20 years flies by for Airline star Leo from Bovingdon
He was the easyJet worker who suddenly found himself a TV star '“ but 20 years really has flown by for Airline celebrity Leo Jones.
Leo, from Bovingdon, became one of the most recognisable faces in the country after finding fame on one of the earliest examples of reality TV.
Camera crews followed his day job at Luton Airport, before Airline screened to more than 11 million viewers in a prime time ITV slot.
Now, 20 years on, Leo is back in the public eye as the media world celebrates the anniversary of what turned out to be a groundbreaking TV show.
“Airline came along and nothing was scripted,” he told the Gazette. “It wasn’t models or actors and I think that’s what made it such a draw for people.
“There were also only five channels at the time! It was surreal, I didn’t know how big it was going to be.
“I started going down to the local shops and I would see my face on the newspapers, and it would be an ‘oh my god’ moment.”
Leo, who still lives in Bovingdon and has two children – five-year-old Hugo and three-year-old Zac – is now taking some time out to determine his next career step.
But he’s been back in the media eye as the 20th anniversary of the show hits the headlines, and has chatted with Scott Mills on Radio One and appeared on This Morning with Rylan Clark.
Although TV, and aviation, changed after Airline, Leo, now 37, thinks he’s remained the same person.
He said: “Stuff used to go wrong at the airport quite often, and the programme almost acted as an education to people – it taught them to get there early and be ready with their passports and documents. It changed a lot.
“As for me though – I’m still like I was, a party animal and a child at heart!”