In September 1998, Fiona Bruce became the presenter for BBC Two’s Antiques Show, which was in its fourth series. She presented it for a further two series, showing her interest in presenting antiques programmes nearly a decade before presenting the Antiques Roadshow.
On 22 June 2007 it was announced that Fiona Bruce was to replace the retiring Michael Aspel as presenter of Antiques Roadshow in Spring 2008. She appeared in a tongue-in-cheek BBC HD advert in 2008, featuring the show (which is one of the BBC’s main programs on its HD service), where she drove a car through a wall, before running towards a falling vase; the car explodes as she jumps to save the vase from crashing.
In 2007, Fiona Bruce wrote and presented a BBC documentary about Cherie Blair as Tony Blair left office.
Fiona Bruce also occasionally presented special editions of The Money Programme. In one, she profiled the entrepreneur, Lord Alan Sugar. She said of the experience: “It was a bit like being in front of a hair dryer at very close quarters. He’s not backwards in coming forward in his opinions.” During the documentary, Fiona Bruce who has always publicly identified herself as a feminist challenged Sugar’s view that women should openly disclose their childcare commitments to a potential employer. Her belief was that if men were not required to declare their ability to meet the demands of their job, it wasn’t right that women should do so.
Fiona Bruce was featured in an episode of Top Gear (series 10, episode 3), sharing a lift with one of its presenters, Jeremy Clarkson and then having to push him out (as he was stuck in a Peel P50, which has no reverse gear). As she walked away, Clarkson commented, without her knowledge until the programme was aired, “She has got quite a nice bottom… I said that out loud, didn’t I?” Fiona Bruce returned to Top Gear in the next series (series 11, episode 4), alongside fellow newsreader Kate Silverton, for the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car feature. As a riposte for the “nice bottom” comment, she slapped Jeremy’s and declared that it “needs a bit of work”. Since then, she has also occasionally stood in for a holidaying Clarkson in his Sunday Times car review column, which she referred to as the ultimate revenge; “perching my bottom nice or otherwise on his patch.”
A less serious side of Fiona Bruce is also displayed each year on the BBC’s Children in Need telethon, in the regular section where newsreaders break out from behind their desks to take part in a song and dance number. Having a better singing voice than most of her colleagues, her turn in the 2007 performance, as Velma Kelly with a rendition of “All That Jazz” so impressed the makers of the revival production of Chicago that they invited her to the London performance of the 10th anniversary gala, where she appeared on stage in a parade of Velmas.
In 2010, Victoria: A Royal Love Story is a BBC documentary written and presented by Fiona Bruce charting the story of one of history’s great royal love affairs between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and in the twenty years they spent together they gave each other a dazzling collection of paintings, sculptures, and jewellery that shows a new and passionate side of the royal couple.
Since 2011, Fiona Bruce has co-hosted the BBC television series Fake or Fortune? alongside Philip Mould. The show looks at the process of using modern techniques to establish the authenticity of works of art which have divided opinion amongst art experts.
In 2011, Fiona Bruce wrote and presented The Queen’s Palaces, a BBC documentary broken into in three parts and telling the story of the Queen’s three official residences, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and Holyrood Palace which are amongst the few working royal palaces in the world today. In 2012, Fiona Bruce wrote and presented a BBC documentary about Leonardo da Vinci. In 2015, Fiona Bruce began presenting the BBC Four quiz programme Hive Minds.
She’s undeniably beautiful, and she never seems to look older!
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