Anneka Rice

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Anneka Rice
Rice at the recording of Challenge Anneka at the Royal Albert Hall, London, 1995
Anne Lucinda Hartley Rice

(1958-10-04) 4 October 1958 (age 61)
OccupationTelevision presenter
Years active1980–1995, 2001–present

Anne Lucinda Hartley Rice (born 4 October 1958),[1][2] known professionally as Anneka Rice, is a Welsh presenter and broadcaster.

Early life and education[edit]

Rice was born in Cowbridge, Glamorganshire, Wales and grew up in Surrey.[3][4] She was educated at three independent schools: Dunrobin School and then St Michael's, - both at Limpsfield, Surrey - and Croydon High School. Rice adopted the name "Anneka" when she joined the British actors' union Equity, as her real name had already been registered with that organisation.[5]



Rice began her broadcasting career as a trainee for the BBC World Service.[6] At the age of 19 she moved to Hong Kong, where she presented the news on English language television station TVB Pearl.[7] She also did English dubbing for kung fu films.[8][9] Upon returning to the UK three years later, she worked as a secretary in the BBC Children's Department.

Rice filming Treasure Hunt at Hatton Locks in 1984

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.[10] Rice left Treasure Hunt when she became pregnant in 1988, being replaced by former tennis player Annabel Croft.[11]

Rice hosted the BBC's Children in Need appeal in 1987 and tested an early version of her next project, Challenge Anneka.[12] This had been devised by Rice herself and was launched in 1989 on BBC One. It ran for a further five years.

Later she also presented Holiday for BBC One. In 1995, Challenge Anneka was axed by the BBC.

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-ageing 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.

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.[13] A further episode was aired on 6 June 2007.

Also in June 2006 Rice co-hosted an ITV 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, Tristan 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.

In 2017, she appeared as a contestant on Richard Osman's House of Games and participated in Channel 4's hunting show Celebrity Hunted for Stand Up to Cancer, where she lasted 9 days and was captured in the third of four episodes broadcast on 24 October.

From September 2019 Rice participated as a celebrity in BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, partnered with Kevin Clifton. She was the second celebrity to be eliminated after the judges chose to save David James and his partner Nadiya Bychkova. [14]


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 Zoe Ball on Radio 2's Weekend Breakfast show, on Saturday mornings from 6 am. She presented her final Saturday morning show on 25 February 2017. From 1 April 2017 Anneka took over the midnight–2 am slot on Saturdays, presenting a show called The Happening which showcases the best of Radio 2 from the previous week. Also, since 2017, she has presented the Christmas Day edition of Junior Choice, following the death of long time host Ed Stewart, the previous year.

Cricket World Cup[edit]

When Outspan agreed to sponsor the England Cricket Team ahead of their campaign in the 1999 Cricket World Cup, Rice was picked as a celebrity to launch the partnership, although she said she found cricket as boring as fishing.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Rice was married to theatre boss Nick Allott, with whom she has two sons. Allott and Rice separated in 1992. She subsequently had a relationship with TV executive Tom Gutteridge; they parted six months after their son was born in 1997.[16] 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.

Rice decided to quit television to spend time with her three children, and spent five years studying painting at Chelsea College of Art.[17] In 2005 she began a relationship with writer Simon Bell.[18]

Television shows[edit]


  1. ^ "Index entry". Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Anne Lucinda Hartley RICE - Personal Appointments (free information from Companies House)". Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "The TV Cream Guide to Television Presenters". Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
  6. ^ "My Life in Media: Anneka Rice". Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Anneka Rice". My Teenage Diary. Season 8. Episode 3. 26 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Anneka Rice".
  9. ^ "My Life In Media: Anneka Rice".
  10. ^ "Rear of the Year". Archived from the original on 7 September 2012.
  11. ^ ""Treasure Hunt" (1983)". Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Challenge Anneka". Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  13. ^ "Anneka set for comeback". Retrieved 7 August 2009.
  14. ^ Pearce, Tilly (6 October 2019). "Strictly Come Dancing Movie Week: Anneka Rice and Kevin Clifton are second eliminated after Kill Bill routine". Metro. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  15. ^ "ICC World Cup, 1999". 2 October 2006. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  16. ^ Cassandra Jardine (26 December 2006). "'Everybody's need but mine'". London, UK. Retrieved 7 August 2009.
  17. ^ "Chelsea Cuttings". Archived from the original on 14 June 2011.
  18. ^ Boshoff, Alison. "New lover gets Anneka smiling again". Daily Mail. London, UK.
  19. ^ "Aspel & Company: Season 3, Episode 10 Episode #3.10 (15 March 1986)". Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  20. ^ "Challenge Anneka (1987–1995)". Retrieved 4 July 2014.

External links[edit]