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Wednesday, August 4, 1999 Published at 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK


Tarbuck on Big Breakfast menu

Tarbuck replaces Kelly Brook, who resigned last week

Liza Tarbuck has been chosen as the new co-host of The Big Breakfast, Channel 4's morning show.

The 34-year-old daughter of comedian Jimmy Tarbuck was selected as the perfect foil for wise-cracking presenter Johnny Vaughan after his last partner, Kelly Brook, quit the show last week.

[ image: Liza Tarbuck:
Liza Tarbuck: "Very popular" with viewers
Tarbuck had originally been tipped to take over from Denise Van Outen when she left the show recently.

Now Channel 4 bosses and the show's producers, Planet 24, have now decided to give her the job full time after being impressed with her appearances as a stand-in presenter.

They will be hoping that Tarbuck, who hosts fashion series She's Gotta Have It on the same channel, can help to bring back some of the show's early sparkle.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: "Liza has a good relationship with Johnny and they should make a great team.

"Everybody realises she is an established Channel 4 presenter who has been very popular with viewers and has done successful stints on The Big Breakfast."

Tarbuck, who trained to be an actress at Rada, has quietly built up a career for herself away from the shadow of her fanous father. She first made a name for herself a decade ago in ITV sitcom Watching, which ran for seven years.

She later became a roving reporter on BBC One's The Weekend Show, and her profile rose again when she stood in for Denise Van Outen on The Big Breakfast last year.

High-profile job

The other contender for the job was believed to be MTV presenter Sara Cox, who also started her TV career on Channel 4, hosting The Girlie Show.

The programme has been one of Channel 4's most high-profile since its launch in September 1992 - thanks to the success of its original presenters, Chris Evans and Gaby Roslin.

[ image: Johnny Vaughan with Kelly Brook earlier this year]
Johnny Vaughan with Kelly Brook earlier this year
Although its popularity continued, the show struggled to recapture the heady days of its launch after Evans and Roslin left. But ratings rose again in 1997 when Johnny Vaughan was paired with Denise Van Outen.

When Van Outen left at the beginning of 1999, producers hoped 19-year-old model Kelly Brook would recreate her lively partnership with Vaughan - but she resigned from the programme last week after press reports she had been sacked.

Her performances on the programme had been heavily criticised, and a memo from the programme's producers - leaked on the Internet - advised writers to avoid "difficult" words like 'satirical' in her scripts.

But Tarbuck sprang to her defence, even though Brook had earlier beaten her to the job.

She said: "It's cruel behaviour to build somebody up and knock them down. Some people should be ashamed of themselves."

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