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Last Updated: Monday, 4 August, 2003, 07:38 GMT 08:38 UK
Edmonds comes back to Auntie
Noel Edmonds
Edmonds' cheery House Party antics pleased millions
Former BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show host Noel Edmonds has a two-month stint on Radio 2's Drivetime Show.

BBC News Online looks at the radio and television presenter's long career in light entertainment.

By Chris Heard
BBC News Online entertainment staff

He will probably be remembered as the man who gave the world Mr Blobby - but there is plenty more to Noel Edmonds.

After nearly three decades as one of the country's most popular radio and TV presenters, Edmonds has spent recent years away from the limelight to focus on family and business interests.

His return to the national airwaves after 20 years marks a renewal of his professional relationship with the BBC which began in 1969.

Noel Edmonds
Edmonds was the BBC's golden boy during the 1970s
It appeared to have ended 30 years later with the demise of his House Party television show - once a national institution pulling in 12 million viewers - which was axed as ratings fell.

His resurgence on BBC Radio 2 will be welcomed by those who say the BBC sorely misses the talents of such a seasoned family entertainer.

Detractors, though, would point towards the fluffy jumpers, the excesses of Crinkley Bottom - and that pink latex sidekick with yellow spots.

Edmonds was born in 1948 in Ilford, Essex, the only child of teachers, and educated at Brentwood Public School, gaining 10 'O' levels and three 'A' levels.

He developed an early interest in radio and began applying for work at pirate stations.

After a stint as a teacher he gained his first taste of the airwaves on Radio Luxembourg in November 1968.

Noel Edmonds
His Radio 1 Breakfast Show proved a huge draw
His big break came the following year when he when he was picked to succeed Kenny Everett on Radio 1's Saturday morning show. At just 21 he was the station's youngest DJ.

His unique patter and pranks quickly built up a big following and in 1973 he took over the breakfast show from Tony Blackburn, getting up to 12 million listeners.

He had also moved into TV, notably on BBC One's Top Of The Pops, but also hosting Come Dancing and children's series Z Shed.

A TV natural, he went on to front such successes as Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, The Saturday Roadshow and Telly Addicts.

Another hit was the Late Late Breakfast Show, begun in 1981. Five years into the programme tragedy struck when Michael Lush, who had volunteered to do a bungee jump on the show, was killed while rehearsing the stunt.

Noel Edmonds
He loves motor racing and did a stint presenting Top Gear
The incident devastated Edmonds and during a period of reflection he considered quitting TV.

His name became linked with tragedy a second time when a nine-year-old boy died in a helicopter crash at a 1997 charity event he had organised in Scotland.

In both cases, there was no suggestion of any culpability on Edmonds' part.

His ongoing love affair with the British public reached its peak during the 1990s with House Party, once described as the BBC's most important programme.

Its family-oriented blend of comic one-liners, celebrity guests and imaginative pranks made it a worldwide hit.

The format generated millions in revenue for the BBC and Edmonds' Unique Group production company.

Noel Edmonds and Mr Blobby
Edmonds' creation Mr Blobby was a worldwide phenomenon
Items such as the Gotchas and NTV earned it a Bafta, while theme parks were given licences for Crinkley Bottom and Mr Blobby.

Off-screen, the helicopter-owning, motor racing-loving Edmonds is an astute businessman who has built up a considerable fortune, recently turning his skills to video conferencing.

An intensely private man who fiercely protects his family's privacy, he avoids the showbiz set in favour of his 850-acre Devon farm.

He and his wife Helen have four daughters; Charlotte, Lorna, Olivia and Alice.

He had been linked with the vacant Jimmy Young slot on Radio 2 before being asked to stand in while Johnnie Walker recovers from cancer - a "bittersweet experience", says Edmonds.




SEE ALSO:
Edmonds shaves beard for farmers
27 Apr 01  |  Entertainment
DJ Johnnie Walker in cancer battle
05 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
Noel Edmonds to leave BBC
08 Aug 99  |  Entertainment


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