Ulrika Jonsson: TV became trashy, I didn't want to be a part of it

The former TV regular has also said that she used to be “too skinny” but that she has gained weight now.

Ulrika Jonsson has said she took a step away from presenting because the quality of TV was dipping with “trashy shows” and that “everyone on social media” thought they could do her job.

The presenter – a fixture of 1990s and 2000s TV with programmes such as TV-am, Gladiators, Shooting Stars and Celebrity Big Brother under her belt – said that the change in the TV landscape in recent years is the reason she decided to be a stay-at-home mother.

Jonsson, 50, told Hello! magazine: “I didn’t understand it any more and wasn’t sure I wanted to be part of it.

Ulrika Jonsson
Ulrika Jonsson with her three youngest children (Hello magazine/PA)

“I’m old school and had trained to be a presenter, but suddenly everyone on social media thought they could perform that role too. 

“There were also so many commercial TV channels and more trashy shows.”

Jonsson said that, although she loves to watch such programmes, she “didn’t want to be a part of them”.

“At a time when I was eager to make documentaries on travel, cooking and serious human interest issues, it felt like quality on every level was being watered down,” she said.

After a time away from the small screen, Jonsson – who has four children between the ages of nine and 23 – is back as a participant in BBC One’s Celebrity MasterChef, a challenge she took on due to her recent landmark birthday.

Ulrika Jonsson (BBC).
Ulrika Jonsson on Celebrity MasterChef (BBC)

She said: “As my 50th loomed, I had this feeling that if I didn’t go on MasterChef now, I probably never would.

“After a break of many years from TV, it seemed like the right time and place to dip back into it.”

Jonsson said she also wanted to introduce a “Swedish flavour to the mix”, and that she wanted to prove there is more to her home nation’s cuisine than “Ikea meatballs”.

Jonsson said she is ageing gracefully and without the help of things like “coconut water” or “yoga and Pilates”, and that she does not belong to the group of women who “do a lot of things to their faces”.

Ulrika Jonsson
Ulrika Jonsson (Michael Stephens/PA)

“If anything I’ve put weight on; my cheeks look like balloons,” she said.

Jonsson said she was “too skinny” previously as she struggled to eat while suffering from agonising back back pain caused by a degenerative disc condition.

“Some people assumed I had an eating disorder but nothing can have been further from the truth,” she said.

“Now I manage the pain and love my food.”

:: The full interview is in Hello! magazine, on sale now.

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