Esther Rantzen didn't think she was 'attractive enough' for TV presenting
9 November 2018 - 11:00 AM

Esther Rantzen didn't think she was 'attractive enough' for TV presenting

Share article:

Dame Esther Rantzen didn't think she would last a week as a TV presenter because she wasn't "attractive enough".

The 78-year-old star is celebrating 50 years of fronting TV shows - including "That's Life!" for 21 years - but she was convinced she wouldn't be doing such a job for very long when she first started out because she didn't have the cheekbones for the role.

She said: "I didn't think for a minute I'd be presenting 50 years later. I sat next to my lovely friend John Pitman and we clutched each other's knees.

"We were quite frightened and thought we'd be found out within five minutes and sent packing to our typewriters.

"We didn't think for a minute we'd last a week, never mind a series or 50 years. I just didn't think I had the cheekbones, I didn't think I was nearly attractive enough."

Esther Rantzen's TV return

Esther Rantzen's TV return

17 October 2018 - 1:00 PM

Esther Rantzen's TV return

Esther claims she was "the ugly one" when she started out her TV career, and has recalled being turned down for an on-camera report in Belfast because her bosses were concerned about what she would wear.

She said: "I think it has been a fascinating time because when I started on television in 1968 there were only two other women - Joan Bakewell and Angela Huth.

"It was much harder then for women and I was the ugly one. So it was against the odds.

"Even when I was a researcher someone I was working for said I'd never make a producer because I was a woman.

"I asked permission to do some reporting from Belfast and the person running the programme said, "We can't do that Esther because what would you wear?""

Despite amassing 50 years on the TV, Esther admits she isn't thinking about retiring anytime soon.

She added to the Daily Mirror newspaper: "My children are on at me all the time to retire. But the right moment never seems to come along."

Earlier this week, Esther confirmed "That's Life!" will return to screens next year.

She said: "A friend of mine is having a go. We will see. "That's Life!" was a very particular programme which lasted for 21 years.

"It talked about injustices, washing machines that broke and showed you a talking dog at its funniest."

Timothy West to star in Dad's Army remake
19 February 2019

Timothy West to star in Dad's Army remake

Timothy West to star in Dad's Army remake
Coleen Rooney 'wants to star in I'm A Celebrity or Strictly Come Dancing'
19 February 2019

Coleen Rooney 'wants to star in I'm A Celebrity or Strictly Come Dancing'

Coleen Rooney 'wants to star in I'm A Celebrity or Strictly Come Dancing'
Colin Farrell to star in BBC's The North Water
19 February 2019

Colin Farrell to star in BBC's The North Water

Colin Farrell to star in BBC's The North Water
Shane Richie wants EastEnders return for Alfie Moon
19 February 2019

Shane Richie wants EastEnders return for Alfie Moon

Shane Richie wants EastEnders return for Alfie Moon
Timothy West to star in Dad's Army remake
19 February 2019

Timothy West to star in Dad's Army remake

Timothy West to star in Dad's Army remake
Coleen Rooney 'wants to star in I'm A Celebrity or Strictly Come Dancing'
19 February 2019

Coleen Rooney 'wants to star in I'm A Celebrity or Strictly Come Dancing'

Coleen Rooney 'wants to star in I'm A Celebrity or Strictly Come Dancing'
Kyle Pryor opens up on 'traumatic' situation between Laurie and Sinead Shelby
19 February 2019

Kyle Pryor opens up on 'traumatic' situation between Laurie and Sinead Shelby

Kyle Pryor opens up on 'traumatic' situation between Laurie and Sinead Shelby
Kym Marsh was bullied at school
19 February 2019

Kym Marsh was bullied at school

Kym Marsh was bullied at school
Alison King doesn't think Carla considered Roy's 'strong principles'
19 February 2019

Alison King doesn't think Carla considered Roy's 'strong principles'

Alison King doesn't think Carla considered Roy's 'strong principles'
Martin Clunes doubts Men Behaving Badly would be made in 2019
19 February 2019

Martin Clunes doubts Men Behaving Badly would be made in 2019

Martin Clunes doubts Men Behaving Badly would be made in 2019
Sir Michael Palin: Silly behaviour is a great release
19 February 2019

Sir Michael Palin: Silly behaviour is a great release

Sir Michael Palin: Silly behaviour is a great release
Fern Britton was sexually assaulted in a lift
19 February 2019

Fern Britton was sexually assaulted in a lift

Fern Britton was sexually assaulted in a lift