Book Anneka Rice
After Dinner Speaker & Event Host
Anneka Rice is a much loved TV star, who has appeared on many shows but is best known for her TV show “Challenge Anneka”. She is available to hire for corporate entertainment.
Anneka started her career at the BBC working for The World Service on “The World Today” and “Twenty-Four Hours”. Aged 19, after two years of production experience, she bought a one-way ticket to Hong Kong where she spent the next three years working for a public relations agency, presenting the evening news on TVB Pearl and dubbing kung-fu movies at Sir Run Run Shaw’s studios each night. She produced a successful book, “A Children’s Guide to Hong Kong” and also a weekly motoring show for RTHK called “Wheelbase”. She also worked as a fittings model for various jeans’ manufacturers and appeared in many commercials. Her work took her all over Asia.
By the time she returned to the UK with five years of broadcasting experience under her belt she was still only 22. She shot to fame in this country as the Sky-Runner in Channel 4’s “Treasure Hunt”, still Channel 4s highest rated programme. This firmly established her as Britain’s Action Girl and during the 80s and 90s she was rarely off the TV screen. She presented “Sporting Chance”, “TVAM”, “Driving Force”, “Wish You Were Here”, “Capital Woman”, “Combat”, “Holiday”, “The Royal Variety Performance” and numerous other shows. Before “health and safety” had been invented, she jumped out of planes, landed helicopters on submarines, pot-holed in treacherous conditions, climbed mountains and generally risked life and limb on a weekly basis.
On the Action Girl theme, she produced a series of books and videos called The Adventure Series, she brought out a range of jumpsuits and she was immortalized in Madame Tussauds, hanging from a rope ladder in the foyer.
She went on to devise the award-winning “Challenge Anneka” for BBC-l. Each week the Challenge team took on a seemingly impossible task which had to be completed entirely with the help of volunteers and donated materials and supplies. The projects included the renovation of a Romanian orphanage, the equipping of a refugee camp in Malawi, the rescuing of lions and chimpanzees, and the building of bridges, soup kitchens, holiday camps for disadvantages youngsters, centres for the disabled, the list goes on. The Challenge programme raised millions of pounds worth of supplies and services for charities and communities and has left an amazing legacy around the world. The format has been sold on to many other territories and Anneka is still closely involved with many of the projects. The Romanian Challenge Appeal, the charity set up after the Challenge in Siret, recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary.
In 1995, after completing 61 Challenges all over the world, Anneka decided to change her life completely and took an extended sabbatical to raise her children and study at Chelsea College of Art. During this time she totally dropped out of public life and concentrated on her painting.
More recently she developed the “Challenge” format for ABC in America with Erin Brockavich taking on her role. She is now with a Los Angeles production company to bring the programme to Hollywood. She has also filmed two “Challenge” specials. To mark the second anniversary of the Tsunami she returned to Sri Lanka with a team of builders and survivors from the disaster to help rebuild a shattered community. She also produced a CD called “Over the Rainbow” for the Children’s Hospice Association which went straight to number one the day after transmission and helped raise much needed funds for the charity.
She played her first drama role in the BBC drama “ Absolute Power” with Stephen Fry. In the last few years she has dipped into projects. She recently went to the Arctic to investigate global warming and the plight of the polar bears for an ITV special. She has also appeared on “QI”, “The Graham Norton Show”, “Hell’s Kitchen”, “Come Dine With Me”, “Blockbuster” and “Comic Relief”. Recent series include “Home Is Where The Heart Is” for ITV and “The Flower Pot Gang for BBC, which involved Anneka, Phil Tufnell and Joes Swift transforming neglected plots of land into life changing spaces. Recent painting projects include “Rolf Paints the Diamond Jubilee”, where Rolf and Anneka encouraged artists to commemorate the Jubilee with paintings depicting the six decades of the Queen’s reign. Anneka was also one of the reported for the “Jubilee Pageant”. Along with several artists, she battled against the elements to paint the procession from the Millenium Bridge.
Her theatre work includes a successful tour of “The Vagina Monologues” and many pantomimes. Her radio work includes “The Waiting Game” for Radio 4, a nine-part series on pregnancy, “Start the Week” and “Loose Ends” and she played herself in “The Archers” when the residents of Ambridge challenged Anneka to renovate their village hall. She has also been a regular stand-in on Radio 2. She presented “In The Life Drawing Class” for Radio 4 last Christmas.
She is a regular contributor to The Mail on Sunday’s travel section and also writes on health issues. Last year she was a judge for Costa Book Awards. She continues to paint and sells her work.
On Saturday mornings Anneka can be heard on the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show between 6am-8am.
Her most recent TV project was a documentary – “Home Is Where The Heart Is”, which involved Anneka helping a young homeless girl. Bridgette came to stay in her family home for two weeks and Anneka has been mentoring her ever since. Bridgette is now completely out of the welfare system, she has a great new job and leading an independent adult life. Anneka has put together a team of amazing people – Team Bridgette – and together they provide Bridgette with help and advice, and emotional support on a daily basis. The team system of providing an instant “family” for a young person has proved such a success that Anneka hopes to roll it out across the country.
Anneka filmed a commercial for Seriously Good Curry Sauces in aid of Comic Relief.
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