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“So are there enough black prime-time presenters? Well, I can’t think of any.” Jean Johansson on lack of BAME faces on TV

Television Presenter Jean Johansson.
Television Presenter Jean Johansson.

TV presenter Jean Johansson has just started her dream job but says there is still a lot to be done to get more diversity on the small-screen.

Jean welcomes more black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) faces on TV but fears too few have won a permanent, prime-time presenting role.

The broadcaster, whose dad is Scots and mum Ugandan, said: “You have to put your TV on and decide for yourself if there is enough diversity,

“Are there enough BAME prime-time household name presenters? I can’t really name any now in 2018.

“When we’ve got black presenters fronting the X Factor and The One Show and I’m A Celebrity – I mean regularly, not stand-in presenters or reporters – then we’ll be closer to normalising seeing ethnic minorities on telly.

“We’re definitely not there yet although there have been big improvements over the last few years.”

Making her debut on popular property show A Place In The Sun last week, Jean, 36, revealed it was second time lucky. The presenter, who is married to former Rangers player and now Morton manager Jonatan Johansson, first applied for the job two years back but lost out to another Scot, presenter Danni Menzies

“It was a massive blow and I didn’t think it would come up again because nobody leaves A Place In The Sun,” said Jean, who has a seven-year-old son, Junior.

“I was happy when I heard Danni got it as it was another Scottish presenter but I thought I’d blown it.

“In my personal life I probably wasn’t as settled, as my son was that little bit younger and it’s hard to leave them. Now he’s two years older and is well into school with a great routine.

“When it came up again I thought I really want to get it and I think that determination might have got me through.

“Timing is everything and I feel I was meant to get it now.”

In the meantime, Jean landed roles on The One Show, Animal Park and This Morning, becoming a better-known face having previously worked on kids’ TV and presenting weather bulletins for STV.

It still took three days of screen tests at a glamorous London home before she heard she’d been successful.

“I did shed tears of joy,” said Jean. “Being a face on Channel 4 daytime is just perfect for me. I’m not a kids’ presenter any more who’s lively and bubbly and in your face.”

And Jean reckons she has also matured as far as her general attitudes and behaviour are concerned. “As you get older you become a different person and your priorities change,” said Jean.

“I’m ambitious without being ruthless or competitive.

“I don’t grudge anyone getting any job now, while in my 20s I probably was that bit more ruthless and a bit more bitchy. I just concentrate on myself and not what anyone else is doing.”

Jean has plenty of house-hunting experience to pass on, having upped sticks regularly during Jonatan’s playing career.

“There’s a lot of emotions involved and I always tell my house hunters to go with their gut,” adds Jean.

“When I’ve done that things usually work out all right but when I’ve ignored a gut feeling I’ve ended up in trouble.

“If there’s anything niggling you, you can’t push it to the back.

“We moved to Sweden when Jonatan played for Malmo and I wanted to be next to the train station so I could hop over to Copenhagen.

“But it was such a noisy flat because you could hear the trains come in and out.

“The first train was at 5am and you’d hear it screeching out.”

Domestic life is working out well for Jean with their home just a 15-minute drive from the stadium and 20 minutes from the training ground. It means Jonatan can do the school run when Jean is on her regular filming trips to Spanish sun spots and beyond.

“I go away for a week at a time and I’ve got a good work-life balance at the moment,” adds Jean.

A Place In The Sun, weekdays, 4pm, Channel 4.