Rising to fame as the youngest ever presenter of 'Blue Peter' at the age of 18, Yvette Fielding has spent most of her life in front of the camera, and for the last 16 years has been the host of 'Most Haunted'. The genre-defining show, now in its 21st series, is still going strong, and today it is more popular than it was a decade ago.
During her 35-year career she's won the SOS Award for the 'Most Popular Woman on Television', the Variety Club Show Business award for 'Multichannel Personality of the Year', and appeared on ITV's 'I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!'.
Yvette was born in Manchester in 1968, she's married to the executive producer of Most Haunted, Karl Beattie, who also appears on screen in the show. It was the two of them who came up with the idea for a ghost hunting show, originally for now-defunct television channel Living, after setting up their own production company, Antix Productions.
Yvette recalls, "Karl and I came up with the idea, I was terrified of anything to do with the paranormal, it would just give me nightmares. I would never watch horror movies, or spooky movies, or anything to do with ghosts because it would give me terrifying nightmares. So when we said let's go and do a pilot programme of this, let's spend the night in a haunted house, I was absolutely just beside myself with fear, but at the same time incredibly excited."
Yvette confesses that when she started out she was unsure whether claims of the paranormal were real, "I went into it with an open mind thinking not every cold draught is a ghost, it's probably because some idiot's left the door open."
During a radio interview at the time of the show's third series, Yvette was asked if she believed in ghosts, after a brief pause she replied by saying "ummmmm... I sit on the fence." She added, "what we're doing is a genuine investigation, we want to find out what people have apparently been witnessing and why."
But after more than 200 investigations, it seems that Yvette has been convinced. Speaking in 2015 she said, "I've seen too many things, I've heard too many things, we have as a team recorded so much evidence that we've sent on to universities for people to research and look into it more, and I now know without a shadow of a doubt that there is life after death."
As far as Yvette's concerned, the best piece of evidence the team have caught on camera to date was the "Wentworth Ghost." A full apparition that Karl caught on camera in the abandoned stables of Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham. Yvette said that she "burst into tears" when she saw the footage.
She described the video, "to date, this has to be the most groundbreaking footage we have ever captured", but added that, "rather than giving us the answer we were looking for, it just gave us more questions."
The presenter questioned whether it was "the presence of the spirit of a long dead soul, a doppelganger, stone tape replay or something else we are never supposed to understand."
Even after 16 years, Yvette says she still gets goosebumps before an investigation, as she never quite knows what might happen during the filming.
While the show hasn't broken from its winning format over the years, one thing that has changed is the use of a medium. Of course in the early days Yvette was joined on the investigation by Derek Acorah, he left the show in 2010 and for a few years the team experimented with different psychics.
But since its move to Really, the show no longer uses mediums. Yvette explains why, "I believe that there are people out there who truly are psychic, they truly are spiritual and are mediums as we call them. But I think sadly the majority of people who call themselves psychic and mediums that are on the television, that do theatre shows, that seek money for tickets and so on, I think they're charlatans, they've been found out, they are fake, they are frauds."
She adds, "hopefully by us not having mediums on Most Haunted anymore we'll be able to move forward and bring back some confidence in some people."
One thing the fans of the show would like to see return are the live episodes, which were the life blood of Most Haunted. But it's not just the fans who are frustrated about a lack of live shows, Yvette recently confessed that she too wishes that they could take the show out as a live broadcast, "if the truth be told, it pisses me off because we should be doing them live."
With Yvette turning 50 in September of this year, perhaps her birthday treat from UKTV will be a live episode. A 23rd series is already in production, so the team are sure to be back on our screens later this year. Perhaps we could once again see Yvette embark on a live ghost hunt this Halloween.
Yvette says that one of the show's scariest locations was the episode at Beaumanor Hall, where Karl had three EMF meters set up in a line. All three flashed in turn as if a ghostly presence was walking past them. Yvette said, "now for me watching that, I was thinking 'oh my god, how could you stay there?'"
But, she says her overall scariest moments are those where "those you love get hurt," and there's been a few of them. Yvette said, "even going back as far as Edinburgh Vaults being scratched and burned at East Drive, those for me were turning points where I was in tears both times after those locations, and praying and I couldn't sleep and then it really freaked me out at home."
These experiences lead Yvette to wonder if continuing with the show was a good idea, "I actually thought, I can't do this show anymore because we don't know what we're dealing with."
Although these places might have terrified the TV host, Yvette says "there isn't a place I wouldn't go back to, I'd be shit scared and I wouldn't like it but I would do it."
Yvette recently revealed a list of her top ten scariest moments, which include an impressive EVP recording, moving furniture, crew being taken ill, and a creepy encounter at the UK's most haunted house.
1. 30 East Drive - Pontefract, West Yorkshire
The team experienced a whole host of paranormal activities including knives being thrown and burns occurring on the skin of crew members.
2. Newton House - Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire
Yvette describes the house as a must-visit for any paranormal enthusiast, it boasts reports of poltergeist activity and sightings of full apparitions but on the night of the investigation, it was scratches on Karl's body which really got the team scared.
3. Annison Funeral Parlour - Kingston-Upon-Hull, Yorkshire
It was the show's resident demonologist Fred Batt who stirred up trouble at a former funeral parlour in Hull. Fred was doing what he does best, calling out to negative energies and evil spirits. What Fred wasn't aware of was that the voice of a spirit was caught on tape answering his questions.
4. Tatton Old Hall - Knutsford, Cheshire
Yvette's no stranger to this grade II listed building, built as a manor house around the start of the 15th century. In a 2015 episode, Yvette opened the house's front door and called out, "hello" at which point one of her ghost hunting devices suddenly stopped, it was too much for Yvette and fellow crew member, Leah Walton who both dashed from the open door.
5. National Justice Museum - Nottingham
While in the old court room, Yvette called out to the spirits, encouraging them to communicate by knocking or banging. Suddenly the old judge's chair that she was stood next to let out a huge bang causing the host to jump, swear and run away.
6. Capesthorne Hall - Siddington, Cheshire
It was Karl who got a fright at Capesthorne Hall, an 18th century country house with a labyrinth of rooms and corridors to explore. Karl had been alone in a room in the house's attic where a piano stood against the wall, he was a couple of meters away from the piano with his back to it, yet the piano played a note as if someone or something had pressed a key.
7. Fort Paull - Kingston-Upon-Hull, Yorkshire
It's not uncommon to hear Yvette scream during an investigation, but when the Most Haunted crew visited Fort Paull, Yorkshire's only remaining Napoleonic fortress, she gave her loudest scream ever. In the terrifying two-part episode, which aired in 2015, Yvette got the fright of her life a the Fort, which is now a tourist attraction when she heard something growl in her right ear.
8. The National Emergency Services Museum - Sheffield, South Yorkshire
In 2014 long-time team member Chris Burton dramatically left the show during the recording of an investigation. After hearing footsteps and a crash the camera went dead. Yvette explained that the camera lost its power but it was all too much for Chris. After seven years on the show, he packed up his kit and walked out of the shoot, never to return to the show.
9. Black Country Living Museum - Dudley, West Midlands
In 2015, Yvette and Karl were given the fright of their lives when they carried out a vigil in a pitch black classroom in the old school building at the Black Country Living Museum. The pair experienced furniture moving in front of their eyes and even the bench they were sat on moved beneath them.
10. Tynedale Farm - Pendle Hill, Lancashire
Yvette took her team to the home of the Pendle Witches in East Lancashire for a live show which was broadcast over halloween 2004. During the broadcast the team were investigating the farmhouse, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of the witches, several team members said they felt like they were being chocked and one-by-one left the location.