Konnie Huq

Konnie Huq

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Konnie Huq
Konniehuq.jpg

Huq in April 2006
Native name কনক হক
Born Kanak Asha Huq
(1975-07-17) 17 July 1975 (age 42)
Hammersmith, London, England
Residence Ealing, London, England
Nationality British
Education Notting Hill & Ealing High School
Alma mater Robinson College, Cambridge
Occupation Television presenter
Years active 1994–present
Employer ITV, BBC, Sky
Known for Blue Peter
The Xtra Factor
Spouse(s) Charlie Brooker (m. 2010)
Children 2
Parent(s) Mohammed Huq (father)
Roshan Ara Huq (mother)
Relatives Nutun Huq (sister)
Rupa Huq (sister)

Kanak Asha “Konnie” Huq (/ˈhʌk/; Bengali: কনক হক; born 17 July 1975) is a British television presenter and writer. She was the longest-serving female presenter of Blue Peter, having presented it from 1 December 1997 until 23 January 2008. She presented the 2010 series of The Xtra Factor on ITV2.

Early life and education[edit]

Huq was born in Hammersmith, west London to Sunni Muslim[3] Bangladeshi parents who had emigrated to England in the 1960s.[4][5] She grew up in Ealing, west London, with her two elder sisters, Rupa and Nutun. She was educated at Notting Hill & Ealing High School in London and left school with nine GCSEs and A-levels in physics, mathematics and chemistry.[6] Huq studied sciences for her A-Levels, but chose to study economics at Robinson College, Cambridge and graduated from Cambridge University with a 2:1 degree.[4][7]

Early career[edit]

In 1989, at the age of 14, Huq was a guest on Blue Peter with the National Youth Music Theatre, when she sang a solo.[8] Before the 1992 general election, Huq interviewed Labour leader Neil Kinnock for the children’s programme Newsround. She appeared as a contestant on Blockbusters in the same year.[9] She also appeared as an uncredited extra playing a schoolgirl in the BBC One sitcom 2point4 Children in the Series 2 episode “I’m Going Slightly Mad”.[10][not in citation given]

Huq’s presenting debut was in a GMTV Saturday morning children’s quiz show entitled “Eat Your Words”[11] between 1994 and 1996. She was assisted by Mark Speight before Simon Parkin took over. In 1997, several months before joining Blue Peter, Huq presented Channel Five‘s early morning children’s programme Milkshake!,[12] while also working as an editorial assistant for the now defunct[13] Total Sport magazine.[citation needed]

Blue Peter[edit]

Huq is best known for presenting the BBC children’s television programme Blue Peter, which she joined on 1 December 1997.[14][15] One of her most memorable early moments on Blue Peter was visiting Bangladesh, and speaking to members of her extended family whom she had not seen for many years.[14] In the programme’s 2004 “Summer Expedition” to India, Huq became an extra in the Bollywood film Musafir (2004), and practised dancing alongside its stars.[16][17] For the programme’s 2004 “Welcome Home” appeal, she made an emotional visit to Angola hoping to reunite children with their families (from which both had been separated due to war).[18] In 2008, during her last programme, she broke a Guinness World Record by managing to pin 17 Blue Peter Badges onto fellow presenter Andy Akinwolere’s shirt in a minute.[19]

In March 2007 she apologised to viewers after a competition on the programme was faked, saying, “We’d like to say sorry to you because when this mistake happened, we let you down.”[20] She was later reported as saying that this event contributed to her decision to leave the programme.[citation needed]

On 31 May 2007, Huq announced that she would be leaving Blue Peter. On 22 January 2008, Huq hosted her final Blue Peter, with a clip show of her highlights through the ten years she had been on the programme.[21] She is the third longest-serving Blue Peter presenter and its longest-serving female host, having passed Valerie Singleton‘s record on 1 October 2007.[22]

The Xtra Factor[edit]

Huq presented the seventh series of The Xtra Factor on ITV2, replacing Holly Willoughby who was unable to fulfil the role due to her ongoing commitments at This Morning.[23]

Other work[edit]

Between 2002 and 2004, Huq co-presented the CBBC Channel‘s UK Top 40.[24]

In early 2003 Huq was briefly a presenter for Top of the Pops.[25][26] She presented GMTV‘s LK today coverage of New York Fashion Week on the week of 10 September 2007.[26] In June 2007 she was a guest panellist on the comedy gameshow 8 out of 10 Cats.[27]

In December 2007 Huq appeared on a celebrity version of Ready Steady Cook with Blue Peter co-presenter Andy Akinwolere,[28] and played a servant (also called Konnie, last name unknown) on the last episode of the second series of Robin Hood.[29] Also in 2007, she began presenting the ITV1 London show London Talking, a political debate show, alongside Vanessa Feltz and Nick Ferrari.[26]

She has also co-presented some of the weekly Your News programme for BBC News in 2008.[30] On 14 April 2008 Konnie was seen filming at Colchester Zoo for the third series of Channel Five show Zoo Days which was broadcast from June 2008.[31] Also in 2008, Huq presented The Red Bull Air Race with Dougie Anderson for Channel 4.[32]

Huq appeared with her future husband Charlie Brooker in his satirical review programme Screenwipe in December 2008 on BBC Four. Here, she hosted a mock version of a “mission documentary” entitled Konnie’s Great British Wee, in which she claimed to be on a mission to combat paruresis in males.[33] Huq appeared alongside Charles Kennedy on This Week on 18 December 2008.[34] She appeared on the CBBC series M.I.High as herself in the episode “The Big Freeze” broadcast on 22 January 2007.[35][36]

She also played herself in the episode “Golden Lady” of the TV series FM in March 2009.[37]

She presented Guinness World Records Smashed with Steve Jones on Sundays at 6:00 pm on Sky1;[38] she has attempted some records herself including moonwalking and trampolining. On 15 May 2009, Huq began to present entertainment show Hannah-Oke on The Disney Channel with Duncan James.[39]

In December 2009 Huq won the Best Rising Star Screenplay Angel award at the Monaco International Film Festival for the short story Ahmed and Mildred.[40][41] In March 2014 Ahmed and Mildred was selected to receive funding from Film London.[42][43]

In February 2011 she appeared in an episode of the ITV2 documentary programme Under Pressure, where she attempted to learn how to be a rapper. Trailers for the show asked “Will Konnie Huq it up?”[44]

She co-wrote, with husband Charlie Brooker, the second episode of the Channel 4 anthology series Black Mirror, entitled “Fifteen Million Merits“. The episode received positive critical reception.[45]

For two years running Huq has presented the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Live from Stratford upon Avon – a web project aimed at showing theatre productions in schools. In July 2012 the project web-streamed a performance of I Cinna (The Poet). In November 2013 a recording of the Globe Theatre production of Richard II was shown in 3,000 schools. In both cases the performance was followed by a question-and-answer session hosted by Huq.

On 14 October 2014, Huq was one of the speakers celebrating Ada Lovelace Day at the Royal Institution.[46]

On 29 June 2016, Huq hosted VOOM 2016 for Virgin Media Business’.[47][48]

Radio[edit]

On 15 September 2006, Huq became one of the presenters of The Tube with Tony Wilson, Alex James and Emily Rose on Channel 4 Radio[49] working with production company UKoneFM. The first edition was broadcast on 3 November 2006.[50] Huq made her debut as a news presenter on the BBC Asian Network in September 2007,[51] in a series of documentaries on a radio current affairs programme called the Asian Network Report.[5] In 2013, she took part in the Radio 4 series Great Lives, nominating Ada Lovelace.[52]

Olympic Torch incident[edit]

On 6 April 2008, Huq participated in the London leg of the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay on its journey to Beijing, China, as one of eighty torch carriers. When in Ladbroke Grove a protester tried to grab the torch from her whilst Huq was about to give the torch to the next runner. Huq was not hurt in the incident. Police wrestled the protester to the ground and arrested him.[53] She, however, voiced concern over the Chinese torch guards, saying “They were very robotic, very full on, and actually I noticed them having skirmishes with our own police and the Olympic authorities before our leg of the relay”.[54]

On BBC News later that day she defended her decision to carry the torch, saying she “did the procession because I believe in the Olympic values, the ideals, I think sport on a global scale is a brilliant thing, it transcends culture, race, money,” despite what she called China’s “terrible track record when it comes to human rights.”[55]

Charity works[edit]

Huq is currently a celebrity ambassador for the British Red Cross,[56] for which she recorded the video “If I had HIV, would you kiss me?” as part of a campaign against stigmatisation of people living with HIV.[57]

In 2005, Huq took part in BBC One show Comic Relief Does Fame Academy. She was the third contestant to be voted off, after her rendition of Kim Wilde‘s Kids in America.[58][59] She also travelled to Uganda and met orphan children, on behalf of Comic Relief.

In 2008 Huq travelled to Afghanistan with the charity Afghanaid to film a BBC Lifelines appeal, which was aired on 21 September.[60] Huq was an ambassador for Gold Challenge, part of the official mass participation legacy programme for the London 2012 Olympic Games.[61][62]

Personal life[edit]

Huq supported the Labour Party at the 2010 General Election.[63] Her sister, Rupa Huq, was elected as the Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton at the 2015 general election.

On 26 July 2010, Huq married satirist Charlie Brooker at the Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas after a nine-month relationship.[64][65] They have two children: Covey, born 23 March 2012,[64] and Huxley, born 28 February 2014.[66][67]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role
1991 TVFM Presenter
1992 Blockbusters Contestant
2point4 Children Extra
1993 Eat Your Words Main presenter alongside Simon Parkin
1997 The Mag Presenter for Channel 5‘s youth show
Milkshake! Main presenter alongside Lucy Alexander
1997–2008 Blue Peter Main presenter alongside various co-presenters
2002–2004 UK Top 40 Main presenter alongside Adrian Dickson
2005 Comic Relief Does Fame Academy Contestant (out third)
2006 The Tube Main presenter alongside Tony Wilson, Alex James and Emily Rose
2007 The Sarah Jane Adventures Cameo appearance
M.I.High Minor character
8 out of 10 Cats Panellist
New York Fashion Week Main presenter for GMTV coverage
London Talking Main presenter alongside Vanessa Feltz and Nick Ferrari
Robin Hood A servant called Konnie
2008 Al Murray’s Happy Hour Celebrity guest
Your News Main presenter alongside Laura Jones, Manish Bhasin and Adam Parsons
The Weakest Link Contestant on Blue Peter special
UK School Games Main presenter alongside Nigel Clarke
When Beauty Goes Wrong Main presenter
Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe Presenter of the mock documentary in Episode 4 ‘Konnie’s Great British Wee’
Are You Smarter Than A 10 Year Old? Contestant
2008–2009 Zoo Days Presenter of the Colchester edition of the show
2009 Noel’s HQ Reporter
Guinness World Records Smashed Main presenter alongside Steve Jones
Hannah-Oke Main presenter alongside Duncan James
The Wright Stuff Panellist for the Week
The Daily Politics Guest reporter
I’m a Celebrity… Get Me out of Here! NOW! Panellist
Jack Osbourne: Adrenaline Junkie Celebrity participant
2010 The Archive Hour: Open Sesame Guest reporter
The Xtra Factor Main presenter from Series 7
Mind Your Language Main presenter
71 Degrees North Contestant Series 1
This Week Guest reporter
Shocked Britain Main presenter
2011 Lonely Planet Reporter
Would I Lie to You? Guest panellist
Under Pressure Herself
2012 The Real Hustle: Celebrity Chancers Celebrity Hustler
Pointless Celebrities Contestant paired with Angellica Bell
Blockbusters Contestant, paired with Keith Duffy in second game
This Week Guest reporter
2013 Daybreak Guest reporter
A Touch of Cloth Series II As Herself
Great Lives Episode 31: Ada Lovelace
2015 Sky News Sunrise Guest
King of the Nerds Main Presenter
This Morning Guest
Sunday Brunch Guest
Weekend Guest
2016 The One Show Presenter
The Penguin Podcast Podcast interview with James Oswald[68]
2017 The Penguin Podcast Podcast interviews with Tom Fletcher [69], Harriet Harman, [70], Jo Nesbo [71] and Carlo Rovelli [72]
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