Strawbridge in 2012
|Born||Richard Francis Strawbridge|
3 September 1959
|Alma mater||Royal Military College of Science|
|Occupation||Engineer, television presenter, environmentalist|
|Spouse(s)||Brigit A. Weiner (m. 1982; sep. 2010; div.)|
Angela Newman (m. 2015)
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Francis Strawbridge, MBE (born 3 September 1959) is a British engineer, television presenter, environmentalist and former army officer. He is often referred to as "Colonel Dick".
The third of seven children of Jennifer and George Strawbridge, a worker in the oil industry in the Middle East and Far East, 'Dick' Strawbridge was born in Burma, then raised and educated in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. He attended Ballyclare High School from 1971 to 1976. To achieve his ambition of becoming an army officer after taking his O levels, Strawbridge enrolled at a sixth form college in Nottinghamshire before going on to Sandhurst.
Strawbridge received a commission in the British Army in 1979, after attending Welbeck DSFC (becoming head of college) and Sandhurst. He joined the Royal Corps of Signals in January 1980. Promoted to Lieutenant in April 1981, and Captain in October 1985, he became a Major in September 1991. He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1993 for his distinguished service in Northern Ireland, promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in June 1999, and left the army in November 2001.
Strawbridge has appeared as an engineering and environmental expert on various television programmes, including Scrapheap Challenge. He first appeared as a contestant on the team Brothers in Arms who became series champions and later, he became the main presenter replacing Robert Llewellyn. He has also appeared on three series of It's Not Easy Being Green for BBC Two, the six-part BBC Two series Crafty Tricks of War of which he was the main presenter, Planet Mechanics, and as a regular guest presenter on Coast. Following his switch of career to television, Strawbridge often refers to himself as a "telly tart".
Strawbridge began his career in television as the 'Yellow Team Leader' for six episodes in the first series of 'Scrapheap'. He has to date appeared in over 30 programmes of Scrapheap Challenge and Junkyard Wars, winning the Scrapheap Challenge trophy in series 3 with his two younger brothers David and Bobby as 'Brothers in Arms', and the Junkyard Megawars trophy in 2003. On 5 June 2008, it was announced that he would be returning to Scrapheap Challenge for its 11th series. Strawbridge took over from Robert Llewellyn as the main presenter. The series was shown on Channel 4 in 2009.
It's Not Easy Being Green
Strawbridge, along with his family, filmed three series of It's Not Easy Being Green for BBC Two. In series one, which was shown on 28 March 2006, the family moved to a new home in Tywardreath near St Austell, Cornwall and attempted to live as green a life as possible, using renewable energy and environmentally friendly resources. The second series started in Spring 2007 with a different format: Strawbridge and his son James aided several members of the public in larger and smaller ecology projects around the country.
Also in 2006, Strawbridge appeared as a one-off presenter on the BBC2 series Coast, examining the workings of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge, a role he revived in the 2007 version of Coast, presenting a short part of the programme on the failure of Exercise Tiger. In Series 4 of Coast, July 2009, Strawbridge examined the terrain of the Normandy landing beaches.
The Hungry Sailors and Saturday Farm
Escape to the Château
This programme followed Strawbridge and his partner (now wife), Angel Adoree, through their purchase in 2015 and subsequent renovation of Château de la Motte-Husson in Martigné-sur-Mayenne, France.
Dirty Rotten Survival
Filmed in America from March to July 2015, this TV series for National Geographic involved a 25-mile hike through the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts, with Dave Canterbury and Johnny Littlefield.
Other television appearances
Strawbridge also had a major role in the BBC's commemoration of the 60th anniversary of D-Day, and he was the co-host and resident "boffin" on the 2005 game show, Geronimo!. He also appeared as a regular team captain in the US series, Junkyard Mega-Wars.
Strawbridge also starred in The Big Idea, in which he tested out amateur inventions, and he featured in the short series The Re-Inventors, a series of five, hour-long programmes commissioned by the UK digital channel UKTV History and first broadcast through the week of 11 December 2006. Each episode featured Strawbridge and his son James reconstructing an invention of historic significance, with a budget of £500 and their mobile workshop. They then try it out against the real thing. UKTV History also shows "Crafty Tricks Of War" from time to time.
On the 21 February 2008 edition of Ready Steady Cook on BBC2, Strawbridge cooked spotted dick. Strawbridge currently presents Planet Mechanics on the National Geographic Channel.
In 2012, Strawbridge was announced as presenter of new Channel 5 series Beat the Ancestors, which commenced broadcast in February 2013.
In 2017, Strawbridge presented Cabins in the Wild with Will Hardie, a show following a competition set up by the Welsh Tourist Board. Eight competitors were selected based on their designs to build cabins, intended to be combined as a hotel in the countryside, before one ultimate winner was selected. The two presenters also constructed their own cabin.
In 2018, Channel 4 broadcast a programme called The Biggest Little Railway in the World, which documented an attempt to get a model train to traverse the 73-mile (117 km) Great Glen Way between Fort William and Inverness. Strawbridge was the main presenter and lead engineer on the project.
Strawbridge married Brigit A. Weiner in 1982, with whom he has two children, James George (b. 1984) and Charlotte Elizabeth (b. 1986). The couple separated in 2010. He has two additional children, Arthur Donald (b. 2013) and Dorothy Francis (b. 2014), with Angela Newman (born 7 April 1978; known as Angel Adoree), founder of The Vintage Patisserie, whom he married in November 2015.
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- Dick Strawbridge on how his dad's Ulster fry gave him a taste for cooking Belfast Telegraph 8 October 2013
- Sale, Jonathan (5 February 2009). "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of Dick Strawbridge, TV presenter". The Independent. Retrieved 20 August 2010.
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- Richard Francis Strawbridge in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005
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