Carol McGiffin is a British TV and radio presenter, best known for her long association as a panelist with the afternoon chat show ‘Loose Women.’ She is famous for her funny anecdotes and candid views. After a brief hiatus of 5 years, beginning in 2013, she made a celebrated return to the show in 2018. Despite her tumultuous childhood, Carol made her way to success mostly based on her wits and will power. She started as a production assistant with a small-time music channel named ‘Music Box.’ As a presenter, she made it big on radio before appearing on TV. She has been associated with ‘Talk Radio UK’ since 1995. She always fancied being a writer. After many failed attempts, she released her autobiography, ‘Oh, Carol!,’ in 2010.
Childhood and Early Life
Carol Deirdre McGiffin was born on February 18, 1960, in North London, to English parents, John McGiffin and Heather Barham. She has two sisters, Kim and Tracy, and a brother, Mark.
Carol was particularly close to her elder sister, Kim, who was like a second mother to her. She had strenuous relationships with both her younger siblings, Mark and Tracy. However, they all get along well with each other now.
The McGiffin family moved houses frequently, especially during Carol’s childhood. They moved to Maidstone, Kent, when she was just a year old. They mostly ended up living on the shopping streets because her father was a food chain manager. They had a lavish house on Week Street.
As a child, she was quite a mischief-maker. Carol’s mother once caught her with all a few items she had shoplifted. She had reportedly stolen mouth organs. She was reprimanded, dragged down to the store, made to apologize, and return the mouth organs she had stolen over time.
In 1964, Carol’s family moved to a new house. Soon, her father left her mother to be with someone else. Following this, things went down the hill for the rest of the family. Unable to pay the rent on her own, Carol’s mother took her kids to the ‘Maidstone Borough Council’ house, where they grew up.
Her first school was ‘Shepway Infants’ on Oxford Road on the Shepway Estate. She often had to rely on free school dinners, since her mother did not have enough resources to afford meals every day. She later attended the ‘South Borough Girls School’ in Maidstone. She left school when she was 16, after a streak of low grades.
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Carol started her broadcasting career in 1984, when she began working behind the camera on a less-known 24-hour cable music channel, named ‘Music Box,’ considered the precursor to ‘MTV’ in the UK. Even though she had originally applied for the position of a video jockey, she began her career as a production assistant and ended up as a production manager.
In the late 1980s, she met radio presenter and voice artist Chris Evans, who invited her to co-host his weekly radio show, ‘Round at Chris’s.’ Her presentation was always satirical, drawing humor out of her observation of men and their mannerisms.
In 1995, Carol became of the founding members of the sports radio station ‘Talk Radio UK,’ on which she co-presented the weekday-evening show ‘The Rude Awakening’ along with Moz Dee. She became the station’s music expert after the evening show was canceled in September that year. She hosted her own Friday evening show for the next 6 months and appeared as a weekly guest on Jonathan King’s show.
By the end of 1996, she had begun co-hosting the breakfast show on ‘Liberty Radio’ with Richard Skinner. She continued to host the show for 6 months. For the next couple of years, she collaborated with famous radio and TV presenters Paul Ross and Nick Abbot, doing various shows.
She joined the London radio station ‘LBC’ in 1999, working with Nick Abbot. However, he left the station after 6 months and Carol continued hosting the show alone till September 2000. Her Sunday morning show on ‘LBC’ was widely popular. She co-hosted a few phone-in shows on ‘BBC London Live.’ In 2002, she paired up with Abbot again for an occasional appearance on ‘Real Radio.’ Meanwhile, she left LBC in 2000 and she returned to in 2006.
Her claim to fame came was her 2003 ‘ITV’ talk show ‘Loose Women.’ She joined this lunchtime chat show as a regular panelist and became a favourite on the show for her bold views and candor. She presented distinct opinions and funny anecdotes that were almost outrageous. In 2013, after being an integral part of the show for 10 years, she announced her exit from the show and revealed that she had been thinking about doing so since long.
In 2010, she published her autobiography, ‘Oh, Carol!,’ which was an insightful collection of memories and experiences of her life. The book not only talked about her broken family struggling to survive but also about her own feelings, as a second child, toward her siblings. The book reflected her straightforward nature.
In 2013, she appeared on ‘Celebrity Big Brother.’ She then appeared on the ‘Channel 5’ show ‘The Wright Stuff’ (from 2014 to 2018).
As huge gift to her fans, Carol announced her return to ‘Loose Women’ in 2018 and continues to make the show as entertaining as before.
Family & Personal Life
Carol McGiffin is married to Mark Cassidy, who is 22 years younger than the TV celebrity. They were in a 10-year engagement before tying the knot in 2018, in a secret ceremony in Bangkok. The couple were in the news after rumors of their marriage started surfacing. Carol was confronted by her colleagues in one of the episodes of ‘Loose Women’ and had to confirm her marriage to Mark on national TV.
Carol was earlier married to her co-host Chris Evans. They were married from 1991 to 1994, the year they split. Their divorce was finalized in 1998.
In 2015, she revealed to her fans that she had been battling with breast cancer since 2014. She went through tumultuous times for the next few years, only to make a heroic return to ‘Loose Women’ in 2018.
McGiffin has, over the years, chosen a quiet life, rejecting lucrative opportunities to ensure peace in her life.
Carol McGiffin once fantasized about retiring to a village in the South of France and writing books in front of a window with a great view. She made numerous attempts to finish a written piece, but her written works ultimately found their way into a folder named ‘Books’ on her shelf.
To curb her lack of motivation to finish writing a book, she bought a “slanket,” a blanket with sleeves, which can be wrapped around the entire body to restrict easy movement. As explained in the introduction section of her book, it was used to make sure she tripped and fell if she tried to get up from her designated place to sit and write.