish to influence others to do the same. For me it has worked and I am pleased with the results."[19][20]

In her memoir, "My Story", Britton wrote – amongst other things – that soon after her 21st birthday she was raped whilst living in Cambridge.[21]


  1. ^ "Fern: The Great Britton". Sunday Express. 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  2. ^ Fern brightens This Morning figures — Retrieved 2 February 2007.
  3. ^ Fern Britton | This Morning star has fun as a nun on new show | The Sun |Showbiz|TV
  4. ^ Fern Britton | Philip Schofield | Telly favourites to front Mr & Mrs II | The Sun |Showbiz|TV
  5. ^ Fern Britton to take break from This Morning | TV News | Now Magazine
  6. ^ Television - News - Britton announces 'This Morning' break - Digital Spy
  7. ^ Dowell, Ben (25 March 2009). "Fern Britton to leave This Morning". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 March 2009. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Fern Britton leaves This Morning Daily Mail 17 July 2009
  10. ^ "Removing Saddam was right, even without WMD - Blair". BBC News. 12 December 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2010. 
  11. ^ a b We expose secret of TV star's 'diet' | News Of The World
  12. ^ Showbiz - News - Fern Britton reveals gastric band secret - Digital Spy
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^ YouTube - Paul O'Grady, "Leave Fern Britton Alone!" (HQ)
  16. ^ Phillip Schofield: 'Fern Britton's band is her business' | The Sun |Showbiz|TV
  17. ^ Barbara Ellen: Leave Fern alone, you hypocritical fattists | Comment is free | The Observer
  18. ^ YouTube - Fern Britton Castric Band Confession
  19. ^ TV's Fern Britton: Yes, I've had gastric band to lose weight -
  20. ^ PMR -
  21. ^

External links

Media offices
First Host of Ready Steady Cook
Succeeded by
Ainsley Harriott
Preceded by
Coleen Nolan and Twiggy
Host of This Morning
with John Leslie (2001–2002)
Phillip Schofield (2002–2009)
Succeeded by
Holly Willoughby

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