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Julia Bradbury

Julia BradburyJulia Bradbury, born the 24th of July 1970 in Dublin, Ireland, is an Irish-born British television presenter, best known for presenting the BBC One programme Countryfile and other documentaries and consumer affairs programs.

Her English Derbyshire-born, steel-industry father Cambridge graduate Michael Bradbury and Greek mother were living in the Republic of Ireland when Bradbury was born.

The family returned to Britain, where she attended primary school in Edith Weston, Rutland, followed by King Edward VII School in Sheffield, where her father worked for British Steel and her mother ran a fashion business.

Bradbury attended acting classes, and took part as a child in the Crucible Theatre stage production of Peter Pan, starring Joanne Whalley and Paula Wilcox.

Bradbury left school at 16 after O-levels and worked in advertising in various capacities, including a stint with the family business.

Bradbury started as a TV presenter with Chrysalis TV, followed by L!VE TV, before making the transition in 1996 from cable TV to terrestrial with GMTV as their Los Angeles correspondent.

In the ensueing years since then presented Watchdog, Top Gear, Accidental Heroes, Wainwright Walks and Railway Walks for the BBC, as well as Rough Guide for Channel 5. She has also presented Wish You Were Here...? for ITV and anchored Exclusive! for Five.

With Tim Vine, she presented the launch of Channel 5 in 1997. With co-host Arkin Salih she hosted the BBC's Are We Being Served?, which examined customer service in the UK and ran for six programmes in the summer of 2006.

Julia BradburyFrom 2008 to 2011 she presented four series of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It on BBC Three. The first series concentrated on commercially farmed animals such as chickens, pigs, sheep and cattle.

The second series featured hunted wild game such as ducks, rabbits, deer and grouse. The third series focused on fast food; a group of six people went through the process of killing, cooking and eating animals.

The fourth in the series focused on how animal products from the first series are used outside of the meat trade. Bradbury was joined by young consumers to uncover the animal origins of many of western society's favourite things as body parts were transformed from abattoir to shop floor.

From the 2nd of March 2009 Bradbury temporarily stepped down from BBC One's Watchdog following allegations in the press concerning irregularities in her Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer account.

During this time, Anita Rani stepped in to co-present the show with Nicky Campbell. On the 15th of April 2009, Bradbury was cleared of any wrongdoing in the investigation, and it was confirmed that she would return to present Watchdog, which she did on the 20th of April 2009.

She did not have to repay £20,000 worth of Air Miles, as falsely reported in several newspapers, as her account and several others had been tampered with by an employee who was later arrested and charged.

In April 2009 it was announced that Bradbury would present the re-launched primetime Countryfile with Matt Baker.

Anne Robinson returned to Watchdog after an 8-year absence.

Julia BradburyFrom November to December 2011 she presented a series called That's Britain! with Nick Knowles, focusing on the good, the bad and the ugly in Britain.

She presented, along with Hugh Dennis, a four-part BBC One documentary series The Great British Countryside, which began in February 2012.

She has co-presented, with Richard Hammond, a program about the wildlife of different countries called Planet Earth Live in 2012, which has aired on BBC One.

In August 2007 she presented Ultimate Britain – Climbing on BBC One, with rock climber Tim Emmett.

Bradbury's lifetime ambition to be a real rock climber was achieved when the pair successfully ascended Cornwall's Commando Ridge, Crackstone Rib in the Llanberis Pass, and the Old Man of Stoer.

That year she also presented Wainwright Walks on BBC Four, in which she followed the mountain routes of the renowned fell walker and guidebook author Alfred Wainwright.

The series was later repeated on BBC Two and ran for two series. Her appearance in this and the Railway Walks series earned her the title of "Walking Man's Totty". On the 20th of July 2009 her series Coast to Coast started on BBC Two.

In 2010 Bradbury went to South Africa and embarked on a series of South Africa Walks as part of South Africa season for the BBC during the 2010 World Cup.

In December 2010 she presented another walking-themed series, Julia Bradbury's German Wanderlust on BBC Four in which she explored Germany and its Romantic movement through a series of walks across the country.

This series was repeated on BBC Two in January and February 2011.

Julia BradburyShe presented Canal Walks with Julia Bradbury in May 2011 and another walking program, Julia Bradbury's Icelandic Walk, aired on the 11th of May 2011 on BBC Four.

Her challenge was to walk the 60 kilometers of Iceland's most famous hiking route, which includes the newest hills on Earth.

This route ends at Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano whose copious eruptions of volcanic ash brought air traffic across Europe to a standstill in April 2010.

She also presented a new series in May 2011, following the routes of some of the UK's canals. In January 2013 she appeared in a special series of The Great British Bake Off.

Bradbury has also presented on radio for BBC London 94.9, and Radio 5 Live. She crossed NUJ picket lines to present Radio 5 Live's breakfast program on the 15th of July 2011.

She presented the programme with Ian Payne who also broke the strike. In January 2007 Bradbury appeared as a contestant in Just the Two of Us on BBC One, singing alongside Tony Christie.

In February 2009 Bradbury appeared on Celebrity Come Dine With Me alongside Christopher Biggins, Philip Olivier and Edwina Currie, and received a score of 19.

She was one of the celebrities who in summer 2009 took part in the BBC program Around the World in 80 Days, where in a re-enactment of Jules Verne's literary odyssey, six pairs of celebrities raced against the clock to raise money for the 2009 BBC Children in Need.

In January 2011 Bradbury appeared on The Magicians with professional magician Pete Firman.

Julia BradburyBradbury lives in Rutland and West London. In summer 2006, she was treated for endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a female health disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body.

This can lead to pain, irregular bleeding, and problems with getting pregnant such as infertility.

In February 2011, Bradbury and her partner, Gerard Cunningham, announced they were expecting their first child, despite the problems associated with endometriosis.

On 4 August 2011, it was announced Bradbury had given birth to a boy, whom she and Cunningham named Zephyr.

Bradbury is an ambassador for the Marie Curie Cancer Care Great Daffodil Appeal. In 2009 she competed in the Macmillan 4x4 UK Challenge with her sister, Gina Fox where they raised £7,000 towards the £105,000 raised for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Later that year she travelled from Kazakhstan to Mongolia with Countryfile co-star Matt Baker in BBC's Around the World in 80 Days in aid of Children in Need.

In April 2010 Bradbury was one of several celebrities to pose naked to help promote Cancer Research UK's campaign to encourage donations of clothes to their charity shops.

She is President of the Friends of the Peak District and CPRE in South Yorkshire. In April 2010 she became president of the Ramblers.

The Ramblers take strong positions on the current state of access rights in Britain, including access to the countryside for those with disabilities.

They also present strong positions on issues affecting the countryside including renewable energy, planning, off-road vehicles and the High Speed Rail (hS2) proposals.

Bradbury also works with the British Heart Foundation to encourage people to exercise more. Bradbury has recently been appointed an ambassador for the Scout Association in February 2012.

Julia BradburyAnother television project was called Mystery Maps which aired on Wednesday the 20th of November on ITV1 at 8pm.

Along with Ben Shepherd, Julia explores some of Britains best-known mysteries and unexplained occurrences, examining everything from the infamous Beast of Bodmin Moor, a bizarre spinning Egyptian relic, to the ghost of Guy Fawkes which is believed to haunt an inn in York.

In this new two part series, Julia and Ben take to the road to investigate for these mysterious sightings, ghostly happenings and tales of mythical beasts. Using reconstructions and interviews with eyewitnesses, experts and historians the stories are brought back to life.

They set out to explore the details of each mystery, possible explanations and to try to explain how they came to life and why people have believed them.

Julia says: "What interested me about working on Mystery Map was the investigative journalism side of the project and being able to go off and delve into these unexplained stories and mysteries. We're talking to eye-witnesses, academics, professors, experts, credible people within whatever mystery we were looking in to at the time.

I particularly liked the story of the spinning Egyptian relic at the Manchester Museum, which hit the headlines in June of this year. I am a bit of a sceptic, though. I think Ben is slightly more open to these things than me. You could say I'm Miss Marple to his Dr. Watson, a slightly less sexy Mulder and Scully!"

No idea about the comparison of Ben Shepard to Fox Mulder, but it's safe to say that Julia is a no-contest winner over Dana Scully in the sexy department.

Julia BradburyIn April 2019 Julia had to undergo emergency surgury for a health issue she admitted she'd let go too long.

"I had two umbilical hernias in my stomach and the third was inguinal in my groin, which is not a good one, I could have died."

"I left it a year to have them done and shouldn’t have, she admitted in an interview. The physically active presenter revealed that she had struggled with recovery, stating:

"The most difficult thing has been not lifting anything, including the children, because I realise how often I do it. At the moment, I just have to stand there, and say:

"I’m really sorry, can you lift that in the car for me, please?" I feel completely useless!"

The former Country File host shared a candid photograph of her scars four months after life-saving surgery while on location on a beach in Greece.

The physically fit star, 49, was on a work holiday in Greece and uploaded a picture to Instagram showing her in a bikini pointing to the marks on her stomach.

Julia BradburyLast seen remodeling a cottage in Portugal and visiting Australia, Julia Bradbury now has turned to another popular holiday destination.

Julia’s mother is Greek, and although her heritage is important to her, she doesn’t know that much about the country.

During this series she’ll be exploring both popular and less visited Greek islands, and starts off on the biggest, Crete. The series kicks off on Friday the 10th of January at 8pm on ITV, and continues at the same timeslot weekly.

In the first episode, Julia visits the picturesque and rugged island of Crete, a favourite destination with the British when they go on holiday.

In this episode of the series Julia steps away from tourist destinations to head deep into the heart of the island to explore the Dikti mountains and its striking plateau of windmills.

The Greek Islands are loved by Brits – with three million flocking there every summer. Bradbury has a special affinity with them as her mother is Greek, and that heritage has always been a big part of her life – yet despite enjoying her summer holidays on the islands she admits she doesn’t know much about the real Greece.

In this series she uncovers the hidden side of well-known islands like Corfu, Crete and Santorini as well as uncovering some lesser-known island gems like Symi, Thirassia and Skopelos, location for global smash Mamma Mia, island-hopping her way to her ultimate destination, Chios – the island of her heritage.

Julia BradburyShe goes off the well-worn tourist track to discover secret beaches, idyllic coves and unspoiled countryside. She immerses herself in age-old traditions while sampling some of the best food and drink on offer. Julia shares vivid and surprising insights into some of these islands most popular holiday island destinations.

Julia says, “I am going to see the hidden side, from the historical and rugged terrain of Crete to the glamour of a sunset in Santorini. But I’ll also be taking in the lesser-known islands from the architectural splendour of Symi to the natural wonder of Skopelos, before ending my journey on the island where my family story first began.”

"I have a strong affinity with the islands, my mum is Greek, although she despairs that I still can’t speak the lingo. But I’ve only holidayed here, and never really explored beyond the tourist trail myself, until now. This is a voyage of discovery and I’m taking you with me."

Her travels also take her to the coastal town of Rethymno where she tries baklava and meets pastry expert Giorgos, before spending time with master artisan Nico, who expertly makes the Cretan lyra.

The island of Spinalonga was once an exiled leper colony and it is also on the itinerary for an extra dose of history.

This Twofour production is a new six-part series on ITV, sponsored by Tui Tours.

Julia BradburyThese days she's evangelical about us all getting out more often and experiencing the world. Even if that means parents taking children away from school during the school term - a current topic because it echoes the battle going on between a parent named Jon Platt and the Department for Education in the Supreme Court, after he refused to pay a £120 fine for taking his daughter on holiday during the school term in 2015.

"Children spend less time outside every day as part of the school curriculum than prisoners do, which is a frightening thought,' she says. 'I would take them out of school, controversially, and look, I'll get told off for saying so."

"But I think if you, the parent, have the chance to do something or go somewhere then you should have the right to home-school them, to take them on an adventure, which will be probably even more educational and eye-opening."

"We as parents are penalised for taking our children away during holiday periods because travel companies jack up prices so ludicrously. It is completely unfair. It's a child tax – it's cynical and the [travel] industry needs to stop being so evil."

'If there is a family that cannot afford to go away because prices are four times what they would be in term time, then if I was in their position I would go to my headmaster or headmistress and say I don't have any other choice, so give me their homework."

She's not advocating mass truancy, and concedes it could cause havoc with school timetabling – she's just saying that not all learning happens in the classroom.

Here Bradbury, current president of The Camping And Caravanning Club, is echoing the philosophy of one of her eminent predecessors, Lord Baden-Powell. He passionately believed a week's camping was worth six months' theoretical teaching.

Julia BradburyNow 46, she is proud mum to IVF twins Zena and Xanthe, soon to be two, and their older brother Zephyr, five.

The presenter was back in front of the camera just six months after giving birth to her twins, and credited pole dancing with transforming her body after the birth.

She revealed her passion for her new fitness hobby during an appearance on ITV's Lorraine.

Julia said: "I got a pole last year, it’s one of those expandable ones which you can put up anywhere in the house."

"It’s literally from floor to ceiling, it goes anywhere. It's amazing exercise, and very, very difficult to master."

"The art of pole dancing is indeed an art, some might say a dark art but I’m going to go with art." But Julia is proof positive at age 49 that her fitness work on the pole has produced excellent results.

Pole dancing has entered the mainstream from it's Vaudeville beginnings which used to conjure up images of smoky bar rooms and scantilly clad dancers.

These days professional poledancers like award-winning Parisienne poledancer, Marion Crampe, have brought pole dancing into the 21st century and effectively shown it to be an extremely athletic discipline and not simply entertainment.

Julia BradburyFamous, Rich and Homeless is the documentary project Julia undertook for Sports Relief. Along with former snooker player Willie Thorne, Kim Woodburn from How Clean Is Your House? and They Think It’s All Over host Nick Hancock. She took to the streets to find out just what being homeless in 21st century Britain is like.

For seven days and six nights she wasn’t a well-paid television name with a comfortable lifestyle, but just another statistic.

One added to a shockingly fast-growing tally with Julia quoting figures showing homelessness has doubled since 2010 and, in England, leapt by 30% in just the past year.

“It was the toughest thing I’ve ever done,” she says simply. “The most physically demanding and demoralising thing I ever have done."

“I wasn’t physically threatened at any time, but there were moments of danger when I was with homeless people high on drugs and drink. And four out of 10 of those on the streets have mental health issues, so I was always very aware of that.”

But it was the mental as much as physical side that hit hard. She found life became a minute-by-minute affair. Where could she stay warm and sleep? Where could she get a cup of tea? Where could she go to the bathroom?

“Until you’ve tried to live like that, you can’t understand how draining it is. You lose your confidence and you lose your identity. I lost both of them within a day."

“I thought I’d survive, get off the streets, get a bed, but I failed miserably with all of those things.

“I had to get up in the middle of the night, taking all of my belongings with me so they didn’t get stolen, just to go and find somewhere to go to the bathroom. I ended up doing it in churchyards, by bins and in people’s gardens."

“It’s disgusting on so many levels."

“I’m always telling my kids how lucky they are but I’ve never been more grateful to get back to my creature comforts and my family life."

“We really need to do much more to help the people who find themselves on the streets.”

Julia BradburyBooks and Documentary DVDs

Railway Walks - book by Julia Bradbury

Wainwright Walks: Lake District – DVD by Julia Bradbury

Wainwright Walks: Coast to Coast – book by Julia Bradbury

Canal Walks: - DVD by Julia Bradbury

Great British Walks: 100 Unique Walks Through Our Most Stunning Countryside - book by Cavan Scott and Julia Bradbury


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