Caron Keating

Daring 'Blue Peter' presenter with a 'shabby chic' style

In 1986, aged 24, Caron Keating became a presenter of the BBC children's television institution
Blue Peter, and her four years on the show made her a household name.



Caron Louisa Keating, television presenter: born London 5 October 1962; married 1991 Russ Lindsay (two sons); died Sevenoaks, Kent 13 April 2004.



In 1986, aged 24, Caron Keating became a presenter of the BBC children's television institution Blue Peter, and her four years on the show made her a household name.

Her daring escapades for Blue Peter included abseiling down a 200ft building while dressed as Snow White (accompanied by seven dwarfs), diving with sharks and jumping under a freezing waterfall - and she was known for a "shabby chic" fashion style that outraged some of the programme's primmer viewers. Keating said,

There were loads of complaints at first. They thought I spoke funny and looked funnier - but, fresh out of university, I didn't have much money to spend on clothes. Mum bought me a couple of very, very fussy outfits, which she assured me was what I should be wearing. I walked on to the set and mouths just fell open until the producer said, "What on earth have you got on? Just wear what you normally do . . . please?"

Born in Fulham, south-west London, in 1962, Caron Keating was the daughter of the BBC producer Don Keating and the broadcaster Gloria Hunniford, and was just a few months old when the family moved to Northern Ireland. She grew up near Hillsborough in Co Down and, as a teenager, presented programmes for BBC Northern Ireland, such as Green Rock and Channel One, before going to Bristol University, where she gained a degree in English and Drama.

Keating's big break came in 1986 when she was chosen to join the team of Blue Peter presenters. Asked about the programme's enduring appeal, she said,

It is so successful because it caters for all those children who are not desperately trendy. It is such a constant. It has always been there in our living rooms twice a week. And no matter what is happening in a child's life - disasters at school or parents splitting up - their three favourite presenters will be there to say hello to them.

She decided to leave the show in 1990 because she feared being typecast, and followed it by hosting the daytime show Summer Scene (1992) and royal film premieres, as well as teaming up with her mother in two series of Family Affairs (1992-94), about parenting and families. Asked why she had never appeared on screen with her mother before, Keating explained, "Well, there were enough people talking about nepotism. I knew I had to get my jobs on my own terms." Then, she joined ITV in London as entertainment correspondent for its regional news programme, London Tonight (1993-94), and host of After 5 with Caron Keating.

In 1991 Keating married the show-business agent Russ Lindsay, with whom she had two sons, but she experienced post-natal depression, panic attacks and anxiety. The birth of her second son had come only a few days after the sudden death of her father from a heart attack, and, suffering from depression, Keating took a year-long break from television. "Some people get through grief by throwing themselves into their work, but it didn't work for me ," she said. "In a way, it was a wonderful year, albeit for terrible reasons, because it gave me the chance to reassess my life."

Between 1996 and 1999 Keating acted as a stand-in presenter for Judy Finnigan on the ITV daytime show This Morning and, in 1999, she took over from Finnigan on the peak-time consumer programme We Can Work It Out.

Then, still battling ill-health, Keating decided to retreat again from the pressures of show-business life and with her husband and children moved from London to Fowey in Cornwall. The relaxed surroundings seemed to offer new hope. Keating said:

The time of my father's death was awful but it produced a whole new person. I didn't willingly go through that change, I simply had no choice. I thought I had a charmed life before but somebody said to me, "No, I think your charmed life is just beginning." I hope it is.

In 2001, she appeared to have recovered her health and relaunched her career with the celebrity news and gossip series Rich and Famous (2001), which included her interview with George and Alex Best at their home in Co Down, where the football legend talked about his addiction to alcohol.

Two years ago, again forced to abandon her television work, Keating and her husband emigrated to Byron Bay in Australia. She had recently been receiving treatment for breast cancer in Switzerland, but returned to Britain during her final days.

Anthony Hayward

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future