A preeminent British journalist and television presenter who has amassed a large and loyal following throughout her career, Dame Esther Rantzen is known for having founded children’s charity ChildLine offering support to children suffering abuse in their homes or school lives, as well as The Silver Line, aimed at combating loneliness among the elderly.
Rantzen began her career at the BBC as a trainee studio manager. Soon after, she was brought on board as a researcher for satire programme, BBC3. After further experience as a researcher, for the likes of Man Alive and Braden’s Week in the late 1960s, Rantzen was promoted to the main presenter of new consumer and current affairs hit, That’s Life on BBC.
The show would run for 21 years on BBC, accumulating viewing figures of over 18 million people. It would investigate and expose some of the most prominent societal issues, from investigating a paedophile ring at a boarding school to exposing dodgy salespeople. Crossing serious issues with the lighthearted, That’s Life combined comedy with consumer issues in a way that had not been done before. It brought Rantzen to overnight fame. Her popularity was longlasting, as she featured as a presenter on the show until it left our screens in 1994.
In addition to presenting the hit show, she created a series called Hearts of Gold which celebrated acts of kindness and courage. She would also present her own talk show, Esther between 1996 and 2002, on BBC Two. Other television presenting roles have included, Esther Rantzen’s House Trap, Excuse My French! and Children In Need. She has appeared regularly on talk shows including Lorraine, This Morning, Richard & Judy, Breakfast, Question Time, Day Break, Loose Women and more.
Her media popularity has also seen Rantzen appear on TV contests including Strictly Come Dancing and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! as well as appearing on the likes of Celebrity Masterchef and Countdown.
Today, Esther Rantzen is one of the most sought-after after dinner speakers and event hosts in the UK. She has presented awards ceremonies including televised awards. Her charitable efforts have also been lauded around the country, and she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2015 for services to children and older people through her work with ChildLine and The Silver Line.
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Watch Esther on Loose Women, here: