Denise van Outen (born 27 May 1974) is a British actress, singer and television presenter best known for presenting The Big Breakfast, for playing Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago both inthe West End and on Broadway and for finishing in the runner-up position in the tenth series of the BBC One dancing show Strictly Come Dancing.


 [hide*1 Early life

Early life[edit]Edit

Born Denise Kathleen Outen in Basildon, Essex, she is the youngest of Ted and Kathleen Outen's three children and was brought up a Catholic.[1] She has a brother Terry and sister Jackie.[2][3]

At the age of seven, she began modelling for knitting patterns,[2] and showed an early flair for performing. This resulted in her attending the Sylvia Young Theatre School. In 1986, at the age of 12,[1] she played Éponine in Les Misérablesalongside fellow Sylvia Young student Melanie Blatt[4] (the role paid her school fees[5]), the Anthony Newley directed production of Stop the World - I Want to Get Off, and A Midsummer Night's Dream with the Royal Shakespeare Company.[2]

Early career[edit]Edit

As a teenager she had brief roles on a number of television dramas including Kappatoo[6] and The Bill.[7] She also sang with Cathy Warwick in "girl group" Those2Girls, by which time she had become Denise van Outen. She also did backing vocals with Melanie Blatt for the band Dreadzone.[4]

Van Outen was voted Rear of the Year in 1999, and was top of a poll to find the most desired "bikini body" in a 2007 poll of readers of Grazia magazine.[8]

Acting career[edit]Edit

[1][2]Denise van Outen filming onWaterloo Bridge

During her first stint on the Big Breakfast show, she appeared as Jill in ITV1's version of the pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk[9] alongside Julie Walters and Neil Morrissey. Wanting to further develop her acting career, she left The Big Breakfast at the end of 1998. In 1999, she appeared on several episodes of The Bill and The Young Person's Guide To Becoming A Rock Star, theBBC's Murder in Mind short series of crime dramas,[10] and on 2 series of Babes in the Wood with Karl Howman and Samantha Janus.[9]

Van Outen has also appeared in film, initially as Maureen in the crime comedy Love, Honour and Obey. In the anthology film Tube Tales, set on the London Underground, she played the lead character of Alex in the "Horny" segment, directed by Stephen Hopkins.[11] Van Outen has played a small role in the romantic comedy Are You Ready For Love?

She first played Roxie Hart on the stage in the hit musical Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre in the West End in April 2001.[12] Her run proved a hit with theatre-goers, selling out for the entire 20 weeks. Unknown in the United States, she reprised her role on Broadway in the spring of 2002, before returning to the show's London version in late April 2002.[13] Late the same year, Van Outen appeared as one of many special guest stars in a performance of The Play What I Wrote once again in London's West End.

In 2003, she returned to the London stage at the Gielgud Theatre in Andrew Lloyd Webber's one-woman show Tell Me on a Sunday,[14][15] which he reworked for her. She was a huge success and the show ran for nearly a year.[16] She then joined the cast of the established ITV sentimental drama Where the Heart Is as one of the lead characters, playing single mother Kim Blakeney, continuing for two series.[17]

Van Outen played Maureen in the 2007 London revival of Rent Remixed directed by William Baker until 22 December.[18] She was forced to cancel some performances owing to a throat infection.[19]

In July 2009, van Outen played Mary in Hotel Babylon for the BBC. Her character was at the hotel for a science convention.[20]

In August 2009, van Outen made her Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut[21] in Blondes,[22] a show by Jackie Clune.

Van Outen took over the role of Paulette Bunafonte from Jill Halfpenny in the West End production of Legally Blonde on 25 October 2010.[23] She continued in the role for 6 months.

In 2012, Van Outen was cast in the film of the Ray Cooney farce Run For Your Wife alongside Danny DyerSarah Harding and Neil Morrissey[24]

Starting in January 2014, Van Outen will be starring in a UK tour of Some Girl I Used to Know, a one woman play which she has co-written with Terry Ronald[25]


It was announced on 10 January 2008 that van Outen would be reunited with Vaughan and become the co-host of Capital Breakfast on Capital Radio, from 4 February 2008.[26]

On 29 July 2008 she decided to quit the show halfway through her contract owing to juggling her extensive TV commitments with the early mornings[27]

However, in April 2011 Denise revealed that she left the show because relations between her and Vaughan had soured. She says Vaughan has not spoken to her since.[28]

Since Spring 2013, Denise has presented her own Saturday afternoon radio show on London's Magic 105.4, airing between 1pm and 3pm.


Van Outen has designed two collections thus far for the website, Very, part of the Shop Direct Group. The first collection was a maternity range launched in March 2010 and the second an autumn/winter collection.[29]


Year Title Role
1995–96 Massive! Presenter
1997–98, 2000–01 The Big Breakfast Presenter
1999 Something for the Weekend Presenter
2001 Prickly Heat Presenter
2004 Passport to Paradise Presenter
2005 This Morning Guest Presenter
2006 The National Lottery: Christmas Special Presenter
2007 Any Dream Will Do! Regular Judge
Grease: You're the One that I Want! Presenter
The Friday Night Project Guest Presenter
2008 Backstage at the Brits Presenter
Who Dares, Sings! Co-presenter
Hairspray: The School Musical Presenter
2010 The 5 O'Clock Show Guest Presenter
2010, 2012 Lorraine Guest Presenter
2010– The Only Way Is Essex Narrator
2011 Born to Shine Regular Judge
2012 Strictly Come Dancing Contestant
2013 Sunday Brunch Guest presenter

Guest appearances[edit]Edit

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]Edit

Main article: Strictly Come Dancing (series 10)

For Strictly's tenth series in September 2012, van Outen was partnered by professional dancer James Jordan. Early favourites, they secured the top position of the leaderboard 7 times with Denise, including 4 consecutive top positions. Criticism of her place in the competition arose, as some viewers could not accept her further progressing in the competition, with her 'advantage' of stage and dance experience over other celebrities.[30] However, Outen and Jordan did finish as runners-up with singer Kimberley Walsh and her partner Pasha Kovalev, behind the winner gymnast Louis Smith and professional partner Flavia Cacace.[31] See table below for full results.

Week # Dance/Song Judges' scores Result
Craig Revel Horwood Darcey Bussell Len Goodman Bruno Tonioli Total
1 Waltz / With You I'm Born Again 6 6 6 7 25 Safe
2 Jive / Tutti Frutti 8 8 8 8 32 Safe
3 Foxtrot / You've Got a Friend in Me 8 8 8 8 32 Safe
4 Cha Cha Cha / Super Freak 7 7 7 7 28 Safe
5 Vienesse Waltz / At Last 9 8 9 9 35 Safe
6 Paso Doble / Seven Nation Army 9 9 9 9 36 Safe
7 Charleston / Walk Like an Egyptian 9 10 10 10 39 Safe
8 American Smooth / Imagine 9 9 9 10 37 Safe
9 Salsa / Rhythm of the Night 8 8 8 8 32 Safe
10 Dance Fusion (Jive/Quickstep) / Reet Petite 8 9 9 9 35 Bottom two
11 Tango / Roxanne

Rumba / The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face











Bottom two
12 Jive / Tutti Frutti

Showdance / What a Feeling Charleston / Walk Like an Egyptian


10 10


10 10


10 10


10 10


40 40



Year Title Role Notes
1998 Jack and the Beanstalk Jill TV Movie
1999 Tube Tales Alex in segment "Horny"
2000 Love, Honour and Obey Maureen
2007 Are You Ready for Love? Rita
2012 Run for Your Wife Michelle Smith

Other work[edit]Edit

On 29 June 2010, whilst co-hosting The 5 O'Clock Show on Channel 4, Denise broke the Guinness World Record for eating 250g of jelly in 60 seconds with a blindfold on.[32]


All singles, unless otherwise stated:

  • 1994: "Wanna Make You Go... Uuh!" (with Those 2 Girls) [UK #74]
  • 1995: "All I Want" (with Those 2 Girls) [UK #36]
  • 1998: "Especially for You" – shown as Denise & Johnny (a cover of the Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan song of the same name) [UK #3]
  • 1999: "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" – from the ABBAMania compilation album
  • 2002: "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" (With Andy Williams) [UK #23]
  • 2003: "Tell Me on a Sunday" (Original cast recording) [UK Album Charts #34]
  • 2007: "Baby It's Cold" – duet with Russell Watson on his 2007 album Outside In

Personal life[edit]Edit

Van Outen's personal life has always been well-documented by the tabloid media. From 1998 to 2001, she dated Jamiroquai lead singer Jay Kay. They were engaged and reported to be on the verge of marriage,[33] but split up in 2001; his album A Funk Odyssey is mostly about their break-up, with the song "Little L" expressing his fight against cocaine addiction during that period.[34]

From 2003, she dated 'Brown's' club owner Richard Traviss, but split up with him in May 2005,[16] moving out of the Marylebone home they shared and back into her own garden flat in North London.[5] After appearing on Channel 4's The Friday Night Project and describing her first real kiss with fellow Sylvia Young student James Lance, subsequently they dated for a few weeks in 2007.[35] In November 2007, she began dating Any Dream Will Do winner, Lee Mead. She married Mead in April 2009 in the Seychelles. They have a daughter, Betsy, who was born on 1 May 2010.[36] In July 2013 the couple released a joint statement stating that they had split but remained good friends.[37] On 28 November 2013 she stated on ITVs hit show I'm a celebrity she was "dating" ex-king of the jungle Joe Swash


Van Outen has lent her support to design limited edition T-shirts or vests for the 'Little Tee Campaign' for Breast Cancer Care which donates money for breast cancer research.[38] She continues to support Breast Cancer Charities andGreat Ormond Street Hospital.

In 2009 van Outen climbed Mt Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief. Joining her on the climb were Girls Aloud members Cheryl Cole and Kimberley Walsh, Fearne CottonBen ShephardGary BarlowRonan KeatingAlesha Dixon and Chris Moyles.

In 2010, van Outen along with Fearne Cotton and Alexandra Burke did the Inca Trek in Peru for Breast Cancer Care.[39]

In 2013, van Outen organised and took part in a trek across the Great Wall of China, walking for 6–10 hours per day to raise money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

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