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Last Updated: Monday, 12 May, 2003, 19:22 GMT 20:22 UK
From Changing Rooms to the jungle
Linda Barker
Barker originally studied painting at art school

Linda Barker has swapped the suburban comfort of redesigning living rooms to trial by insects in the new series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here.

In getting to the final three contestants, the 41-year-old TV interior designer has shown she can do much more than redesign rooms for less than 500 - the Changing Rooms rule.

Barker, originally from Yorkshire, has been one of the regular designers on the BBC programme since 1995 - and has redesigned everything from front rooms to mess halls on Royal Navy warships.

It was the first TV programme she auditioned for, following a successful career doing style and design work for magazines and private clients, including Cilla Black and hypnotist Paul McKenna.

Barker grew up in Shelf, near Halifax, the daughter of a farmer and wholesale butcher.

Double glazing

She studied painting at the West Surrey College of Art and Design.

She had "tried to be an artist in a studio really. But that wasn't bringing me any money and I wanted a flat and a car and all the rest of it," she recently told BBC America.

From there she sold double glazing, worked as an air stewardess and a barmaid.

She became involved in interior design - using her own flat to experiment - which led to a magazine feature on her designs and then interiors work.

The cast of Changing Rooms with Barker (centre)
Barker (centre) redesigned Llewelyn Bowen's kitchen (left) last year

With her design career under way, she went for an audition for the BBC's new interior design programme - Changing Rooms, which started in 1995.

"I was relaxed about it all because I never thought I'd get the job. I didn't think I was the sort of person they'd want," she told the People newspaper in 2002.

With Changing Rooms proving to be one of the most successful programmes on BBC TV (it changed from BBC Two to BBC One) she has branched out to other lifestyle shows.

In 1999 she also started presenting the daytime makeover show House Invaders. She was also recently voted designer of the year in House Beautiful magazine.

Last year she swapped homes with co-host Llewelyn-Bowen, redesigning his kitchen - but then seemed unimpressed with her colleague's own redesign of her front room, which she had just redecorated.

Insects

Barker is married to TV producer Chris Short, and the couple have a 10-year-old daughter, Jessica.

After joining I'm a Celebrity, Barker's challenges included having to stick her hands into buckets full of insects in order to win meals for the group.

Before joining the programme she said would miss quality bedlinen and eating off china plates - as well as her family.

What the future holds for the former double-glazing saleswoman remains to be seen.

Tony Blackburn's victory in the first series gave his career a much-needed boost.

While Barker's agent would not go into details about offers the presenter had received thanks to the show, she said appearing on the programme "doesn't do anyone any harm at all".

If Barker plans changing TV shows instead of just rooms, her appearance on the celebrity competition may have been just the springboard she needed.




SEE ALSO:
Chef given jungle chop
10 May 03  |  Entertainment
Guirado evicted from jungle show
08 May 03  |  Entertainment
I'm A Celebrity...: Your views
09 May 03  |  Entertainment
Changing Rooms team deck out ship
05 Jun 00  |  Entertainment


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