Natasha Kaplinsky

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Natasha Kaplinsky
Natasha Kaplinsky 2014.jpg
Kaplinsky in May 2014
Born Natasha Margaret Kaplinsky
(1972-09-09) 9 September 1972 (age 47)
Brighton, Sussex, England
Residence Sheffield Park, East Sussex, England
Education Ringmer Community College
Varndean College
Hertford College, Oxford
Occupation Newsreader, television presenter
Employer ITN (2011—)
Five News (2008–10)
BBC (2002–07)
Height 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Spouse(s) Justin Bower (m. 2005)
Children Arlo Bower (b. 2008)
Angelica Pearl Bower (b. 2010)

Natasha Margaret Kaplinsky[1] (born 9 September 1972)[2] is an English newsreader and television presenter, best known for her roles as a newsreader on Sky News, BBC News, Channel 5 and ITV News where she is the current presenter .

After two years at Sky News, Kaplinsky joined BBC News in 2002 where she co-hosted Breakfast until 2005, when she became one of the hosts of the Six O'Clock News. In October 2007, the BBC announced that Kaplinsky was to leave the corporation to join Five (now known as Channel 5), where she presented a new look, retitled Five News with Natasha Kaplinsky for three years. After leaving Channel 5, she went on to join ITV to present talent show Born to Shine and ITV News as a presenter.

Kaplinsky won the first series of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing in 2004.

Early life

Kaplinsky was born to Raphael Kaplinsky, an exiled Jewish South African[3] professor of international development at the Open University, and his wife, Catherine Kaplinsky (née Charlewood), a psychotherapist.

Kaplinsky's paternal grandparents were Polish Jews[4] originating from the town of Slonim (then in Poland, now located in Western Belarus), and migrated to South Africa in 1929. Kaplinsky was born in Brighton, Sussex, but spent her early life in Kenya, where she claims to have been fluent in Swahili,[5] although she later returned to the United Kingdom, where she was brought up in Barcombe, East Sussex. She attended Ringmer Community College, until the age of sixteen when she moved to Varndean College in Brighton.

After graduating in English from Hertford College, Oxford in 1995,[2] one of Kaplinsky's first jobs was working in the press offices of Labour leaders Neil Kinnock and John Smith.

Kaplinsky was the subject of an episode of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are?, in which well-known people trace their family trees. Kaplinsky's programme was broadcast on 6 September 2007.[6][7] She followed her paternal line to Slonim and was shown official documentation relating to her cousin's family. This included the death of family members during the "liquidation" – massacre – of the Slonim ghetto by the Nazis and another's escape to the partisans and eventual immigration to Australia. Her maternal line included an apothecary to King George III.


Early career

Kaplinsky started out presenting on F2F, a youth chat show, for Granada Talk TV in 1996[2] with co-host Sacha Baron Cohen. She then moved to presenting early morning news bulletins at Meridian. Within six months, she was co-presenting their evening news programme Meridian Tonight. In 1999, Kaplinsky moved to ITV's London News Network[2] where she hosted London Today and London Tonight as well as a political programme called Seven Days.

In November 2000, Kaplinsky moved to Sky News where she co-presented Live at Five with Jeremy Thompson, as well as the breakfast news programme Sunrise.

BBC News

Kaplinsky joined the BBC to present BBC Breakfast in November 2002, from Monday to Thursday with Dermot Murnaghan, following the departure of Sophie Raworth to present the BBC News at Six. Kaplinsky eventually left Breakfast in May 2005 to become the co-host on the BBC News at Six, replacing Sophie Raworth who moved to the BBC News at One after her maternity leave.

In 2006, Kaplinsky became only the third (and youngest) woman to present the BBC's Ten O'Clock News, after Fiona Bruce (regular presenter) and Sian Williams, who had co-presented the programme from the studio in Westminster with Huw Edwards in April 2005. Kaplinsky continued to present the programme occasionally in 2007, and was also on the One O'Clock News.

From May 2007, Kaplinsky took part in a trial on BBC One in Birmingham, where she presented a news update at 20:00, between 60 to 90 seconds long.[8]

On 5 October 2007, the BBC confirmed that Kaplinsky had decided to depart the BBC to become a presenter on Five News. She presented her last Six O'Clock News on 5 October with former Breakfast colleague Dermot Murnaghan.[9] Her BBC salary was a reported £175,000 and her salary at Five was reported to be "in excess of" £300,000.[10]

Five News

On 18 February 2008, Kaplinsky presented her first broadcast for Five.[2] Her first bulletin which aired at 17:00 was reported to have been watched by a million viewers.[citation needed] She also presented a second programme at 19:00, Monday to Thursday with news correspondent Matt Barbet presenting every Friday.

On 21 August 2008, Kaplinsky began her first maternity leave from Five, Isla Traquair and Barbet stood in for her until 16 February 2009. Following her return, she hosted only the 17:00 programme. From 18 March 2010, she started her second maternity leave with Barbet again standing in for her.

On 14 October 2010, Kaplinsky announced that she was leaving her job at Channel 5 at the end of 2010, having spent much of her three years at the network on maternity leave.[11] On 23 December 2010, she presented her final bulletin for Five News.


Kaplinsky's first presenting role with ITV was in the summer of 2011, when she hosted a new Sunday entertainment series Born to Shine, which raised awareness for the charity Save the Children, of which Natasha is ambassador.[12][13]

On 3 August 2011, it was announced that Kaplinsky was to present ITV's London Tonight programme, providing maternity leave cover for Nina Hossain. During this time, she was also a relief presenter of the national ITV News programmes from mid-November 2011 until Spring 2012.[14] She continues to freelance as an occasional ITV News presenter.

On 19 August 2013, Kaplinsky presented The People's Medal, a documentary about The Queen's Birthday Honours List.[15]

On 29 October 2013, Kaplinsky hosted a documentary On the Run, alongside journalist Mark Williams-Thomas.[16] The pair then presented a second documentary Missing Without Trace on 12 November 2013.[17]

Other television work

Kaplinsky has appeared in a number of episodes of the sitcom My Hero, reading the news, mainly reports of character Thermoman's heroic deeds. In July 2005, she hosted the one-off special Strictly African Dancing with Martin Offiah. Kaplinsky has also hosted Making Your Mind Up, the UK qualifier for the Eurovision Song Contest.

On 18 November 2005, Kaplinsky hosted the BBC's annual Children in Need charity telethon, with Fearne Cotton and Terry Wogan, and again on 17 November 2006.

In 2003, she made an appearance on Have I Got News for You, during which Bruce Forsyth made a notable appearance, parodying his game show Play Your Cards Right as Play Your Iraqi Cards Right, with the card faces bearing the faces of Iraqi political figures.

In 2008, she made a cameo appearance in the BBC television series Torchwood as archive footage for the millennium in the directory of geological studies by DkMd in 2005.

Kaplinsky presented the BBC's New Year Live in 2006 and 2007. In 2011, she presented ITV's live coverage of the same event.

Kaplinsky has made an appearance on the ITV show That Sunday Night Show in 2011, and has also made a number of contributions to ITV's Text Santa appeal. On 1 August 2014, she appeared on ITV's Let's Do Lunch with Gino & Mel.[18] On 25 April 2015, she appeared alongside Dermot Murnaghan on an episode of Pointless Celebrities.

Strictly Come Dancing

In 2004, Kaplinsky participated in the first series of the celebrity ballroom dancing competition Strictly Come Dancing and went on to win the competition with partner Brendan Cole. She revealed during an interview with The Mirror that she had been forced by the BBC to take part.[19] Kaplinsky then co-presented the first half of the second series in 2004 with Bruce Forsyth, when regular presenter, Tess Daly went on maternity leave.[20] Kaplinsky returned to the show in 2012, taking part in the Christmas Special.

Week Dance Judges' scores Total Result
1 Cha-cha-cha / "Chain of Fools" 7,7,8,5 27 Safe
2 Quickstep / "The Lady is a Tramp" 7,8,8,8 31 Safe
3 Jive / "Jump, Jive and Wail" 7,7,5,7 26 Bottom two, saved by judges
4 Jive / "The Girl from Ipanema" 8,9,9,9 35 Safe
5 Samba / "Love Is in the Air" 9,10,9,9 37 Safe
6 Tango / "Libertango" 8,7,8,8 31 N/A
6 Rumba / "Endless Love" 9,9,9,9 36 Safe
7 Waltz / "With You I'm Born Again" 9,9,9,9 36 N/A
7 Paso Doble / "O Fortuna" 8,9,9,9 35 Safe
8 Quickstep / "The Lady is a Tramp" 9,9,9,9 36 N/A
8 Samba / "Love Is in the Air" 7,7,9,8 31 N/A
8 Showdance / "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" 8,9,9,9 35 Won

Personal life

On 21 August 2005, Kaplinsky married Justin Bower, a private equity professional from London at Babington House, Somerset, whom she met on a blind date six months earlier.[21]

In April 2008, Kaplinsky announced she was pregnant with their first child, six weeks after her debut on Five News. On 25 September 2008, Five News revealed that Kaplinsky had given birth to a son,[22] whom she and Bower later named Arlo, over two weeks after he was born.

On 7 October 2009, Kaplinsky informed Five bosses that she was pregnant again.[23] On 9 April 2010 she gave birth to a daughter, Angelica Pearl Bower.[24][25]

On 8 February 2011, Kaplinsky commented in a BBC radio interview on Steve Wright in the Afternoon that she and Bower had performed as disguised extras for the English National Ballet although she "had insisted that her name was not used in the programme". In the production of Romeo and Juliet, she had performed as "Wench number 7" at the London Coliseum.


Kaplinsky became celebrity ambassador for the UK charity Save the Children in 2010.[26][27]


  1. General Register Office Birth Index 1972 Q2 Kaplinsky, Natasha Margaret CHARLEWOOD Brighton 5h 89
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 The Donor, News and information for blood donors, Winter 2009, National Blood Service, England, page 55
  3. Who Do You Think You Are? – Natasha Kaplinsky The National Archives Archived 24 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Natasha Kaplinsky cries for family Nazi deaths". 28 August 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Claim made by Kaplinsky herself on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 28 March 2008
  6. Wollaston, Sam (7 September 2007). "Last night's TV". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 September 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Shot and pushed in a the Nazis slaughtered all but one of Natasha's family Mail Online, 28 January 2007
  8. BBC One to pilot short news summary BBC Press Office, 6 May 2007
  9. Kaplinsky leaves BBC for Five BBC News, 5 October 2007
  10. Natasha Kaplinsky leaves BBC to present Five News Times Online, 6 October 2007
  11. Midgley, Neil (14 October 2010). "Natasha Kaplinsky to quit Channel 5". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Born to Shine". August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Natasha Kaplinsky to front ITV show Born To Shine, 7 June 2011
  14. Sweney, Mark (3 August 2011). "Natasha Kaplinsky takes ITV news anchor role". Retrieved 3 August 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "The People's Medal Episode 1". "ITV Press Centre".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "On The Run". "ITV Press Centre".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Missing Without Trace". "ITV Press Centre".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Today's lunch guest..."<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Natasha Kaplinsky: 'BBC forced me to do Strictly Come Dancing'". Digital Spy.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Natasha Kaplinsky on her £1m Five News deal". Times Online. News International. 14 February 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Clemmie Moodie (11 August 2005). "Waltzing down the aisle". Mail Online. Retrieved 30 March 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Boy born to newsreader Kaplinsky". BBC News. 25 September 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Pregnant Natasha has news for chiefs". The Sun. 7 October 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Cable, Simon (13 April 2010). "Natasha Kaplinsky beams as she shows off her precious little Pearl". Mail Online. Retrieved 17 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. "Baby girl for Natasha Kaplinsky". BBC News. 9 April 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "Natasha Kaplinsky". Save the Children UK.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. "Natasha Kaplinsky supports Save the Children".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links