1. Anita was born and brought up in Bradford and has one younger brother.
2. She says her earliest memories are of “scrambling up onto Ilkley Moor at the Cow and Calf in West Yorkshire” and now lists Whitby in North Yorkshire as her favourite place in the UK.
3. Anita’s interest in journalism began after her mum got involved with Sunrise Radio in Bradford. She went along to help her mum one day and says “before long I found myself sitting in a studio, a microphone in front of me, hosting a kids’ show”.
4. Anita’s family would escape to the country every weekend when she was a child. She says there was a time when hers would be the only Asian family out in the Yorkshire countryside, but that thankfully is now changing.
5. She went on to study broadcasting at Leeds University, where she worked on Leeds Student Radio. While at uni Anita also had a part-time job at West Yorkshire Playhouse, working in the box office, and says she loved getting to see all the plays for free.
6. Anita credits her parents with encouraging her to be independent, individual and follow her dreams.
7. She went on to work widely in broadcasting, presenting a show on the BBC Asian Network, cricket on Channel 4 and The Edit, a live entertainment and news programme on Channel 5.
8. Anita was one of the BBC’s presenters for the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. She was stationed outside the Goring Hotel where Kate had stayed the night before the wedding and was one of the first people to get a glimpse of Kate’s wedding dress before she left for Westminster Abbey.
9. In 2012 Anita took part in the first ever Great Sport Relief Bake Off and won!
10. She got the call to take part in Strictly Come Dancing two years later and says she “leapt at the chance”. She narrowly missed out on a place in the final and and was a favourite with viewers.
11. Anita’s favourite road trip was a drive along the dramatic coastline from Shannon to Donegal in Ireland. She also loves Connemara on the west coast of Ireland and would love to visit the Highlands.
12. Anita’s Mastermind specialist subject would be all the Indiana Jones films – she even likes the fourth one!
13. She thinks a great idea for a television programme would be putting the entire government in the Big Brother house, and let the public set the tasks.
14. Anita recently proved herself an excellent shot when she joined the Femmes Fatales ladies clay pigeon shooting team on Countryfile at the CLA game fair.
15. An ideal day for Anita involves walking all day and then spending the evening in a pub with an open fire and a few creaky floorboards.
16. She is married and lives in Hackney, east London, with her husband.
17. Anita believes school trips to the countryside should be mandatory, especially for children who grow up in inner cities.
18. Her rural hero is Michael Eavis, dairy farmer and founder of Glastonbury music festival, saying, “I love the fact that a hippie farmer opened up his land in Somerset for a free music festival. These days Glastonbury is a behemoth but the ethos behind it is brilliant.”
19. Anita recently spent a week as a guest on Countdown and says watching the show was a “daily ritual” for her when she was a student.
20. She also appeared on an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, where she learned about her maternal grandfather, who was one of the 15 million people displaced during the Partition of India in 1947. His first wife and two children were killed in the upheaval and she believes the stories of that time “have to be told”. She went on to present My Family, Partition and Me, which explored her family’s history in further depth, alongside others affected by Partition, and marked its 70th anniversary.
21. She recently led a delegation to the House of Commons. It called on MPs to create an annual day of commemoration for Partition in recognition of its huge impact on south Asia at the time and its subsequent effect on the generations that came after.
Main image credit: Jon Cartwright