Ettore Andenna has led a remarkably rich and varied life which has taken in television and radio presentation, journalism and politics. Born in the Italy city of Milan on June 13th 1946, Andenna first came to prominience at Radio Monte Carlo before being chosen to host a children's television show, Scacco al re ('Checkmate King') on the Italian RAI television network. He made his mark quite quickly and continued in children's television for four years while taking on other work.

In 1978, he joined Jeux Sans Frontières but remained on the presentation team for just that single year. He would later return to the series, shortly after it was relaunched after it's 1980s hiatus and became the main Italian presenter of JSF between 1991 and 1996.

Aside from his presentation duties on Jeux Sans Frontières, Ettore Andenna has also fronted the Eurovision Song Contest on occasion during the Nineties. He also had great success as presenter of Settimo Round ('Seventh Round'), a quiz programme made for Antenne 3 Lombardia and Telemattina, thought to be Europe's first breakfast television programme.

In the 1980s, Andenna became involved in politics and, as a candidate for the Italian Democratic Socialist Party, was elected a member of the Italian Parliament, serving between 1987 and 1989. During his political career, he was involved in youth, education, sport and cultural policy making among other responsibilities. His most celebrated achievement during this period is as the proposer of the bill entitled 'Television Without Frontiers', which would go on to be approved by Parliament and enacted to regulate broadcasting in Italy. After this work in politics was concluded, Andenna returned to Jeux Sans Frontières for his second term as presenter of the games in 1991.

When his tenure as presenter of JSF ended in 1996, Andenna found himself in the unenviable position of seeing his career plans flounder. In the late Nineties and into the early years of the new Millennium, Ettore quickly realised that he was no longer being offered the kind of work he felt he deserved. For a four year period, all he was being asked to do were teleshopping programmes, hardly something befitting his obvious talents. He complained at the time that the same broadcasters who were clearly quite prepared to repeat his old programmes on a regular basis were simultaneously unwilling to offer him new work. Fortunately, this has now changed.

Now in his sixties, Ettore is respected as a veteran broadcaster and is enjoying fresh success. He was quoted as saying, "I don't know if I am the youngest of the old guard or the oldest of the new guard," when he made a successful comeback to Italian television in 2005, once more fronting Telemattina. He has also been involved in a revival of another of his old series, Bustarella, which returned to popular acclaim after twenty two years in 2006. 

by Alan Hayes
with grateful thanks to Mauro Tozzi