Chris Tarrant

Chris Tarrant
Chris Tarrant, OBE

Tarrant in 2009
Born Christopher John Tarrant
10 October 1946 (1946-10-10) (age 65)
Reading, Berkshire, England, UK
Occupation Broadcaster
Years active 1974–present
Spouse Sheila Tarrant
(m. 1971–1982, divorced)
Ingrid Tarrant
(m. 1991–2007, divorced)

Christopher John "Chris" Tarrant, OBE (born 10 October 1946)[1] is an English radio and television broadcaster, now best known for hosting the first version of the television game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in the United Kingdom and later Ireland, as the two national versions of the show merged in 2002.

Chris Tarrant was educated as a boarder in Choir House at The King's School, Worcester from 1960-1964. He represented the school at hockey and cricket and gained A, B and D grades at A-level in English, History and Ancient History. He then studied English at the University of Birmingham. Tarrant worked as a schoolteacher and also briefly as a researcher for the Central Office of Information before joining ATV as a newsreader on ATV Today.[2]



Tarrant rose to prominence after becoming a co-host on Tiswas, a children's television show broadcast on a Saturday morning in 1974. In 1982, he hosted a short-lived Saturday evening show O.T.T., which was billed as an adult version of Tiswas, but this was not a success. After this, he did a stint on the breakfast television station TV-am.[3]

Capital Radio

In 1984, Tarrant joined Capital Radio as a presenter, initially presenting the station's lunchtime show. From 1987 until 2004 he hosted Capital Breakfast. The show was immensely popular, increasing Capital Radio's audience share in London. Chris had regular co-presenter Kara Noble as his sidekick for the early years until she moved to Heart FM in 1995, with regular contributions from Russ Kane, the flying eye traffic reporter, and news reader Howard Hughes. Chris Tarrant won the coveted Sony Radio Academy Awards, Breakfast Show Gold in 1995 for this show.

Another notable point was the release of a photo in early 1999 of the young Countess of Wessex who was a Public Relations representative at Capital, and was photographed sitting next to Tarrant in a taxi whilst having her top pulled down on an outside broadcast. The photo was released in 1999 by ex co-host of the breakfast show Kara Noble, by now working at Heart 106.2 in London when the Countess was about to marry Prince Edward.

At 9am, on Friday 2nd April 2004 after hosting 4425 shows over 17 years on Capital and giving away prizes to the value of £3.5 million, Chris Tarrant said his farewell to Capital Radio

Game Shows

Tarrant began to host the popular television quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in 1998, a job he still has today. The show has gone on to have series in over 100 other countries, and in 2002, the UK version merged with the Irish version. Tarrant has coined catchphrases such as "But we don't want to give you that!" and "Is that your final answer?" through the show. It was confirmed by that Tarrant has been the regular host for at least one full series of more game shows than anyone else on British television, with sixteen different series to his credit.[4] In 2008 he presented the game show It's Not What You Know.

Other work

Tarrant created and hosted Everybody's Equal in 1989, although the programme came to an end in 1990. In 1991 he hosted the second series of Cluedo. On 1 January 1993, when Thames Television dissolved and was replaced by Carlton Television, Tarrant hosted the first programme of the franchise, A Carlton New Year. Also in 1993, Tarrant hosted Lose A Million, in which contestants started off with a million pounds and were required to lose it by aiming to incorrectly answer a set of questions. Ironically Tarrant would go on to host Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, where the objective of the game is to do the complete opposite. From 1996 to 1999 Tarrant hosted the UK edition of Man O Man.

Tarrant is also the long-term host of Tarrant on TV, a programme which shows clips featuring a number of unusual television programmes from around the world. He has presented the show since 1990.

In 1998, Tarrant released a compilation album entitled Ultimate Party Megamix on PolyGram Television's record label. A second edition entitled Ultimate Summer Party was also released. Both albums contain songs compiled by Tarrant himself in the form of a megamix.

In June 2008 it was announced he would return to radio, hosting a weekly Saturday morning show for the GMG Radio network of stations including London's 102.2 Smooth Radio, Real Radio (Scotland) and the North West's Century Radio.[5] The show would air in direct competition to Jonathan Ross's show on BBC Radio 2 and began on 26 July. It was aired for 12 months until July 2009.

In January 2009, Tarrant began to host new show The Colour of Money, which was cancelled after just seven episodes after failing to perform well in the ratings.[6]

In 2009 UKTV signed Chris Tarrant to present a show for Watch called Tarrant Lets the Kids Loose. The eight-part series, beginning on 4 October, gives three- to six-year-olds the chance to fulfil their greatest ambitions in the adult world; whether running a photographic studio, a radio station or an ice-cream van.

In April 2010, Tarrant become one of the first three celebrities to be subjected to the British version of the American institution of a comedy roast, on Channel 4's A Comedy Roast.

In 2010 he presented ITV1's The Door, a game show in which celebrities faced unpleasant and scary challenges to win money for charity.

Tarrant sat in for Steve Wright in May, July, August 2010 and he sat in for Steve Wright again from 21 February to 25 February 2011, 4–8 April 2011 and 9–20 May 2011. Tarrant sat in for Steve Wright again from 4-8 July 2011 and 12 - 16 September 2011 on BBC Radio 2.

A keen fisherman, Tarrant launched the Fishing with Chris Tarrant application for the Apple Inc. iPhone and other iOS devices in August 2010, in association with Angling Times magazine.[7][8]

Personal life

Tarrant met his second wife Ingrid Dupre-Walsh when they both worked for TV-am. The couple married in 1991 and divorced in 2007[9] when it was revealed that Tarrant had a "close" relationship with Fiona McKechnie, a schoolteacher and co-patron for Headway.[10] After a series of tabloid stories, on 18 September 2006 the couple announced that they were separating.[11] The couple previously lived with their two children, daughter Sammy and son Toby in Esher, plus two children from Ingrid's previous marriage, Dexter and Fia, the latter a radio presenter with Reading 107 FM. Tarrant also has two children from a previous marriage to Sheila Tarrant, Helen and Jennifer. On 30 November 2006 Chris and Ingrid were interviewed separately on the Biography Channel and clips of it were shown on GMTV to talk about the downfall of their relationship. During this interview, Chris did not seem sorry about the breakup; he was quoted as saying, "Well, I was a naughty boy" and said about Ingrid, "She wouldn't trust me with a pint of milk"; however, in other interviews he showed clear remorse.[11]

In June 2000, Tarrant's River Thames launch boat the Ben Gunn was vandalised and burnt at its mooring in East Molesey.[12]

He is a fan of Reading F.C..[citation needed]

Charity work

Tarrant's charity work, for which he received an OBE in 2004[13] includes: being an ambassador for the homeless charity, Centrepoint; Trustee/Patron of The New School at West Heath for disadvantaged children (the school previously being a private school for girls that the late Diana, Princess of Wales attended); patron of Milly's Fund, set up in memory of murdered Surrey teenager "Milly" Dowler; patron of the Phoenix Centre for children with special needs.

He was a patron of the Headway Thames Valley, until details of his affair with trustee Fiona McKechnie became public and he resigned.[14]

He is a patron of Wildlife Aid and does a lot of work to get animals rehabilitated.


At approximately 10 pm on 13 May 2007, Tarrant was arrested on suspicion of assault at an Indian restaurant and released on police bail. The incident took place at the MemSaab Restaurant on Maid Marian Way, Nottingham, where Tarrant, who had been joking with a couple dining at an adjacent table, threw an item of cutlery towards the man.[15][16]

Tarrant admitted to the BBC that he did jokingly "lob" some cutlery onto the couple's table after asking them to leave him alone to discuss work with his colleagues. He said: "I've no idea what his [the accuser's] motives were - it genuinely makes no sense. I got back from the station at 1 am and to this minute I am completely bemused by what happened."[17]

On 25 May 2007 he was formally cautioned by Nottinghamshire Constabulary with regard to the incident.[18]

As a result of this arrest,[citation needed] he was ranked number 99 on BBC Three's "The Most Annoying People Of The Year 2007". He was also made the central subject of most of the jokes on the episode of Have I Got News for You which came on the week after his arrest, which he was guest presenting.

On 5 March 2009 he was arrested on suspicion of assault at his home in Esher. He was later released without charge.[19]

Awards and honors

  • Winner of the "Lifetime Achievement" at the 2000 National Television Awards
  • Voted Number 38 in ITV's TV's 50 Greatest Stars
  • Winner of the "Lifetime Achievement" 2006 UK comedy award


  • Album 'Tiswas presents The Four Bucketeers'
  • Single 'The Bucket Of Water Song/Smello'
  • Single 'Water Is Wonderful/Raspberry Rock'
  • Album 'Saturday Scene'
  • Album 'Ultimate Party Megamix'
  • Album 'Ultimate Summer Party'


  1. ^ Ross, Deborah (2001-01-08). "Chris Tarrant: Confident?". London: The Independent. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  2. ^ "My Life In Media: Chris Tarrant". London: The Independent. 22 November 2004. Retrieved 21 March 2009. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "UK Game Show Records: Host of the most game shows". 
  5. ^ Sweney, Mark (30 June 2008). "Tarrant v Ross: let battle commence". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 9 August 2009. 
  6. ^ "Chris Tarrant's latest show axed". STV Entertainment. 12 June 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2009. 
  7. ^ Chris Tarrant launches iPhone fishing app, 20 August 2010, Angling Times
  8. ^ Fishing with Chris Tarrant website
  9. ^ "Tarrants are granted fast divorce". BBC News. 7 February 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  10. ^ "The blonde at the centre of Chris Tarrant's marriage problems". London: Daily Mail. 17 September 2006. 
  11. ^ a b "Tarrant confirms marriage is over". BBC News. 19 September 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  12. ^ "Tarrant fury after boat fire". BBC News. 22 June 2000. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  13. ^ "Tarrant 'proud' to receive honour". BBC News. 22 June 2004. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  14. ^ Whitaker, Thomas (17 May 2007). "Chris Tarrant quits tryst fund". The Sun (London).,,2-2006440316,00.html. 
  15. ^ Walker, Peter (14 May 2007). "Tarrant held over alleged assault". London: The Guardian.,,2079364,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=11. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  16. ^ "Chris Tarrant arrested for 'assault'". Metro. 
  17. ^ "TV's Tarrant 'bemused' by arrest". BBC News. 14 May 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  18. ^ "Tarrant cautioned over curry row". BBC News. 25 May 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  19. ^ "Tarrant arrested in assault claim". BBC News. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 

External links

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