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Reggie Yates

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Reggie Yates
Yates in 2009
Reginald Yates[1]

(1983-05-31) 31 May 1983 (age 41)[2]
London, England
Occupation(s)Writer, director, documentary filmmaker, actor, television presenter, DJ

Reginald Yates (born 31 May 1983) is a British television presenter, actor, writer and director with a career spanning three decades on screen as an actor, television presenter and radio DJ. Yates played Leo Jones in Doctor Who and has worked at the BBC in radio and television–presenting various shows for BBC Radio 1 for a decade as well as hosting the BBC One singing show The Voice UK, hosting the first two series with Holly Willoughby.

Yates co-presented the prime-time BBC One game show Prized Apart, alongside Emma Willis, The ITV2 reality show Release the Hounds from 2013 until 2017 and was also the presenter of the BBC Three documentary series Reggie Yates' Extreme Russia, Extreme South Africa and Extreme UK as well as featuring as lead voice actor for the CBeebies animated cartoon series Rastamouse.[3]

In 2021, Yates released his first feature film as writer/director, Pirates.

Early life


Yates' parents, Felicia Asante and Reginald "Jojo" Yates,[4] were both born in Ghana;[4][5] however, his paternal grandfather Harry was the son of an English accountant, George Yates, who worked in the gold mining industry. Harry Yates' mother Dorothy was also a member of Ghana's Euro-African community: her father was a British colonial administrator, Augustus George Lloyd, while her mother Sarah was an ethnic Fante, who worked as a farmer and trader in Dixcove, Ghana.[6]

Yates grew up in North London, where he attended Central Foundation Boys' School in Cowper Street, Islington.


Yates in August 2011

Yates made his first television appearance in Desmond's at the age of eight. He also appeared in Disney Club, as Robbie.[7] In 1998, Yates appeared as a guest presenter on Diggit on CITV also under the name Robbie. In 2002, he played Carl Fenton in the popular children's series Grange Hill. From 2002 to 2004, he presented the Sunday morning programme Smile, and then went on to present Top of the Pops with former Smile co-host Fearne Cotton before the final episode broadcast on BBC Two on 30 July 2006. He also created and starred in the series The Crust and presented Dance Factory and his own radio show on BBC Radio 1.

In 2005, Yates appeared in the BBC singing contest Comic Relief Does Fame Academy in aid of Comic Relief, finishing in fourth place. On the show, his songs included "Boombastic", "You're The First, The Last, My Everything", "It Ain't Over Til It's Over", "U Can't Touch This" and "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)". He also sang a duet, "It Takes Two", with Edith Bowman, the eventual winner of the show. He dyed his hair red for his performance of "Dancing on the Ceiling".

On 10 March 2006, Yates appeared on Stars in Fast Cars and won his heat to get into the final, beating Elton Welsby and Ben Fogle in the last round.

Yates presented Mighty Truck of Stuff and Only in America with Fearne Cotton on CBBC as well as a programme on BBC Radio 1. They presented a breakfast show on Saturday and Sunday mornings, taking over from JK and Joel. They played from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 am. The duo then went on to present The Radio 1 Chart Show starting on 14 October 2007 until Sunday 20 September 2009. Cotton left following her promotion to weekday mornings on Radio 1 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:45 pm, leaving Yates to present on his own.[8]

In addition to the chart show, Yates also presented a request show on Saturday afternoons, known as The Radio 1 Request Show, where listeners could send in a text or phone in to request a song. In April 2012, it was announced that Yates would finish the request show and continue with only The Official Chart. He announced in November 2012 that he would leave BBC Radio 1, and his last show aired on 23 December that year.

In 2006, Yates appeared on a Reality TV Special of The Weakest Link and was voted off in the fourth round.

In 2007, Yates appeared in the third series of revived science-fiction series Doctor Who as Leo Jones, brother of the Tenth Doctor's companion Martha.[9]

Yates also presented series 1 of Escape from Scorpion Island with co-presenter Caroline Flack on BBC 1 between 3 and 21 September 2007.[10]

He also appeared on Dizzee Rascal's 2007 single "Flex" music video as one of the judges in a parody TV show called "Flex Factor".[11]

Yates co-hosted the MOBO Awards 2009 with Keri Hilson at the SECC, Glasgow. He has also presented live coverage of the Glastonbury, Reading and T in the Park music festivals for BBC Three, and interviewed stars such as Estelle and 50 Cent for MTV specials. Yates made a cameo appearance in Jack Osbourne's Celebrity Adrenaline Junkie.

Yates appeared in a special Family Guy episode on BBC Three, counting down the top 20 characters of the show as part of a special Family Guy weekend.

In 2011, Yates voiced the main character, Rastamouse, in the CBeebies television show Rastamouse. In March 2011, he appeared with Lenny Henry, Angela Rippon, and Samantha Womack in the BBC fundraising documentary for Comic Relief called Rich, Famous and in the Slums, where the four celebrities were sent to Kibera in Kenya, Africa's largest slum.[12] In October 2011, Yates starred in Arjun Rose's UK slasher Demons Never Die as Officer Mason.

In 2012, as part of BBC Three's Criminal Britain Season, Yates explored the culture of fear, anger and violence that drives the dangerous world of teen gangs. The show, Reggie Yates: Teen Gangs, involved him speaking to current and former gang members to find out why and how teens get into gangs.

In 2012 and 2013, Yates hosted the BBC One singing show The Voice UK, hosting the first two series with Holly Willoughby. They were replaced by Emma Willis and Marvin Humes in 2013.

2013 saw Yates travel to South Africa to shoot a series, Reggie Yates' Extreme South Africa: White Slums, which aired in Spring 2014 on BBC Three. It was successful enough for Yates to return with Reggie Yates' Extreme Russia in April 2015 for BBC Three.[13]

In 2013, his first short film Patriarch aired on Channel 4 as part of their "Random Acts" season and he has just completed his second short called Date Night, starring Daniel Kaluuya and Tony Way, which won "Best UK Short Film" at the London Independent Film Festival. Yates hosted the ITV2 programme Release the Hounds from 2013 until 2017. He was replaced by Matt Edmondson in 2017.[14]

Yates appeared in an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, first aired on 25 September 2014,[15] for which he travelled to Ghana to trace his family history.[16]

Yates, along with Emma Willis presented the Saturday-night game show Prized Apart on BBC One in 2015.[17] The show was axed shortly after.

In 2016, Yates was awarded Best Presenter for his critically acclaimed series Extreme Russia at the Royal Television Society Awards[18] and Best Multi-channel Programme at the Broadcast Awards.[19]

Continuing his documentarian journey, in 2016 Yates's BBC Three series The Insider saw the presenter spend time behind bars in Texas and join Unit 27 of the 56th Infantry Battalion in Acapulco to live the life of an ordinary soldier fighting on the front line of the brutal war against the country's powerful and violent drug cartels.

In 2018, Yates was the themed category judge for Koestler Trust's I'm Still Here at the Southbank Centre, London, an exhibition of art works by prisoners, detainees and ex-offenders. The theme was 'connections'.[20] Yates has also been listed in the Powerlist, as one of the most influential people in the UK from African/African-Caribbean descent, most recently making the 2019, 2020 and 2021 editions.[21]

In 2020, Yates' television film Make Me Famous premiered on BBC Three.[22][23][24][25][26]

In 2021, Yates's debut directorial feature film, Pirates, was released. The film, a comedy-drama set in 1990s London,[27] received largely favourable reviews from critics.[28]



In 2017, the BBC was forced to apologise for a Yates (and independent production company, Sundog Pictures) piece on Australia's Indigenous communities called Hidden Australia: Black in the Outback,[29] filmed in Wilcannia, New South Wales.[30] The Aboriginal people Yates interviewed and filmed for the documentary said they were misled by Yates and the production crew. They accused Yates of portraying them in a negative light, after Yates had promised them the story would be fair.[31]

In November 2017, Yates stated on a podcast: "The thing that makes it great about this new generation of artists is that they ain't signing to majors. They're independent, they're not managed by some random fat Jewish guy from north west London, they're managed by their brethren".[32] His remarks were condemned by the Community Security Trust's Dave Rich who said: "Even worse than any offence is the message Yates gives his audience by reinforcing an anti-Semitic stereotype". Yates was "hugely apologetic" for his comment.[32][33] Following his comments, he stood down from presenting the 2017 festive special editions of Top of the Pops.[34]

In 2019, when filming for his MTV television series Reggie Yates vs The World in Derry, Northern Ireland, it was claimed that tensions on the street were stoked by dissident Republicans "for the benefit of the film crew", resulting in a riot during which Lyra McKee was murdered.[35][36][37][38] Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy of the Police Service of Northern Ireland said that those claims were untrue.[39]




  • Top of the Pops (BBC One; 2004–2016) – Co-presenter, with Fearne Cotton
  • Mighty Truck of Stuff (CBBC Channel; 2005) – Presenter
  • Only in America (CBBC Channel; 2005) – Co-presenter, with Fearne Cotton
  • Dance Factory
  • Beckham's Hotshots
  • Smile (BBC Two)
  • Bring It On (BBC One)
  • UGetMe (CBBC & BBC One)
  • Trevor Nelson's Lowdown (BBC Three)
  • The Big C Concert (BBC)
  • Blue Peter Jubilee Special (BBC)
  • Kids Passport to London (Miramax)
  • Disney Club
  • Diggit, RoadHog (Buena Vista)
  • Get 100 (BBC Two; 2007)
  • Escape from Scorpion Island (CBBC Channel; 2007) – Co-presenter, with Caroline Flack
  • The Almost Perfect Guide to Life (BBC Switch)
  • MTV Base Backstage EMA 2007 (MTV Base)
  • MOBO Awards (BBC; 2009)
  • School for Stars (CBBC) – Narrator
  • Autistic Superstars 2010 (BBC Three)
  • Frankenstein's Wedding... Live in Leeds (BBC Three)
  • Reggie Yates: Teen Gangs (BBC Three) – Presenter
  • This is Justin Bieber (ITV; 2011) – Presenter
  • The Voice UK (BBC One; 2012–2013) – Co-presenter, with Holly Willoughby
  • Unity: A Concert for Stephen Lawrence (BBC One)
  • Release the Hounds (ITV2; 2013–2017) – Presenter
  • Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC One; 2014) – Subject
  • Reggie Yates: Extreme South Africa (BBC Three) – Presenter
  • Reggie & Thunderbirds: No Strings Attached[40] (ITV2; 2015) – Presenter
  • Thunderbirds Are Go – Ellis the Security Guard (voice)
  • Reggie Yates: Extreme Russia (BBC Three; 2015–) – Presenter
  • Prized Apart (BBC One; 2015) – Co-presenter, with Emma Willis
  • Reggie Yates: Race Riots USA – Presenter
  • Reggie Yates Extreme Countries (BBC Three; 2015–) – Presenter
  • Reggie Yates: The Insider (BBC Three; 2016–) – Presenter
  • Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week (BBC Two; series 2, 2017–) – Presenter
  • Reggie in China (BBC Two; series 1, 2019) – Presenter


  • Fearne & Reggie (BBC Radio 1)
  • The Trevor Nelson Show (BBC Radio 1)
  • Reg & Dev (BBC Radio 1Xtra)
  • Smile Radio (Smile Website)
  • The UK Top 40 (Formally known as Radio 1's Chart Show) (BBC Radio 1)
  • The Fearne & Reggie Saturday request show (BBC Radio 1)
  • The Request Show with Reggie Yates (BBC Radio 1)
  • The Official Chart with Reggie Yates (BBC Radio 1)

Television acting


Writing and directing




National Television Awards

Year Category Show Result
2017 TV Presenter Extreme Russia Nominated
2017 Factual Entertainment Reggie Yates: The Insider, BBC Three Nominated

Royal Television Society Television Awards

Year Category Show Result
2016 Best Presenter Extreme Russia Won
2016 Documentary Series Extreme Russia Nominated
2016 Entertainment Release the Hounds Won
2011 Best Presenter Autistic Superstars Nominated

Broadcast Awards

Year Category Show Result
2016 Best multi-channel programme Extreme Russia Won

Broadcast Digital Awards

Year Category Show Result
2016 Best Popular Factual Programme Extreme Russia Nominated
2016 Best Entertainment Programme Release the Hounds Nominated

Edinburgh TV Awards

Year Category Show Result
2016 Best Factual Programme Extreme Russia Won

Attitude Pride Awards

Year Category Show Result
2015 Attitude Ally Award Reggie Yates for Extreme Russia Won

London Independent Film Awards

Year Category Show Result
2014 Festival Prize, Best Short Film UK Feature Date Night Won

Children's BAFTA Awards

Year Category Show Result
2003 Presenter Reggie Yates: Smile Nominated


  1. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916–2007
  2. ^ Murray, Janet (23 April 2007). "College days". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b Hogan, Michael (15 February 2011). "Rastamouse: righteous rodent or rank stereotype?". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Reggie Yates – A tale of complicated relationships in the Ghana goldrush of the early 20th Century...", TheGenealogist, 24 September 2014.
  5. ^ Shields, Rachel (12 December 2010). "'I'm peerless. If you're black and want it all, there's no blueprint'". The Independent.
  6. ^ Bauckham, Jon ( 25 September 2014), "Reggie Yates",Who Do You Think You Are? online.
  7. ^ Regan, Jarlath (18 February 2017). "Craig Doyle". An Irishman Abroad (Podcast) (179 ed.). SoundCloud. 34 minutes in. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  8. ^ "All Change at Radio 1". BBC Radio 1. 6 September 2007. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  9. ^ "Meet the Joneses". BBC. 3 September 2006. Retrieved 3 September 2006.
  10. ^ "UK Game Shows". UK Game Shows. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Semtex on set at the Dizzee Rascal 'Flex' video shoot", BBC, 10 October 2007.
  12. ^ Mangan, Lucy (3 March 2011). "TV review: Love Thy Neighbour; Famous, Rich and In the Slums". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  13. ^ "Reggie Yates' Extreme Russia", BBC.co.uk. Accessed 8 August 2023.
  14. ^ Harp, Justin (11 July 2017). "Matt Edmondson replaces Reggie Yates as host of Release the Hounds". Digital Spy.
  15. ^ "Reggie Yates | Who Do You Think You Are?". BBC One. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  16. ^ "Reggie Yates on Who Do You Think You Are?: Everything you need to know". Welcome to Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  17. ^ Fletcher, Alex (11 December 2014). "Emma Willis, Reggie Yates to host new BBC Saturday night show Prized Apart". Digital Spy.
  18. ^ "RTS Programme Awards", 2016 winners.
  19. ^ "Best multi-channel programme: Reggie Yates' Extreme Russia" Broadcast Now
  20. ^ "Exhibition Launch – I'm Still Here". Southbank Centre. Retrieved 31 January 2019..
  21. ^ Mills, Kelly-Ann (25 October 2019). "Raheem Sterling joins Meghan and Stormzy in top 100 most influential black Brits". mirror. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  22. ^ Perkins, Steven. "Make Me Famous on BBC3: launch date, cast, plot details and everything you need to know". What's on TV. Archived from the original on 10 June 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  23. ^ "Cast announced for Reggie Yates's screenplay: BBC Three's Make Me Famous". BBC. 2 April 2020. Archived from the original on 11 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  24. ^ "First look at BBC Three one-off drama about impact of "fast fame" on reality TV stars". Radio Times. 2 April 2020. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Cast announced for Reggie Yates's screenplay: BBC Three's Make Me Famous". BBC. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  26. ^ Yeates, Cydney (22 June 2020). "Make Me Famous review: Reggie Yates' BBC Three TV film on the tragedy that befalls reality stars should be compulsory viewing". Metro. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  27. ^ Webb, Beth (15 October 2021). "'Pirates', Reggie Yates' directorial debut, drops first trailer". NME. Retrieved 28 July 2023.
  28. ^ Pirates, retrieved 28 July 2023
  29. ^ "BBC Three – Reggie Yates: Hidden Australia, Black in the Outback". BBC. 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  30. ^ Wainwright, Sofie (8 June 2017). "BBC suspends relationship with producers of Wilcannia documentary". ABC News. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  31. ^ Davidson, Helen (8 March 2017). "BBC apologises for misleading documentary on 'drunken' Aboriginal community". The Guardian.
  32. ^ a b Turner, Camilla (18 November 2017). "Reggie Yates apologises for comment about 'fat Jewish' music managers from north London". The Telegraph. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  33. ^ "Reggie Yates apologises for 'fat Jewish guy' comment". BBC News. 21 November 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  34. ^ "Reggie Yates leaves Top of the Pops after 'offensive' Jewish slur". BBC News. 4 December 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  35. ^ Carroll, Rory (21 April 2019). "Dissidents accused of stoking Derry riot for Reggie Yates documentary". The Guardian.
  36. ^ Gadher, Dipesh (21 April 2019). "Reggie Yates's MTV crew 'drew crowd' to riot in Derry". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  37. ^ Barnes, Ciaran (22 April 2019). "Lyra McKee killed for TV cameras: New IRA wanted publicity with MTV in Derry for documentary". The Belfast Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  38. ^ Costello, Emma (21 April 2019). "'New IRA' reportedly tried to 'impress MTV presenter Reggie Yates when Lyra McKee was murdered'". Extra.ie. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  39. ^ McGrath, Graham (23 April 2019). "MTV denies film crew 'impacted' severity of Derry riot where Lyra McKee died". Extra.ie. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  40. ^ "Reggie & Thunderbirds: No Strings Attached", ITV Press Centre.
  41. ^ Munday, Rob (14 October 2013). "Patriarch: A Short Film by Reggie Yates". Directors Notes. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  42. ^ "Date Night", Reggie Yates website, 21 April 2014.
  43. ^ "Make Me Famous", BBC iPlayer website, 20 June 2020.
Media offices
Preceded by BBC Radio 1
chart show presenter

(with Fearne Cotton)
14 October 2007 – 20 September 2009
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Fearne Cotton and himself
BBC Radio 1
chart show presenter

27 September 2009 – 23 December 2012
Succeeded by