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Maggie Philbin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Maggie Philbin

Maggie Philbin
Philbin in 2009
Margaret Elizabeth Philbin

(1955-06-23) 23 June 1955 (age 65)
Manchester, England[1]
Alma materUniversity of Manchester
OccupationTelevision and radio presenter
(m. 1982; div. 1993)

Margaret Elizabeth Philbin OBE (born 23 June 1955) is an English radio and television presenter whose credits include Tomorrow's World, Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and latterly Bang Goes the Theory.

Early life

As a child, she became interested in science through wanting to become a veterinarian.[2] She grew up in Leicester and went to a girls' Roman Catholic grammar school, Evington Hall Convent School in Evington.[3]

In the sixth-form she studied English, History, French and German, although she says she was also good at Maths and Physics, but not Chemistry.[4]


After studying English and Drama at the University of Manchester, Philbin responded to an advertisement in The Stage and was offered the job of co-presenter on Multi-Coloured Swap Shop.[5] During her time on Swap Shop, with Noel Edmonds and others, she formed the one-hit wonder band Brown Sauce and had a No. 15 hit with "I Wanna Be A Winner" in 1981.

With Tony Blackburn at a Radio 1 Roadshow in the early 1980s
With Tony Blackburn at a Radio 1 Roadshow in the early 1980s

She returned to television on BBC 1's flagship science and technology programme Tomorrow's World, where she stayed for eight years. Since then, she has presented a variety of television and radio programmes, including Hospital Watch, Bodymatters Roadshow, QED, and BBC 2's women's documentary series The Doll’s House. Philbin flew upside down in a Hawker Hunter as part of the Tomorrow's World at Large series, and drove a Top Fuel dragster, earning her International Racing Licence. She decided not to race the car, which then span out of control after a tyre exploded with top driver Dennis Priddle at the wheel.[6]

She has worked as a medical and consumer reporter for ITV1's This Morning and presented film reports for BBC’s current affairs programme 4×4, as well as a series of 20 programmes called Heartland for Channel Health. She has also presented 40 editions of the science programme Wideworld for Five. In October 2003 she spearheaded the BBC's Talking Teenagers project across television and radio. Starting April 2004 she co-presented the BBC Radio Berkshire weekday breakfast show with Jim Cathcart before moving to the Andrew Peach show.[7][8] She reunited with her former Swap Shop colleagues for a special programme celebrating the 30th anniversary of the programme, It Started With Swap Shop, in December 2006.

In 2008 she created TeenTech an interactive science and engineering event for teenagers.[9] In 2010 it was awarded Best Engineering Event in National Science and Engineering Week by the British Science Association.[10] In 2012 HRH Duke of York KG became patron of TeenTech.[11]

Philbin speaking at the Thinking Digital conference in 2013 at the Sage Gateshead
Philbin speaking at the Thinking Digital conference in 2013 at the Sage Gateshead

BBC News announced that she would be their face of technology on television, radio and online from 2007.[12] In December 2011 she took part in BBC Radio 5 Live's first Science Night.[13] She has launched the Helping Hand Campaign, encouraging digital switchover help for the elderly.[14] She is a regular reporter on the BBC One regional programme Inside Out. She writes about technology for BBC WebWise and The Guardian.[15][16]

On 25 July 2010 she featured as guest presenter in episode 3 of the LadyGeek App Show.[17] On 26 March 2012 she featured as guest presenter in Episode 3 of the 6th Series of the BBC TV show Bang Goes the Theory, about mobile phone internet security.[18] From March 2013 she became a full-time presenter of the programme, appearing with co-presenters Liz Bonnin and Jem Stansfield.[19][20]

In November 2013 she was asked to lead the UK Digital Skills Task Force which published an interim report in July 2014.[21][22] On 14 October 2014 she appeared as a witness before the House of Lords Digital Skills Committee.[23]

On 22 November 2018 she and Howard Stableford co-presented Tomorrow's World Live: For One Night Only, a 90-minute special edition broadcast on BBC Four.[24]

Personal life

She married her Swap Shop co-presenter Keith Chegwin in 1982; the couple divorced in 1993.[25] They had a daughter, Rose, named after Rosemary Gill, the Swap Shop editor who gave Philbin a job on the programme.[26]

Honours and other activities

She is a patron of the National Osteoporosis Society and was invited by the IOF to sit on the Women leaders panel in Brussels in 2008.[27] She is also a patron of the Daphne Jackson Trust helping scientists, engineers and technologists return to work after a career break.[28] She was a Lay Council Member of the University of Warwick.[29] In February 2015 she became patron of the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing.[30] She was a board member of the Children's Media Foundation[31] and a panel member of the Haringey STEM Commission.[32]

On 26 August 2009 Philbin featured as a speaker at the London branch of Girl Geek Dinners at their fourth anniversary event. At this event she put forward her support and encouragement for women in the IT sector saying, "It's not about moaning about the negative side of things – tonight is about flagging up the things that really are making a difference for women, and looking at what we can change to make a difference. We are anxious to move forward." [33]

In July 2012 she was awarded the degree Honorary Doctor of Technology by De Montfort University for services to the world of science and technology.[34][35] In November 2012 Princess Anne presented her with the award for Communication and Outreach in the 2012 WISE Women of Outstanding Achievement Awards.[35][36] In 2013 she was given the Promotion of Design Award by the Institution of Engineering Designers.[37] In March 2014 she was elected president of the IED in recognition of her ongoing work to support and promote science, technology and engineering.[37][38] On 3 July 2014 Computer Weekly named her as the 5th most influential woman in UK IT[39] and on 3 December 2014 as the 23rd most influential person in UK IT.[40] In 2015, Philbin was identified as the 4th [41] most influential woman in UK IT 2015, by Computer Weekly. In July 2015 she was made an honorary fellow of Queen Mary University of London.[42] On 9 December 2015 she received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the Earl of Wessex, Chancellor of the University of Bath, at a ceremony held in the city's Assembly Rooms.[43] In the 2016 Digital Leaders 100 Awards she was voted Digital Leader of the Year.[44] In June 2016 she was named as Computer Weekly's most influential woman in its UK IT 2016 award.[45] In July 2016 she was conferred with an honorary doctorate of the University of Huddersfield for services to science broadcasting and technology education.[46] In the 2017 New Year Honours list she was appointed OBE for services to promoting careers in STEM and creative industries.[47][48] In June 2017 she officially opened the 50th Bedford Park Festival. On 10 July 2017 she accepted the honorary degree of Doctor of Technology from Southampton Solent University.[49] On 11 July 2017 she was presented with the AbilityNet Tech4Good Special Award for her contribution to technology.[50] On 12 July 2017 Computer Weekly recognised her lifetime contribution by entering her in their Hall of Fame.[51] On 25 January 2018 the University of Leicester honoured her with a Doctor of Science degree.[52] On 28 January 2019 she was given an honorary degree by the University of Roehampton.[53] On 16 July 2019 she was awarded an honorary fellowship by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.[54]


  1. ^ "Philbin, Margaret Elizabeth, (Maggie)". Who's Who. 2019 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. ^ "Ada Lovelace voted most popular technology heroine". BBC. 25 March 2010.
  3. ^ Philbin, Maggie. "What I learnt at school: Maggie Philbin". Maze Media Ltd. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  4. ^ Philbin, Maggie (18 July 2012). "Dr Philbin will see you now ;-)".
  5. ^ "Classic TV – Swap Shop". BBC. Retrieved 25 May 2006.
  6. ^ "The Jeremy Cookson Collection – page 1". The Acceleration Archive. Retrieved 14 October 2009.
  7. ^ "Maggie Philbin joins BBC Radio Berkshire". BBC Press Office. 8 March 2004.
  8. ^ "Presenter profile: Maggie Philbin". BBC Radio Berkshire. 25 August 2009.
  9. ^ "Maggie Philbin brings science to Reading teenagers". BBC News. 19 March 2010. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  10. ^ "National Science & Engineering Week Event Awards 2010". British Science Association. Archived from the original on 6 September 2010.
  11. ^ "TeenTech Awards at Buckingham Palace". The Duke of York. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Tomorrow's World to return to BBC". BBC News. 5 January 2007. Retrieved 26 July 2009.
  13. ^ "The World Tomorrow". BBC Radio 5 live. 29 December 2011.
  14. ^ "Scheme encourages digital switchover help for elderly". BBC News. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  15. ^ "'WebWise Blog' by Maggie Philbin". BBC WebWise. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  16. ^ "Maggie Philbin – Profile". The Guardian. London. 13 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  17. ^ "Lady Geek TV – Episode 3". 25 July 2010. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011.
  18. ^ "Bang Goes the Theory, Series 6 Episode 3: How Safe Is Your Digital Data?". BBC TV. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  19. ^ "Tomorrow's World presenter Maggie Philbin signed up to host Bang Goes The Theory". The Independent. London. 5 February 2013.
  20. ^ "OU on the BBC: Bang Goes The Theory". Open University. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  21. ^ "Maggie Philbin to lead digital taskforce". BBC News. 12 November 2013.
  22. ^ UK Digital Skills. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  23. ^ "House of Lords Digital Skills Committee". Parliament TV. 14 October 2014.
  24. ^ "Tomorrow's World Live: For One Night Only". BBC Four. 22 November 2018.
  25. ^ Maggie Philbin – Biography. IMDb
  26. ^ Baxter, Biddy; Barnes, Edward (18 March 2011). "Rosemary Gill obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  27. ^ "IOF Women Leaders Roundtable 2008". International Osteoporosis Foundation. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  28. ^ "Trustees and Patrons". Daphne Jackson Trust. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  29. ^ "Biographies of the Members of the University Council". University of Warwick. 1 June 2015. Archived from the original on 18 June 2015.
  30. ^ "Maggie Philbin becomes CPHC patron". Council of Professors and Heads of Computing. 19 February 2015.
  31. ^ "Maggie Philbin joins CMF". Children's Media Foundation. 8 August 2015.
  32. ^ "Meet the Commissioners". Haringey STEM Commission. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  33. ^ Computer Weekly WITSend – 27 August 2009.
  34. ^ "DMU's graduations kick-off in style". De Montfort University. 16 July 2012. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015.
  35. ^ a b "Maggie Philbin – Science Writing Prize judge". Wellcome Trust. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013.
  36. ^ "Inspiration ≫ Maggie Philbin". WISE Campaign. 30 November 2012. Archived from the original on 31 August 2015.
  37. ^ a b "Our new president". Institution of Engineering Designers. 1 September 2014.
  38. ^ "Maggie Philbin is new IED president". Works Management. 12 March 2014. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014.
  39. ^ "Photo gallery: Top 25 Most Influential Women in UK IT 2014 – 5. Maggie Philbin, CEO, Teen Tech". Computer Weekly. 3 July 2014.
  40. ^ "UKtech50 2014 – The most influential people in UK IT". Computer Weekly. 3 December 2014.
  41. ^ "The 50 most influential women in UK IT 2015". Computer Weekly. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  42. ^ "Science communicator Lucy Hawking, east London community media specialists and Tomorrow's World icon awarded at QMUL graduation". Queen Mary University of London. 16 July 2015.
  43. ^ "Honorary Graduates". University of Bath. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  44. ^ Evenstad, Lis (16 June 2016). "Winners of the 2016 Digital Leaders 100 Awards announced". Computer Weekly.
  45. ^ McDonald, Clare (23 June 2016). "Focus on diversity, not gender, says most influential woman in UK IT 2016". Computer Weekly.
  46. ^ "Maggie recounts her big break on TV and her trip to Huddersfield". University of Huddersfield. 18 July 2016. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016.
  47. ^ "New Year honour for TV tech campaigner Maggie Philbin". BBC News. 30 December 2016.
  48. ^ "New Year's Honours 2017 full list" (PDF). 30 December 2016.
  49. ^ "Broadcaster and Teentech CEO awarded honorary degree". Southampton Solent University. 10 July 2017.
  50. ^ "Maggie Philbin OBE honoured with our Special Award and 9 amazing winners are chosen!". Tech4Good Awards. 12 July 2017. Archived from the original on 2 August 2017.
  51. ^ McDonald, Clare (12 July 2017). "Most Influential Women in UK IT 2017: Entrants to the Hall of Fame". Computer Weekly.
  52. ^ "Honorary graduates, January 2018: Maggie Philbin". University of Leicester. 26 January 2018.
  53. ^ "Winter Graduation in Photos | 2019". University of Roehampton. 4 February 2019.
  54. ^ "Maggie Philbin OBE awarded Honorary Fellowship". University of Wales Trinity Saint David. 16 July 2019.

External links

Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
Sir George Cox
President of the Institution of Engineering Designers
Succeeded by
Pete Lomas

This page was last edited on 21 February 2021, at 16:47
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