21 facts you (probably) didn’t know about Countryfile presenter Matt Baker
1. Matt says he feels happiest on the family farm in Durham, where he grew up and went to school. Read about his favourite places in his guide to the Durham Dales here.
Durham Cathedral and the River Wear. Loop Images, Getty
2. Matt now lives in Hertfordshire with wife Nicola, who he married in 2004, and their children Luke and Molly.
3. The family have a sheepdog named Bob and chickens named Suzy, Brownie, Dotty and Roxy. Read Matt’s top tips for training a puppy here.
4. Matt moved to London when he joined Blue Peter as a presenter but lasted only a short while in the city before moving out to the Chilterns.
5. To help him settle into life on Blue Peter Matt asked if he could have a dog on the show – a tradition among many presenters before him. Meg the collie joined Matt at just nine weeks old and came home with him when he left Blue Peter in 2006.
6. Meg sadly passed away aged 11 but her bark lives on – it was recorded by the sound effects team on The Archers show on BBC Radio 4. Whenever you hear the bark of a working dog on The Archers that’s Meg!
7. Matt’s favourite radio show is Bob Harris’s Country on BBC Radio 2 and he has a lifelong love of country and folk music. To celebrate his dad’s 70th birthday the pair made a pilgrimage to Nashville.
8. Matt studied at drama school in Edinburgh before auditioning for Blue Peter. The showreel he sent in included footage of him reading a story, in the farmyard and home, and riding a unicycle!
9. Before landing the Blue Peter job, Matt toured the north of the country as part of a 1970s comedy disco-dancing revival show called ‘Disco Inferno’.
10. Blue Peter saw him undertake a series of challenges, including training as a stunt man and passing the entry requirements of both the Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment.
11. Matt was a British junior gymnastic and acrobatics champion but had to cut back on training after being diagnosed with anaemia, aged 14.
12. He now often joins the BBC sport team as a world gymnastics championships presenter and commentator, covering the gymnastics at the Olympics in Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.
13. His gymnastic skills came in handy when he took part in the eighth series of Strictly Come Dancing. He finished runner-up with a show dance that featured somersaults and flips, wowing the judges.
14. Matt won the BAFTA for best children’s television presenter two years in a row while on Blue Peter, and a Royal Television Society award.
15. As part of the BBC Children in Need campaign’s Around the World in 80 Days in 2011, Matt raised more than £1.5 million by riding a bicycle towing a rickshaw 484 miles from Edinburgh to London, averaging more than 60 miles a day.
16. Keen-eyed Doctor Who fans may have spotted him in the Aliens of London episode in 2005. The Doctor, then played by Christopher Ecclestone, is flicking through TV channels and Matt appeared briefly when Blue Peter popped up on the screen.
17. Matt likes to draw and paint to relax and still follows a gymnastics training regime to stay in shape.
18. Many Blue Peter presenters get the chance to break a record or two, and Matt was no exception, setting a world record for the highest altitude towed hang-gliding launch while on the show.
19. Matt takes his tea white, with no sugar and fights off the inevitable colds that come with filming in the open air with natural remedies like onions, garlic and ginger.
20. Matt has been a presenter for Countryfile for more than 10 years and joined The One Show in 2011.
21. And finally, a young Matt once won first prize in a fancy dress competition by dressing as the Incredible Hulk!