Who is Natasha Kaplinsky?
Natasha Kaplinsky is an English newsreader, TV presenter, activist and businesswomen who has worked with various networks including Sky News, BBC News, Channel 5 and ITV News. Starting out as a chat-show host on Granada Talk TV, she presented news bulletins on ITV Meridian before shifting to ITV London. She subsequently spent two years at Sky News and then joined BBC, on which she hosted 'Breakfast' and 'News at Six', among several other programs including 'Children in Need'. During her time with BBC, she won the first series of 'Strictly Come Dancing' with professional partner Brendan Cole and also traced her family tree in an episode of 'Who Do You Think You Are?'. She received the highest fee ever paid to a UK newsreader for helping re-launch Five (now known as Channel 5) and presenting the re-titled program 'Five News with Natasha Kaplinsky' intermittently for three years. She is the co-founder of 'Mum & You', which provides care products for babies and mothers. Kaplinsky, who is an ambassador for 'Save the Children' and is involved with several charities, was awarded an 'OBE' for interviewing 112 Holocaust survivors.
Childhood & Early Life
Natasha Margaret Kaplinsky was born on September 9, 1972, in Brighton, East Sussex, England, to South African political refugee Raphael Kaplinsky, a Professor of International Development at the Open University, and psychotherapist Catherine Kaplinsky. Her paternal grandparents were Polish Jews from the town of Slonim who had migrated to South Africa in 1929, and her mother has Scottish, English, and Afrikaner descent.
She was raised in Kenya with her brother Benjamin before her father, who had participated in Cape Town University's anti-apartheid protests as a student, fled to the United Kingdom and settled in Barcombe, East Sussex. She attended Ringmer Community College and Varndean College in Brighton before completing her graduation in English from Hertford College, Oxford in 1995.
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Natasha Kaplinsky began her career as a researcher for the Labour party leaders John Smith and Neil Kinnock. She soon moved to television and began co-hosting the youth chat show 'F2F' with actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen on Granada Talk TV in 1996.
In 1997, she became a news presenter with Meridian in the South East after spotting an advertisement for the same and began presenting early-morning bulletins. She rapidly rose up the ranks and began co-presenting the station's evening news program 'Meridian Tonight' within six months.
In 1999, she was invited to ITV's London News Network to co-present 'London Today' and 'London Tonight' with Alastair Stewart, and also hosted the political program 'Seven Days'. Moving to Sky News in November next year, she began co-presenting the breakfast news program 'Sunrise' before hosting the evening bulletin 'Live at Five' with Jeremy Thompson, and was a leading member of their BAFTA winning team.
She joined BBC in November 2002 as a co-presenter on 'BBC Breakfast' alongside Dermot Murnaghan from Monday to Thursday and subsequently interviewed her father on the program. She occasionally hosted 'News at Six' and became the third and youngest woman to present the BBC's 'Ten O'Clock News' in 2006.
Alongside partner Brendan Cole, she won the first series of the celebrity ballroom dancing competition 'Strictly Come Dancing' in 2004. She co-hosted the first half of the second series with Bruce Forsyth because regular presenter Tess Daly was on maternity leave, and later appeared in the 'Christmas Special' in 2012.
She co-presented BBC's annual charity telethon 'Children in Need' in 2005 and 2006, presented BBC’s 'New Year Live' for many years, and appeared on 'Have I Got News For You'. In September 2007, she traced her family tree in an episode of BBC's genealogy documentary series 'Who Do You Think You Are?'
She left BBC after she was reportedly paid over £1,000,000 per annum in salary by Five to re-launch the channel, and began presenting 'Five News' on February 18, 2008, to a million viewers. In August that year, she began her first maternity leave, which continued until February 2009, and was followed by another maternity leave from March 2010 as she welcomed her second child the next month.
Natasha Kaplinsky announced in October 2010 that she would be leaving the network by the end of the year. She presented her final bulletin for the channel on December 23, 2010, following which she was replaced by Matt Barbet, who substituted for her earlier.
Moving to the ITV network, she raised awareness about 'Save the Children' hosting the new Sunday entertainment series 'Born to Shine' in July-August 2011. It was announced in August that she will be hosting 'London Tonight' later that year, apart from serving as occasional newsreader on 'ITV News London'.
On August 19, 2013, she presented the hour-long exclusive documentary 'The People's Medal', which explored the secretive short-listing process for the Queen’s New Year’s Honours. She later teamed up with journalist Mark Williams-Thomas to co-host the documentaries 'On the Run', in October 2013, and 'Missing Without Trace', in November that year.
Since being named an ambassador for the UK charity 'Save the Children', Natasha Kaplinsky has been travelling around the world to organize fundraisers for the foundation. She is also an ambassador for Wellbeing of Women, and supports several other charities including the Bevern Trust, the National Maternity Support Foundation and The Willow Foundation.
The then British Prime Minister David Cameron asked her in 2014 to record testimonies of 112 Holocaust survivors for the first time, for which she was appointed 'Officer of the Order of the British Empire' (OBE) in 2017. Along with actor and activist Michael Sheen, she became a vice president of the Royal Society for Public Health in October 2018.
Family & Personal Life
Natasha Kaplinsky met Justin Bower, an investment banker from London, on a blind date in early 2005 and he proposed to her on their third date in March during a holiday trip in the Maldives. She reportedly rejected lucrative offers from magazines to cover her wedding and tied the knot in front of 100 guests in a chapel at the Babington House in Somerset on August 21, 2005.
She announced her first pregnancy in April 2008 and gave birth to a boy on September 25, 2008, whom the couple named Arlo two weeks later. She gave birth to a daughter named Angelica Pearl Bower on April 9, 2010, and recently told 'Hello Magazine' that while her son is "desperate for a brother", their family is complete.
The family, which owns a holiday home on the Greek Island of Corfu, went through a traumatic experience when their boat exploded due to a fuel leak in June 2018. She and her nine-year-old daughter sustained serious burn injuries and were left in the water for 45 minutes before being rescued, but the family went back to the location again next year to "conquer fear".
During 'Strictly Come Dancing', Natasha Kaplinsky courted rumors of a fling with partner Brendan Cole after the latter separated from his then-fiancée Camilla Dallerup, another professional dancer on the show. In 2018, Cole claimed that while he and Kaplinsky had good chemistry, they had no affair, and that Dallerup left him the day she was evicted from the show, just three weeks into the series.