Janet Ellis

Last updated 09 January 2020

Janet Ellis
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Janet Michell Ellis, MBE

Born: Friday 16th September 1955 (age: 68)


Janet Ellis MBE is a British television presenter and actress, who is best known for her four year period as a presenter on Blue Peter.

She was born in Chatham in Kent, but with her father Michael being a soldier  he was stationed during her childhood at various places in England and Germany. Accordingly, she attended seven schools, including, from the ages 13-17, Richmond County School for Girls.

She studied, from age 19, at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Her first television appearance was a bit part in The Sweeney. Her big break came in 1979, when she played Teka in the 1979 Doctor Who story The Horns of Nimon. She was the regular presenter of the Clive Doig-produced BBC TV children's programme Jigsaw.

Ellis joined Blue Peter on 28 April 1983, and during her four year stint, co-presented with Simon Groom, Sarah Greene, Peter Duncan, Michael Sundin, Mark Curry and Caron Keating.

She has three children, all born in London: Sophie Ellis-Bextor (born 1979), Jackson Ellis Leach (born 1987, Hounslow) and Martha Rose Leach (born 1991, Hammersmith).

Ellis presented the daytime Open Air for the BBC and a large range of programmes on topics such as gardens, cars, holidays, cookery and childcare. She is a frequent contributor to children's charity Scene & Heard. She presented the 2005 series of The Great Garden Challenge for Channel 4. She has been a regular panelist on Five's The Wright Stuff since 2002.

In more recent times she has become an established author, with books published including Two Roads (under the name of her grandmother, Jo Winter), and The Butcher's Hook. She is also co-author of How To Get Married Without Divorcing Your Family with Caron Keating.

She was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to charity and theatre.