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Zöe Salmon
Born 7 January 1980 (1980-01-07) (age 30)
Bangor, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Nationality [British]
Occupation Television presenter
Height 5 ft 7 inches
Known for Blue Peter presenter and
Miss Northern Ireland of 1999

Zöe Salmon (born 7 January 1980, Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland) is a television presenter who hosted the children's television show Blue Peter from 23 December 2004 to 25 June 2008. She also appeared on Dancing on Ice in early 2009.



Salmon attended Kilmaine Primary School and Glenlola Collegiate School while growing up in Bangor, a town on the east coast of County Down which she says is her "favourite place.... It's a really pretty seaside town with a marina which is lovely in the summer". She then attended Queen's University, Belfast, where she gained a 2:1 degree in law, before qualifying as a solicitor. She was crowned Miss Northern Ireland in 1999 (beating future Big Brother contestant Orlaith McAllister). In 2009 she was placed at number 20 on FHM's 100 sexiest women.

Blue Peter

Salmon was revealed as the 30th Blue Peter presenter on 25 October 2004. She first appeared on the show on 23 December 2004, in its Christmas special. She was originally meant to replace Liz Barker when the latter left on maternity leave; however, Barker had already returned by the time Salmon made her debut. She presented the show with Konnie Huq, Simon Thomas, Matt Baker, Liz Barker, Gethin Jones and Andy Akinwolere.

Shortly after her debut, she famously said "I'd Try Anything Once", which started a trend in her being asked to do dangerous or embarrassing things including wing-walking on top of an antique biplane. When she mentioned in her blog on the Blue Peter website that she had an ambition to have a go at being sawed in half by a magician, viewers started a campaign for her to do a challenge where she would become a magician's assistant. This campaign was successful, and Salmon filmed a challenge where she assisted a magician with a number of illusions including levitation and a transposition illusion called "The Assistants Revenge". After the filmed segment of the challenge had been shown, the magician joined Salmon in the studio for a live performance of the sawing in half illusion, in which Salmon was sawed in half inside a clear-sided box in a version of the illusion called "Clearly Impossible". Salmon left the show in June 2008 at the start of the Summer break, at the same time as Gethin Jones.[1]


Shortly after making her first appearance on Blue Peter, the BBC received complaints after it was alleged that her job was only advertised in Northern Ireland and Scotland, meaning they were potentially discriminating against people with certain regional accents. The BBC, however, denied any discrimination, and insisted the advertisement had been placed in newspapers throughout the UK.

Salmon herself faced criticism when she chose a symbol for a 'Best of British' logo, to be used by British Airways to decorate a Boeing 757. She said 'I'm from Ulster, and I'd like to cover a plane with the Red Hand of Ulster: that is our proud symbol.'[2] The symbol however is one frequently used by loyalists and paramilitaries: David Miller, a professor of sociology at Strathclyde University, was among the first to complain to the BBC about the use of the symbol.

Miller said: "Like the swastika, the Red Hand is a symbol that has been misappropriated. It is the symbol of the unionists and is certainly not signed up to by the majority." However, others, like Michael Copeland, an Ulster Unionist Party assembly member, said that the 'Red Hand symbol is as precious to all Ulstermen as the lion is to Scotland, and the dragon to Wales'; 'it appears in the symbolism of both the unionist and nationalist communities.'[3] The red hand of Ulster is also used by Republicans and nationalists and in fact, the Red Hand of Ulster is emblazoned on the nine-county flag for the province of Ulster, as well as the old Northern Ireland flag, and on the nationalist side by the GAA (including the Tyrone GAA's crest), amongst others. The symbol is also associated with Ulster Gaelic clans before the 17th century. The Red Hand of Ulster (in Irish Lámh Dhearg Uladh) is a symbol used in heraldry to denote the Irish province of Ulster.

Other media reports at the time "suggested she had been chosen to 'sex up' the programme and boost ratings in the competitive children’s marketplace. It is an idea denied by the producers of Blue Peter."[3] In January 2006, novelist Kate Figes further criticised Salmon in an article in The Guardian, writing that Salmon "rarely seems comfortable around children and talks to them in slow, patronising tones. She comes over as insincere and fatuous and my daughters don't like her any more than I do." Figes claimed that Salmon was "encouraged by the programme editors to present herself as a sexual bimbo", and that the show was being "sexed up or dumbed down".[4] Richard Marson, Blue Peter’s editor, characterised the article as 'character assassination', and denied that the show was "being sexed up or dumbed down".[5]

Television and film appearances

One of her earliest roles was a quick appearance as the original bearer of the Ruby Slippers in a little known re-telling of the Wizard of Oz made for Channel Five in 1995. She had auditioned for the role of Dorothy, but lost to Denise Van Outen.

In 2005, Salmon presented the results of the Northern Ireland region in Making Your Mind Up, the UK's national pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2005. She welcomed the television audience to Belfast with the line "How's about you, Terry?"

Salmon appeared in the 2007 version of Comic Relief does Fame Academy, with several celebrity opponents, including BBC Sport presenter and journalist Ray Stubbs, former CBBC presenter Angellica Bell and BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio Five Live presenter Colin Murray. Salmon was the fifth celebrity voted out. Also in 2007, she switched on the Belfast Christmas lights with Shayne Ward.

After leaving Blue Peter in June 2008, she presented the gameshow Hot Rods which began a BBC2 run on 30 August.[6] She joined Noel Edmonds and Same Difference as a guest at a kids' party at the Northumberland town of Morpeth which featured in 2008's Noel's Christmas Presents show on Sky1.

Salmon took part in the fourth series of Dancing On Ice, partnering Matt Evers and successfully reached the quarter-finals.

Zoe appeared on The Chris Moyles Show in January 2009 and went on a date with early breakfast presenter Greg James as part of the BBC Radio 1 money experiment "BBC Radio 1 Money Experiment". 

She appeared on the first episode of BBC One Saturday night gameshow Hole in the Wall hosted by Dale Winton. Salmon has a cameo in the upcoming CBBC sitcom Dani's House, in which she plays a celebrity.[citation needed] In May 2009 she appeared in FHM magazine with another Blue Peter ex-presenter Konnie Huq. Two separate collectable covers were printed for the issue featuring the two women, but the content of the magazines were identical.

In 2009 she will appear on the Autumn series of Shooting Stars on Jack Dee's team, alongside comedian Noel Fielding.

In Summer 2009 she presented 8-part series Skillicious on CITV alongside Nigel Clarke. The show encouraged children to try out new skills. She loved beatboxing.

In Autumn 2009 she presented the World's Strongest Man competition in the UK and became one of the presenters on new Sky1 live lifestyle chat show Angela and Friends.

Charity work

In 2006, Salmon ran the London Marathon and gave the money to the registered charity ChildLine.

Personal life

Salmon dated Irish actor Gerard McCarthy for several months, until their split in February 2009.[7] In August 2009, she publicly stated that she was then dating Capital Radio presenter Greg Burns.[8] They dated for two months.


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Blue Peter Herself Main Presenter until June 2008
2005 Making Your Mind Up Herself Delivered the votes from Northern Ireland
Totally Blue Peter Magazine Boss (villain) Main Role
2006 Comic Relief does Fame Academy Herself Contestant (out fifth)
St Trinian's Cameo Guest Appearance
2008 Best of Friends Herself Guest presenter on activity special alongside Iwan Thomas
The Weakest Link Herself Contestant on Blue Peter Special
Bratz Academy Herself Presenter
Dani's House Celebrity Guest Role
Hot Rods Herself Main presenter
SMart Herself Guest presenter 1 episode
Hole in the Wall Herself Contestant on episode 1
Noel's Christmas Presents Herself Guest at party for children of Morpeth
2009 Dancing on Ice Herself Contestant (5th Place)
Shooting Stars Herself Team Contestant
Angela & Friends Herself Pannelist, Book expert


External links

Preceded by
Joanne Salley (1998)
Miss Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Julie Martin (2000)
Preceded by
Liz Barker
Blue Peter Presenter No. 30
Succeeded by
Helen Skelton

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