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12 February 1970 |
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Born in Tunbridge Wells to Peter and Sally (née Cooper) Appleton, the younger of two sons, Alistair was brought up in Lee-on-the-Solent, Hampshire. As a boy he sang in the church choir at St Faith's. He earned ten O-levels and three A-levels at St John's College, Portsmouth. In 1988, he went to Gonville & Caius College at Cambridge, where he studied for a degree in English Literature.
On graduating with a 2.1, Appleton left the UK for Poland, where he took to writing poetry and helped to edit a children's anthology, as well as teaching at the University of Gdansk. He later taught English in eastern Germany and worked as a translator and journalist for Deutsche Welle TV. Appleton broke into television with Deutsche Welle, and eventually became the frontman of the channel's youth current-affairs show, Heat.
In 1999, Appleton returned to the UK, where he scored roles on Sky's Hot TV (2000), Five's House Doctor (2000–03), BBC Two's Rhona (2000), the Travel Channel's Travel On (2001), BBC One's Garden Invaders (2001), Cash in the Attic (2002–05), BBC Food's Stately Suppers (2005) and had an appearance as himself on the 2006 Doctor Who episode Army of Ghosts. He has also hosted several television specials, including The Proms.
Since 2000 Appleton has pursued a serious interest in meditation and has trained mainly in the Buddhist tradition. Since 2004 he has also drawn inspiration from outside the Buddhist world, working with the shamanic practices of the Amazonian Indians in Brazil. He is currently studying with the contemporary Vajrayana teacher, Reggie Ray. In 2014 he completed an MA in Advanced Psychotherapy at the Minster Centre in London and he now practices as a psychotherapist in Brighton.
In early January 2007 Appleton appeared in BBC America promotions for the fourth series of Cash in the Attic, even though he did not appear in that series. Since 2007 he has been the presenter on Escape to the Country for BBC Two. He is also the regular host of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment's late night concert series The Night Shift at London's South Bank.
Appleton is openly gay, and came out at university. In an article in Gay Times, however, he admits he only fully accepted his sexuality when he lived in Poland and Germany. In 2000, he converted to Buddhism, and teaches meditation in retreats and classes across the UK - notably, on the Holy Isle, his spiritual home. He is also founding chairman of the Shoreditch Morris Dancing Society. Appleton speaks four languages: English, French, German and Brazilian Portuguese as well as a little Polish.
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