‘The phone stopped ringing… it’s not a nice place to be in’: CBBC star Michael Underwood, 45, reveals he’s now a primary school teacher after his 20 year TV career ‘just dried up’
- The star was once the primetime face of children’s TV, hosting CBBC and CITV, but said he had to change his career to teaching after work dried up
- He said: ‘The phone stopped ringing, it’s just not a nice place to be in’
- Michael’s TV career spanned from 1999 to 2020, when he announced he had officially retired from the small screen
- The former presenter has been teaching at a primary school in Surbiton for the past three years
Kids’ TV presenter Michael Underwood has revealed he is now a primary school teacher after the ‘phone stopped ringing’ for jobs on the small screen.
The 45-year-old was once the primetime face of children’s TV, hosting CBBC and CITV, but said he had to change his career to teaching after work dried up.
He said: ‘The phone stopped ringing, it’s just not a nice place to be in.’
His work included starring alongside Holly Willoughby and Stephen Mulhern on Ministry Of Mayhem among other shows, yet his career took a wholly different path to the megastars as he turned to teaching.
Children’s presenter: Michael Underwood has revealed he has now a primary school teacher after the ‘phone stopped ringing’ for jobs on the small screen
Michael, who has been married to Angellica Bell for more than 10 years, told The Mirror about his career change and what led him to teaching.
Describing the move, he said: ‘I needed to make a decision, I thought you know what I’ve got my teaching degree, I’ve got 20 years in broadcasting behind me, maybe I can take that skill set and put it to good use.
‘Help build children’s confidence, help them with their oracy, their presenting skills, that’s when I thought: “Yeah, let’s grab the bull by the horns and maybe take a step out into a different career”.’
Following his stint on children’s TV, Michael was an entertainment correspondent on GMTV from 2003 to 2008.
TV stars: Michael pictured here with a young Holly Willoughby and Stephen Mulhern in 2004
Couple: Michael with wife Angellica Bell. The couple first met when she joined him as a CBBC presenter in 2002 (pictured in 2011)
Father-of-two Michael then competed in the 2008 series of Dancing on Ice, partnered by professional skater Melanie Lambert.
However, he pulled out of the series following a broken ankle in the run-up to the third show. They took part in the show the following year for the fourth series.
In early 2014, he presented the ITV entertainment series Let Me Entertain You on Saturday nights.
He was also a reporter on the ITV series Surprise Surprise until 2015 and Real Stories with Ranvir Singh until 2016.
Michael said he is really enjoying his change of career and said it is ‘almost like being a presenter’.
Surprise! Michael has been a primary school teacher at a school in Surbiton for the past three years
Throwback: The 45-year-old was once the primetime face of children’s tv but said he had to change his career to teaching after work dried up (pictured with Sophie McDonnell in 2002)
Tough: Michael added it had been ‘incredibly challenging’ teaching remotely during lockdown and had to think of new ways to keep his Year 4 class engaged
He added it has been ‘incredibly challenging’ teaching remotely during lockdown and has had to think of new ways to keep his Year 4 class engaged as he described the screen as a ‘huge barrier’.
Michael said he has had to put in a ‘lot of work’ during the homeschooling period and said teachers aren’t just ‘sat at home churning out lessons we’ve done before’.
The noughties TV star said he never grew up wanting to be a television presenter and had actually done a four-year BEd teaching degree at university.
He pursued a teaching degree because ‘my family could never afford to send me to drama school’.
The former CBBC presenter said he specialised in drama during his teaching degree, after his mother advised teaching would be good to fall back on if acting didn’t work out.
It was by chance he landed a TV job after a pal ripped off a tv advertisement from the BBC in the newspaper asking for people to send in audition tapes to be a children’s presenter.
Fab four: Michael pictured alongside Liam Dolan, his now wife Angellica and Adrian Dickson back in 2001
Game show: The presenter’s career catapulted when he switched from CBBC to CITV in 2002 and presented the hugely popular Jungle Run (pictured 2005)
Michael does the odd job now and then for Good Morning Britain but says he is happy with teaching and has been at a Surbiton school in Kingston upon Thames for the past three years.
The television presenter actually announced he had retired from teaching last year when he appeared on This Morning from his classroom, which shocked Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield.
Last year, Alan Carr shared an incredible school throwback picture on Instagram on Thursday, with fellow TV star Michael.
The funnyman wrote: ‘Right, I’m taking you back to Northampton Town for my #throwbackthursday.
‘Me and @michaelunderwoodteach with our drama teacher Mr.Bowden and Aldith (sitting down).
‘And I can’t remember the other girls name (sorry) such lovely memories – Up the Cobblers!!! ❤️.’
‘I’m taking you back to Northampton town’: Last year, Alan Carr shared an incredible school throwback picture on Instagram on Thursday, with fellow TV star Michael
Michael wed his CBBC co-star Angellica in a surprise ceremony in New York, after a rocky start to their romance.
Angellica, 44, left her first husband to be with Michael. They first met in 2000 when she joined CBBC as a presenter.
They remained good friends, but Bell went on to fall in love and marry personal trainer Stuart Amory in January 2007.
However, Angellica later claimed she was having problems with Stuart after a few months of marriage before leaving him in July 2008.
Happily married: Michael, who has been married to Angellica Bell for more than 10 years after tying the knot in New York, where they got engaged (pictured on their wedding day)
Weeks after their split, the presenter admitted she was in a relationship with Michael after they were photographed kissing in a London park.
She said at the time: ‘It’s very sad that Stuart and I are over.
‘It’s early days, but Michael and I are together. Obviously, Stuart is very hurt, but he’s such a great guy, I hope we can both move on.
‘Stuart is not happy about Michael and this situation – but it just didn’t work.’
The couple are now proud parents to the nine-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter.
Michael’s stellar 20-year TV career
- Michael made it to the last four interview to be a Blue Peter presenter, which was subsequently filled by Simon Thomas
- His TV career began with a six-week stint on CBBC show Whatever You Want in 1999
- Following his success, Michael continued on CBBC until 2002
- His career rocketed when he moved to CITV and hosted shows such as The Big Band and Starfinder
- His biggest CITV success was presenting Jungle Run- a game show similar to shows such as Fort Boyard and The Crystal Maze
- In 2005, he moved from children’s TV to becoming an entertainment reporter for GMTV until 2008
- In 2008, Michael competed on Dancing On Ice. He broke his ankle and was forced to withdraw from the show. He returned the following year
- He starred in Celebrity Masterchef and Mastermind in 2012
- Underwood presented on Heart FM from April 2013 until December that year
- In early 2014, he presented the ITV entertainment series Let Me Entertain You on the primetime Saturday night slot
- He also presented Surprise, Surprise in 2015 and Real Stories with Ranvir Singh until 2016
- Michael announced he has retired from television last year
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