Anneka Rice (born Anne Rice; 4 October 1958) is a British television and radio presenter.
Early life and education
Anne Rice was born in Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales. She was educated at three independent schools: at Dunrobin School, Limpsfield, Surrey; at St Michael's, Surrey, and at Croydon High School, England. Rice adopted the name "Anneka" when she joined the British actors' union Equity, as her birth-name had already been registered with that organisation.
Rice began her TV career as a trainee for the BBC World Service. At the age of 19 she moved to Hong Kong, where she presented the news on English language television station TVB Pearl. Upon returning to the UK three years later, she worked as a secretary in the BBC Children's department.
In 1982 she landed her first major TV job as the jump-suited "skyrunner" of Channel 4's Treasure Hunt, which was hosted by former BBC newsman Kenneth Kendall. The show proved one of Channel 4's most popular programmes and was nominated for a BAFTA in 1986, in the category "Best Light Entertainment Programme". In the same year, Rice was given the "Rear of the Year" award. Rice left Treasure Hunt when she became pregnant in 1988, being replaced by former tennis player Annabel Croft.
Rice hosted the BBC's Children in Need appeal in 1987 and tested an early version of her next project, Challenge Anneka. This had been devised by Rice herself and was launched in 1989 on BBC 1. It ran for a further five years. On 9 June 2006, it was announced that Challenge Anneka would return, but this time on ITV. The first of three specials was broadcast on Boxing Day 2006. A further episode was aired on 6 June 2007. As a result of her owning the rights to Challenge Anneka Rice returned to television in a co-producer role in September 2001 when she was approached by the ABC network in the United States to produce a new series based on the format, which was branded Challenge America and hosted by Erin Brockovich.
After finishing her art degree, in 2003 Rice returned to presenting on the Five show Dinner Doctors alongside relationship advisor Jenni Trent Hughes. Rice has written books on skiing and scuba-diving. In 2005 she endorsed a line of anti-aging products. Returning to the limelight Rice had a lead role in The Vagina Monologues which played at Birmingham Hippodrome from 31 January to 4 February 2006.
Rice returned to ITV in June 2006 to co-host a Sunday morning cookery show, Sunday Feast. She also took part in the ITV programme Extinct presented by Sir Trevor McDonald and Zoë Ball which saw Rice and seven other well known celebrities visit endangered animals in their natural habitat and plead their case so that viewers would pick up the phone and vote for their animal to receive a large sum of money to try to save them from extinction. Rice's chosen animal was the polar bear. Rice did not win as the money went to the Bengal tigers and their celebrity, Pauline Collins.
In September 2007, she appeared in the third series of Hell's Kitchen.
Rice appeared as a contestant on episode 5 of Celebrity Mastermind (broadcast 1 January 2010). She chose the life and career of Jean Rhys as her specialist subject and finished as runner-up to the winner, Gemmill.
In June 2012, Rice co-hosted a BBC1 programme Rolf Paints... Diamond Jubilee with Rolf Harris in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's jubilee. In August 2012, she was named co-presenter of The Flowerpot Gang on BBC 1 with Joe Swift (TV garden presenter) and Phil Tufnell.
Rice and Patrick Kielty filled in for Alan Carr and Melanie Sykes on BBC Radio 2 in January 2012 for two weeks. She was confirmed, in February 2012, as the successor to Zoë Ball on Radio 2's Weekend Breakfast show, on Saturday mornings from 6am. She presented her final Saturday morning show on February 25, 2017. From April 1, 2017, Anneka took over the 0:00am-2:00 am slot on Saturdays showcasing the best of Radio 2 through the week.
Rice was married to theatre boss Nick Allott, with whom she has two sons. Allott and Rice split in 1992 after she began an affair with TV executive Tom Gutteridge. They parted six months after her third son was born in 1997. In 1994 Rice presented Capital Woman, a weekly women's magazine programme for Carlton Television (ITV), which, like Challenge Anneka, was produced by Gutteridge's company Mentorn. Later she also presented Holiday for BBC One. In 1995 Challenge Anneka was axed by the BBC.
Rice decided to quit television to spend time with her three children, and spent five years studying painting at Chelsea College of Art. In 2005 she began a relationship with writer Simon Bell.
She is a supporter of the Conservative Party.
- CBTV Channel 14 (1982-5)
- Treasure Hunt (1982–89)
- Wish You Were Here...? (presenter)
- Good Morning Britain (presenter)
- Aspel & Company (guest – March 1986)
- The Grand Knockout Tournament
- Challenge Anneka (presenter 1989–95, 2006/7) nominated for two technical BAFTAs in 1991
- KYTV (guest – June 1990)
- 2point4 Children (guest appearance – September 1992)
- So Graham Norton (guest appearance – February 2001)
- I Love 1980s (guest appearance – March 2001)
- Ready, Steady, Cook (guest – June 2001)
- A Question of TV (guest appearances – August 2001)
- Remotely Funny (guest – July 2002)
- RI:SE (breakfast show guest, February 2003)
- Dinner Doctors (presenter)
- Richard & Judy (June 2003)
- Absolute Power (November 2003)
- Hell's Kitchen (May 2004)
- QI (aka Quite Interesting) (November 2004)
- Have I Been Here Before? (May 2005)
- Our Survey Says: the Ultimate Game Show Moments
- The Big Call (guest – June 2005)
- The Wright Stuff (guest panellist – September 2005)
- Holiday (presenter)
- Sporting Chance
- Driving Force
- Capital Woman
- Come Dine with Me (Celebrity Special – July 2006)
- Hell's Kitchen (Contestant – September 2007)
- Heads or Tails on Five (Special Guest 2009)
- Celebrity Mastermind, BBC1, contestant, 1 January 2010
- Countdown, Channel 4, 'Dictionary Corner' guest, 3–7 October 2011
- Countdown, Channel 4, 'Dictionary Corner' guest, 2–6 April 2012
- Rolf Paints....Diamond Jubilee, BBC1, (Co-host), 5 June 2012
- Flowerpot Gang, BBC1, (Co-host), August 2012