Christopher John Tarrant, OBE (born 10 October 1946) is an English
radio and television broadcaster. He hosted the ITV children's
Tiswas from 1974 to 1981, as well as the ITV game show
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? from 1998 to 2014, while also providing
some audio recordings for some console games and a tabletop game made
Tiger Electronics based on the show. He was a Capital Radio host
from 1984 to 2004.
1 Early life
2.2 Capital Radio
2.3 Game shows
2.4 Other work
3 Personal life
3.1 Charity work
3.2 Legal troubles
4 Awards and honours
7 External links
Tarrant was educated as a boarder in Choir House at the King's School,
Worcester from 1960 to 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, having declined an Oxford boxing scholarship. Tarrant
worked as a schoolteacher and also briefly as a researcher for the
Central Office of Information
Central Office of Information before joining ATV as a newsreader on
Main article: Tiswas
Tarrant rose to prominence after becoming a co-host on Tiswas, a
children's television show broadcast on a Saturday morning from 1974
to 1981. In 1982, he hosted the short-lived Saturday late-night show
O.T.T., which was billed as an adult version of
Tiswas but was not
such a success. After this, he did a stint on the breakfast television
Main article: Capital Radio
In 1984, Tarrant joined Capital Radio as a presenter, initially
presenting the station's Sunday lunchtime show before moving to a
late-morning weekday slot, following David Jensen. From March 1987
until April 2004 he hosted Capital Breakfast. The show was highly
popular, increasing Capital Radio's audience share in London. Tarrant
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 Flying Eye traffic reporter Russ Kane and news reader Howard
Another notable point was the release of a photo in early 1999 of
Sophie Rhys-Jones 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 Rhys-Jones was about to
marry Prince Edward.
At 09:00, on Friday 2 April 2004, after hosting 4,425 shows over 17
years on Capital Radio and giving away prizes to the value of £3.5
million, Tarrant said his farewell to the station.
Tarrant began to host the popular television quiz show Who Wants to Be
a Millionaire? in 1998. The format was sold to 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?" throughout the show. It was
UKGameshows.com 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.
In October 2013, it was confirmed that Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
was to come to an end after airing for 15 years on ITV. The channel
made the decision to coincide with Tarrant stepping down as host.
Of this, Tarrant said:
It's been a huge part of my life for 15 years and I've loved every
minute of it, but it is time for me to move on from Who Wants to Be a
Tarrant's final live edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was a
Celebrity edition which aired live on Thursday 19 December 2013. On
the day before (18 December), Tarrant pre-recorded two other Celebrity
episodes that were shown in February 2014.
In 2008, he presented the game show
It's Not What You Know on
Challenge. In January 2009, Tarrant began to host new ITV show The
Colour of Money, which was cancelled after just seven episodes after
failing to perform well in the ratings.
Other shows hosted by Tarrant include a 1994 revival of the show Pop
Quiz (previously hosted by Mike Read), Cluedo (based on the board game
of the same name, which was part panel quiz and part murder drama),
and a show called
Lose A Million (where the object was to lose as much
of a fictional million pounds as possible, with the winner getting a
real £5,000 in the end).
Tarrant narrated the schools programme Stop, Look, Listen, made by ATV
and later Central Television.
Everybody's Equal in 1989, although the programme came
to an end in 1990 (the format was revived in 1997 by Channel 5 as
Tim Vine as host). In 1991 he hosted the second series
of Cluedo. On 1 January 1993, after
Thames Television lost its ITV
franchise had been replaced by Carlton Television, Tarrant hosted the
first programme of the new contractor, 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.
In 1994, Tarrant hosted a revival of Pop Quiz, previously hosted by
Mike Read. It ran one series and eight episodes in total, airing
again on Saturday nights (as Read's version did).
Tarrant was 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 presented the show from 1990 to 2006.
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 2003, he did voice over work on the film Johnny English, where he
starred as himself hosting a radio presentation of Sauvage's
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 in Scotland and the
North West's Century Radio. The show would air in direct
competition to Jonathan Ross's show on
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2 and began on 26
July. It was aired for 12 months until July 2009.
In 2009, UKTV signed 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. The show will be
executively produced by Lisa Perrin and Tess Cumming.
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 August 2010, Tarrant launched the Fishing with Chris Tarrant
application for iOS devices in association with Angling Times
Also in 2010 he presented ITV1's The Door, a game show in which
celebrities faced unpleasant and scary challenges to win money for
Tarrant has sat in for Steve Wright on his
BBC Radio 2
BBC Radio 2 show on at
least ten occasions between 2010 and 2013.
On 13 April 2012, Tarrant made an appearance in the
BBC show Would I
Lie to You? on David Mitchell's team alongside Mel Giedroyc.
In 2012, Tarrant filmed the
Chris Tarrant – Extreme Railways series
for Channel 5, with locations including the Congo Ocean Railway, the
Ghan across Australia and the Konkan Railway. The series was aired in
December 2012. A second series was shown in 2015.
In 2013, Channel 5 aired a new series called
Chris Tarrant Goes
Fishing. The show was a hit with the viewing figures. A year later
Tarrant began appearing in the ITV daytime game show Show Me the Telly
as the TV legends team captain.
Since 2014, Tarrant is brand ambassador and appears in commercials of
Tarrant met his second wife Ingrid Dupre-Walsh when they both worked
for TV-am. The couple married in 1991 and divorced in 2007 when it
was revealed that Tarrant had a "close" relationship with Fiona
McKechnie, a schoolteacher and co-patron for Headway. After a
series of tabloid stories, on 18 September 2006 the couple announced
that they were separating. The couple previously lived with their
two children, Sammy and 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.
In a statement in September 2006, Tarrant said: "I am deeply sorry for
the hurt I have caused to my loyal wife and wonderful children, all of
whom I adore. I have only myself to blame for the breakdown of my
In June 2000, Tarrant's
River Thames launch boat the Ben Gunn was
vandalised and burnt at its mooring in East Molesey.
On 12 March 2014, it was reported that Tarrant had suffered a mini
stroke while flying from
Bangkok to London on 1 March 2014.
Tarrant is a supporter of Reading Football Club.
Tarrant is a big fan of British rock group Status Quo, and in 1991
followed them on their Rock Til You Drop tour which covered four
concerts in one day (Sheffield, Glasgow, Birmingham and London) in aid
Tarrant's son Toby has followed in his father's footsteps as a radio
DJ employed by Global Radio, hosting programmes initially for Capital
FM and now Radio X.
Tarrant's charity work, for which he received an OBE in 2004
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
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales attended); patron of Milly's Fund, set up in
memory of murdered
Surrey teenager "Milly" Dowler; patron of Swings
& Smiles, a charity 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.
Tarrant is a patron of The Trooper Potts VC Memorial Trust,
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.
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."
On 25 May 2007, Tarrant was formally cautioned by Nottinghamshire
Constabulary with regard to the incident.
On 5 March 2009, Tarrant was arrested on suspicion of assault at his
home in Esher. He was later released without charge.
On 18 December 2017, Tarrant appeared in court charged with
drink-driving. He returned to court on 18 January 2018 and received a
£6,000 fine and a 12-month driving ban.
Awards and honours
Winner of the "
Special Recognition" at the 2000 National Television
Voted Number 38 in ITV's TV's 50 Greatest Stars
Winner of the "Lifetime Achievement" 2006 UK comedy award
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'
^ Ross, Deborah (8 January 2001). "Chris Tarrant: Confident?". The
Independent. London. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
^ "My Life in Media: Chris Tarrant". The Independent. London. 22
November 2004. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
Tiswas website Archived 12 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
Chris Tarrant - last show on Capital - 2004". Audioboom. Retrieved
^ "ITV axe Who Wants To Be A Millionaire as Tarrant steps down after
15 years". Daily Mail. London. 22 October 2013.
^ "UK Game Show Records: Host of the most game shows".
^ "'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' to end after 15 years". Digital
^ "Lost in TV audience services". lostintv.com. Archived from the
original on 14 December 2013.
^ "Chris Tarrant's latest show axed". STV Entertainment. 12 June 2009.
Retrieved 12 August 2009.
Chris Tarrant Interview - Celebrity Radio By Alex Belfield".
Celebrity Radio By Alex Belfield. 2012-05-15. Retrieved
^ Sweney, Mark (30 June 2008). "Tarrant v Ross: let battle commence".
The Guardian. London. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
^ Sweney, Mark (2009-07-01). "
Chris Tarrant to present kids'
hidden-camera show for UKTV". the Guardian. Retrieved
Chris Tarrant launches iPhone fishing app, 20 August 2010, Angling
^ Fishing with
Chris Tarrant website Archived 3 October 2010 at the
Chris Tarrant – Extreme Railways Archived 21 January 2013 at the
Wayback Machine., 6 December 2012, Channel 5
^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0850634/otherworks 16 January 2017, IMDB
^ "Tarrants are granted fast divorce".
BBC News. 7 February 2007.
Retrieved 2 January 2010.
^ "The blonde at the centre of Chris Tarrant's marriage problems".
Daily Mail. London. 17 September 2006.
^ a b "Tarrant confirms marriage is over".
BBC News. 19 September
2006. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
^ "Tarrant fury after boat fire".
BBC News. 22 June 2000. Retrieved 2
Chris Tarrant recovering in hospital after 'mini-stroke'". BBC
News. 12 March 2014.
Chris Tarrant likes being one of the fans at Reading FC".
London: BBC. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
^ About Toby Tarrant
^ "Tarrant 'proud' to receive honour".
BBC News. 22 June 2004.
Retrieved 2 January 2010.
^ Whitaker, Thomas (17 May 2007). "
Chris Tarrant quits tryst fund".
The Sun. London.
^ Hyde, Nathan (5 October 2015). "Trooper Potts: Reading's only
Victoria Cross winner commemorated with statue outside Forbury
Gardens". Get Reading.
^ Walker, Peter (14 May 2007). "Tarrant held over alleged assault".
The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
Chris Tarrant arrested for 'assault'". Metro.
^ "TV's Tarrant 'bemused' by arrest".
BBC News. 14 May 2007. Retrieved
2 January 2010.
^ "Tarrant cautioned over curry row".
BBC News. 25 May 2007. Retrieved
2 January 2010.
^ "Tarrant arrested in assault claim".
BBC News. 16 March 2009.
Retrieved 2 January 2010.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? host
Chris Tarrant charged with
drink-driving 'after tip off to cops'". The Sun. 18 January 2018.
Retrieved 18 January 2018.
Chris Tarrant on IMDb
TV Tarrant in the spotlight,
BBC News Online, 31 May 1999
Tarrant 'most watched' on TV,
BBC News Online, 8 June 2001
About.com's Profile of Chris Tarrant
Chris Tarrant soaks ITV's Keith Wilkinson (reporter)