Fearne Cotton to step down as Top Of The Pops host after almost twenty years


Fearne Cotton is stepping down as the host of Top Of The Pops after nearly twenty years in the role, MailOnline can exclusively reveal.

The veteran presenter, 40, won’t present this year’s festive special on BBC and feels it’s time to ‘close the chapter’ on the long-running music show.

Fearne first started hosting TOTP in 2002 and has recently ‘reflected on the projects she wants to carry on pursuing’.

Exclusive: Fearne Cotton, 40, is stepping down as the host of Top Of The Pops after nearly twenty years in the role, MailOnline can exclusively reveal (pictured in 2019)

Exclusive: Fearne Cotton, 40, is stepping down as the host of Top Of The Pops after nearly twenty years in the role, MailOnline can exclusively reveal (pictured in 2019)

A source told MailOnline: ‘Fearne’s career has moved in a completely different direction with her massively successful Happy Place projects.

‘Her books are number one bestsellers and her podcast is constantly top of the charts.’

They added: ‘She has also just turned 40, so it has given her time to reflect on what projects she wants to carry on pursuing, and after 20 years she feels like it’s time to close that chapter on Top Of The Pops.’

Speaking last year, Fearne revealed that presenting TOTP surrounded by a ‘plethora of gorgeous popstars’ fuelled her insecurities.

Reflecting: Fearne first started hosting TOTP in 2002 and has recently 'reflected on the projects she wants to carry on pursuing' (pictured in 2009 with co-host Reggie Yates)

Reflecting: Fearne first started hosting TOTP in 2002 and has recently ‘reflected on the projects she wants to carry on pursuing’ (pictured in 2009 with co-host Reggie Yates)

She opened up about her journey with mental health in an interview with Stella, and talked about the triggers that led to her struggles with bulimia and depression.

The veteran presenter explained at the time: ‘When I was doing Top of the Pops in the 1990s there was a plethora of gorgeous young pop stars around, from Samantha Mumba to Steps, and they all looked like these confident, luminous beings to me, with flat stomachs and stylists and make-up artists.’

She added: ‘I never felt I was exuding that kind of confidence or ability. Even later, I always felt a step behind everyone else.’

The mother-of-two, who often discusses mental health on her podcast Happy Place, added that being on television from the age of 15 may have been a trigger to her mental health troubles, saying that she was ‘just a porous teenager soaking it all in’.

A source told MailOnline: 'Fearne's career has moved in a completely different direction with her massively successful Happy Place projects' (pictured in 2007)

A source told MailOnline: ‘Fearne’s career has moved in a completely different direction with her massively successful Happy Place projects’ (pictured in 2007)

Fearne, who began her career aged 15 presenting on GMTV’s Disney Club, said that she also suffered from imposter syndrome when hosting shows with Terry Wogan.

She said she felt like she didn’t belong while fronting the like of Eurovision and Children in Need.

It comes after Fearne revealed in August that she made the decision to leave Radio 1 in 2015 for the sake of her mental health.

She told Red magazine over summer: ‘I had to walk away because it was literally ruining my mind.’

The source added: 'She has also just turned 40, so it has given her time to reflect on what projects she wants to carry on pursuing' (pictured in 2003)

The source added: ‘She has also just turned 40, so it has given her time to reflect on what projects she wants to carry on pursuing’ (pictured in 2003)

Fearne also touched upon the perception that ‘people on TV are perfect people with perfect lives’, calling the notion ‘b******s’.

In 2018, Fearne launched her podcast Happy Place, in which she asks famous guests to tell her what happiness means to them.

Fearne often discusses her own mental health in the series, and told the magazine that she strives to ‘create something that breeds connection and offers people solace if they’re feeling alone’.

She explained: ‘I did years of work that was enjoyable, but didn’t necessarily always have a point to it, and I think you get to an age or maybe you go through certain experiences in life where you think, ”There has to be more meaning to all of this”.’

The veteran presenter continued: ‘You can climb the ladder to get to the best radio show or the TV show with the biggest audience, but then what? What’s the goal?’

She concluded: ‘That’s why I’m probably more driven now than I ever have been, because I have to use what I’ve built up for a purpose.’

Latest project: In 2018, Fearne launched her podcast Happy Place, in which she asks famous guests to tell her what happiness means to them

Latest project: In 2018, Fearne launched her podcast Happy Place, in which she asks famous guests to tell her what happiness means to them

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