Judith Chalmers

Judith Rosemary Locke Chalmers OBE (born 10 October 1935)[1] is a British television presenter who is best known for presenting the travel programme Wish You Were Here...? from 1974 to 2003.

Judith Chalmers
Judith Rosemary Locke Chalmers

(1935-10-10) 10 October 1935
OccupationTelevision presenter
Years active1950s – Present
Spouse(s)Neil Durden-Smith (m. 1964–present)
Children2, including Mark Durden Smith

Early life

Chalmers was born in Stockport, Cheshire. Her father was an architect and her mother a medical secretary.[2] She had a sister, Sandra Chalmers. Both sisters were educated at Withington Girls' School, an independent day school in Fallowfield near Withington, Manchester.


She began broadcasting for the BBC when she was only 13, after being selected for BBC Northern Children's Hour by producer Trevor Hill. Her younger sister Sandra, who was later editor of Woman's Hour, also performed on Children's Hour.[3] Chalmers presented many programmes from Manchester, including Children's Television Club which later metamorphosed into Blue Peter based in London. She spent some time at secretarial college in Manchester in the early 1950s.[4]

In the 1960s, she presented two major BBC radio programmes: Family Favourites and Woman's Hour. She also appeared as the original Susan in The Clitheroe Kid, and was a foil for Ken Dodd in his radio show. Chalmers presented ballroom dancing competition programme Come Dancing for the BBC from 1961 to 1965.

During the 1970s, Chalmers regularly presented ITV's daytime magazine programme Good Afternoon and its successors, which included Afternoon Plus and A Plus. She started presenting ITV's holiday programme Wish You Were Here? in 1974 and continued in this role until 2003, initially working alongside Chris Kelly, and later with John Carter.

In the 1980s Chalmers was a regular host of the Miss World contest on ITV, also presenting the associated UK beauty pageants such as Miss United Kingdom and the British Beauty Championships. Chalmers was also presenter of BBC Radio 2's mid-morning show from 1990 to 1992, taking over from Ken Bruce, who took over the show again following Chalmers's departure from the station in 1992.

In 2001, she appeared on Lily Savage's Blankety Blank.[5] She took part in an episode of the BBC 2 series Celebrity Antiques Road Trip, with her son Mark, in 2013.[6]

Her television appearances in later years have been limited to short spots on chat show programmes such as This Morning and Graham Norton's chat shows.

Personal life

Chalmers has been married to sports commentator Neil Durden-Smith since 1964. She has two children, Mark and Emma, and lives in north London. Mark is also a television presenter. She also has six grandchildren.

She was made an OBE in 1994.[4]


  1. "FreeBMD Home Page".
  2. Sandra Chalmers Obituary in The Times p 56, 27 February 2015
  3. Sue McGregor "Sandra Chalmers obituary", The Guardian, 9 February 2015
  4. Miss Judith Chalmers, OBE Archived 2013-12-03 at the Wayback Machine, Debretts.com. Retrieved 2013-11-19.
  5. Lily Savage's Blankety Blank. 18 February 2001. ITV. Repeated 25 August 2016 on Challenge TV.
  6. "TV presenter Judith Chalmers battles under the hammer at Stroud Auction Rooms", Stroud News & Journal, 15 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-19.
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