Natasha Margaret Kaplinsky (born 9 September 1972 in Brighton) is a British newsreader and television presenter. She has worked with the BBC, Channel 5, ITN and Sky News. She won the first series of the TV show Strictly Come Dancing.
Her paternal grandparents originated from Slonim (then in Poland, now in Belarus), and emigrated to South Africa in 1929. Kaplinsky was born in Brighton, but spent her early life in Kenya(where she claims to have been fluent in Swahili), although she later returned to the United Kingdom, where she was brought up in Barcombe, East Sussex. She attended Ringmer Community College, until the age of sixteen when she moved to Varndean College in Brighton.
Kaplinsky was the subject of one of a series of BBC television programmes, Who Do You Think You Are?, in which well-known people trace their family trees. Kaplinsky's programme was broadcast on 6 September 2007. She followed her paternal line to Slonim and was shown official documentation relating to her cousin's family. This included the death of family members during the "liquidation" – massacre – of the Slonim ghetto by the Nazis and another's escape to the partisans and eventual emigration to Australia. Her maternal line included an apothecary to King George III.
Kaplinsky started out presenting on F2F, a youth chat show, for Granada Talk TV in 1996 with co-host Sacha Baron Cohen. She then moved to presenting early morning news bulletins at Meridian. Within six months she was co-presenting their evening news programme Meridian Tonight. In 1999 she moved to ITV's London News Network where she hosted London Today and London Tonight and a political programme called Seven Days.Kaplinsky and George Alagiah presenting the BBC News at Six in 2006
Kaplinsky joined the BBC to present BBC Breakfast in November 2002, from Monday to Thursday alongside Dermot Murnaghan, following the departure of Sophie Raworth to present the BBC News at Six. Kaplinsky eventually left Breakfast in May 2005, to become an occasional presenter on the News at Six. Kaplinsky also acted as main weekday presenter on the News at Six, when Raworth was on maternity leave in October 2005. She was replaced as the main weekday presenter on Breakfast by Sian Williams.
In 2006, Kaplinsky became only the third woman to present the BBC's Ten O'Clock News, after Fiona Bruce (regular presenter) and Sian Williams who had co-presented the programme from the studio in Westminster with Huw Edwards in April 2005. She continued to present the programme occasionally in 2007, and was also on the One O'Clock News.
On 5 October 2007 the BBC confirmed that Kaplinsky had decided to depart the BBC to become a presenter of Five News. She presented her last Six O'Clock News on 5 October with formerBreakfast colleague Dermot Murnaghan. Her BBC salary was a reported £175,000 and her salary at Five was reported to be "in excess of" £300,000.
On 18 February 2008 Kaplinsky presented her first broadcast for Five. Her first bulletin which aired at 17:00 was reported to have been watched by a million viewers. She also presented a second programme at 19:00, Monday to Thursday with news correspondent Matt Barbet presenting each Friday.
On 21 August 2008, she begun her first maternity leave from Five, Isla Traquair and Barbet stood in for her until 16 February 2009. Following her return she only hosted the 17:00 programme. From 18 March 2010 she started her second maternity leave with Barbet again standing in for her.
On 14 October 2010, Kaplinsky announced that she was leaving her job at Channel 5 at the end of 2010, having spent much of her three years at the broadcaster on maternity leave. On 23 December 2010, she presented her final bulletin for Five News.
On 3 August 2011, it was announced that Kaplinsky would provide maternity leave cover for Nina Hossain, the main presenter of London Tonight and relief presenter of ITV News programmes from mid-November until Spring 2012, but has since become a permanent member of the news team, currently working on a freelance basis.