Christine Louise Bleakley (born 2 February 1979) is a television presenter from Northern Ireland. She joined Daybreak on ITV as co-presenter with Adrian Chiles in September 2010. She is a former co-presenter of BBC One’s The One Show, and a former contestant on Strictly Come Dancing.
Christine Bleakley was born on 2 February 1979 in Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland, to mother Mina and father Frederick, a musician, and grew up in Newtownards, County Down, Northern Ireland. She has a younger sister, Nicola.
Bleakley started her television career as a runner and then trained to become a floor manager whilst studying for her A-Levels at Bloomfield Collegiate School in Ballyhackamore, Belfast. She continued to work at BBC NI whilst studying for a politics degree at Queen’s University, Belfast. She did not complete her degree course, however, instead moving into television work full time.
Bleakley began her career in media at Belfast Citybeat as a news reader and presenter, working alongside Stephen Nolan.
Bleakley then moved into television with BBC Northern Ireland hosting a wide variety of shows. One of her programmmes was called Sky High which saw her flying around Northern Ireland in a helicopter in 2004. A weekly entertainment show called First Stop followed, and she also hosted Would You Pass The 11+ and BBC NI coverage of Children in Need. She also took part in cookery show, Spill the Beans.
Outside Northern Ireland, she co-hosted the BBC Two talent show Let Me Entertain You and in July 2007 she became the co-host of The One Show on BBC One.
In 2010, Bleakley left The One Show to join ITV as the co-host of Daybreak following Adrian Chiles’ departure from the BBC to ITV. When Chiles left the BBC, there was a great deal of speculation on whether Bleakley would extend her BBC contract or move to ITV. Questions were raised in Parliament over the size and scale of the proposed £900,000 per year two year BBC contract. Shortly after she fired her long term manager and signed with Chiles’ management company, on 20 June 2010, the BBC announced that it had withdrawn an offer to extend her current contract. Later that day ITV (owners of the now-defunct GMTV) announced she would again partner Chiles by co-hosting the revamped breakfast show with him, and also hosting prime time entertainment shows. On 8 July 2010, the BBC confirmed that Bleakley was not returning to The One Show after the programme returned from the World Cup break, from 12 July. In September 2010 Bleakley stated she would like to return to The One Show as a guest.
On 6 September 2010, Bleakley joined Chiles to host the new ITV breakfast show, Daybreak. The programme suffered mixed reviews and poor viewing figures in its first weeks on air, and Bleakley herself was the subject of criticism.
In addition to presenting Daybreak, Bleakley is hosting quiz show Control and a number of entertainment specials, including Simply Red: For the Last Time and Duran Duran: For One Night Only.
Bleakley took part in the 2008 series of Strictly Come Dancing with professional partner Matthew Cutler.
Dances and marks:
Bleakley danced the Foxtrot (27 marks/out of 40), the Quickstep (26/40), the Samba (30/40), the Paso Doble (22/40), the American Smooth (29/40), the Jive (31/40), the Waltz (34/40), the Cha Cha Cha (27/40), the Tango (28/40) and the Salsa (30/40). Bleakley left on 30 November after Rachel Stevens beat her in the dance off.
Following a trip to Uganda in 2009, to see how Comic Relief money was being spent, in March 2010 Bleakley successfully water-skied across the English Channel in a time of one hour and 40 minutes for Sport Relief.
On 20 March 2010, Bleakley made her stand-up comedy debut when she took part in Channel 4’s Comedy Gala, a benefit show in aid of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, filmed live at the O2 Arena in London.
Bleakley appeared as a celebrity panellist on the 26 August 2009 edition of Shooting Stars. She also appeared as a panellist on the comedy show Would I Lie To You? on 7 September 2009. On 26 February 2010 she appeared on Chris Moyles’ Quiz Night, coming second. On 3 March 2011 she was a panelist for Celebrity Juice on ITV2.
On 11 May 2011 she presented the National Movie Awards on ITV.
In November 2010, Bleakley was awarded the title “Top TV Host” at the 2010 Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women of the Year Awards. The award came after an intensely negative media campaign following her switch from the BBC to ITV.
Bleakley is a patron of the CineMagic children’s film festival and is Northern Ireland ambassador for The Prince’s Trust.
Bleakley was engaged to Dublin restaurant owner Christian Stokes in 2004. She was then in a relationship with entrepreneur Mark Beirne from August 2007 until they split in January 2009.
After attending Pride of Britain Awards in October 2009, she began a relationship with footballer Frank Lampard. Her engagement to Lampard was announced on 15 June 2011.