Liz Bonnin

Elizabeth Bonnin (born 16 September 1976) is a French-born Irish science, wildlife and natural history presenter, who has worked on television in both Ireland and the United Kingdom.[2][3] She is also a biochemist and wild animal biologist.[4] She presented music shows RI:SE and Top of the Pops in the early 2000s.

Liz Bonnin
Bonnin in June 2018
Elizabeth Bonnin

(1976-09-16) 16 September 1976[1]
NationalityIrish, formerly French
EducationTrinity College, Dublin (BA)
Royal Veterinary College (MSc)
OccupationTelevision presenter
Years active2002–present
Musical career
OriginParis, France

She is best known for presenting wildlife and science programmes including Galapagos, How the Earth Works, Animals in Love, Stargazing Live, Blue Planet Live, Cats v Dogs: Which is Best? and Should We Close Our Zoos?.[4]

She co-presented the BBC factual series Bang Goes the Theory from 2009 until 2014 and since 2013, has co-presented Countrywise for ITV.

Early life and education

Bonnin was born in Paris to a Trinidadian mother, of Indian and Portuguese descent, and a French-Martiniquan father, who was a dentist.[3][5] Her family moved to Ireland when she was nine years old.[2][3]

Bonnin has a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Trinity College, Dublin,[2][6] She also holds a master's degree in wild animal biology and conservation from the Zoological Society of London and the Royal Veterinary College (2008), for which she tracked tigers in Nepal.[7][8] She continues to work on big cat conservation programmes at the Zoological Society.


Bonnin began her career by joining an Irish girl pop group named Chill, who signed to Polydor but broke up before recording.[9] The band had performed on Dustin the Turkey's third album Faith of Our Feathers, duetting on "We Are Family".[10] She was offered a job hosting the IRMA Awards which led to presenting roles on RTÉ Television in Ireland, on The Den, Telly Bingo, Millennium Eve: Celebrate 2000 and for two years, Off the Rails with Fiona McShane.[2] At the time she was in a relationship with the publisher John Ryan.[11][12] In 2002, she moved to London to present on a number of TV channels.[13]

In 2002, she became one of the presenters of the Channel 4 morning show RI:SE, specialising in reporting on entertainment-related stories.[14] In the same year she became a regular presenter on Top of the Pops in the UK.[15]

In 2004, Bonnin was locked in a giant kennel along with MPs Paul Burstow, Evan Harris and Ivan Henderson and actress Liza Goddard, BBC Newsround presenter Lizzie Greenwood and DJ Becky Jago in a stunt to launch the annual RSPCA Week to raise awareness and funds.[16]

Since 2005, Bonnin has been involved in science broadcasting. She presented the show Gadgets, Gadgets, Gadgets in 2005[17] and co-presented the BBC science series Bang Goes the Theory on BBC One from 2009 until 2014.[18] In 2008, Bonnin presented a documentary series Science Friction on RTÉ One which looked at taboos in discussions of scientific topics (such as paedophilia and nuclear power) in Ireland.[2][19] She also contributed to BBC Two's series on the work of the London Natural History Museum, Museum of Life.[20]

In October 2010, she joined the cast of Autumnwatch and in January 2011, she presented segments of BBC Two's Stargazing Live from various areas of Hawaii including atop Mauna Kea.[21] In May 2011, she co-presented BBC One's Egypt's Lost Cities.[22]

Personal life

Bonnin grew up with her older sister Benni, while she said that "I was extremely close to my granny, who passed away in 2003." She has moved back to London.

Bonnin is a role model for EDF Energy's Pretty Curious programme, which is aimed at encouraging teenage girls to study science-based subjects at school.[23] She has said in a 2016 interview, "FHM offered me a spread but I said no."[1]


1999–2000Millennium Eve: Celebrate 2000Co-presenterRTÉ One
2000–?Off the RailsCo-presenter
2002–?RI:SECo-presenterChannel 4
2002–2003Top of the PopsCo-presenterBBC One
2003Never Mind the BuzzcocksGuestBBC Two [24]
2004–2005Wild TrialsPresenterRTÉ
2005–?Gadgets, Gadgets, GadgetsCo-presenter
2008Science FrictionPresenterRTÉ One
2009–2014Bang Goes the TheoryCo-presenterBBC One
2009–2010Country TracksCo-presenterBBC Two
2010Museum of LifeCo-presenter
2010–2011AutumnwatchGuest presenter
2011—Stargazing LiveCo-presenterBBC One/BBC Two
2011Egypt's Lost CitiesPresenterBBC One
SpringwatchGuest presenterBBC Two
2012Super Smart AnimalsPresenterBBC One
Horizon: The Transit of VenusPresenterBBC Two
2013Tomorrow's World: A Horizon SpecialPresenter
Operation Snow TigerPresenter
2013Animal Odd CouplesPresenterBBC One
How the Earth WorksCo-presenterDiscovery Channel
2014Cat Watch 2014: The New Horizon ExperimentPresenterBBC Two
Animals Through The Night: Sleepover At The ZooCo-presenterBBC Four
2015Big Blue LiveCo-presenterBBC One
Animals in LovePresenter
India: Nature's WonderlandCo-presenterBBC Two
2016Cats v Dogs: Which is Best?Co-presenter
Horizon – Should We Close Our Zoos?
Nature's Epic JourneysPresenterBBC One
Wild Alaska LiveCo-presenter
2018Drowning In PlasticPresenter
2019Blue Planet LiveCo-presenter


  1. John Meagher (15 May 2016). "Former RTE star Liz Bonnin on choosing science over celebrity: 'FHM offered me a spread but I said no'". Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  2. Jarlath Regan (15 November 2014). "Liz Bonin". An Irishman Abroad (Podcast). SoundCloud. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  3. "About Liz". Liz Bonnin. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  4. "Liz Bonnin - The Gordon Poole Agency Ltd". The Gordon Poole Agency Ltd. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  5. "Why Liz Bonnin dream's of living in provence". Coventry Telegraph. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  6. "Meet Liz Bonnin". Retrieved 4 November 2010.
  7. Jeremy Torrance. "Nature UK: Autumnwatch: Ask Liz Bonnin a question". BBC. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  8. O'Connor, Stuart (16 April 2010). "Liz Bonnin: 'I'm still a nerd, just a different type of a nerd'". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
  9. "Can Liz Bonnin RI:SE to the Occasion?". ShowBiz Ireland. 14 June 2002.
  10. "Dustin-Faith of our Feathers track list". Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  11. "Olaf bares all". The Irish Times. 25 November 2000. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  12. Jackson, Joe (14 September 2000). "John Ryan Interview". Hot Press Magazine. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  13. "Liz Bonnin and Gordon D'Arcy". RTÉ. Retrieved 14 April 2008.
  14. "Liz Bonnin". Retrieved 14 April 2008.
  15. "Top of the Pops 2 – Trivia". BBC. Retrieved 14 April 2008.
  16. "MPs in the doghouse for charity". BBC. 26 April 2004.
  17. Gadgets, Gadgets, Gadgets on IMDb
  18. "Talking Shop:Liz Bonnin". BBC. 3 June 2009.
  19. "SCIENCE FRICTION ***New Series***". RTÉ Press Centre. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  20. "Museum of Life" (Press release). BBC. 11 November 2009.
  21. "Stargazing Live: TV Gold". 6 January 2011.
  22. "Egypt's Lost Cities". 31 May 2011.
  23. Huffington Post UK
  24. ""Never Mind the Buzzcocks" Episode #12.10 (TV Episode 2003)". IMdb.
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