Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (1)

Overview (3)

Born in Gateshead, County Durham, England, UK
Birth NameFlorence Winsome Leighton
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Wincey Willis was born Florence Winsome Leighton in Gateshead, County Durham in 1948.

The name Florence was soon dropped in favour of Winsome - shortened to Wincey - a named she loved. When she married husband Malcolm Willis the names ran together so well she still uses his surname some 15 years after her divorce. She was employed variously in the travel industry, acting as a courier and guide before finding work as a record plugger. This lead to her first broadcasting experience as a radio presenter, from where she progressed to Weather presenting for Tyne Tees Television. Domiciled in the Barnard Castle area she also indulged her other passion, which was to rescue and re-home various wild and domestic animals. At one time she had a menagerie of approaching 100 creatures of varying sorts, a subject on which she would eventually publish a book.

In May 1983, Greg Dyke, then Programme Editor for the struggling TV-am was searching for new faces to prop up the failing morning show. He sought unknowns who'd make an impact, even recruiting a friend's aerobics instructor as the exercise presenter. A clip of Willis' presenting the weather was sent to him and he hired her immediately. As he commented at the time, she was more famous for the things that went wrong on her show than for slick presentation, and nobody really cared about the weather anyway. Her weather slot was immediately prior to the half hourly news bulletins and she found she was given anything between 15 seconds and three minutes (with little notice as to which it would be) to fill depending on how long previous interviews and items had lasted. Remarkably it worked. Popular with both audience and colleagues her role began to grow and other features and gimmicks were added, until the arrival of Bruce Gyngell in 1984. Seeking to drag the whole show upmarket, and reduce expenditure to the minimum he could get away with Willis gradually found herself being marginalised within TV-am. However this ironically coincided with expanding horizons elsewhere. Treasure Hunt (1982) came along in 1985 and riding her fame she was offered a deal to write a book, and sponsor a children's board game. Neither was spectacularly successful, but kept her name firmly in the public eye. The usual round of 'B' list games shows and chat shows also meant that she was instantly recognisable anywhere in the UK and abroad. Her haircut was perhaps her most distinctive feature. Spectacularly streaked blonde, it was relatively short and spiky on top and long to the back. Definitively the ultimate 'Mullet' as they were known in the 1980s. She was rewarded with the 'Head of the Year Award' in 1986, a year that perhaps marked the peak of her fame.

In the summer of 1987 after a disagreement with Gyngell about her role within the programme she walked out: noting with some irony that as she was clearing her desk, her replacement was already being feted on the canal bank outside TV-am's studios. While TV-am and Bruce Gyngell then embarked on their terminal progress through industrial disputes and ill-judged franchise bids, Willis also saw her public exposure steadily decline. Although she continued to appear on Treasure Hunt, it too would disappear as a show in 1989 leaving her with no regular appearances.

Her involvement with animals had continued through the 1980s and she was active in supporting many animal charities, including sponsoring 'St Tiggywinkles' hospital for injured animals. Gradually this work took over and in the early 1990s she left the UK to go Greece for an extended period living and working in a turtle sanctuary. She has since returned to the UK, and has become known for reading and writing poetry.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (1)

Malcolm Willis (1972 - ?) (divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

A distinctive and award winning 'Mullet' haircut

Trivia (1)

After retiring from public life in the late 1980s, Wincey Willis now devotes her time to her three hobbies: animal welfare, scuba diving and writing poetry.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page