Melanie Sykes has detailed several incidents that pushed her to quit her career in the TV industry, also explaining that she felt ‘thrown under the bus’ at times.
The TV and radio presenter was best known for co-hosting Today with Des and Mel with Des O’Connor from 2002 to 2006 and Let’s Do Lunch with Gino D’Acampo from 2011 until 2014.
Her TV presenting career began by hosting Sky One’s Real TV UK series in the mid-90s, and she went on to appear on shows like The Big Breakfast, The Paul O’Grady Show, and also competed on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! and The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off.
However, the last time she was seen on screens was during an appearance on Celebrity MasterChef in 2021.
But now she has said the industry no longer interests her.
‘I will no longer be tap-dancing for corporations who couldn’t give two hoots about my wellbeing,’ she said.
‘Mainstream TV just doesn’t interest me… I’m out of that game,’ she added when speaking to The Guardian.
Now Melanie, 52, is also about to release her autobiography, Illuminated: Autism & All The Things I’ve Left Unsaid, in which she explains a series of events that lead her to walk away from her long-running TV career.
In her book she writes about how they all eventually built up and saw her have a breakdown.
One incident happened when taking part in a New Year’s Eve special.
While she was filming, a colleague lay on the floor and stared up her skirt, she wrote in the book, as reported by the Daily Mail.
She explained of the incident: ‘He thought it was funny. I was horrified and screamed. He got up and I threw a drink all over him. It was all caught on camera.’
Later she realised that when the show aired, it had been edited it in such a way that the footage of the man had not been used.
Instead only the part when Melanie was ‘losing it’ so that she looked ‘crazy’ had been broadcast.
Another story she shared happened on the night she collected her Royal Television Society award in 2013.
She alleged that she kept being touched by a TV personality that wouldn’t leave her alone and that he continually grabbed her breasts and was a ‘complete pest’.
Years earlier, when she was 18, an older photographer is also said to have ‘pressed himself’ against her in bed while on a shoot in South Africa.
The book also explains how she was drinking significantly to deal with what was happening in her workplace, but was also struggling with undiagnosed autism.
When writing about being ‘thrown under the bus’, Melanie said a gameshow she filmed with former TOWIE star Mark Wright was cancelled due to TV gambling rules, however she took the fall.
In the press release that was issued about the end of the show, Melanie said the reasoning given was because she and Mark had ‘failed to understand the concept of the game’.
She wrote that what happened left her ‘fuming’.
Writing about her experiences in the media, she said that women who ‘ask for certain boundaries can be misconstrued as difficult’.
‘Many men ask for what they want, which is great, but we should be allowed the same courtesy,’ she added.
‘It is our right to equality. But if you challenge their status quo, you are considered a problem.’
Back in 2021 Melanie publicly shared she had been diagnosed with autism, a condition her son Tino also has.
‘I’ve always felt different to other people and how they think and operate, but now I know it’s because I’m autistic it makes me feel validated as I understand why,’ she told Hello magazine.
She added that she was ‘relived’ by the diagnosis.
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