Penny Smith began her career as a reporter and feature writer on the Peterborough Evening Telegraph in 1977. After four years, she left to backpack through Central and South America and South East Asia where she reported and presented on a current affairs programme for Radio Television Hong Kong. In 1984 she joined Radio Trent as a reporter/presenter and then worked for Central Television as press officer for documentaries and drama.
On 19 April 1993 began her career on GMTV as the show’s main News Reader, as well as becoming the main presenter of the Reuters News Hour alongside Anne Davies, Matthew Lorenzo and Ross Kelly. In 1994, John Stapleton joined GMTV and then joined Penny Smith as her co-presenter of the Reuters News Hour. In 2000, GMTV rebranded all of their programmes. With the loss of Matt Lorenzo and Ross Kelly, Penny Smith and John Stapleton became the main presenters of the GMTV Newshour, as well as becoming the main News Reader and relief presenter for GMTV Today. During this period Penny Smith was sent to do travelogues in Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Florida and the Greek Islands, and also interviewed many celebrities like Ali G, Elton John, and Robert Pattinson
On 4 June 2010, Penny Smith presented her last show, with John Stapleton presenting from Cumbria, and spoke to her via video link during the last 25 minutes of the show, which was dedicated to Penny Smith. Former co-presenters Matthew Lorenzo and Ross Kelly returned to the sofa alongside Curtis Stigers, who performed a song for Penny Smith. Highlights of her 17 years on the show were shown leading the her final speech: ‘Thank you to all of you, thank you to all of you watching’. But despite saying she would ‘battle on’ with the message, she became too tearful to continue, saying ‘that’s enough’. She also received flowers, a portrait painting of herself from a fan and a giant cake, which featured models of her and Stapleton sat on the sofa.