John Craven originally hails from Leeds, where he began his career as a junior reporter at the Harrogate Advertiser. After stints in local radio and television he hosted John Craven’s Newsround from 1972, also presenting shows such as Swap Shop. John has always considered himself to be a country person at heart and after leaving Newsround in 1989 he joined the Countryfile team. Over the years he has covered many of the key issues facing the British countryside, including BSE, foot and mouth and the fox-hunting ban. In 2000 he was awarded an OBE for his services to rural and children’s broadcasting and features in the RTS Hall of Fame. Here you will find 20 facts about Countryfile’s longest serving presenter
1. John has been presenting BBC Countryfile for over 25 years, and the show made him a mini cake version of himself on the anniversary on 20th July 2014 to celebrate!
John Craven – cast in cake! on 20th July 2014 John celebrated 25 years on Countryfile/Credit: BBC images
After hundreds of recorded episodes of Countryfile, John Craven looks back on the breaking stories, key issues and memorable people that have shaped his quarter century presenting ‘welly telly’.
2. John was the first Western journalist allowed by the Chinese authorities to film the panda rescue centre at Wolong in Sichuan Province. He travelled there in 1986 and made a documentary about the pioneering work that a few years later led to the first baby panda being born in captivity.
3. John has visited more than 80 countries – but says that the British countryside is still hard to beat.
4. John once wanted to be an actor and fancied himself as the next Peter O’Toole.
5. When he was younger John used to sit in the kitchen and read out the articles in the Yorkshire Evening Post like a newscaster for his parents.
6. The person in the media that John most admires is David Attenborough.
7. John presented over 3,000 episodes of Newsround – he claims to have only missed one edition, when his daughter was born.
8. John’s favourite rural place is the Yorkshire Dales.
Here are five reasons to visit the Yorkshire Dales
John Craven’s favourite place in Britain is the spectacular Yorkshire Dales/Credit: Getty
9. John has admitted that he is addicted to the television programme Spooks.
10. John likes being a broadcaster because it gives him the “open sesame” effect – getting invited into secret places and sharing the experience with viewers.
11. If John didn’t work in the media he would like to be a pilot.
12. John attended Leeds Modern, the same school as Alan Bennett.
13. John used to be known as Johnny Ray in the 50s. He also wore Italian suits and a Tony Curtis haircut.
14. John’s favourite seaside location is Whitby.
View of Whitby harbour showing the Church and Abbey – John Craven’s favourite seaside location/Credit:Getty
15. John is vice-president of the Waterways Trust and a Patron of SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad).
16. John says his proudest achievement in his working life is having worked for the BBC for the past 35 years plus.
17. Newsround’s biggest scoops included the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, the Hungerford massacre and, most famously, the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle.
18. John favourite part about being involved in Newsround was the challenge of writing the stories.
19. John has worked in broadcasting for nearly 50 years.
20. John was awarded an OBE in 2000 for services to rural and children’s broadcasting.