Matt Baker (presenter)

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Matt Baker
Matt Baker at Crufts.jpg
Matt Baker presenting the BBC's coverage of Crufts
Born Matthew James Baker
(1977-12-23) 23 December 1977 (age 36)
Easington, County Durham, England, UK
Residence Buckinghamshire
Occupation TV presenter
Employer BBC
Known for Blue Peter (2000-06)
Countryfile (2010—)
The One Show (2011—)
Spouse(s) Nicola Mooney (m. 2004)
Children Luke and Molly
Website
Official website

Matthew James Baker (born 23 December 1977) is a British television presenter, best known for his current television work with the BBC channels.

Matt rose to fame as a presenter of the popular children's magazine show Blue Peter from 2000 to 2006. In 2010, Matt joined the factual BBC One programme Countryfile, which he currently co-hosts alongside Julia Bradbury and John Craven.

Following the departure of comedian Jason Manford from the nightly BBC One magazine programme The One Show in 2011, Baker began co-hosting the programme four days-a-week from Mondays through to Thursdays alongside Alex Jones. He currently hosts the show in the same timeslot, with Chris Evans co-hosting the show with Jones on the Friday editions of the show.[1]

In 2010, Matt was the runner-up on the BBC One celebrity dancing show Strictly Come Dancing.

Early life[edit]

Born in Easington, County Durham, Baker's father ran a newsagents shop,[2] and his parents had a smallholding in the village. He has one sister and two half-sisters.

He attended Easington Village School, then when he was aged 10, his parents bought a farm west of Durham, which they moved into and renovated.[3] He continued his education at Belmont Comprehensive School in Durham.[4] He was a Junior British gymnast and sports acrobatics champion,[5] but was forced to give up after being diagnosed with anaemia aged 14.[6] After this he undertook various activities to fill the gap in his life, including sheepdog trials[3] and pole vaulting.[6] He took A-levels in Drama, Biology and Sports Science at Durham Sixth Form Centre.

In the late 1990s as a drama student at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, Baker worked as an entertainer, and toured with a 1970s comedy disco-dancing revival show called "Disco Inferno", which toured the north of England.[2] The Disco group, Disco Inferno, was very popular in nightclubs in Cleethorpes (Pier 39), Barnsley (Hedonism) and Wakefield (Foundation). Baker played the part of "Butch Vendor, the LA Bartender", on stage along with other disco dancers with names such as: Randy Todger, Trevor Leather, Richard Itchin, Al Fresco and Jack Shaft.[7] He had to Disco Dance, do freestyle routines with back flips, and juggle wooden clubs which his father painted to look like champagne and spirits bottles.[8]

Career[edit]

Blue Peter[edit]

Baker wanted to become a physiotherapist, but did not achieve the necessary academic standards. After an appearance in the school production of Grease,[3] it was suggested that he attend drama school. Having just finished the second year of a three year course at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, his future wife's aunt spotted that Blue Peter were looking for a new presenter. After calling into the producer's office direct, he put together a show reel with footage in the farmyard; reading a story; and riding a unicycle.[6] He was asked to come to London the next day for an interview, and made his first appearance on the show 25 June 1999. His gymnastic background helped him in physical challenges, including training as a stuntman, and passing the recruitment courses for both the Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment. In 2003 Baker learnt to fly hang gliders & made a successful tandem world record breaking flight with Airways Airsports instructor Judy Leden MBE.[9]

During his seven years on Blue Peter, his colleagues were Katy Hill, Konnie Huq, Simon Thomas, Liz Barker, Zöe Salmon and Gethin Jones. Baker won two BAFTAs for Best Children's Presenter (two years in a row) and a Royal Television Society award. Baker left Blue Peter at the end of its 2005–06 series;[10] his last live show was broadcast on 26 June. Baker's dog Meg, seen alongside him on the programme from 2000 onwards, left with him.

Countryfile[edit]

Matt Baker filming Countryfile at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire

Baker co-presented Countryfile Summer Diaries on weekday mornings on BBC One, along with Open Country for Radio 4 and Animal Rescue Squad and Animal Rescue Squad International for Channel 5. From 2009 he has co-presented BBC One's Countryfile on Sunday evenings with Julia Bradbury.[11] In August 2010 he was also co-presenter of the popular prime time BBC One series Secret Britain with Bradbury. He has also presented One Man and His Dog, alongside Kate Humble.

The One Show[edit]

From May to August 2010, Baker was a guest presenter on weekday evenings, on BBC One's The One Show. Following Jason Manford's resignation on 18 November 2010, Baker acted as a guest co-host on the programme.[12] He later took over as permanent presenter on the show, co-hosting with Alex Jones from Monday through to Thursday.[1]

He gained media attention by asking the Prime Minister David Cameron, "How on earth do you sleep at night?" on the episode that was aired on 8 March. Opinions differed as to whether the question was merely a query about Cameron's work-load or a political accusation.[13]

Other television work[edit]

In 2003, Baker was a guest on the BBC's A Song For Europe contest to decide the UK entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, announcing the scores for the North of England. He was one of three main presenters on the final series of the BBC One daytime reality series City Hospital. In March 2007, and again in 2008 he co-presented the BBC's coverage of Crufts. Also in 2007, he co-presented the one-off daytime series Animal Rescue Live with Selina Scott.

Matt also appeared with Daniel Chapman of Cambridge in country file for a special on rabbits found in the fields of Cambridgeshire. It achieved a gold award in the local Cambridge News.

As part of the celebration for London's win to host the 2012 Olympics, Baker co-hosted the London 2012 party alongside Claudia Winkleman on 24 August 2008, after the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. For the BBC's coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Baker commentated on the gymnastics events. He also provided BBC commentary for the gymnastics at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, as well as doing some presenting work.

In October 2009, Baker took part in the BBC television reality programme Around the World in 80 Days to raise money for Children in Need. He undertook the Kazakhstan to Mongolia leg with Julia Bradbury. Also for Children in Need, he rode a bicycle towing a rickshaw 484 miles from Edinburgh to London in 2011, which took about a week up to the fund raising night on 18 November. He averaged around 60 miles per day, raising well over £1.5 million for the charity.

In the summer of 2006, Baker was a celebrity showjumper in the BBC's Sport Relief event Only Fools on Horses.

Strictly Come Dancing[edit]

He participated in the eight series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2010, where he was partnered with professional ballroom dancer Aliona Vilani,[8] finishing as runners-up to Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev in the final.[14] Baker and Vilani also participated in the 2011 Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour. They performed in all thirty-five shows on the tour in arenas throughout Britain and Ireland, winning on twenty-six occasions.[15]

Week Dance/song Judges' score Result
Horwood Goodman Dixon Tonioli Total
1 Cha-Cha-Cha / Ain't No Mountain High Enough 7 8 8 8 31 N/A
2 Foxtrot / She Said 7 8 8 8 31 Safe
3 Quickstep / Dreaming Of You 8 7 8 8 31 Safe
4 Charleston / Forty-Second Street 9 9 9 8 35 Safe
5 Argentine Tango / Bat Out of Hell 8 8 9 9 34 Safe
6 Viennese Waltz / Where the Wild Roses Grow 8 9 9 9 35 Safe
7 Rumba / Too Lost in You 8 9 9 9 35 Safe
8 Samba / Young Hearts Run Free 9 9 10 10 38 Safe
9 American Smooth / Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down 8 8 8 9 33 Safe
10 Jive / Soul Bossa Nova 8 9 9 9 35 Safe
11 Salsa / Spinning Around 7 7 7 7 28 Safe
Swing / In the Mood N/A N/A N/A N/A 2nd/4 points
Tango / Hung Up 9 10 10 9 38
12 Samba / Young Hearts Run Free 9 9 10 10 38 Second place
Showdance / I Like The Way (You Move) 7 9 9 9 34
Paso Doble / Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood 9 8 9 9 35
Viennese Waltz / Where the Wild Roses Grow 9 9 10 9 37

Acting[edit]

In 2002, Baker played himself in an episode of the BBC Drama series Cutting It, while in 2005, he briefly appeared as himself in an episode of the revived sci-fi series Doctor Who, whilst The Doctor was flicking through television channels. In June 2006, Baker played the role of Dick from The Famous Five in The Queen's Handbag.

In 2008 he returned to his native North East England to play the role of Caractacus Potts in a production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Sunderland Empire.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Baker met his wife Nicola (who later trained as a physiotherapist), when he was performing in the disco show at Pier 39 in Cleethorpes.[7] The couple married at Winston in Teesdale,[3] in 2004[17] and live in Buckinghamshire with their son Luke and daughter Molly.

Charity[edit]

In early 2011 Matt was elected as the president for the National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs [18] Matt also supports the Grace House Hospice, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Deerness Gymnastics Academy.

In 2012 Matt Baker took a part in a BBC project on behalf of the charity Children in Need, and helped raise an estimated £1.9m.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Roles Notes
2000-2006 Blue Peter Presenter
2005 Doctor Who Himself "Aliens of London" episode
2006 The Famous Five Dick
Only Fools on Horses Contestant Finished third
Gymnastics on the BBC Commentator
The One Show Reporter
2006-2008 Evacuation Presenter
2007 Crufts Presenter
Animal Rescue Live Co-presenter Alongside Selina Scott
2008 Countryfile Summer Diaries Presenter
2008 Summer Olympics Presenter Gymnastics
London 2012 Party Co-presenter Alongside Claudia Winkleman
2009 Around The World In 80 Days Contestant Alongside Julia Bradbury
2009— Countryfile Co-presenter Alongside Julia Bradbury and John Craven
2010 The One Show Presenter Stand-in presenter
Secret Britain Co-presenter With Julia Bradbury
Strictly Come Dancing Contestant Runner-up
2011— The One Show Co-presenter Main Monday - Thursday co-host, with Alex Jones
2012 2012 Summer Olympics Presenter Gymnastics coverage
2014 The Sport Relief Games Show Co-presenter With Alex Jones and John Inverdale

Guest appearances[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Matt Baker named as new One Show presenter BBC News, 25 January 2011
  2. ^ a b "Matt's the man". The Journal. Mirror Group Newspapers. 23 May 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d "My North: Matt Baker". Living Northeast. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Daily Mail Weekend Interview. 10 March 2012, p6
  5. ^ [1] The Right Address
  6. ^ a b c Hardy, Rebecca (11 December 2010). "The fabulous Baker boy: Saviour of Countryfile, star of The One Show and Strictly’s surprise hit... so what’s Matt's secret?". London: Mail Online. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "TV personality Matt Baker favourite to take Strictly Come Dancing crown". This is Grimsby. 11 December 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Matt Baker". Strictly Come Dancing 2010. BBC. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  9. ^ "Hang-gliders break world record". BBC News. 15 October 2002. 
  10. ^ "Matt Baker is leaving Blue Peter" Newsround, 5 June 2006
  11. ^ Countryfile moves to peak time on BBC One BBC Press Office, 6 March 2009
  12. ^ Jason Manford quits The One Show BBC News, 19 November 2010
  13. ^ "Matt Baker, David Cameron's baby-faced assassin". The Daily Telegraph (London). 9 March 2011. 
  14. ^ Kara Tointon crowned Strictly Come Dancing winner BBC News, 19 December 2010
  15. ^ http://www.strictlycomedancinglive.com/tour-dates-2011/previous-2011-winners/
  16. ^ Review: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sunderland Empire Journal Live, 23 April 2008
  17. ^ UK Civil Registration index - Marriages
  18. ^ NFYFC-Latest News
Preceded by
Stuart Miles
Blue Peter Presenter No. 28
1999–2006
Succeeded by
Andy Akinwolere
Preceded by
Kevin Kennedy
Actor to portray Caractacus Potts
2008
Succeeded by
Aled Jones
Preceded by
Ricky Whittle and Natalie Lowe
Strictly Come Dancing runner up
(with partner Aliona Vilani)

Series 8 (2010)
Succeeded by
Chelsee Healey and Pasha Kovalev