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Wednesday, 30 October, 2002, 16:00 GMT
John Leslie's varied career
John Leslie with Blue Peter co-hosts Diane-Louise Jordan (left) and Anthea Turner
Leslie became a star after presenting Blue Peter
A former choirboy, nightclub DJ, children's TV presenter and tabloid favourite, John Leslie is now a household name.

The tall Scotsman's enthusiasm and charm have made him a natural performer on shows like Wheel of Fortune and Blue Peter, where he has had to engage guests while entertaining viewers.

As well as being known for his TV shows, he has also been known for his social life, enjoying showbusiness parties and having a relationship with actress Catherine Zeta Jones.

John Leslie on Blue Peter in 1991
Leslie took part in stunts and international trips for Blue Peter
Born John Leslie Stott in Edinburgh in 1965, he was destined for a career in music technology until a television producer told him he would look great on screen.

An encouraged Leslie (he dropped the Stott) proceeded to make a demo tape and sent it to every TV station in the country.

His first break came when Yorkshire TV gave him a job presenting a late-night show, The Music Box, but it ended in 1987 and he moved to London to pursue his career.

The move paid off two years later when he became the 18th presenter on long-running BBC children's show Blue Peter.

Suddenly, millions of children and parents knew who he was and he was seen taking part in the new adventure sport of bridge-swinging within days of joining the programme.

John Leslie with Jenny Powell on Wheel of Fortune
Leslie hosted Wheel of Fortune with Jenny Powell
He presented the show for four years - and co-hosts included Anthea Turner, Caron Keating and Diane-Louise Jordan, among others.

At the same time - unusually for a children's TV presenter - he was also appearing in newspaper showbiz columns due to his fun-loving lifestyle.

He said he started going to nightclubs and parties to combat loneliness when he first moved to London.

And when he was with Catherine Zeta Jones in her pre-Hollywood days, they were one of the hottest celebrity couples in the UK.

After leaving Blue Peter in 1994, he began his long association with ITV daytime show This Morning when he featured on the show as entertainment correspondent.

John Leslie presenting the Network Q/RAC Rally
He also presented coverage of motor rallying
He also hosted an ITV sci-fi game show Scavengers, which was billed as the "toughest game show ever".

Other ventures included Entertainment Express with Selina Scott and the adults-only pub quiz Whose Round Is It Anyway? with Mandy Smith.

When comedian Bradley Walsh left prime-time ITV game show Wheel of Fortune to become a father in 1997, Leslie stepped in to become host and declared himself happy with the mainstream success.

"It's not rock 'n' roll, but I've never been Mr Trendy," he said in 2001.

"I've no great desire to go off and do something wacky and cutting edge. Mainstream means longevity."

John Leslie on Style Challenge
He fronted the BBC's Style Challenge in the late 1990s
He has now calmed down since his party animal days, he says, because he is "very settled and fairly secure".

If anything, he has stepped up his TV commitments, with prominent roles on reality show Survivor plus makeover programme Style Challenge in the late 1990s.

He became a regular presenter on This Morning in 1999, and took over full-time when hosts Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan left in 2001.

But he and co-host Fern Britton have struggled to fill Richard and Judy's shoes.

They have failed to attract many more than one million viewers per day - compared with the two million who watched Richard and Judy.

Leslie said: "It's a great job, a great career and I love being in it and hopefully I will be in it for a long time but if it finishes tomorrow I will go and do something else."

See also:

25 Apr 02 | TV and Radio
08 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
02 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
10 Oct 98 | Entertainment
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