Ayo Akinwolere spent five fantastic years on the flagship show Blue Peter where he was able to explore his love of sports and music.
Ayo is the BBC’s new face of investigative journalism in the West Midlands.
Born in Nigeria, Ayo Akinwolere moved to the UK at the age of 8 after his father was offered a scholarship at Birmingham University. Having enjoyed a colourful and carefree childhood in Ibadan, the increasing threat of danger forced Ayo’s parents to seek a fresh start in England.
Ayo embraced this new culture in the UK and particularly found a love for music. He went on to indulge his love of the arts by completing a degree in Media Studies and Film at Sheffield Hallam. After graduation he trained as a News Assistant at Calendar News whilst also hosting a 15 minute slot on Robert Beckford’s BBC WM show covering new and local music.
After 6 months honing his skills behind the mike, Ayo joined the BBC as a runner and his energy and charisma was instantly spotted as he was asked to audition for Blue Peter.
In 2007 Ayo Akinwolere became the first black male presenter on the flagship family show, which he went on to host for 5 years. During his time on the show Ayo was nominated for two BAFTA awards; Presenter of the Year for Ayo’s Trip back to Nigeria and Best Factual Programming for his Street Child World Cup documentary, where he used his football coaching experience to mentor a group of inner city London teens on a trip to South Africa.
During his time on Blue Peter Ayo was pushed to his limits, challenging his fear of heights and water. He not only bungee jumped from a helicopter, 11,000 feet over Santa Monica he also sky dived 11 times to become a qualified sky diver. In his final year at Blue Peter Ayo set a new world record for the deepest location for an open water swim by traveling more than 5 miles over the Palau Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the first person to do so. This incredible feet of endurance was made more significant due to Ayo’s phobia of deep water and the fact he only learnt to swim 10 weeks prior to the challenge.
Ayo also hosted CBBC shows Safari 8, the established art show SM:ART, Queen Elizabeth II, held in front of a crowd of 3000 for the 50 year celebrations of Blue Peter and the The Big Assembly, welcoming Pope Benedict XVI on his only visit to the UK to date.
In 2012 Ayo was selected to be the main host for the Olympic torch relay, a 70 day tour road show for LOCOG where he interviewed some of the country’s greatest sportsmen and woman including Daley Thompson, Lennox Lewis, Torvilll and Dean and musicians including the likes of Wretch 32, Katy B and The Womabats.
Ayo also hosted the British Airways stage at the Olympic Park interviewing many of the British athletes including Gold medalists Nicola Adams and Anthony Joshua.
Most recently Ayo has fronted several factual shows for the BBC including ‘Teens From a Small Island’, ‘Stammer School’ and ‘World Olympic Dreams’.
In 2013, Ayo graced our screens on ITV’s hit Saturday night show ‘Dancing on Ice’, put his baking skills to the test in a special series of ‘The Great Comic Relief British Bake Off’ on BBC Two, joined ‘the Great British Banquet’, reported for ‘The Gabby Logan Show’ on Channel 5, presented ‘The 100 Greatest Toys’ for Channel 4 and continues to host ITV’s Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge.
In his spare time Ayo is as a member of the prestigious BAFTA and presents their yearly Young Film Critic Awards.
He also enjoys travelling, having been to over 120 cities across the globe, writing his blog which is based on his love of music, travel and photography which has recently been published in the National Geographic Kids Magazine and Vogue Bambini.