Vanessa Jane Feltz (born 21 February 1962) is an English television personality, broadcaster and journalist. She currently presents an early morning radio show on BBC Radio 2 and a mid morning phone-in show on BBC London 94.9. In January 2011, she started hosting The Vanessa Show on Channel 5. The series ended on 24 June. Feltz is a Freelance broadcaster.
Vanessa Feltz was born in Islington, London, and grew up in Pine Grove, Totteridge. On her radio show she frequently refers to Totteridge as "the Beverly Hills of North London", and her middle-class Jewish background as like "growing up in Fiddler on the Roof [with her] as Topol".
After graduating from Cambridge University with a First Class Honours degreee, Feltz moved from temping work to writing for The Jewish Chronicle then the Daily Mirror. She often specialised in sex advice, writing for the magazine Men Only. She also presented a Jewish radio show on BBC GLR (now BBC London 94.9). She replaced Paula Yates on Channel 4 morning TV show The Big Breakfast, presenting a regular item where she interviewed celebrities whilst lying on a bed. She also presented a show called Value for Money.
She presented the ITV daytime television chat show Vanessa, made by independent TV company Anglia Television. She moved to the BBC to host a similar show, The Vanessa Show, in 1998 in a reported £2.7 million deal. ITV replaced her show with Trisha.
In 1999 The Vanessa Show show suffered from bad publicity as some guests were alleged to have been actors. Despite having had no involvement in the booking of guests, she was seen to be at fault and the show was cancelled soon after.
Vanessa Feltz was a contestant on the first British version of Celebrity Big Brother in 2001. She has appeared on its spin-off shows Big Brother's Big Mouth and Big Brother's Little Brother on numerous occasions.
She made an appearance in a sketch in the first episode of the second series of BBC comedy sketch show Little Britain, playing a spokeswoman for fictional slimming club Fat Fighters. In 2004, she appeared in the second series ofreality TV show Celebrity Fit Club in a bid to lose weight.
From late 2002 she has presented phone-in shows on BBC London 94.9. After presenting a Saturday afternoon phone-in show, she moved to a weekday afternoon slot until late 2005. She then replaced Jon Gaunt on the morning show, 9am to noon. The show is a phone-in on current topics, with occasional studio guests. She also presented a Saturday morning show until January 2011 with more emphasis on interviews, and some music. She also writes a weekly column on her views on topical subjects, published in the Tuesday Daily Express newspaper and is the agony aunt at Reveal Magazine.
Feltz and Ben Ofoedu have taken part in a number of television programmes as a couple: in April 2007 they participated in an episode of Channel 4's Celebrity Wife Swap, in which she moved in with magician Paul Daniels for one week, while his wife Debbie McGee moved in with Ofoedu. On 22 September 2007 Feltz and Ofoedu won £150,000 for a cancer charity on the celebrity version of ITV's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.
On 11 May 2009 Feltz was named Speech Radio Personality of the Year at the Sony Radio Academy Awards.
Vanessa has also appeared on three different episode of The Weakest Link. On two episodes, she made it to the final round but lost to Sue Perkins on one episode and to Tony Slattery on the other. The third episode she appeared on was the Special 1,000 Celebratory episode to celebrate 1,000 episodes of Weakest Link made, where she was the 6th one voted off.
In 2010, Feltz and Ofoedu won their episode of the Virgin 1 show A Restaurant in our Living Room, catering a dinner at their home for 25 people.
Feltz returned to the Big Brother house on 3 September 2010 during Ultimate Big Brother, the last series to be broadcast on Channel 4. She was evicted from the house on 8 September, two days before the final.
Feltz took on a greater workload of radio and TV presenting in January. She took over the BBC Radio 2 Early Breakfast Show in January starting at 05:00 until 06:30 each weekday in the slot formerly occupied by Sarah Kennedy. Writing of her Radio 2 debut, Daily Telegraph radio critic, Gillian Reynolds described Feltz's voice as "like lemon tea with honey." She also continued her morning phone-in programme on BBC London 94.9 at 09:00 until 12:00 each weekday. On 10 January, Feltz launched TV chat show, The Vanessa Show on Channel 5 produced by Princess Productions broadcast Monday-Friday from 11:00 to 11:45. The programme suffered from poor ratings with a rapid drop in its audience from 170,000 for the debut show to only 40,000 just a few days later.
On 7 March, Channel 5 moved The Vanessa Show to an afternoon slot at 14:15 following disappointing ratings for the morning slot. The move allowed Feltz to record live editions of her TV show after her morning radio commitments.In March 2011, the Daily Mail reported that The Vanessa Show could be facing the axe at the end of its run in June due to mixed ratings since the change in scheduling. Ratings eventually improved and a second series of the show was planned to commence in September 2011, but did not occur. The guardian.co.uk's "Media Monkey" blog dubbed Feltz "officially the hardest working woman in broadcasting" due to her weekday broadcasting commitments.