Jeni Barnett is an English actress and TV presenter who grew up in Borehamwood. She is married to Yorkshire-born actor Jim Bywater and has one daughter, Bethany.
As an actress she appeared on several TV shows, including Revolting Women (BBC2, 1981) and Doctors, and has also been a panelist on ITV’s Loose Women and Five’s The Wright Stuff, and was a long-time presenter of the children’s TV series You and Me.
Barnett became well known after appearing on British breakfast station TV-am as a weekend presenter. She courted controversy in 1986 by breast-feeding her new daughter Bethany live on air.
Between 2002 and 2007, Barnett was host of UKTV Food’s flagship food show, Great Food Live (previously known as Good Food Live) and its spinoffs Great Food Bites and Great Food Live Extra. In 2004/2005, Barnett also hosted the second series of the ITV1 cookery show, Too Many Cooks.
On 16 June 2007 Barnett presented her first radio programme on LBC 97.3, when she stood in for Chris Hawkins on Saturday afternoon. Barnett soon returned to the air filling in for more presenters, including Jim Davis’ Lifestyle show. As part of a new Sunday schedule she was given a new 2 hour programme talking about food.
A further change on 7 January 2008 saw Barnett move to weekday afternoons, 1-4pm, as part of the new weekday line up. The programme is a topical debate featuring aspects of news and views, in which the public are encouraged to call in with their views.
Barnett continued to present the Sunday Food programme as well as the new weekday afternoon programme until 20 January 2008 when Bill Buckley replaced her on Sundays so she could concentrate on the weekday programme. Her weekday programme ended in September 2010.
Since January 2011, she has presented a Sunday morning show on BBC London 94.9, and regularly stands in for Vanessa Feltz on the weekday morning show from 9am till 12pm.