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Fearne Cotton (born 3 September 1981) is a British presenter known for presenting a number of popular TV programmes such as Top of the Pops and the Red Nose Day telethon. In 2007, she became the first regular female presenter of BBC Radio 1's Chart Show. She now presents BBC Radio 1's weekday mid-morning programme, taking over from long-time host Jo Whiley.


Cotton was born in Northwood, London to Lyn and Mick Cotton; she has a younger brother called Jamie. Her father was a sign writer for events such as Live Aid and her mother worked in alternative therapy. She grew up in the West London suburb of Eastcotemarker and was educated at Haydon Schoolmarker in West London.She is a pescatarian and an animal lover. She runs 5 km at least three times a week and has participated in several half marathons for charity. Former BBC executive Sir Bill Cotton (1928–2008) was her paternal grandfather's cousin. He was the son of the well-known entertainer and band leader Billy Cotton

She began her presenting career in 1998, at the age of 17, with early morning GMTV children's programme The Disney Club, after she was discovered in a nationwide talent search during the show.

Cotton studied art at A level, a skill she made much use of whilst presenting the series Draw Your Own Toons. She also enjoys body art and claimed on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross that she has eleven tattoos over her body, the most notable of which is a fern leaf, covering her right hip up to her rib cage.

Cotton has been linked to several celebrities including Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins, Fame Academy's Peter Brame, and Channel 4 presenter Steve Jones. She is best of friends with fellow TV presenter Holly Willoughby, with whom she has co-presented several shows. Cotton and Sarah Cawood acted as two of the bridesmaids at Willoughby's wedding to Dan Baldwin on 4 August 2007.

Presenting career

UK children's TV

After being discovered by the The Disney Club in 1998, Fearne Cotton continued with the show and with its replacement Diggit. She left in 2000 to concentrate on her other projects with CITV, including Draw Your Own Toons and Mouse, a show aimed at encouraging children to use computers.

Cotton joined CBBC in 2001 to present children's science programme Eureka TV. In 2002 she presented Finger Tips, an arts and crafts programme for children, with co-presenter Stephen Mulhern. She later co-presented on CBBC's Sunday morning show, Smile and on The Saturday Show.

UK mainstream TV and radio

In 2003 Cotton moved over to mainstream broadcasting. She and Simon Grant (her co-presenter from The Saturday Show) presented the spin-off show Top of the Pops: Saturday (later renamed Top of the Pops: Reloaded) that year. In 2004, she moved up to work alongside Reggie Yates on the main program, Top Of The Pops (the then flagship chartshow for BBC-TV) becoming one of the last regular presenters for that programme, which ended in July 2006. Due to other commitments, she was unable to present the final show itself, appearing instead in a short film shown at the head of that show, in which she made her personal farewells. Cotton and Yates presented the one-off Christmas and New Year specials in 2008, and the Comic Relief special in 2009.

Cotton has hosted many reality TV programs. In 2006 Cotton presented the second series of Love Island with Patrick Kielty on ITV, taking over from Kelly Brook. She also presented the Friday night live eviction programme that year for the Five reality TV series Make Me A Supermodel. In 2007, she took over from Ben Shephard as the host for the X Factor spin-off programme, The Xtra Factor on ITV2. She presented it for one series before resigning to work in America. Starting on 5 September 2007, Cotton hosted a dating programme, alongside Holly Willoughby, called Holly & Fearne Go Dating. In this programme they find dates for lonely singles.

Cotton has also presented many telethons. In July 2005 she presented Live 8 in Hyde Parkmarker. During the event, the British pop-star Robbie Williams flirted with her in front of the cameras, causing much speculation in the media at the time, but which was later repudiated by the pair. She has also hosted the BBC's annual telethon, Children in Need, alongside Terry Wogan and Natasha Kaplinsky, since 2005. In 2006, she designed the official BBC Children in Need t-shirt - featuring a henna style design of the charity's mascot, Pudsey Bear. In 2008, she hosted a Strictly Come Dancing special as part of Children in Need 2008.

She has hosted parts of the Red Nose Day telethon for Comic Relief (2005, 2007, and 2009) presenting several strands alongside Jonathan Ross and Lenny Henry. In 2009, she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, alongside Ben Shephard, Gary Barlow, Alesha Dixon, Ronan Keating, Denise Van Outen and Chris Moyles, and Girls Aloud members Cheryl Cole and Kimberley Walsh. Cotton and others collapsed from altitude sickness during the five-day climb. She was in the first group (with Van Outen, Shephard and Cole) to reach the summit and helped raise £3.3m. Cotton filmed a video piece for Comic Relief about Malaria. She visited a children's Hospital in Uganda where she witnessed a young child in pain through Malaria. Cotton had to walk out the room and collapsed as she did so but was able to continue shortly after. The child died later. Cotton also recorded her voice for the BT Speaking Clock to raise funds for Comic Relief.

In September 2005 she joined BBC Radio 1, to present the Friday early morning slot with Reggie Yates, whom she had previously worked with on CBBC, Only in America and Top Of The Pops. Since 14 October 2007, Cotton and Yates have presented BBC Radio 1's Chart Show, taking over from JK & Joel, who had left the station. Cotton then became the first ever permanent female presenter of a BBC radio chart show. (Jo Whiley had preceded her as the first female presenter of The Official UK Top 40, as it was then called, but presented it only once, on November 24, 2002.)

Cotton has presented parts of the BBC's coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest. On 20 May 2006 she read the United Kingdom's votes at the Eurovision Song Contest 2006, held in Athens, Greece. On 17 March 2007 she, along with Terry Wogan, hosted Making Your Mind Up 2007, the show to decide which song the UK sent to the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 in Helsinki, Finland. On the night, after the final "sing-off" between the two remaining acts, Wogan and Cotton simultaneously announced different winners. Since Wogan was the more experienced presenter, it was assumed that he was right. In fact, Wogan had accidentally announced the wrong artist, Cyndi, as the winner. Cotton had to persist in repeating the correct name until the confusion was resolved. The group Scooch was quickly proclaimed as the correct winner but came only second from bottom in the main competition, just avoiding Nil Points. Cotton also presented the United Kingdom's votes at the show itself, held in Helsinki, Finland on 12 May 2007.

She has made many other notable TV appearances in the UK. In January 2007, Cotton presented The Brits Launch party and The Brits are coming for the ITV and ITV2 and on 14 February 2007 she interviewed performers backstage at the 2007 BRIT Awards for ITV. She reprised the role in 2009. She interviewed Princes William and Harry for the BBC before the Concert for Diana on 1 July 2007. She also interviewed performers and guests at the concert, which was held at the new Wembley Stadiummarker. She presented Guinness World Records Smashed with Ben Shephard for Sky1, which aired in November 2008.

Cotton presented the ITV exposé The Truth about Online Anorexia in 2009. The show explored the dangerous practices suggested on Pro-Anorexia websites in order to bring them to the attention of the public. During the filming, Cotton discovered that she herself (at the age of "about 20") was being held up as a "Thinspirational" model, that is, a bodyshape to aspire to. She attempted some of the diets, one of which consisted of an apple and a cucumber for a single day, but was unable to continue.

She also presented the Isle of Wight Festival 2009 on ITV2 alongside Rufus Hound. On 16 July, it was announced that Cotton would become the new presenter of BBC Radio 1's weekday mid-morning show, taking over from Jo Whiley. Her new programme began on 21 September 2009.

It was reported in the press on July 21 2009, that whilst presenting the Radio 1 Chart Show two days previously Cotton had been the target of threatening text messages. These messages had been sent via the station's listener SMS service and seem to relate to Cotton taking over Jo Whiley's show. Cotton was driven home after the show by police escort and a 21 year old male was arrested and charged with harassment.

US mainstream TV

In 2008, Cotton moved over to the USA to host The Guinness Book of Records - Live. Cotton later co-hosted the NBC reality show Last Comic Standing. She resigned her presenting role on The X Factor spin-off The Xtra Factor to concentrate on her US career, and was replaced in that role by her friend Holly Willoughby. Fearne was also seen making a special appearance on the show of recent divorcees Katie Price and Peter Andre, where she was seen in a gift lounge before the Oscars.

TV appearances


  1. Revealed in The Truth about Anorexia shown on ITV1 9 April 2009

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