What happened to CBBC kids' TV presenters – from being fired for cocaine binges & topless photos to animal porn shame

What happened to CBBC kids' TV presenters – from being fired for cocaine binges & topless photos to animal porn shame

WE were watching them on our screens before we were out of nappies and many of the presenters of CBeebies and CBBC, like Phillip Schofield, went on to stellar careers.

But not all the familiar faces from the iconic kids’ shows rose to the dizzy heights of daytime TV.


This week Sarah-Jane Honeywell recreated the topless shot that got her fired from her "dream job" on CBeebies, in 2011.

The mum-of-two, 47, suffered from depression and had suicidal thoughts after posing on a plate of food for a PETA advert and is now running a theatre workshop.

To mark the tenth anniversary of the original picture, she posed topless on her roof, with a view of Lincoln Cathedral behind her, in an Instagram post.

Other stars have also found themselves embroiled in scandal, including a Blue Peter star fired for cocaine binges and a former presenter convicted of animal porn.

But some have gone on to very different careers – including a Tory MP and children's author.

Here's what happened to the stars of hit kids' shows when they entered the adult world.

Katy Ashworth – ‘Child abduction’ case

Katy starred on CBeebies from 2009, demonstrating simple dishes on I Can Cook, while singing cheery songs, as well as being one of the main continuity presenters.

She left in 2016, amid plans to move to Australia with film director Ben Alcott and their son, Charlie, then three.

But Katy became embroiled in a court case, accused of “child abduction” after allegedly discovering Alcott’s affairs with four women and flying home to the UK with her son.

She was cleared of all charges. Now in a new relationship with carpenter Mark Cooper, she welcomed second son Oliver in 2018.

The talented artist now designs cards and paints original family portraits, for sale online.


Esther McVey – Tory politician

Esther’s time on CBBC was brief – she presented a summer holiday show But First This! in 1991.

She went on to present a variety of other TV shows, including GMTV, before branching out into politics, becoming a Tory MP in 2010.

After rising through the ranks to become Minister of State for Employment, she narrowly lost her seat to Labour in 2015 and regained it in 2017.

Her most recent cabinet post was Minister for Housing and Planning, although she was sacked in a reshuffle in 2020.


Stephen Kish – Animal porn charge

Stephen starred the children's show Officially Amazing, which followed attempts to break Guinness World Records.

Known as Sizzling Stephen, he holds 50 records himself including the most toots in 30 seconds of a party horn, the classic toy that unfurls when you blow into it.

But on October, he escaped jail after admitting one charge of possessing animal porn, at Lewes Crown Court.

The 32-year-old, who has run a dog-walking company called Tails of Love Pet Care, had an image that showed "an explicit and realistic" sex act with an animal.

The court heard the image was "grossly offensive, disgusting, or otherwise of an obscene character".

Judge David Rennie told him: "You used to have your own slot on TV and yours was a familiar face on CBBC for a number of years.

"This has been taken away from you and you may never get it back.

"What a dramatic and, I have to say, self inflicted downfall."


Mark Speight – Tragic death at 42

A talented artist, Mark presented the art programme SMart for 14 years, from 1994.

But in January 2008, the presenter woke to find girlfriend Natasha Collins dead in bed in their West London flat, after a night of drinking and taking cocaine.

Arrested on suspicion of murder and supplying Class A drugs, the 42-year-old was cleared of all charges after the inquest recorded “death by misadventure.

But in April 2008, he tragically took his own life and his body was found by railway workers at Paddington station.


Richard Bacon – Sacked over cocaine binge

Presenter Richard joined Blue Peter in 1997 but was sacked after 18 months when pictures of him taking cocaine at a party emerged.

But he went on to rebuild his career with slots on The Big Breakfast, and Back To Reality, as well as guest hosting on This Morning and, more recently, Good Morning Britain.

In 2018, he came close to death after contracting a double lung infection.

He became ill on a flight from the US and was put in an induced coma after he failed to respond to treatment for pneumonia.

Now 45, he lives in Los Angeles and spends more time behind the cameras, after signing a multi-million dollar deal to create TV formats.

He recently produced the Stacey Dooley hit This Is My House in the UK.


Kirsten O'Brien – Stand up comedian

Kirsten joined the CBBC presenting team in 1996, before moving on to present the trademark art and crafts show SMart in 1999, leaving the show after the death of co-presenter Mark Speight.

In 2007, Kirsten launched her stand up show – Confessions of Children’s Presenter – at the Edinburgh fringe and later toured with it.

Now a mum-of-three, the 48-year-old works as presenter and newsreader for the Andrew Peach Breakfast show on BBC Radio Berkshire, and has also contributed reports for The One Show.


Simon Parkin – Weatherman

An occupant of the Broom Cupboard for five years, from 1987, Simon left for GMTV before moving into radio.

Years later, he surprised viewers by popping up as a weatherman on ITV Meridian – despite knowing nothing about meteorology.

"I went to Bristol for a meeting, audition and screen test and was surprised to be told, 'Oh, you don't need to know any of the science, don't worry about the actual weather!'" he said.


Andrew Hayden Smith – Hollyoaks actor

After becoming a child star in Byker Grove, alongside Ant and Dec, Andrew moved over into presenting on CBBC in 2002 hosting UK Top 40 for the CBBC channel for four years.

Andrew then went back to acting, playing Jake Simmonds in Doctor Who in 2006 and landing roles in Russell T. Davies dramas Banana and Cucumber.

In 2016, he joined the cast of Hollyoaks as DS Armstrong and is currently a continuity announcer on ITV and ITV2.


Sue Monroe – Children's author

Sue was one of the original CBeebies presenters, alongside Chris Jarvis, Sidney Sloane and Pui Fan Lee, from February 2002.

She went on to present Wakey, Wakey on GMTV before turning her hand to writing children’s books.

Her books, including The Magnificent Moon Hare, have been translated into five languages and Sue now owns a children's shop called P.J and The Hare in Cuckfield West Sussex.


Dick and Dom – Cruise DJs

The comedy duo – real names Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood – hosted their own Saturday morning show for CBBC, Dick And Dom In Da Bungalow, from 2002 to 2006.

They also served as presenters, both solo and as a duo, for the CBBC strand on BBC One.


They moved on to a CBBC sitcom Diddy TV and recently launched a podcast, the Dick and Dom Debate.

Have also been working as a DJ act – Dick Vs Dom – performing at music festivals, students unions and cruise ships.

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