A graduate from Oxford, Esther Rantzen’s career in broadcasting began with BBC Radio as a sound effects assistant. From there she moved into television as a researcher/reporter for Braden’s Week and then in 1973 as producer/presenter of That’s Life, which ran for 21 years on BBC Television. Esther has made a number of pioneering programmes on subjects such as British women’s experience of childbirth, stillbirth, mental health and child abuse. In 1986 she invented the concept of ChildLine and chaired the charity for 20 years.
After the merger of ChildLine with the NSPCC in February 2006, Esther became president of ChildLine and a trustee of the NSPCC. She contributes regularly to the Daily Mail and other publications, and lectures on children’s issues, broadcasting and is the only trustee so far to have appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, been in ITV’s Australian jungle and appeared on Question Time while standing as an independent candidate for Luton South. She received an OBE for services to broadcasting, and a CBE for services to children. For her work in broadcasting and for children she has been awarded 5 honorary doctorates, and is a Patron of 19 charities. She is currently creating a new helpline for older people, The Silver Line Helpline.
In 2011 she published “Running Out of Tears” to celebrate ChildLine’s 25th Anniversary.