Fred is a much-loved British television presenter
, best known for his work on ITV
and How 2
. Along with Jack Hargreaves
on How, and on How 2, Carol Vorderman
and Gareth Jones
(aka Gaz Top
), he educated children with a mix of bizarre facts and improbable demonstrations.
Fred has a calming avuncular presence, lacking the forced enthusiasm and carefully cultivated eccentricities of many of his colleagues in children's television. He is also known for his careful "combover" hairstyle, in which hair grown long at the side is used to mask baldness up top (think Zero Mostel in The Producers).
He was born in Portsmouth in the south of England. Like Richard Whiteley and many other presenters of his generation, Fred gained much of his early broadcasting experience presenting local news. In the 1970s he presented Southern Television's teatime bulletin Day By Day, covering the south coast of England, and when Southern lost its broadcasting licence, he also fronted the replacement Coast To Coast for TVS. And when TVS lost out in the next round of franchise auctions, Fred slipped over to new broadcasters Meridian.
He branched out into gameshows with Pass The Buck for the BBC, but proved ill-at-ease: his chummy amiability was at odds with the fast-paced, cutthroat nature of the quiz, and he was replaced by the less empathetic Eamonn Holmes. Because of his local television work, he is a popular celebrity in the south of England, particularly associated with Southampton and Portsmouth. He has presented videos on the area, and works for nearby charities such as the Countryside Education Trust.
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