Matt Baker on his love for the Chilterns

Matt reveals how hard it was to leave the countryside for his first TV job. 

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Recently I’ve been thinking about how I moved away from the countryside when I first came down to London for my job on Blue Peter. I loved my home in the Durham countryside and was worried about what it would be like to live in the capital, especially as I’d never even been there before I was interviewed for the job.

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Having told the London estate agent that it would be nice to see some trees and greenery, he said he knew just the place for me. As we were driving to the flat (having already seen loads of places that I didn’t like) I was excited about the possibility of living somewhere that wouldn’t be so much of a culture shock.

We arrived and the estate agent got out of the car and said “Ta-dah…” He pointed to a single tree growing out of the pavement, not expecting the disappointed face that stared back at him. It turned out there was a little garden at the back (not that I could see it from my basement flat) but I knew that this was the best I was going to get.
It’s a big decision moving from the countryside to a town, or from a town into the country. The way of life is so different and sometimes it’s not what you thought it would be – it’s often the little things that you find you can’t live with. I didn’t take my home in Durham for granted, but I didn’t realise how much I would miss it when I wasn’t there any more.

My wife and I soon moved from London to the Chalfonts in Buckinghamshire, and then moved even further out to where we are now in the Chilterns. It was worth the long journey to the BBC for me as we were so much happier being out of the city. We have to drive to a shop to get milk or a paper and it’s a bit of a trek to the pub – but at least there is one!

Planning for the future

Having grown up in small villages, we both want the same upbringing for our children. It’s lovely to open the curtains in the morning and look out on to trees and fields and be able to walk Meg in the woods at the end of our road.
Being out in the countryside is just what you need to get away from the pressures of work. When you’re in a town, it’s very easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of life, but in the countryside you slow down into the natural rhythm of what’s around you. Even when I have been involved with Strictly Come Dancing, going out to beautiful Countryfile locations was a welcome change and the fresh air was good for the soul.

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We now find ourselves in a position to move again with our growing family and hope we can find something we love as much as our current house. The location we live in is perfect but that is also reflected in the house prices, and with the current market we wonder if we will be able to find our ideal family home.