Media Parents

5 minutes with… catherine gee, presenter of 60 Minute Makeover

March 21, 2011 @ 8:08 am Posted in News Comments

Media Parents NETWORKER Catherine Gee, petite blonde of Escape to the Country and The Farmer Wants a Wife fame, has thrown herself whole-heartedly into the organised mayhem of 60 Minute Makeover, presenting the new series which starts on ITV1 today.

Media Parents NETWORKER Catherine Gee: "It was made very clear to me when I started that on this show - 'the makeover is king – if you get a faceful of paint that’s your own affair'. But I loved it, loved the immediacy of it. After the terrifying first two… you forget the cameras are there."

I was daunted about joining 60 Minute Makeover because it’s a huge team of people, and a lot of people have been on it since inception – some people were virtually born on it, the director started as a runner.  I did feel like the only new girl at school going on to a well-oiled team.  Starting the series was a massive baptism of fire – it’s different to the way I’ve filmed before – The Farmer Wants a Wife was obs doc, and then I’ve moved on to shows with property tours – 60 Minute Makeover is very much of the moment, filmed as-live with a stopwatch going the whole time, monitored by me and three other people.

It was made very clear to me when I started that on this show – “the makeover is king – if you stand in a tray of paint that’s your own affair”.  But I loved it, loved the immediacy of it.  After the terrifying first two… you forget the cameras are there.

My role is to be conduit between the person who’s being surprised (the homeowner) and the designer – to make sure the person whose house it is will like what’s being done.  I’m also the voice of the viewer, so if a designer says they’re going for a boudoir-look I try really hard to say “What is a boudoir look, and how are you going to do it?”   Apart from that I tend to make the beds and get squashed against walls.  There are nail biting moments when we’re hitting the few minutes.  When we overrun it’s only ever by minutes and as we’ve got OFCOM breathing down our necks we are always clear to explain that.

I hadn’t realised the impact the makeover would have on the people being surprised.  Although it’s cheesy to say, it is hard work, but it generally all becomes worthwhile when you see people’s reaction – I haven’t experienced that immediacy of emotion before.  There have been plenty of tears brushed away at the end of filming, but fortunately the camera’s not really on me at the end because it’s really emotional.  Sometimes it’s just the simplest thing – “I wanted to do this for you, Mum” – that can set me off.  But I try not to weep on camera – too worried about the make-up!

Catherine Gee, Media Parents NETWORKER, presenter of 60 Minute Makeover: "It's really emotional. Sometimes it’s just the simplest thing – “I wanted to do this for you, Mum” – that can set me off. But I’m not weeping on camera – too worried about the make-up!"

I’ve loved the new challenge of 60 Minute Makeover.  I’m always happy to try new things, and if it comes back I’d love to do another.  My first job in TV came about by chance – I was running the Farmer Wants a Wife dating campaign for Country Living, and ITV made a documentary about me running the dating service.  The actual Country Living campaign ran for 3 years and we had lots of success stories – at least twenty marriages.

After that I got a call from Talkback Thames about making a show for BBC2 – Escape to the Country.   I thought it was a prank call!  Escape will always have a big place in my heart, I do feel proud of being part of establishing that series.  Talkback were amazing when I had my first child, Charlie.  I took him with me on location and they organised the shooting day around his feeding and nap times.

"Talkback were amazing when I had my first child... the shooting shedule was organised around my breastfeeding times!"

I have two children now, Charlie, 6 and Billy, 2, and I don’t think my career has been affected.  Having children hasn’t affected my availability – I’ve worked on through – but it has made everything more complicated.  It’s bad enough leaving a boyfriend or a husband, but it’s worse leaving little people who don’t understand.

60 Minute Makeover has been a dream in that respect – they always shoot Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Knowing that was how I would be working two months in advance meant I could sort out my childcare.  It works well for everyone and there are quite a few parents on the team actually.  It’s much harder when the production company pencils your time but can’t exactly say when they want you more than four days in advance.  I don’t have a nanny, I use a network of four or five local girls.  They’re not tied to me but they are tried and trusted.  When I first started doing that I thought no continuity could be incredibly bad, but they were backed up by my husband and two fit grannies, and I think it’s done both children a lot of good in terms of independence.  And we choose to work in telly, and if you want to do that you’ve got to make it work.

My low point at work is always saying “goodbye”  – especially to my first child when he was little, knowing that I would be away for four weeks.  But I don’t feel guilty.  In all the times I’ve worked I’ve been confident that Charlie was absolutely happy.  And he is now old enough to understand what I do and he’s quite proud – I hear him telling schoolfriends!  The massive upside of what I do is that I can balance contracts with time off – I work like a nut for 12 weeks and then I know I’ll be at home with them for 12 weeks.  So when they get me, they get me a lot.    CATHERINE GEE

Presenter Catherine Gee is a NETWORKER on www.mediaparents.co.uk

Catherine Gee is a television presenter and property expert who took over as the host of the popular ITV1 daytime makeover show 60 Minute Makeover in 2011. Prior to this she was best known for presenting the BBC relocation programme, Escape to the Country and being the location presenter on the long running BBC Two series Through the Keyhole.  She also ran Country Living‘s The Farmer Wants a Wife matchmaking campaign, presenting the related television programme which was nominated for a BAFTA in 2002.  Catherine Gee is a NETWORKER on www.mediaparents.co.uk

www.mediaparents.co.uk for great talent, networking, jobs and information.

by Amy Walker

Comments

  1. love the fact that 60 minute makeover is back but it really was better when they switched the format to no presenter ,the designer is deffinately enough! people like to watch because they like to see progress not presenters stating the obvious

  2. mossy on March 22nd, 2011 at 10:24 pm
  3. Wholeheartedly agree with Mossy’s comment above. It was much better when the designer presented as well.The separate presenter just gets in the way.

  4. Trish on March 31st, 2011 at 1:25 pm
  5. I LIKE Catherine’s outfits :) Where does she get them from? :)

  6. Scarlett on April 8th, 2011 at 4:32 pm
  7. I do not like the new presenter Catherine Gee on 60 minute makeover, when talking with the families it just looks awkward, Catherine appears to be after thank you’s constantley and them to say they like everything, the families look very on the spot. Bring back Claire Sweeney or even better Terri Dwyer they gave the show the presenter and character it deserves.

  8. NoName on April 13th, 2011 at 2:15 pm
  9. Sorry – don’t agree. I have always watched 60 Minute and I thought the last series was struggling by the end because there were so few designers. They were very very good but it put a lot of pressure on them, I guess that the majority didn’t like the presenting side as well as actually overseeing what was going on.
    It is rather nice to have an experienced presenter too not an actress.Although they were fine at the time it is easy to see the difference now.

  10. Lynn on April 14th, 2011 at 3:17 pm
  11. I agree with Mossy that 60 MM is better without a presenter. I also hate to see that people get makeovers because they’ve lost someone dear or are fighting a serious illness. Don’t ordinary people without current traumas in their lives deserve a helping hand?

  12. Pat W on April 15th, 2011 at 5:48 pm
  13. Afternoon how are you? I have followed your series it looks like fun and I am very impressed with the results of course. Let me take a minute of your time to introduce myself I am an artist that has been teaching Art for some time no I concentrate on Community Arts Projects I work with children we have paintings adorning wall at libraries the MET police etc. I have put a proposal forward to the Ealing Council near where I live to rent a shop from them. Its complicated!! I was wondering would your show consider doing a 60 minute make over for my Commercial property. I am doing this for the educational benefit of the public to have a place in the community is the best way to go! Can you please email me if you dont do commercial than could you recommend me please ok kind regards thanks for your time Sharon Cecil of artfreedome

  14. Sharon Cecil on April 18th, 2011 at 1:21 pm
  15. New 60MM stops has brought class back into the show and rid of chav families getting them.

  16. Alex on April 20th, 2011 at 4:46 pm
  17. There should be more people like Catherine Gee in this world.

  18. Ed Mercer on April 22nd, 2011 at 9:09 pm
  19. Love the show but much better without a presenter loved in when the desingher took the family into the van and showed them the new things. Catherine is better suited to other shows in my opioin the show has lost its majic now

  20. gail machin on May 4th, 2011 at 10:37 pm
  21. I just love 60mm always looking for some inspiration for my home. Hate my kitchen!
    Just wanted to say Catherine, in my opinion, seems to be enjoying her new role. More
    relaxed than the other shows she has been involved in.

  22. susan Attwood on May 10th, 2011 at 5:39 pm
  23. Really enjoy show but Catherine looks so frail keep wondering if she’ll make it to the end of the show!

  24. Kath on May 11th, 2011 at 2:09 pm
  25. catherine gee is the rudest woman I have ever come accross the way she critisises peoples homes before the makeover.

  26. no name on May 16th, 2011 at 2:00 pm
  27. Delighted to see the wonderful Catherine Gee back on TV presenting 60 Minutes Makeover. She is very knowledgeable and relates to the families in a sensitive and charming way.

  28. john key on May 22nd, 2011 at 1:48 am
  29. i liked the ones with glerr sweeny

  30. eric taft on May 28th, 2011 at 9:58 am
  31. I thought Catherine was excellent – bring her back, the programme is not the same any more, not even keen to watch it all the way through just the end bit – but with Catherine presenting I would watch the whole programme. I thought she was very warm and empathic with the ‘clients’, asked sensible questions to those doing the work, was not in the face of anyone.

  32. MARSHA PARTRIDGE on June 1st, 2011 at 1:16 pm
  33. Catherine Gee infuriates me with the way she drags people around – she grabs them by the WRIST like children who have been naughty!

  34. Snowdrop on July 17th, 2011 at 10:08 am
  35. I would like to say the show is great but the presenter is awful there is no point in her being there, and she is uninspiring and boring, the designer on there own is enough, such as Linda Barker, age is bubbly and fun, there is no need for a separate presenter, they also do not have as much of an insight in to what the designer has in mind.

  36. Dizzy on July 19th, 2011 at 1:12 pm
  37. Is Catherine Gee and Dame Eileen Atkins related? I watched Dame Eileen in Agatha Christie’s Towards Zero, and her voice and features reminded me so much of Catherine, albeit a mature version.

  38. Kay Potter on September 1st, 2011 at 10:39 am
  39. Hi – I’m in australia & have yet to see Catherine but really liked her in Escape to the country – will be interesting when finally see her, just getting Terri now

  40. Bev on October 17th, 2011 at 1:25 am
  41. I too am Aussie (like Bev) and am looking forward to seeing Catherine again. Really liked her on Escape to the Country.

  42. Trish on November 19th, 2011 at 3:53 am
  43. I love Catherine Gee and am looking forward to her hosting 60mm. I don’t like the designer format at all unless like Colin and Justin they are not only great designers but also fantastic personalities.

  44. Angela on January 5th, 2012 at 5:11 am
  45. I really like Catherine Gee, I did not enjoy 60 MM without a presenter the designers are better left to the makeover. Have always enjoyed watching 60 MM and everything Catherine is in,

  46. chrissie on April 7th, 2012 at 10:33 am
  47. I fing Catherine Gee stilted and a little painful to watch. She doesn’t seem very comfortable in the role. Bring back Terri she had a natural banter and seemed at ease with the team and homeowners.

  48. LouiseFollett on April 10th, 2012 at 4:15 am
  49. I absolutely love Catherine Gee, I loved her in Escape to the Country too.

    Sixty Minute Makeover is great, absolutely amazed what can be done in such a short time.

  50. Martin on April 19th, 2012 at 3:36 pm
  51. Catherine G doesn’t seem to be a natural presenter, she does appear a bit awkward but I agree with others who say she is charming. She also appears intelligent, which is uncalled for. Claire S was constantly flirting with the men and pressing her breasts against them – bit inappropriate – and she came across as though she thought she was in charge. Not keen. The Scottish designer, John Emarblay (sorry, no idea how to spell his name), was very interesting to watch because of the enormous weight fluctuations from programme to programme. Yes, John, we can see when you’ve been on the deep-fried haggis and chocolate-coated chips. Stop it.

  52. Sally on April 29th, 2012 at 8:30 am
  53. I would like to say i have nothing against catherine gee herself ,she was well suited to escape to the country!middle to upper class show people with money, in 60mm she constantly calls peoples stuff grotty,people in the real world without money make doo! i find she isnt suited to this show at all ,terri dwyer was my fave she had personality to suit the show as well as a valid opinion on decor , not cringing as soon as a tin of orange paint was opened , i cant beleive im having to endure another series with someone who is clearly not suited or valid in this show i can only presume she is related to someone in the production team, sorry catherine go back to what your best at its doing u no favours

  54. mossy on April 30th, 2012 at 10:37 pm
  55. Where did Catherine Gee get her ‘frightfully posh’ accent? She sounds like Margaret Rutherford in those old black and white films! It just doesn’t sit right with this style of show. Claire Sweeney was wonderful – warm and friendly – typically like the ‘girl next door’. She made the show fun to watch. Catherine Gee doesn’t.

  56. Nic on May 7th, 2012 at 10:50 pm
  57. I enjoy the programme very much and although Catherine Gee’s presenting style is adequate, I find her frail appearance takes my attention away from the makeover, as she frankly looks ill. Someone like Claire Sweeney is more suited to the programme, warm, friendly, funny and with less of a ‘plummy’ accent.

  58. Gerry King on May 17th, 2012 at 8:20 am
  59. I really enjoy 60MM its much better with Catherine Gee presenting i didn’t enjoy the program with just the designers presenting its a great program

  60. Kathryn on August 30th, 2012 at 12:46 pm
  61. I must say here in NZ we get the programme every afternoon during the weekdays for most of the year. I don’t particularly like Catherine Gee’s style of hosting the show – some of the others have been a lot better. What I do dislike tho is Catherine’s clothing on the show – she looks as tho she has dressed out of a ragbag! She is definitely is in need of a 60 minute makeover herself. No one would expect anyone hosting a show like this to be dressed in say – evening clothes but her choice of outfits are shocking. Today she looked particularly bad – a floral dress and cardy with tatty jeans underneath. Nothing seem to fit her well either. She is fortunate to be so slim and therefore could look great in the right smart casual type clothing. Surely there must be stylists there to advise her? Hopefully if she hosts the next series there will be a marked improvement!

  62. Helen on November 20th, 2012 at 3:27 am
  63. Catherine Gee wore a lovely green linen jacket with a yoke and short sleeves, at the recent Country Living show, wonder where you can buy this? Loved it. It had 2 large covered buttons on it I think.

  64. Barbara Steward on April 9th, 2013 at 8:50 am
  65. I HAPPEN TO LIKE CATHERINE GEE, SHE IS INTELLIGENT, AND TO THOSE WHO THINK SHE WAS NOT “SPOT ON” IN THE MAKE OVER SHOW, SHE ONLY JUST STARTED IN IT…I HAVEN’T SEEN THE SHOW, I LIVE IN AUSTRALIA…HOWEVER, I WOULD UNDERSTAND IF SHE WASN’T AS SEASONED AS THE REGULARS, WHO I ALSO LIKED….IT TAKES TIME TO FIT IN….SHE IS WELL SPOKEN, SO WHAT, TO THE KNOCKERS WHO COMPLAINED ABOUT HER PLUM IN THE MOUTH WAY OF SPEAKING…I MISSED HER WHEN SHE WASN’T ON ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY ANYMORE….I LIKE HER OUTFITS AND HER LOOK, AND HER LEAN FIGURE…SHE’S JUST NATURALLY SLENDER…NOW HANG ON, I DON’T LIKE HER AFTER ALL… :-) NATURALLY SLENDER….HOW DARE SHE….!

  66. vera...mac... on June 12th, 2013 at 1:21 pm
  67. Have always enjoyed Catherine Gee’s shows. Live in Australia, & love the amazing difference in housing & country. But very concerned with her appearance, she looks really thin & ill. Hope she is ok. I agree with above comment, I can’t take my eyes off her skinny arms & legs! Very distracting. Get well soon xx

  68. Karryn Trethowen on June 27th, 2013 at 7:58 am
  69. I really enjoy watching your programs of Escape to the Country & Fantasy Homes by the Sea. I’m really interested in your family history as your features resemble my grandfather & his forbearers were Gees. Did any of your ancestors come out to Australia in the 1800s? It would be not only exciting to know a distant relative in the U.K. but I’d be extremely proud if you were one. I absolutely love your accent & you just bring your programs to life. Well done Catherine. I’d love to here back. Regards, Eyvonne.

  70. Eyvonne Glenn on September 15th, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>