Biography - Television
Trisha Goddard – Broadcaster
Trisha Goddard was a television unknown to British viewers when she arrived at Anglia in September 1998 to become ITV’s new Queen of Chat. She was immediately plunged into a hectic round of studio recordings for the five-days-a-week Trisha show. For the first few weeks, her feet hardly touched the ground. But the public took her to their hearts and her show has been a ratings winner from the outset.
Despite her anonymity in Britain, Trisha was ideally qualified for her new role. She had lived and worked in Australia for 13 years as a TV reporter/presenter and government advisor on mental health.
She is also trained in Conflict Resolution, a distinct asset when dealing with guests on her show who were at loggerheads. She had more than her share of personal problems in Australia - two broken marriages, a seriously ill baby, and her sister’s suicide all of which culminated in Trisha herself suffering a nervous breakdown.
Born, the eldest of four girls, Trisha was in London in December 1957 and spent a few months of her childhood in Norfolk. Her (step) father, a psychiatric nurse, came from Narborough, near Swaffham. She went to a school in Heacham and still has family in the county. She was brought up and educated in Tanzania, East Africa and Surrey. In her teens she attended grammar school in Chertsey, Surrey, passing 10 O levels. But she quit sixth form to play keyboards with a girl band called Eve on a tour of Germany. Eventually, the band split up and Trisha returned to England.
By now she had the travel bug and worked for Gulf Air as a stewardess for five years, based in Bahrain. In 1985 she emigrated to Australia with her new husband, Robert – whom she met on a plane and who became Australia's head of UNICEF, the United Nations children’s Organisation. But the marriage lasted just a few months. Trisha subsequently discovered – but only after his death some years later – that Robert had died of Aids.
By that time she had a new partner, Mark, and a baby daughter. She took an Aids test and faced an agonising wait until the family was given the all clear.
Trisha first worked in Public Relations in Australia. Shortly after, her television career took off. as a guest presenter for Channel Ten’s children’s show, Off the Dish. She then when on to become a news and current affairs reporter for SBS TV in 1986 and in the following year became a popular presenter with Australia’s Play School for ten years. During this time, she also landed the prestigious job of presenter on ABC’s primetime current affairs programme, 7.30 Report - so becoming the first black anchorwoman on Australian TV.
Trisha left the 7.30 Report to establish and present the prime time show Everybody and soon afterwards started of her own production company, devising, producing and presenting over 400 programmes. For years she led a hectic, high-profile celebrity life. But personal heartache seemed to shadow her.
In 1988, her youngest sister, Linda, who had suffered from schizophrenia for eight years, committed suicide in England leaving Trisha and the rest of her family devastated.
However, she was determined that her sister’s struggle and subsequent death would not be in vain. Trisha became a Mental Health activist, wanting to get better services for Australian people with mental illness. As a result the Australian Government made her chair of arguably the most powerful Mental Health Body: The National Consumer Advisory Group on Mental Health. Over the next 10 years in this role, she was to instigate and chair many high profile National projects.
The birth of Trisha’s second daughter Madison was followed by more heartache. The baby developed a life-threatening respiratory illness. Then Trisha learned that Mark - by now her husband - had been having an affair with one of the researchers in her production company. Madi, thankfully, made a full recovery. But, Trisha kicked Mark out of her life and threw herself into her work.
The strain caught up with her, however, and she spent a month in a psychiatric hospital. During the long recovery period that followed she had to give up most of her TV work to concentrate on looking after her daughters, and her mental health.
"I learned to be a mother," she said. Through her work in mental health, she met and fell in love with Peter Gianfrancesco, a renowned and respected Mental Health Specialist. And her resolution to remain a single mum was broken in January 1998 when they married.
Seven months later, Trisha got the call from Anglia Television and the chance for her, Peter, and daughters Billie and Madi to start a new life in Britain. Trisha left the final decision to Peter. He said ‘Go for it’, even though it meant him giving up his own high profile career in Australia. Nowadays, the family is happily settled in Norwich. Billie is 22, and Madi 18.
"I had my last session of therapy the morning I got on the flight to England," said Trisha. "I’ve never known so much happiness as I have now, but I continue to have to work at keeping myself mentally healthy."
At the height of her fame in Australia, Trisha admits she had become "a career driven monster". Now, she says, she has a built-in safety valve. "My husband and children tell me when I’m overdoing it."
When it comes to tales of her own life, Trisha is every bit the raconteur she expected her guests to be.
She also presented Home for Christmas on Boxing Day 1999 – an ITV special in which she reunited long lost friends and families. In June 2000 she presented Celebrity Heartbreak an hour-long prime time programme for ITV in which celebrities including George Best, Coleen Nolan and Patsy Palmer revealed how they coped with very public breakups.
In late 2004 Trisha left ITV to set up her own production company Town House TV which made her daily talk show for Five - Trisha Goddard which launched in January 2005.
Despite being diagnosed with breast cancer early in 2008 Trisha continued filming and keeping up with her other work commitments throughout chemotherapy and radiotherapy and was given the all clear in March 09.
Along with Dr Terri Van-Leeson, her husband, Peter Gianfrancesco & her two daughters, Trisha is co-author of Parenting manual "The Family Survival Guide'.
She wrote her autobiography ‘As I am’ which was published in 08 in which she made the discovery that her Dad was not actually her biological father.
A trained journalist, for almost ten years, Trisha wrote a weekly column for the Easter Daily press magazine.
For 18 months from 2008 she also presented a two hour talk based Liverpool radio show for City Talk FM where she interviews a diverse range of people from celebrities to survivors, authors to the outspoken, burlesque dancers to the broken hearted.
She has presented the RTS programme awards and chaired the RTS workshop on Diversity in Television. She has presented Britain’s Psychic Challenge for Five made by her own TV Company Town House TV and a prime time series called Families at War. With a great sense of humour Trisha also has enjoyed other TV appearances such as hosting The Friday Night Project, and taking part in '8 Out of 10 Cats' , 'Celebrity Ding Dong' and 'Have I got News For You' among others.
In March 2012 NBC announced the launch of a new “Trisha” show in USA. The new talk show has been sold to station groups representing more than 80% of the US market! Filming is due to commence in Stamford, CT in September 2012.
Trisha is actively involved in a number of charities including being Patron of both Norwich Home-Start and Norwich Mind. Trisha has recently become a Licensed NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Practitioner and a MIND Mental Health First Aider.
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