Born in Rustington, Jeanne, along with radio presenter Clive Warren, were both hired to present the morning CITV continuity links, which ran from 9.25am to 12.30pm weekdays throughout July and August 1989. The puppet character Scally the Dog often appeared in the mornings with them. During the same period, Jeanne and Clive took turns as stand-ins for fellow Children’s ITV presenter Jerry Foulkes in the afternoons, when he was away on holiday.
On 2nd January 1990 (following Foulkes’ departure on 22nd December 1989), Jeanne took over co-presenting the Children’s ITV afternoon service, along with Scally. Clive returned to Children’s ITV in summer 1990, to present the morning service on his own; although he occasionally swapped roles with Jeanne, to cover the afternoon schedule. In September 1990, the Children’s ITV afternoon slot was extended slightly, now running from 3.55pm to 5.10pm each weekday. Downs and Scally continued to present afternoons until 29th March 1991, when Central Television won back the contract to produce Children’s ITV from Stonewall Productions. CITV celebrated its 20th birthday (3rd January 2003), with a special one-off programme called CITV’s 20th Birthday Bash. Downs and Scally (voiced by Richard Coombs) both appeared on the programme, alongside other past and present CITV presenters, including Roland Rat, Matthew Kelly, Michael Underwood and Leah Charles. Jeanne also guest-hosted on other shows across the ITV network, including: Disney Club; Motormouth; Ghost Train; Win, Lose or Draw; Funhouse.
After she left Children’s ITV, Jeanne pursued a singing career (1992 – 2002), providing backing vocals for many artists, including Steve Hackett (a former member of the rock group Genesis). Jeanne was programme manager, vocal, media and live performance coach, as well as head of development and implementation of Pop Academy, a part-time school at the ACM (Academy of Contemporary Music) in Guildford, Surrey (2001 – 2005).
Jeanne was a member of a ‘live’ band called Madison Square. She has also done lots of voiceover and narration work, including many commercials. Since 2013, she’s been the co-owner of Little Music Stars, where she is a creator, writer and producer. And since 2014, she has owned JAF Modern Architectural, based in Los Angeles, which designs and builds modern architectural, high-end homes with designer, cutting edge finishes. She is married to record producer Aron Friedman and they have a young daughter called Sophie.
Paul R. Jackson corresponded with Jeanne in America in May 2018 and asked what she was doing before joining CITV: “I was singing for a living and acting – theatre and TV. I always wanted to be a presenter and my friend and presenter Michaela Strachan helped me with a few contacts. It took nearly three years to get my job on CITV, but was worth the wait. Scally was designed, built and voiced by Richard Coombes and John Eccleston and later in CITV days by Michael Bassett.”
Paul asked if she had auditioned with anyone else and for her memories of working on CITV: “No, I auditioned solo in Birmingham at Central TV.
“CITV days were incredibly special and unique. Budgets were small, so my role extended way beyond on-air presenting. For me, being a people person, I loved getting involved with every aspect of making a TV show and really learned my craft. I interviewed and met many incredible people in my time on TV, from Prince Phillip to Jason Donovan and Norman Wisdom – stars right across the spectrum; authors, pop stars, actors, environmentalists. I learned so much and felt privileged to be given the opportunity to present on such a legendary kids UK channel.”
What was it like returning for the 20th anniversary?: “Amazing and wonderful to be reunited with Scally. I was actually quite emotional which took me by surprise. The production team made me feel like CITV royalty. Apparently Scally and I had been one of the most popular CITV teams!”
Have you kept in touch with Clive and Jerry?: “Sadly not. A few years ago, I rang into a radio show Clive was presenting and it was hilarious! Jerry went on to to produce and direct many shows.”
Video Clips on the Internet
Here we present a selection of video clips featuring Jeanne which we found on social media sites or have made available from our own archive. The clips are presented here for additional reference. Inclusion of a video does not constitute an endorsement of the hosting site/channel/user. If you find any broken links below or are aware of an additional clip(s) which you believe may be a useful addition to this profile, please get in touch with us via our Contact page.
Jeanne Downs showreel.
PICTURED: Jeanne Downs. SUPPLIED BY: Jeanne Downs. COPYRIGHT: Jeanne Downs.