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Fearne Cotton reveals reason she will never return to TV or radio

Fearne Cotton says she will never return to live TV or radio “for any money in the world”, in a candid new interview.

The 42-year-old formerly presented CITV, CBBC, Top of the Pops, Celebrity Juice, and Love Island, before turning to writing self-help books and hosting her chart-topping mental wellbeing podcast, Happy Place.

She opened up about the brutality of the entertainment industry as she likened the work to being in a “pit of lions”.

Cotton said she’d been sacked “a million times”, and twice from TV work in the last ten years.

“I’d get a week down the line and go, ‘I feel ill — I can’t do this.’” she told The Times.

She said her anxiety had escalated into panic attacks, adding said, “I got to the point where I just thought, ‘Why am I doing this to myself? Am I that desperate to be seen or heard?’”

“I’ve learnt that I couldn’t do live radio or TV today for any money in the world,” she said. “The thought of going on to someone else’s platform [with] that level of risk and judgment, and that element of the unknown? My nervous system can’t take it — it’s absolutely shot. Putting myself in that is like putting me in a pit of lions.”

Fearne Cotton attends The Prince's Trust and TKMaxx & Homesense Awards 2024 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Fearne Cotton attends The Prince’s Trust and TKMaxx & Homesense Awards 2024 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (Getty Images)

She added: “All my mental health lows are because of my job. Nothing else. It is not conducive to a balanced mind.”

In addition to the pressure of the work, Cotton also said she fears cancel culture.

She said: “You could do one thing and you’re done, you’re dead. Bye! Everyone’s waiting for you to cock up so they can all point fingers and say that you’ve always been terrible.”

Blaming “tall poppy syndrome” – a theory that posits successful people are more liable to criticism in order to trim them down – she said, “It’s in our culture to try to level people out.”

“We celebrate the new person on the scene, but then as soon as you’re established, people cannot wait for you to f*** up … I also think I’ve had positive feedback from what I’m doing now because I’ve actively chosen to step away from the shiny stuff [TV and radio] — and people like that.”

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As the podcast host releases her 15th book and her first fictional title, Scripted, she revealed she’d been unceremoniously fired from TV jobs on multiple occasions.

“I’ve been sacked a million times,” she said. “I’ve been sacked and not told I’ve been sacked. You just turn the telly on and someone else is doing your job.”

Although she declined to name the shows, she said it had happened twice in the past ten years.

“It’s all a big game. You’ve got the Monopoly board out and you’re moving around [trying to] dodge the danger.”

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