In addition to her vast experience of business, corporate life and the needs of the public, she has made numerous ground-breaking documentaries about social issues such as child abuse, drugs, mental health and childbirth, such as ‘The Lost Babies and ‘Trouble in Mind’ several of which resulted in changes in laws and practice.
Esther also created a number of entertainment shows, including the talent show ‘The Big Time’ which discovered international singing star Sheena Easton, the awards programme, ‘Hearts of Gold’, and ‘Children of Courage’ for Children in Need. She also made a documentary for ITV called ‘Winton’s Children’ on Sir Nicholas Winton, who rescued the generation of Czech children from their doomed fate in the Nazi death camps before World War II. Her other TV credits consist of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ in 2004, ‘How to Make a Good Death’ on palliative care in 2006, ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ and ‘I’m a Celebrity: Get Me Out Of Here’ in 2008 ‘Would Like to Meet’ and ‘Watchdog’.
A versatile performer as well as a talented presenter/ producer, amongst her many acclaimed guest appearances was one as Edith Piaf on ‘Celebrity Stars in their Eyes’.
Since 1986 she has been Chair of the children's charity, Childline, the national 24-hour helpline for children and young people in distress or danger. When it merged with the NSPCC, Esther became President of Childline and Trustee of NSPCC, in addition to working as a volunteer counsellor. Childline now has call centres throughout the UK, answering well over one million calls a year.
In addition she is patron or president of numerous charities connected with children, or supporting people with disabilities. Esther opened Desmond Wilcox Media Centre, in memory of her husband, and she presents Desmond Wilcox Award to volunteers working for the ‘Hearing Dogs for the Deaf’ charity.
In 1991 she received the OBE for services to broadcasting, and honorary doctorates from Southampton Institute, London South Bank University and Portsmouth University for the creation of Childline and her career as a broadcaster. In 2006, Esther was awarded a CBE for services to children.
Esther has also received several professional awards like ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from Women in Film and Television, ‘Royal Television Society's Special Judges' Award’ for Journalism, ‘their Fellowship’ and ‘Membership of their Hall of Fame’. She became the first woman to receive a ‘Dimbleby Award’ from BAFTA for factual presentation and also received the ‘Snowdon Award’ for her services to disabled people. Esther Rantzen is a patron of various hospitals and charities for disabled people like the Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, Hillingdon Manor School for autistic children, North London Hospice and Campaign for Courtesy. She has served on a number of Government committees including the National Consumer Council, the Home Office Fear of Crime Committee, the Health Education Authority and the Campaign for Quality Television.
Esther is greatly in demand as an events presenter, and motivational speaker. She draws from her considerable experience of inventing innovative, pioneering ideas, and turning them into solid reality.
She has an unrivalled stock of personal anecdotes from the many distinguished personalities she has met and interviewed, from Sir Richard Branson to Joan Collins, and from Hillary Clinton to Sir Norman Wisdom.
An award-winning entertainer, her audiences invariably respond to the wisdom, experience and humour in her speeches.
As her hugely successful broadcasting career demonstrates, she is also an authoritative Chair, and a revealing interviewer. Esther specialises in tailoring her presentation to meet the needs of every specific occasion. As a journalist and now a novelist, she is adept at creating verse, (and even songs), celebrating the personalities in her audiences.
How to motivate people
How to create and build a groundbreaking organisation - based on her experience at Childline.
How to enlist the public to change lives - based on her experience of telling the story of toddler Ben Hardwick, which launched liver transplant surgery for children in Britain.
How to discover and nurture talent
How to establish good relations with the public and the media, and manage interviews by broadcasters and the press
How to succeed in a challenging world - as a working woman, Esther has sound advice for everyone seeking the right balance.
How to "juggle" a successful career with family life - as the mother of three children, Esther has personally experienced all the inevitable challenges.
The lessons of life - Esther's experiences on how, as the widow of award-winning documentary producer Desmond Wilcox to whom she was married for twenty-two years, she watched the creation of many of his most memorable films, notably the story of "The Boy David"