News Flash: The winners of Srictly 2014 are Caroline and Pasha

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Natasha Kaplinsky to join ITV News

Natasha Kaplinsky is joining ITV News in September as maternity cover for one of its presenters. She will anchor its ITV London Tonight show in place of Nina Hossain and also present other programmes on the network.

Natasha said: "I am very much enjoying being part of ITV's line-up, and thrilled to be returning to my first love, news. This is an exciting chance to work with the talented team in the ITV newsroom."

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Dancing is Strictly off limits

Natasha Kaplinksy admits she has lost the dancefloor skills she showed off in winning the first series of Strictly in 2004.

The mum-of-two and ex-newsreader, 38, confessed: "I don't dance like that any more. "Everyone expects you to be stunning on the dancefloor due to Strictly but it has totally gone out of my head.

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Newsreader Natasha to leave Five

TV newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky is to leave Five at the end of the year, the commercial channel has confirmed.

The 38-year-old has presented news bulletins for the channel since 2008, having previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Sky.

A Five spokeswoman said the mother of two was leaving by mutual agreement.

Kaplinsky has two children with husband Justin Bower - a boy named Arlo born in 2008 and a girl named Angelica Pearl in April this year.

The Five presenter was said to have become the UK's highest-paid newsreader when she signed a deal reported to be worth £1 million.

Hired to replace Kirsty Young, Kaplinsky was responsible for an immediate ratings boost for Five's early evening news bulletin.

The newscaster was absent from the programme on two occasions when she took maternity leave.

Kaplinsky announced her first pregnancy to viewers live on air.

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Comedian Jason Wood dies aged 38

Musical comedian Jason Wood - one of the contestants on the first series of Strictly Come Dancing - has died aged 38, his agent has confirmed.

Chambers Management said Wood died in his sleep on Saturday and there were no suspicious circumstances.

The comedian was best known for his musical impersonations ranging from Cher to Morrissey.

He became better known after appearing on the BBC One show in 2004. He was the first celebrity to be voted out.

Wood was also a regular performer at the Edinburgh Festival and frequently headlined at comedy clubs.

His agent added there were no further details as autopsy results were pending.

"We are devastated by the loss of our client Jason Wood," said Hannah Chambers and Sophie Church in a joint statement.

"He was an inspiring & individual performer who believed that 'variety' was the spice of life and whose wind ups were legendary.

"He was also a warm-hearted and caring man. We have lost a friend as well as a client and he will be truly missed."

Wood had most recently been hosting a variety night at The Hospital Club in London.

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Jason Wood dies at 38

Musical comedian and reality TV show star Jason Wood has died at the age of 38.

The performer – known for his imposing voice and uncannily accurate musical impressions – reached a wider audience when he appeared on the first series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2004, alongside Natasha Kaplinski. He held the dubious honour of being the first person ever voted off the show.




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Natasha expecting second baby

TV Newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky is expecting her second child.

The secret leaked out after the Strictly Come Dancing champ and her investment banker hubby Justin Bower told family and friends.

A spokeswoman for the Five newsgirl said: "Yes, it's true. And they're both delighted."

But Natasha, 37, who won the first ever Strictly with dance partner Brendan Cole, will not be putting her feet up just yet.

She still has a full diary of work commitments. Her spokeswoman added: "She'll be keeping busy."

Natasha's first marriage ended when she had a shortlived fling with Cole. She met Justin on a blind date and they married in 2005.

Only a few weeks after she quit the BBC to join Channel Five - on a reported £300,000 a year making her the highest paid woman newscaster - she announced she was pregnant with son Arlo.

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Kaplinsky quits BBC

Natasha Kaplinsky will quit the BBC and join Five News, it was announced today.

She has been with the Beeb since 2002 and hosts the Six O’Clock News bulletin as well as major shows such as Children In Need.

Kaplinsky, 35, said: "After five incredibly rewarding years at the BBC, I found the chance to work with the team at Five too exciting to pass up."

Five plan to radically relaunch their news programmes and see Natasha as a key part of their new approach.

She will present the main bulletins at 5.30pm and 7pm, replacing Kirsty Young, who left in the summer and is joining the BBC as the new host of Crimewatch.

Chris Shaw, senior programme controller at Five heralded the Oxford-educated journalist as one of the country’s leading news presenters.

He said: "Natasha has proved she has real authority and with her BBC1 shows, she also demonstrated her warmth and star quality."

Kaplinsky started her career on local news and joined Sky News in 2000. She made headlines when she appeared on Strictly Come Dancing with Brendan Cole and the pair allegedly embarked on an affair.

She recently took part in Who Do You Think You Are? and traced her family back to the Holocaust.


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Tears of TV Natasha

As an anchor for the Six O'Clock News, Natasha Kaplinsky is used to breaking harrowing stories while keeping her cool.

But telling her dad Raphael the shocking revelations she had uncovered about his relatives was the toughest and most emotional conversation of her life.

Natasha learned the horrific truth about the fates met by members of his Jewish family during the Second World War while filming the BBC1 show Who Do You Think You Are?

How his cousins, girls aged just nine and two, had been killed by Nazis using their bare hands.

How their mother had been murdered. How on discovering the brutal massacre of his family, his uncle Abraham took his own life.

And how his grandparents had been burnt alive in a synagogue.

Natasha's grandparents had shielded the truth from Raphael - for them the horrors were too deep and too vivid to be recounted. But now the 60-year-old economics professor was finally hearing what had happened from his daughter.

"It was a peculiar responsibility," says Natasha, 34, quietly. "He was so emotional. Very shocked and very upset... It was not the easiest thing I've ever done.

"It confirmed everything that everyone suspected, but the details were different. And the fact that I'd seen where some of them may be buried, and seen the death certificates and where it all happened - it made it more real." Understandably, this was one conversation she did not want to have in front of the camera.

"The plan of the programme is that you go off and find out things, then you come back and tell your family what you've found," she explains. "But I told the director I wasn't prepared to do that.

"I know this is reality TV, but it was a step too far. I didn't want to have a camera trained on my father's face as he found out what had happened."

The programme will be broadcast next Thursday and, at times, Natasha's own grief is plain to see.

"I just couldn't help myself from crying," she says. "It happened a number of times, I was very emotional. At one point I walked off because I was so upset and they didn't follow me with the cameras - I couldn't have handled that.

"I'm quite nervous about crying. It will be a change for people to see me with smudged mascara dripping down my face. But that's much more who I am.

"As a newsreader you can't let it show when you're all choked up, even though I often am. You have to be impartial and dispassionate and not show any emotion. After a while I suppose people think that's the kind of person you really are - hard and uncaring.

"So to be seen as a bit more myself is positive, but worrying. Still, Jeremy Paxman cried. So if he can cry, I can cry, right?"

It is no wonder she shed tears after hearing what befell her paternal relatives in the Holocaust. Natasha traced her dad's family back over the last century to a village called Slonin, in Belarus. Her grandparents left the region in 1929 for a new life in South Africa, where Raphael was born, but other relatives remained.

And it was in Slonin in 1942 that they felt the full force of Hitler's ethnic cleansing.

For the show, Natasha visited the area with her second cousin Benny - his dad Izak Kaplinsky only escaped becoming a victim of the Nazis because he was a doctor.

The cousins are shown the death certificates of their relatives and visit the synagogue in which their great-grandparents met a terrible end. They also learn that Izak worked tirelessly for the Jewish resistance after his life was spared.

"Those five days in Belarus were horrendous," says Natasha. "Back at work people were asking if I'd found any skeletons in the cupboard. I said I'd discovered too many really terrible, sad, heart-wrenching things.

"I sat in the newsroom and thought, 'What am I doing?' I was really traumatised by it." But she had no idea at the start of the horrors she would uncover.

"In one of the preparatory meetings I asked if they'd found any terrible stuff and they said no, not that terrible," she says.

"When I found out that children - members of my family - were pushed out of windows and ripped apart by Nazis with their bare hands, I wondered how much more terrible could it be?"

Her journey did have some upbeat moments, though. Natasha learned that her grandfather, who told tall stories, was telling the truth when he said one of their ancestors was the apothecary to George III. She also discovered that her father organised the first student protest against apartheid in South Africa.

Raphael disagreed with a decision not to let a black lecturer join the university and took action. When threats were made against him, he had to flee the country in 24 hours.

"Finding out that my dad was really a hero was a brilliant moment - I was so proud," says Natasha. "He made a stand and then had to leave and wasn't able to return for 20 years.

He was always modest about it, saying he played a small part in a big struggle. But to have led the first sit-in for students in South Africa, and for his life to be in danger, I have such respect.

"I'm glad I made Who Do You Think You Are? - it was a gift for the family. Here I am as a journalist always looking at stories and yet I'd neglected to look at my own.

"I hope that our story will help other people understand a bit about the horrors of what happened such a short time ago."

Even so, she was glad to get home to London and her husband, investment banker Justin Bower.

It was love at first sight when they met in 2005 at a party to launch a wedding-list service. Justin had no idea who she was, which only made him more attractive to Natasha. They got engaged after a six-week romance and wed six months later.

Their low-key nuptials were a very private affair, and Natasha has never spoken about her big day, or her love for Justin - until now.

"The bizarre thing is, before I'd even spoken to Justin I knew I was going to marry him. I was just struck," she says.

"I was wearing a ballgown because I was working somewhere else that night. He thought, 'Poor love, she's misread the dress code'. He thought I'd come in black tie and everyone else was in jeans. He felt sorry for me."

They had lunch two weeks later then met for a cuppa a few days after that (Natasha is teetotal).

Over their peppermint tea, they decided to go on holiday. And by the time they were sunbathing in the Maldives, he had bought her a £10,000 engagement ring.

"It really was a whirlwind," she says of their romance. "It was just one of those things. We met at the right time and I just knew I was going to be his wife."

Although she says married life is "just amazing", the wedding day left her a nervous wreck.

"I was petrified about walking down the aisle," she says. "So I picked the church with the smallest aisle I could find. I wanted to take two steps and be at the top. I was so nervous. Everybody says your wedding day will be incredible but I just thought I was so happy to be marrying Justin I didn't mind if it was great or not.

"In the event it was the best day I've ever had, truly fantastic."

When it came to the first dance at their reception at posh Babington House in Somerset, the bride sensed that her guests expected to be wowed. Well, she has starred on Strictly Come Dancing.

"Everyone thought we were going to whip around the dancefloor and be incredible, but we tripped and stumbled around like anyone else," she says.

"My husband can dance but in quite a different way to a professional ballroom dancer. It was a shock going back to dancing in a normal way."

Children - my relatives - were pushed out of windows and ripped apart by the Nazis

Who Do You Think You Are? BBC1, Thursday September 6, 9pm


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Kaplinsky fronts BBC evening news

BBC newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky is to swap her early morning Breakfast shift for BBC One's Six O'Clock News while Sophie Raworth is on maternity leave.It is the second time she has followed in Raworth's footsteps, having taken over from her on Breakfast in 2002.

"Natasha brings considerable broadcast and journalistic experience to the team," said Six O'Clock News editor Amanda Farnsworth.

Sian Williams and Mishal Husain will replace Kaplinsky on Breakfast.

Their co-hosts will be Dermot Murnaghan and Bill Turnbull.

Ms Farnsworth added that Kaplinsky would be "a very valuable addition to the Six while Sophie is away on maternity leave".

Kaplinsky will team up with George Alagiah to present the evening bulletin.


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5 secrets you didn't know about Natasha Kaplinsky

1 Her parents are political refugees - her economist father and psychotherapist mother fled their native South Africa in 1969 after opposing apartheid.2 She was Neil Kinnock's tea lady - Natasha worked at the former Labour party leader's office aged 19, where she made tea and photocopied for £5 a day. "It put me off politics for life," she said.

3 She broke her back in a speedboat crash - she had to postpone her place at Oxford University for a year to recover after the accident while on holiday in Italy. "It was awful. It's amazing how something like that can just change your life in a matter of seconds," she recalls.

4 She paid £460 for a one-day crash course in TV presenting - the 23-year-old wannabe then wrote hundreds of letters to personalities, including Jill Dando, asking for advice.

5 Natasha wakes up at 3.50am for the breakfast show start at 6am. But she's fast asleep by 8.30pm.


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The Rise Of The Female Newsreader

After Philip Hayton quit his job as news presenter because of his female co-presenter, I ask what is going on at the BBC.Last week, veteran BBC broadcaster Philip Hayton quit his position as news anchor on BBC News 24, boasting nearly forty years of experience in the occupation.

Why?... Because he loathed his female co-presenter, Kate Silverton.

Glamorous Kate, aged 35, has seen a meteoric rise at the BBC and has now positioned herself comfortably on BBC News 24, presenting the 9am-1pm slot on the channel.

She spent little under three months presenting with Hayton, but he resigned putting his decision down to ‘incompatibility’ between himself and Kate.

‘It boils down to incompatibility,’ he said on the day of his resignation. ‘I was trying hard for it not to show but it did. We did four hours of live TV every day and you have to like each other.’

This was the reason Hayton provided but is there an underlying battle going on at the BBC between the sexes?

If you ask anyone nowadays to name a television news presenter on the BBC, the names Natasha Kaplinsky, Sophie Raworth, Fiona Bruce and Anna Ford all spring to mind.

Many years ago, if the same question was asked, the reply would be very different. Michael Buerk, Peter Sissons, Philip Hayton and Nicholas Witchell would all be top of the list.

So why have female newsreaders started to dominate the newsroom? Is it down to experience?

No, according to critics.

Take the example of Philip Hayton and Kate Silverton.

Philip has worked with the BBC for thirty seven years and in that time, he has ducked hundreds of bullets and witnessed in person countless natural disasters as a correspondent for the channel. Philip has also covered a range of historic issues such as the Iranian revolution and the death of General Franco. He has presented all the BBC’s main news bulletins - the One, Six and Nine O’Clock News. He deservedly boasts a background packed full of hard news and extensive journalistic experience.

Kate Silverton, on the other hand, began as presenter of the DIY show, ‘Big Strong Boys.’ She then worked on the BBC’s political show ‘Weekend’ and progressed to Radio Five Live where she presented the station's breakfast show.

Kate also worked on Five’s the ‘Wright Stuff.’ One insider commented:

‘She wasn’t the brightest button in the box and she would often phone relatives to ask them to explain current affairs issues which appeared to be beyond her grasp. She didn’t want to ask anyone on the production team because it would have exposed the fact she didn’t really understand the issue.’

As we can see, Kate’s CV and knowledge is apparently miniscule compared to Philip’s but interestingly, Kate is extremely attractive. Could this be the reason for her swift success?

One critic commented on Kate’s flirtatious manner saying that ‘it is now part of a female newsreader’s job.’

One other critic controversially remarked that Kate looked, ‘not only as if she had come fresh from a beauty salon but as if she usually worked in one.’ Those harsh comments may have been the feelings of Philip Hayton when he was at breaking point.

Critics of the BBC Breakfast presenter Natasha Kaplinsky have observed how her ‘sultry good looks’ and ‘flirtatious approach’ may be the reason behind her hugely successful rise to stardom on the small screen. They have also put Natasha’s success down to the fact she happened to be the winner of the channel’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ programme. Since winning, Natasha has notched up a series of presenting opportunities including co-anchoring the BBC’s flagship news programme, the 6 O’Clock News, with not a pinch of war reporting in sight.

Some of Natasha’s male colleagues and viewers have questioned her aptitude as well as her ability with critics pointing out how ‘embarrassing it is to watch her stumble over the autocue every morning.’

So, as we can see, the BBC is shrouded by battles between male and female workers and in extreme cases, employees like Philip Hayton are departing due to ‘incompatibility.’ What will happen to the BBC in the future?

It may be just a case of sitting back, relaxing, and watching the continuing rise of the female newsreader.


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Natasha Clarifcation

I posted an article from the Telegraph last Saturday but this week there was a retraction about the article:

"Last week, I referred to some confusion concerning Natasha Kaplinsky's Strictly Come Dancing! fee and her donation to charity. Her former agent, Jon Roseman of The Roseman Organisation, points out that he was not responsible for any such confusion, and nor was this the reason he ceased to be her agent. I apologise for any misunderstanding." Source

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Telegraph Appeal hands out £6.6m

Natasha Kaplinsky, the BBC presenter, and Maureen Lipman, the actress, were among representatives from three charities benefiting from the Telegraph Christmas Appeal receiving cheques yesterday from the paper's editor, Martin Newland.The Appeal raised a record £6.6 million for Help the Aged, Hope and Homes for Children, and Merlin - whose appeal took into account their work following the tsunami.


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BBC in pickle over saucy issue

This week has already brought further massive disappointment for Martin “Chariots” Offiah, who must be wondering what exactly he has to do to win a celebrity challenge show. Having failed to impress the judges in the first series of Strictly Come Dancing, rugby league’s former try-machine walked away empty-handed from Christmas’s first and second series combined dance-off.Within days, though, Chariots had picked himself up and was back on screen in Celebrity Mastermind. But, astonishingly, the oh-so elusive victory would not come and he was defeated by Hugh Quarshie, who played Captain Panaka in 1999’s Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

Just by the law of averages, you assumed that Chariots might put this terrible run of form to bed and end the drought on Living TV’s I’m Famous and Frightened, in which guests of the calibre of Toyah Willcox, the former pop star, and Jono Coleman, the disc jockey, agreed to spend three nights in a spooky old house with only their celebrity for comfort. And what happens? Chariots loses out in the final reckoning to Ruth Madoc from Hi-De-Hi. Talk about the fright of his life.

It is too early to speak of a crisis, but Chariots does appear to be running out of shows. Qualifying has finished and filming is under way for Channel 4’s Extreme Celebrity Detox, the Big Brother house is closed to celebrities for at least a year and it is unlikely that we’ll see another series of I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here! this side of the autumn.

The best that Offiah can do, in all likelihood, is to keep his hand in with a few supermarket openings and pray for a second series of The Farm on Five.

Source - Only part of the article

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Jason Wood Interview

Jason Wood kindly agreed to answer any questions for the users of this website so the section Ask the Stars was born. Members of the forum posted their questions and I picked the best of the bunch. So, without further ado here is the exclusive interview for Strictly Come Dancing Online...

Cherrybear: My question is, are the judges really as mean in real-life as they are when judging the show?

Hate to disappoint anyone but actually they're all really nice. Actually at a party for Paul Killick I spent most of the night chatting and laughing with Craig who gave me two!

Shopoholic: Have you done any dancing since appearing on "Strictly Come Dancing" and if not would you consider dancing again? 
Apart from a drunken episode at Christmas not really although I loved it so much more than I thought I would! I was at a wedding recently and they all expected me to take to the floor not understanding that without Kylie pushing me around I'm really crap at it.

Jondi: What did you wished to be as kid, when you grew up? 
A comedy actor. When I was 8 I played Oliver in a theatre run of Oliver and in the program I wrote, when I grow up I want to be an actor like JulieWalters! 

Jondi: Where would you like to see yourself in the future?
A comedy actor and my own show a bit like Saturday Night Live in the USA.

Jondi: How long did it take you to break through as comedian and did you ever think of giving up?
No there were times I wished I didn't want it so much so I could give up. So far it's taken me 14 years via years of working in hell holes/working men's clubs/dangerous pubs and many years of "no thank you".  

Jondi: If you would not had become a comedian, what would have been the alternative? 
I don't know I think once you work in this profession and this is what you want to do there is nothing else.

Jondi: Do you watch SCD, if you have the time? If so, who were, or always had been your favourites?
Sometimes I tend to work most weekends performing but I always catch the final! I loved every one on SCD 1 especially Lesley and Christopher and of course Kylie and all the dancers I supported Julian in SCD 2 but then I would!

Jondi: If you would dance again, who would be your partner of choice? 
I'd only choose Kylie again we really became close during the show she truly is beautiful inside and out!

Jondi: Which song would you like to dance to? 
"I've had the time of my life" loved the final with it for Natasha.

Katie: Are you enjoying appearing on 29 Minutes of Fame? 
Yes its cool although I was only booked for two as I have a sitcom thing I'm doing.

I'd like to thank Jason for giving up his time to answer these questions.

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