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Kate Thornton
Background information
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Birthplace Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Death date
Cause of death
alternate names
Occuptation(s) Television presenter, Journalist
Years active 1992–present
Partner(s) Darren Emerson (2004–2011)
Children 1

Kate Thornton is an English journalist and television presenter, best known as the first presenter of The X Factor (2004–2006) and for presenting daytime shows including Loose Women (2009–2011) and This Morning (2009–2012). In 2010, she co-presented the first series of 71 Degrees North alongside Gethin Jones.

Early in her career, she wrote for the Daily Mirror, and was editor of Smash Hits magazine.



Thornton started her career at the Sunday Mirror in 1992 as an editorial assistant. She later became a pop-music columnist for the Daily Mirror. While in this role, Thornton was instrumental in initiating a media controversy concerning the British musical group Pulp. Prior to the release of the band's single "Sorted for E's & Wizz" in 1995, the Daily Mirror printed a front-page story headed "BAN THIS SICK STUNT" alongside a story by Kate Thornton which said the song was "pro-drugs" and called for the single to be banned.[1] The pre-release single had an inlay which Thornton alleged showed how to make an origami 'wrap' or parcel with the intention of "offering teenage fans a DIY guide on hiding illegal drugs".[2] In an interview with music paper NME on the same day, Thornton was quoted to say: "We wanted to see the sleeve pulled and we thought it was a crusade we would take up single-handedly. I think the sleeve is something that will concern our readers, although it may not concern yours." The band agreed to change the artwork, while continuing to assert that Thornton had misinterpreted the meaning of both the sleeve art and the song's lyrics. Lead singer Jarvis Cocker released a statement two days later saying: "...'Sorted' is not a pro-drugs song... Nowhere on the sleeve does it say you are supposed to put drugs in here but I understand the confusion... I wouldn't want anything we do to encourage people to take drugs because they aren't a solution or an answer to anything. I don't think anyone who listens to Sorted would come away thinking it had a pro drugs message. If they did I would say they had misinterpreted it."[3] The Daily Mirror printed his statement, but he was unhappy that the front page article written by Thornton contained the misquote "I don't want the sleeve to get in the way of what the record is saying, which is an anti-drugs message", which he felt over-simplified the song's meaning once again. He also criticised Thornton's decision to contact the father of a victim of an ecstasy-related death for a response.[4] The Daily Mirror campaign continued, publishing their readers' response to a poll to have the song itself banned. The single reached number two on the UK Singles Charts, and the track featured on the band's 1995 album Different Class.[5]

In 1995, she became the youngest ever editor of pop magazine Smash Hits at age 22, producing her first issue in February 1996 covering the breakup of boy-band Take That.[6] She left a year later, having been unable to prevent a further slide in sales of the magazine.[7] In 1997, she became a Features Editor at the Sunday Times, a post she held until 2001, and also a contributing Editor for magazine Marie Claire, in which position she continued until 2003.[8]


Whilst undertaking these new editorial roles, Thornton began a second career in television. In February 1997 Thornton was given her first TV presenting job, on the ITV current affairs programme Straight Up. She was tasked with putting together a photo tribute with music for Princess Diana on the day of her death. In an interview in March 2011, Thornton said: "...because it was a Sunday, the music library was shut and the only thing I had in my car, the only piece of music that was appropriate, was "Candle in the Wind" from Elton John's greatest hits." Colleagues attributed the subsequent airplay and then the re-recording of the song to this event. Thornton is quoted as having been doubtful initially, but later having come to accept the possibility: "I never dared to assume for one minute that I was the link. But Nick Knowles [co-presenter on the show] has convinced me that whatever came as a result of it was all down to me."[9]

Thornton was the first presenter of the UK series of The X Factor. She presented three series of the show from 2004 until 2006 before being replaced by Dermot O'Leary. Thornton later anchored ITV's daytime series Loose Women, in rotation with Andrea McLean. She presented the show from 2009 until 2011. She was replaced by Carol Vorderman.[10]

Thornton was a regular stand-in presenter on This Morning and in 2010, she co-presented the first series of 71 Degrees North alongside Gethin Jones. Neither returned for the second series. In 2010, she narrated The Nation's Favourite Abba Song. Thornton also presented A Night with Will Young in 2011. She guest presented six episodes of Lorraine in 2012.

Thornton also presented Gravity Games for BBC Two, Women: The Naked Truth Honest for Channel 4 and Breasts Uncupped for Sky1.[8]


Thornton has presented a number of programmes for BBC Radio 1 between 2000 and 2009. As well as presenting, Thornton was also the writer of the radio documentary From Band to Brand in 2004, and the creator of the radio series Line of Enquiry, inviting an audience to put questions to a number of celebrities, which began in 2007.[8]

From 10 March until 28 April 2013, Thornton presented The Boots Feel Good Forum, a radio show dedicated to health and fitness, which aired on Real Radio and Smooth Radio.[11]

Since 2014, Thornton has presented Paper Cuts, a radio series for BBC Radio 2. To date, four series have aired with guests including Craig Revel Horwood, Patsy Kensit, Eamonn Holmes and Paul O'Grady who all look back through their lives via their newspaper headlines.

Other work

Thornton launched cashback site, TBSeen in January 2016 [12] along with close friends TV presenters Myleene Klass, Amanda Byram and Denise Van Outen, celebrity chef Lisa Faulkner, actresses Tamzin Outhwaite, Julie Graham and singers Heidi Range and the band All Saints, Nicole Appleton, Natalie Appleton, Mel Blatt and Shaznay Lewis.

Thornton hosted the live Strictly Come Dancing tour in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.

Personal life

Thornton began dating DJ Darren Emerson in 2004.[13] The couple became engaged in 2007. She gave birth to her first child, a boy named Ben on 13 May 2008.[14] On 3 February 2011, she announced live on air that she and Darren had separated.[15] In January 2012 Thornton told an interview with The Sun that after leaving Loose Women she had enrolled at college to study counselling because her television career had "hit the kerb".[16]


Year Title Role
1998–1999 Top of the Pops Presenter
Dishes Presenter
The Power List Presenter
1998–2000 The Kate and Jono Show Co-presenter
Don't Try This at Home Presenter
This Morning Reporter
2000 The TV BAFTAs Presenter
2001–2003 Pop Idol: Extra Presenter
2001 The Brits are Coming Presenter
The Brits: Backstage Presenter
BAFTA Children's Awards Presenter
2001–2002 The Ideal Home Show Presenter
2001–2003 Holiday – You Call the Shots Presenter
2002 Lad's Army Presenter
2004 American Idol Guest
2004–2006 The X Factor Presenter
2005 Celebrity Wrestling Co-presenter
Happy Birthday Elton John Presenter
Greatest Britons Presenter
2008 Countdown to Midnight: Take That Live Presenter
Don't Miss a Trick Presenter
Hello Goodbye Presenter
Elton's New Year's Eve Party Presenter
2009–2011 Loose Women Anchor
2009–2012 This Morning Relief presenter
2010 71 Degrees North Co-presenter
The Nation's Favourite Abba Song Narrator
2011 A Night with Will Young Presenter
2011, 2012 This Morning's Hub Relief presenter
2012 Lorraine Guest presenter
2017– So You Think You Can Sing! Presenter
Year Title Role
2014– Paper Cuts Presenter


  1. "Ban This Sick Stunt". The Daily Mirror. 20 September 1995.
  2. Sleeve art for single 'Sorted for E's and Wizz' at
  3. Response statement by Jarvis Cocker to Daily Mirror story, 22 September 1995 stored at
  4. 'Pulp in Britpop's First Ban' Melody Maker, 30 September 1995
  5. Roberts, David (editor) (2006) [1977]. British Hit Singles & Albums (19th edition). London: HiT Entertainment. p. 442. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  6. Can 'Smash Hits' survive the end of Take That? by Andy Beckett The Independent – Sunday 18 February 1996
  7. About Smash Hits! Smash Hits Pop Channel website
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Kate Thornton CV at Troika Talent PDF file accessed September 2011
  9. Kate Thornton: Single motherhood, guilt and why she worries about Kate Middleton, Interview by Marianne Kavanagh.
  11. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".
  12. Julia Llewellyn Smith. [1]. The Telegraph 2 January 2016.
  13. Melanie Swan. Joy of X. The People. 29 October 2006.
  14. Kate is latest yummy mummy The Sun – 16 May 2008
  15. Kate's break-up revealed on air The Sun – 4 February 2011
  16. Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".

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