Chris Tarrant Poster

Biography

Chris Tarrant is regarded by many as the king of popular broadcasting. With his popular breakfast show on Capital Radio and his regular peak-time appearances on ITV he's the biggest personality on UK commercial radio and has done wonders for the popularity of ITV's Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, which is now the world's most successful quiz show.

He was born on the 10th of October, 1946, and attended King's School, Worcester, from 1960 to 1964 where he showed a flair for hockey and cricket. Chris has described this period of his life as an unhappy one, owing to the very-strict nature of King's School, and in typical Tarrant style he described it as a 'modern day Iran'.

He later turned down a place at Oxford University, selecting instead to attend the University of Birmingham to read English. Following graduation, he worked for a while as an English teacher in Brockley, East London. His time as a teacher proved to be eventful, and for six months he had to live in a grey mini van in the grounds of the school after walking out on a girlfriend and having no place to stay.

When his teaching contract came to an end, he decided to pursue his dream of working in television. Tarrant took up work as a truck driver whilst writing a series insolent letters to television companies, claiming he was the face of the 1970s and they should grab the chance to hire him. Incredibly, his bold persistence paid off and he was invited by the Midlands-based ATV for an audition and ended up as a newsreader on the regional bulletins.

Chris reported on ATV's main daytime bulletins, which included light-hearted stories which helped raise his profile. In 1974, ATV wanted to develop a new show and it needed a host. They offered the job to Tarrant. He eagerly accepted and became the host of 'Tiswas', a Saturday morning children's show and his popularity soon soared.

In 1984, Tarrant joined Capital Radio as a presenter, initially presenting the station's lunchtime show, then from 1987 until 2004 he hosted Capital Breakfast. The show was immensely popular, increasing Capital Radio's audience share in London.

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--a game-show that in some ways was a precursor to Who Wants to be a Millionaire. H

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.

He began to host the popular television quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in 1998, and since then the show has gone on to have series in over 100 other countries, and in 2002, the UK version merged with the Irish version.

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.

Chris' 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 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. Chris is represented in London by Useful Talent.