Matt Baker (presenter)
Matt Baker presenting the BBC's coverage of Crufts
|Born||Matthew James Baker
23 December 1977
Easington, County Durham, England
|Known for||Blue Peter (2000–2006)
The One Show (2011—)
The Gift (2015)
Big Blue Live (2015)
Wild Alaska Live (2017)
|Spouse(s)||Nicola Mooney (m. 2004)|
Baker attended Easington Village School, then, when he was aged 10, his parents bought a farm west of Durham, which they moved into and renovated. He continued his education at Belmont Comprehensive School in Durham. He was a Junior British gymnast and sports acrobatics champion, but was forced to give up after being diagnosed with anaemia aged 14. After this, Baker undertook various activities to fill the gap in his life, including sheepdog trials and pole vaulting. 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 with a 1970s comedy disco-dancing revival show called "Disco Inferno", which toured the north of England. 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: Lionel Flare (played by former UK child TV star Ryan Dyer), Randy Todger, Jock Strap and Richard Itchin. 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. His leaving gift from the Disco Inferno team was a duck suit, the Village People leather man outfit and a signed picture of Lynne Perrie.
Baker wanted to become a physiotherapist, but did not achieve the necessary academic standards. After an appearance in the school production of Grease, 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, Baker put together a showreel with footage in the farmyard; reading a story; and riding a unicycle. 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 and made a successful tandem world record-breaking flight with Airways Airsports instructor Judy Leden MBE.
During his seven years on Blue Peter, Baker's colleagues were Katy Hill, Konnie Huq, Simon Thomas, Liz Barker, Zöe Salmon and Gethin Jones. He 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; 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.
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. In August 2010, Baker co-presented the first series of Secret Britain with Julia Bradbury and presented One Man and His Dog with Kate Humble.
The One Show
From May to August 2010, Baker was a guest presenter on BBC One's magazine programme The One Show, standing in for Jason Manford. Following Manford's resignation on 18 November 2010, Baker acted as a guest co-host on the programme. He later took over as a permanent presenter on the show, co-hosting with Alex Jones from Monday through to Thursday.
On 8 March 2011 Baker gained media attention by asking the Prime Minister David Cameron, "How on earth do you sleep at night?". Opinions differed as to whether the question was merely a query about Cameron's workload or a political accusation in the form of a popular rhetorical question.
Other television work
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, where he announced the scores for the North of England. He was one of three main presenters on the final series of the BBC One reality series City Hospital. In March 2007, and again in 2008, Baker co-presented the BBC's coverage of Crufts. Also in 2007, he co-presented five episodes of Animal Rescue Live with Selina Scott. The episodes were shown across a week and were broadcast live from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London.
As part of the celebration for London's winning bid to host the 2012 Olympics, Baker co-hosted the London 2012 party with 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 provided BBC commentary for the gymnastics at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, as well as doing some presenting work. Matt Baker was also a Torch Bearer for the Olympic Flame as it was carried into Durham City as part of the flame's tour of Great Britain. In 2016, Baker again provided the BBC commentary on the gymnastic events at the Rio Olympics.
In October 2009, Baker took part in the BBC 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. For Children in Need, Baker 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.
In 2015, Baker along with Mel Giedroyc co-hosted four-part BBC One series The Gift. The show will be returning for a second series. In 2015, Baker co-hosted a three-part factual series Big Blue Live for BBC One. The series focussed on marine wildlife in Monterey Bay, California. He hosted alongside Steve Backshall, Liz Bonnin, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Lindsey Chapman.
Strictly Come Dancing
In 2010, Baker participated in the eighth series of Strictly Come Dancing, where he was partnered with professional ballroom dancer Aliona Vilani, finishing as runners-up to Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev in the final. 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.
|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|
In 2002, Baker played himself in an episode of the BBC Drama series Cutting It. In 2005, he briefly appeared as himself, as the presenter of Blue Peter, in an episode of sci-fi series Doctor Who, when 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.
Baker met his wife Nicola, a physiotherapist, when he was performing in the disco show at Pier 39 in Cleethorpes. The couple married at Winston in Teesdale, in 2004 and live in Buckinghamshire with their son Luke and daughter Molly.
In early 2011, Baker was elected as the president for the National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs. He also supports the Grace House Hospice, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Deerness Gymnastics Academy.
|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|
|Animal Rescue Live||Co-presenter||With Selina Scott|
|2008||Countryfile Summer Diaries||Presenter|
|2008 Summer Olympics||Presenter||Gymnastics|
|London 2012 Party||Co-presenter||With Claudia Winkleman|
|2009||Around The World In 80 Days||Contestant||With Julia Bradbury|
|2009—||Countryfile||Co-presenter||Baker's best known role|
|2010||The One Show||Presenter||Stand-in presenter|
|Secret Britain||Co-presenter||With Julia Bradbury|
|Strictly Come Dancing||Contestant||Finished as runner-up|
|2011—||The One Show||Co-presenter||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|
|2014 Commonwealth Games||Presenter||Gymnastics coverage|
|2015||The Gift||Co-presenter||With Mel Giedroyc|
|Big Blue Live||Co-presenter||Three-part BBC series|
|Gymnastics World Championships||Presenter||Gymnastics coverage|
|2016||2016 Summer Olympics||Presenter||Gymnastics coverage|
|2017||Wild Alaska Live||Co-presenter||Three-part BBC series|
- Guest appearances
- A Song for Europe (2003)
- Never Mind the Buzzcocks (2007)
- Through the Keyhole (2007)
- The Wright Stuff (2007, 2008)
- Richard & Judy (2007)
- What Are You Like? (2008)
- The Paul O'Grady Show (2009)
- Pointless Celebrities (2011)
- W1A (2015)
- Matt Baker named as new One Show presenter BBC News, 25 January 2011
- "Matt's the man". The Journal. Mirror Group Newspapers. 23 May 2009. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- "My North: Matt Baker". Living Northeast. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- Daily Mail, Weekend Interview, 10 March 2012, p.6
- "Matt Baker". Therightaddress.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- 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.
- "TV personality Matt Baker favourite to take Strictly Come Dancing crown". This is Grimsby. 11 December 2010.
- "Matt Baker". Strictly Come Dancing 2010. BBC. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
- "Hang-gliders break world record". BBC News. 15 October 2002.
- "Matt Baker is leaving Blue Peter" Newsround, 5 June 2006
- Countryfile moves to peak time on BBC One BBC Press Office, 6 March 2009
- Jason Manford quits The One Show BBC News, 19 November 2010
- "Matt Baker, David Cameron's baby-faced assassin". The Daily Telegraph. London. 9 March 2011.
- "BBC - Rio 2016 on the BBC - TV - Media Centre". Bbc.co.uk.
- "BBC - The Gift - Media Centre". Bbc.co.uk.
- "BBC - BBC One commissions Wild Alaska Live with Steve Backshall, Matt Baker and Liz Bonnin - Media Centre". Bbc.co.uk.
- Kara Tointon crowned Strictly Come Dancing winner BBC News, 19 December 2010
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 February 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
- Review: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sunderland Empire Journal Live, 23 April 2008
- UK Civil Registration index - Marriages
- "NFYFC-Latest News". Nfyfc.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- "Big Blue Live: BBC One for huge live event". 7 May 2015.
|Blue Peter Presenter No. 28