MasterChef narrator India Fisher, her Stoke-on-Trent links, and famous family

Fans were delighted to see what MasterChef voiceover star India Fisher really looks like
MasterChef narrator India Fisher -Credit:BBC

MasterChef narrator India Fisher has stunned fans of the hit BBC show - by appearing in person on-screen for the first time. The 49-year-old has been the voice of MasterChef since it was relaunched by chef John Torode and market trader Gregg Wallace in 2004.

India appeared on last night's show in person to formally announce the menu for its 20th anniversary celebration dinner. It left viewers putting a face to the voice for the first time in two decades.

But not everyone will know that India was born in Stoke-on-Trent on September 10, 1974.

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Her dad Mark Fisher - who later became Stoke-on-Trent Central MP for 27 years - was working as a film producer and screenwriter back in the early 1970s. He failed to win the parliamentary seat of Leek at the 1979 general election, before being elected to Staffordshire County Council in 1981, and then replacing Robert Cant as the Stoke-on-Trent Central Labour MP at the 1983 general election.

Mark is the son of the 7th Earl of Lisburne and brother-in-law to Conservative MP Sir Michael Grylls, whose nephew is the explorer Bear Grylls.

India is the step-sister of musician Crispin Hunt and Other Lives actress Francesca Hunt. She has been a regular on BBC Radio 4 shows, became an international superstar as Charlotte Pollard in the audio version of Doctor Who, has appeared as Kelly Osborne and Charlotte Church on Dead Ringers, and performs voiceovers on TV adverts.

India has previously told how she was often recognised on the streets of Stoke-on-Trent as she grew up as a child - thanks to her dad's columns in The Sentinel.

She told The Sentinel back in 2008: "An MP has quite a difficult job to do, but it’s quite a difficult job being an MP’s child, too, as you are also in the limelight. When my father used to write a column for The Sentinel, for example, he often used to write about my brother and me, and people would come up to us in the street and start talking to us about it. At the same time, it was nice that they did, because there was always a good feeling in the city."

Recalling playing Kelly Osborne on Dead Ringers, India told us: “It was tough — they often give you a character they want you to do on the Friday and you have to get it ready in just 48 hours. Sometimes I wonder how on earth I’m going to do it — but it’s not an opportunity I can't possibly turn down. They needed someone to do the younger characters. I look a little like Kelly Osborne I guess — I’ve got my dad to thank for that — so I guess I was perfect for the part.”

India attended St Thomas’ Primary School, in Hartshill, and St Thomas More High School, in Longton, before the family moved to London when she was 14.

She added: “Stoke-on-Trent was a great place to grow up. I always got on really well with people at school, I absolutely loved it there.”

But if there was one thing India was, as a Stoke-on-Trent schoolgirl ever-so-slightly irritated by, it was her name.

“My brother’s called Crispin, another one is called Rhydian, and I’m India so it’s an interesting collection of names,” she said. “Whenever my name came up in the school register, the teacher always used to pause before saying it — she expected the pronunciation to be unique somehow. And the kids in the playground used to jokingly say things like: ‘So what’s your middle name, Pakistan?’ I used to wish I was just called something nice and simple like Jane. But I love it now.”

Back on the MasterChef set and India was among a host of familiar faces - including previous judges, winners and Michelin star chefs - in last night's semi-final show, which saw the eight remaining hopefuls cook a three-course dinner inspired by past winners' dishes for 70 guests.

Fans were excited when John Torode donned chef whites to cook in the kitchen as executive head chef for the evening. But it couldn't top the excitement of seeing what India looked like in real life. The show's long-standing narrator was in front of the cameras for a change and joked: "I vowed I wouldn't do this, but I'll read the menu out loud." She then went on to reveal one of the main courses was "pan-fried scallop, grilled red mullet, smoked cauliflower puree, straw potatoes with vinegar powder, fennel and gherkin pickle, scallop coral cracker" before exclaiming: "Sounds delicious!"

Viewers couldn't contain their glee as they took to X to express their delight they finally knew what India looked like.

Posting a photo of her, one wrote alongside it: "OMG. Actual India Fisher. #MasterChef."

Another joked: "The voice of #MasterChef has a face!!! #MasterChefUK." A third commented: "Watching #MasterChef and the biggest shock of the night is India Fisher not looking like I expected." A fourth posted: "India Fisher the voice of MasterChef appears on camera as a guest on the 20th anniversary banquet!"

While a fifth fan added: "Glad the #MasterChef voiceover got invited to the semi-final 20th anniversary meal. Odd to see her face. Had to rewind when I heard her reading the menu and was like, hold on a minute, I know that voice."

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