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Keith Chegwin is one of the UK's most popular TV personalities, now over 40 years in showbusiness.
Born in Bootle Merseyside in January 1957, Keith Chegwin has risen from humble beginnings to become a true TV hero. For anyone in their twenties or early thirties, Keith is a seminal figure that generations have spent years growing up with him in their living room. His job description is to be charming to people on 'live' television, and he has fulfilled the criteria on every count, personifying the soul of good cheer for over thirty two years in entertainment. After blagging his way into a job in television in 1976, he has been getting away with it ever since.
From 1970 to '76 he made TV appearances in The Liver Birds (BBC), Black Beauty (LWT), Z Cars (BBC), The Tomorrow People (Thames TV), Armchair Theatre, & Village Hall (Granada), My Old Man (Yorkshire), Open All Hours (BBC), The Wackers (Thames) which Mary Whitehouse had taken off the ITV network for it's bad language. He played three parts in the prestigious BBC's Chester Mystery Plays with Brian Glover, Michael Horden and Tom Courtney and even played the part of a 52-year-old midget which Melvin Brag made a special documentary feature for his programme Aquarius (LWT). And so much more...
West End Musical Stage Shows include 'The Good Old Bad Old Days' with Anthony Newley. 'Tom Brown's School Days', with Simon Le Bon and Russell Grant. He starred in the first ever stage production of ''Captain Pugwash'' written by Bill Kenwright where he played Tom (not Roger) the cabin boy.
It was at the age of 17 in a moment of audacious inspiration, he lied his way into a job as a presenter at the BBC. The programme was Swap Shop and he, as presenter of the outside broadcasts, claimed national fame and notoriety overnight. Six years he spent Saturday mornings swapping Action Men for MouseTrap - Buckeroo's for Scalextrix. He got so close to the nation's youth that he had his pockets picked, got nits and head lice.
During Swap shop's run (in December 1981), he spent 12 weeks in the music charts and reached the dizzy heights of number 15 in the group Brown Sauce with the song ''I Wanna Be A Winner''. Interestingly, there are fifteen singles in the BBC gram library that credit Keith Chegwin with a vocal performance.
The zenith of his early broadcasting career came during his hosting of Cheggers Plays Pop (can you get much bigger than having your own annual and your own Cheggers cassette Walkman) when he kept the nation's youth occupied once a week for nine years with a show that was a hotpotch of elements taken from Top Of the Pops, The Krypton Factor and It's A Knockout.
At one time Keith would be on television on Saturday morning with Swap Shop. Saturday night presenting a game show called ''Anything Goes'' from Blackpool. DJ, then on Radio One on Sunday mornings and appear on Cheggers Plays Pop at 4.20pm on a Monday. To add to all this he managed to maintain an active stage and singing career, touring theatres and clubs with his own 2-hour show.
Keith has always enjoyed performing as well as presenting. He tapped danced on the Children's Royal Variety in 1984 and in 1987 was asked back open the show.
From 1972 to 1987 he continued his Saturday morning stint presenting Saturday Superstore with Mike Read and Sarah Green. Cheggers still played pop as well as investigating consumer problems for kids in a series called Chegwin Checks It Out.
In 1988 Keith left the BBC as it was suggested he was too old to present children's TV. They were right and he looks back on this as a God send. He moved to SKY Television to host his own talent show for the general public called ''Star Search''. Over a period of three years he presented 287 one-hour shows that gave two thousand acts the chance of fame and fortune. Alas, only two out of them found it, the great Chesney Hawkes and the super group Right Said Fred.
He went back to the beeb as a sports presenter and hosted two years of show jumping at Wembley and Olympia along with David Vine as well as a whole week of programmes called Hard Hat & Hadley all about top riders and riding.
His intense workload continued, ranging from presenting ten one hour shows a week, whilst writing two hundred tunes for television such as Key Notes - Jeremy Beadle's Born Lucky and corporate films. He directed and produced video's, ran a recording studio and wrote for many a national newspaper. During this period he found himself in clinic under the pretence of suffering from stress. After much harassment from the press, Keith in a bid to pre-empt the national newspapers admitted publicly on the programme ''This Morning'' that he was an alcoholic. A statement which was no easy task for anyone to own up to - He has never regretted his openness with Richard and Judy.
After a four year spell in TV limbo he appeared on The Word, and with that made a triumphant return to 'live' TV by presenting outside broadcasts for two and a half years on the Big Breakfast with his irrepressible brand of bonhomie and so from April 1993, he was gallivanting around the nation and further afield from Monday to Friday ''knocking up'' everyone from John Noakes in Majorca to Kim Wilde at home - not to mention the hundreds of members of the good old general public who have welcomed him (some more than others) into their homes.
Over more recent years he has presented Sale Of The Century & Roll With It (Challenge TV) Cheggers Challenge (BBC1). His programme Top 10 Annoying Records was viewed by 4.2 million viewers (unheard of on Channel 4) And of course the return of It's A Knockout on Channel 5 (viewed by a record 4.9 million viewers) a ratings winner. Heat Is On - (Living) - Perfectly Pets (Meridian) Recently the ''Swap Shop'' reunion on BBC 2 was their highest rated TV Show over the Christmas period.
His appearance in the comedy series Extras, with Ricky Gervais and Orlando Bloom, went down a storm with the press and viewers alike. To quote Ricky Gervais ''The one cameo in the whole series that is amazing and brilliant is Keith Chegwin. He plays the worst man in the world and he's brilliant. I don't know why he doesn't act full-time.''
Keith has written a book. A semi autobiographical comic look at a six year period of his life, published by Hodder & Stoughton called 'Shaken But Not Stirred'
The creation of Cheggersbedroom.com the UK's first all day ''Live TV'' entertainment Channel, broadcast directly to everyone's PC. Described by the BBC and the national press as an ''innovative revolution in TV'' it is soon to return to our screens backed by significant capital and technical innovation!
''It's A Knockout'' on Channel 5 - Fat people doing thin things - Miss Tesco versus the bank manager, all the fun of the fair games and competitions.
Naked Jungle (A game show for naturists) on C5 became the talk of the nation.
Hall Of Fame A tribute to Barbara Windsor where he performs with Venessa Feltz???
Album ''Cheggers Choice'' the Worst Album On The Planet sold 83,000 copies. Featuring 40 mega crap tracks by the original artists. Sing a long to Agadoo - Unas Paloma Blanca - Ernie The Milkman - The Birdie Song with stars such as The Krankies - Keith Harris & Orville - The Nolans - Sinnitta - Joe Dolce and more.
FILMS include Whatever Happened To Harold Smith Stephen Fry & Tom Courtney (working with him once again)
The film House
Famous and Frightened -- Living TV
GMTV - Waking the nation up -- Knocking on doors with his cash giveaways
Some other facts on Keith Chegwin!
Keith has a daughter, Rose, who is the apple of his eye, and a little boy called Ted. His sister Janice Long has had a massive influence on him - she advises him on everything from clothes to music. His wife is Maria, who acts as his secretary. He has a twin brother Jeff - A mum called Margaret, who's a retired dinner lady and a Dad called Colin who can whittle anything from key ring to a high rise.
He's 50 something years old.
He lives near Newbury, Berkshire.
He drives a BMW and a Mercedes
He plays piano and guitar.
He loves writing.
He has a dog called Milo - One cat & chickens.
He has a video editing suite and recording studio at home.
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