- Steve Whatley
name = Steve Whatley
image_size = 128px
caption = Steve Whatley "c.2005"
birth_date = July 1959
death_date = 7 November 2005, "aged 46"
occupation = Theatre Actor, Consumer Expert & Television Presenter
Steve Whatley (July
1959- 7 November 2005) known as 'Gadget Man', 'Mr Diamonique', 'Whatters' and 'Mr Zhuzh!' by many, was a British Theatre Actor, Consumer Expert and Journalist, and Television Presenter.
Steve Whatley spent seven years acting in London's
West End Theatreuntil he was persuaded into consumer and magazine journalism by Fashion Editor Thalia Vickers, who strongly believed his "quirky opinions and quest for the best would make good magazine copy".
He soon became Britain's first male grooming expert with his own male grooming page in She Magazine. This progressed to include, style, grooming and Agony Uncle on the initial team of
FHMand opened the door to BBC Pebble Mill. Then followed 12 years for Whatley as resident Consumer Reporter with Richard & Judy(Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan) on ITV's daytime show "This Morning", discussing consumer issues and presenting numerous gadgets.
In 1993, Steve Whatley joined QVC along with fellow British Television Presenters Debbie Flint, Paul Lavers, and Julia Roberts prior to 'the UK's first shopping channel' launching on
1 Octoberof that year.
His presenting style on QVC was regarded as 'camp' and humorous, which earned him a very large fanbase. He is most remembered for the "
Diamonique" jewellery shows he presented, later gaining the nickname 'Mr Diamonique'.
Behind the camera, Whatley was serious about the products he sold and the shows he presented. This '
perfectionism' sometimes led to disagreements with production staff about the best way to sell the item.
In September 1997, after 4 years working at the channel, Whatley left QVC after what was seen as an excessive discussion of
Diana, Princess of Walesin his presenting of a "Today's Special Value" item of jewellery the day before her funeral. The "Today's Special Value" item closely resembled Diana, Princess of Wales' diamondand sapphire engagementring. QVC had ordered there to be no mention of Diana, Princess of Wales in relation to the ring, but Whatley decided otherwise and described the ring as "a fine tribute to a loved princess". There had also been a 'flare-up' of issues regarding his relationship with other members of staff in the months leading up to Whatley's departure from the channel.
A return to earlier projects
From late 1997, Steve Whatley appeared in various
pantomimeproductions and plays. He also returned to presenting consumer slots on ITV's "This Morning", and up until 2000, featured numerous times on BBC's "Watchdog", Anglia TV's "Home Malone", Granada Sky's "The DIY Show" and on the popular Five programme "Open House with Gloria Hunniford". [cite web | url=http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/individual/694531?view=credit | title=Filmography: WHATLEY, Steve | publisher=ftvdb.bfi.org.uk | accessdate=2007-04-12]
In 2000, Steve Whatley joined
Ideal World, a shopping channelowned by Ideal Direct Shopping Plc, with Debbie Flint and Paul Lavers, whom he had previously worked with at QVC. The channel launched on 17 April 2000, and has since been a major rival of QVC. Whatley's fanbase continued to grow and the programmes he presented such as "Whatters' Crazeee Christmas", "Consumer Choice" and "Amazing Ammolite(with Ken Oschipok)" were favourites amongst his fans. Whatley also presented " DisneyMemorabilia" programmes and was a fan and collector of Mickey Mousememorabilia himself.
Whatley owned three
Weimaranerdogs and they were often seen on his shows 'consumer testing' various petproducts. The youngest of the three dogs was named Delia after he had asked the Ideal World audience to send name suggestions into the channel. The name "Delia" is an anagramof the word "ideal". His eldest dog Harry mainly 'co-presented' on "Magnet Therapy" shows and his third dog Oscar was seen numerous times.
In the build-up to
Christmaseach year, Whatley's shows would be inundated with telephone callers shouting "Crazeee Christmas" down the phone and requesting to be on his 'Christmas card list', which meant receiving a personal Christmas card from him.
6 March 2001, the Ideal World premises, including the studios and warehouse, were completely devastated by an unexplained fire. Despite this, Whatley continued to work at Ideal World and helped to re-build the channel. Ideal World began broadcasting again in the autumn of 2001, after several months off the air. Until the new studios and warehouse were completed, Whatley and the team of presenters and production staff worked in temporary studios constructed out of prefabricated units that were erected on the Newark Road, Fengatesite.
On Christmas Eve 2004, after 4 years at Ideal World, Whatley left the channel to pursue other projects. These included helping to launch Harrods TV and plans to return to his theatre work.
Indecent assault charges
18 December 2002, whilst still working at Ideal World, Steve Whatley appeared at Peterborough Magistrates' Court, charged with indecently assaulting a fellow employee four times over a 17 month period during 2000 and 2001. He was accused of groping a female employee three times and once licking her face.
He pleaded "not guilty" to all four counts of
indecent assault. The case was adjourned to Peterborough Crown Courtuntil 3 February 2003, and Whatley was granted bail.
11 July 2003, after a four day trial, the jurors unanimously cleared Whatley of three charges of indecent assault, but were unable to reach a decision on the fourth 'face licking' charge.
Crown Prosecution Servicehad a week to decide if it would seek a retrial on the remaining charge, but no further action was taken as it was known that Whatley licked the faces of many of his co-workers' as part of a jokeamongst Ideal World staff.
"Steve Whatley's Zhuzh!"
Steve Whatley later created and founded the "Steve Whatley's Zhuzh!" brand of tanning products and appeared numerous times on Ideal World as a guest seller. He also continued to write
blogs, answering questions about "Zhuzh!" on the "Zhuzh!" website late into 2005. [http://www.zhuzh.com/index.asp]
Steve Whatley died on
7 November 2005, aged 46.
An inquest into his death held at Hatfield,
Hertfordshirein January 2006, ruled that Steve Whatley had committed suicideby inhaling fumes whilst ill with depression following the breakdown of his marriagefive months earlier. [cite news | url=http://www.ukshoppingtv.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemid=2 | title=Whatley - Inquest Reveals Suicide | publisher=ukshoppingtv.com |date= 2006-06-06| accessdate=2007-04-12]
* [http://www.zhuzh.com/ Zhuzh!] (www.zhuzh.com)
* [http://www.shoppingtelly.com/videos/iwlaunch.wmv VIDEO: Steve Whatley (wearing a blue suit and yellow and blue striped tie) during Ideal World's Launch Night] (www.shoppingtelly.com)
* [http://www.shoppingtelly.com/plugins/p2_news/printarticle.php?p2_articleid=24 "Interview with Steve Whatley"] published
8 June 2005(www.shoppingtelly.com)
* [http://www.shoppingtelly.com/videos/steve_lovingmemory.wmv VIDEO: Ken Oschipok and Ellis Ward announce the death of Steve Whatley on Ideal World] (www.shoppingtelly.com)
* [http://www.shoppingtelly.com/plugins/p2_news/printarticle.php?p2_articleid=151 "Steve Whatley 1959-2005"] published
11 November 2005(www.shoppingtelly.com)
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