Zöe Salmon (born 1980, in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland) is a British television presenter, who hosted the children's television show Blue Peter from 23 December 2004 to 25 June 2008. She also appeared on Dancing on Ice in early 2009.
Zöe was born and raised in Bangor, Northern Ireland where she attended Glenlola Collegiate School. She also holds a law degree from Queen's University, Belfast and is a qualified solicitor. She was crowned Miss Northern Ireland in 1999 (beating Big Brother contestant Orlaith McAllister, who came second).
Debut and recruitment controversy
Zöe was revealed as the 30th Blue Peter presenter on 25 October 2004. She first appeared on the show on 23 December 2004 in the Blue Peter 2004 Christmas special. She was originally meant to replace Liz Barker when the latter left on maternity leave; however Barker had already returned by the time Salmon made her debut. Shortly after making her first appearance on Blue Peter, the BBC received complaints after it was revealed that her job was only advertised in Northern Ireland and Scotland, meaning they were potentially discriminating against people without certain regional accents.
Action girl and magician's assistant
Shortly after her debut, she famously said "I'd Try Anything Once". As a result of this, she became the show's "action girl", willing to try many different things as part of her regular challenges. During her time on the show, she these challenges included wing-walking, parachuting, learning to scuba-dive, and many others. In her blog on the Blue Peter website, while talking about her challenges, she once revealed that one of her greatest ambitions was to do one where she would become a magician's assistant and be sawed in half. When they read this comment, Blue Peter viewers began a "Please saw Zöe in half" campaign. This was successful, and Zöe filmed a challenge where she became a magician's assistant and participated in a number of illusions. After the filmed segment had been shown, the magician then joined the presenters in the studio for a live performance of 'sawing Zöe in half', dividing her in two inside a clear-sided box in an illusion called "Clearly Impossible". Following this challenge, she acted as assistant to a number of other magicians when they made guest appearances on the show.
Zöe left Blue Peter in June 2008 at the start of the Summer break, at the same time as Gethin Jones.
In 2005, Zöe also presented the results of the Northern Ireland region in Making Your Mind Up, the UK's national pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2005. She welcomed the television audience to Belfast with the immortal line "what about you Terry".
After leaving Blue Peter, she presented the gameshow Hot Rods which began a BBC2 run on 30 August. She joined Noel Edmonds and Same Difference as a guest at a kids' party at the Northumberland town of Morpeth which featured in 2008's Noel's Christmas Presents show on Sky1.
Zöe took part in the fourth series of Dancing On Ice, gaining 5th place with her professional skating partner, Matt Evers. She appeared on The Chris Moyles Show in January 2009 and went on a date with early breakfast presenter Greg James as part of the BBC Radio 1 money experiment "BBC Radio 1 Money Experiment".
In 2010, She made a guest cameo appearance as herself in the movie Get Him to the Greek.
In 2007, Zöe married Irish actor Gerard McCarthy, although the marriage ended in divorce in May 2009. McCarthy is best known for his role as Kris Fisher in the Channel 4 soap, Hollyoaks.
Following her divorce, she briefly dated DJ Greg Burns.
- She has long blonde hair and blue eyes.
- She is 5ft 7ins tall.
- Her favourite earrings are big gold hoops.
- In 2006, she ran the London Marathon to raise money for Childline.
- She appeared in the May 2009 issue of FHM.
- "My favourite place is Bangor - my home town. It's a really pretty seaside town with a marina which is lovely in the summer."
- (When asked to choose a "Best of British" symbol for British Airways) "I'm from Ulster, and I'd like to cover a jumbo with the red hand of Ulster that is our proud symbol."
- (Speaking in 2007 about being a newly-wed) "It definitely still feels a bit weird. When I look down at my hand and see my wedding ring there next to my engagement ring, that still feels strange. And I'm still getting used to introducing Gerard to people as 'my husband' instead of 'my boyfriend'. But the strangest thing, and the one that's taking the most getting used to, is looking at my passport, driving licence, cheque book, etc, and seeing the name "Zoe McCarthy" on them instead of "Zoe Salmon" - And yes, I'm still signing cheques and things with the wrong name!!"
- "Ever since I was a little girl, I'd always wanted to have a go at being sawed in half by a magician. The first time I saw it performed on TV, I was totally amazed at the sight of the brave assistant still smiling as the saw cut through her and her halves were pulled apart, and I knew I had to have a go at being her. But I never imagined when I mentioned it in my blog that there'd be such a huge reaction from the viewers - I'm glad that there was, because it meant that I finally got to achieve my ambition, but it really did take me by surprise at the time."
- (Describing the first rehearsal of being sawed in half by a magician) "Although I'd been looking forward to it for so long, I did feel really nervous as he started to saw through the box. Even though I really trusted him, laying there in the box hearing the saw cutting down through it, knowing that at any moment it would reach me and start cutting through my waist as well, was quite scary. And when I first felt it begin to go through me, I did let out a little startled scream, although that was more due to the surprise than anything else. Once I got used to it, feeling the saw going through me was actually quite enjoyable. And, although they were a bit cold, feeling the divider blades being put in was really exciting, because I knew that, with them in place, I really was in two halves. Seeing my legs over on the other side of the stage was just so cool - When I saw that, I really couldn't wait to do it all again on the show itself."
- (On how her style has changed over the years) "I have to make more of an effort now – it takes me a lot longer to get ready. There's a saying dress for the job you want, not the one you have so you have to dress up if you want to work, especially in TV. Before Blue Peter, I used to be a model and it feels like I have gone back full circle to what things I wore then."
- (Speaking at the launch of the National Petrait Gallery website) "It's amazing just how many different types of pets there are. Looking through the site I have already seen the obvious cute cats and dogs but there is also a donkey, a skunk and even an ant eater - imagine taking that for a walk."
- (On her break-up with DJ Greg Burns) "He wasn't Mr Right. He wasn't for me and I wasn't for him and that's just the way it is."