BROADCAST

There have been so many varied radio and television programmes of which I've been a part, and many of them I may have forgotten. Indeed, some of them deserve forgetting!  

But here are just a few snapshots from my broadcast working life

That's Life!

me, Esther and co-presenter Chris Serle

How lucky was I to land a job presenting That's Life in the late 70s?  By then, I'd worked as a reporter on Radio 1's Newsbeat which was designed to bring news and current affairs to a young audience for the first time. After that, from 1976-1979, I worked as a reporter on Radio 4's Today, then the most influential current affairs programme on the BBC. So by the time I got to That's Life, I had quite a lot of journalistic experience under my belt.

In at the Deep End

In at the Deep End was a documentary series Chris  Serle and I made in the early 80s after we had left That's Life.  We were thrown, as amateurs, into professional lives and trained to achieve a high standard in each of them, meeting gurus and celebrities along the way.

Some of mine were tough - I failed completely at being a stand-up comic, and faltered trying to write a romantic short story for Woman's Weekly.  But I became a competent hairdresser, restyling Jilly Cooper; I became captivated by carriage driving with some words of advice from HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.  But probably the best moment was a fight scene in a real movie with Michael Caine, the most generous of men. That one got both of us on the front cover of the Radio Times.

Back to the Radio

I'd always enjoyed radio and returned to it for a spell, seen here with the late Pattie Cauldwell, presenting a revamped You and Yours on Radio 4, from whom I also made a considerable number of documentaries.  But while on local radio, I had honed a few disc jockey skills and found myself often employed by Radio 2 as stand-ins for Jimmy Young, Gloria Hunniford, and the late John Dunn.

The Nineties

The nineties saw me shift away from regular broadcasting and turning my hand towards traditional farming, employing carthorses rather than tractors - my beloved Suffolk Punches.

However, I did manage to hold down a series of 'Food and Drink' for BBC2,  'This Sunday' from the Albert Dock in Liverpool, as well an ITV prime time factual series 'Trading Places', and many corporate videos.

But if the nineties had a theme, then for me they were the farming years and if you go to the books page, you can lok for Farmer's Dairy and read how it all came about.

A New century

Exhasuted by the farming life, and now just turned 50, that last thing I expected was to be back on primetime TV, or returning to consumer journalism - an area I last worked in when on 'That's Life'.

'Watchdog' had a new and dynamic editor and I joined the team together with Nicky Campbell and Julia Bradbury, and had a great time getting stuck into some seriously tough consumer reporting.

Having lived in East Anglia for nearly thirty years by now, Anglia TV also gave me a glorious opportunity to report on rural life in this special part of England. There followed hugely appreciated series - A Traditional Farming Year,The Wartime Farming Year, and eventually Secret Rivers which saw me take to a canoe to explore some of east Anglia's magical rivers

Again, to my surprise, my interest in rural matters was spotted and was followed by an offer to present 'Countrywise' on ITV - a new prime-time show designed to bring a taste of rural life to ITV's largely urban viewers.  It proved to be a huge success, and defied all predictions. I was later joined by Ben Fogle and Liz Bonnin as co-presenters