Profile: Michael Aspel

Find out more about the suave housewife's choice of the 80s - now debonair presenter of Antiques Roadshow, Michael Aspel...

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AS SEEN ON SCREEN

It feels like Aspel has been on our screens forever - and it's no wonder. His career in telly actually began nearly fifty years ago when he became BBC Wales' first newsreader back in 1957. Born in 1933, this son of a professional soldier completed two years' National Service before working in a department store, laying drainpipes and selling advertising. His showbiz break came as a radio actor for the BBC in Cardiff in 1954, his first role being a villain in a Children's Hour play.

A SPELL ON THE TELLY

Since then, Michael has of course become something of a TV institution- what's more, one who never seems to age. Family Favourites, Crackerjack, Ask Aspel, Give Us A Clue, Miss World, Come Dancing, This Is Your Life have all had the sartorially elegant presenter as their frontman. In the 80s, LWT even snapped him up with an exclusive contract, leading to more work on The 6 O'clock Show and Child's Play and, of course, his own talk show, Aspel and Company.

VALUE FOR MONEY

Now the much-loved host of Antiques Roadshow, having taken over from Hugh Scully, Michael is watched by over 11million aficionados each week! Not bad for a 72 year old - especially one with no real antiques experience. He is, however, partial to pre-Raphaelite paintings, which he describes as wonderful, and glories in Georgian silver. Sadly, he no longer collects after being the victim of a couple of very serious burglaries, and now tends to buy for other people - or "collect vicariously" as he revealed in a recent interview.

ALL IN THE PAST

Things have been getting quite spooky for Michael on the show: he keeps meeting people from his past - and for someone in their 70s, that's quite mad. He recently met somebody in Somerset with whom he'd been evacuated during the War and hadn't seen since he was 11. Other coincidences include meeting a man who had been a guest at Michael's cousin's wedding back in 1948 who had a photograph of them together, and an old army colleague Michael hadn't seen since 1952!

STILL GOING STRONG

Michael also received some not so good news around the end of 2003: that he had Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Michael underwent a course of chemotherapy for it and has been told his condition is not life-threatening. The father-of-seven only discovered the condition during a routine check-up with his doctor and claims he did not feel unwell with it. Since the treatment, Aspel has regular check-ups and remains well.

SILVER FOX

Now an OBE and a member of the Royal Television Society's Hall of Fame, Aspel's clean image appeared momentarily threatened when a documentary aired on BBC3, entitled "Sex, Lies and Michael Aspel"! It was, of course, a spoof and a very funny one at that, which claimed that there was a different man behind the respectable on-screen persona, hiding a dark past of womanising and an almost Godfather-like control over the media. Past girlfriends including Angie Best and Valerie Singleton discussed the magnetic sexual effect he had on women. Meanwhile, Pamela Anderson admitted she'd enjoyed a steamy affair with the silver-haired smoothie - their love-child being former Eastender Daniella Westbrook! Can you imagine...?!