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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 December 2006, 00:31 GMT
June Sarpong's star in ascendancy
June Sarpong
Sarpong has presented T4 since 2001
TV presenter June Sarpong, 29, has become an MBE in the New Year Honours.

The bubbly host, who was born in London's East End to Ghanaian parents, is best known for her cheeky asides on Channel 4's youth programme T4.

But she also supports the Make Poverty History campaign, and has worked for the Prince's Trust for six years.

In the run-up to the 2005 general election she shadowed Tony Blair for two days before an interview where she challenged him on the war in Iraq.

Work experience

Sarpong began her career doing work experience at London radio station Kiss and, after a spell working for record company BMG, auditioned for a presenting job on MTV.

One of her first assignments on the station was to work on the magazine programme Planet Pop, which was also shown on Channel 4.

June Sarpong
Sarpong said she was charmed by Tony Blair during their interview
When the T4 job came up in 2001, bosses at the station were already aware of her easy-going, laid back style, and Sarpong was chosen to interview pop stars and present links between episodes of Friends and Hollyoaks.

Aside from T4, Sarpong has also presented game show Your Face or Mine and Strictly Dance Fever on BBC Three.

She previously dated Labour culture minister David Lammy.

But it was her time with the Prime Minister that brought the effervescent presenter widespread media attention in 2005.

'No flowers'

During her interview, Sarpong prompted Mr Blair to admit he had never bought his wife flowers and often "winged it" during press conferences.

A studio audience also pressed Mr Blair on sex education, binge drinking and Iraq.

Sarpong said she had come away "definitely liking" the prime minister, and went on to interview former US President Bill Clinton, who she called "charming" and "humble".

Although some commentators have expressed surprise at her desire to interview political heavyweights, Sarpong says she thinks television has a duty to inform people.

"My family is from Ghana, but we're from an affluent part of the country," she told The Guardian. "Without television, I wouldn't have known about the poverty there."

She travelled back to Ghana with Oxfam in 2005, where she visited rice farmers and women's groups to see how debt cancellation and improved trade conditions could help the country.

"I wish I'd seen this before I asked Tony Blair about Africa," she wrote on Oxfam's website.

Sarpong, who is being appointed an MBE in recognition of her services to broadcasting and charity, said she was "thrilled, delighted and honoured".


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