Matt Baker (presenter)

Matthew James Baker (born 23 December 1977) is a British television presenter.

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 42)
OccupationTelevision presenter
TelevisionBlue Peter
Countryfile
The One Show
The Gift
Big Blue Live
Wild Alaska Live
Spouse(s)
Nicola Mooney (m. 2004)
Children2

Matt Baker co-presented the children's television show Blue Peter from 1999 until 2006, BBC One's Countryfile since 2009 and The One Show from 2011 to 2020, with Alex Jones.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Baker was born on 23 December 1977 in Easington, County Durham. His father ran a newsagent's shop,[2] and his parents had a smallholding in the village. He has one sister and two half-sisters.

Matt 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, but was forced to give up after being diagnosed with anaemia aged 14.[citation needed] He took A-levels in Drama, Biology and Sports Science at Durham Sixth Form Centre.[citation needed]

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.[2] The Disco group, Disco Inferno, performed 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 Rodgers, Jock Strap and Richard Itchin.[4] 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 the disco duck suit and a signed picture of Lynne Perrie.[5]

CareerEdit

Blue PeterEdit

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 Editor's office direct, Baker put together a showreel with footage in the farmyard; reading a story; and riding a unicycle.[citation needed] 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 learned to fly hang gliders and made a successful tandem world record-breaking flight with Airways Airsports instructor Judy Leden MBE.[6]

During his seven years on Blue Peter, Matt'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;[7] 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.[citation needed]

CountryfileEdit

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.[8] 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 ShowEdit

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.[9] He later took over as a permanent presenter on the show, co-hosting with Alex Jones from Monday to Thursday.[1]

On 8 March 2011, Baker gained media attention by asking the Prime Minister David Cameron, "How on earth do you sleep at night?". Will Heaven, Deputy Editor of Telegraph Blogs, wrote: "Was this the unearthing of a true Northern lefty? Or did Baker just misspeak?".[10]

On 4 December 2019, Baker announced on The One Show that he would be leaving in the spring of 2020. He announced it in an emotional speech to camera where he thanked everyone for their support, especially for the money donated to The Rickshaw Challenges.[citation needed]

Matt's last show on "The One Show" was on Tuesday 31st March 2020, where he wasn't on the couch with co-presenter Alex Jones, but was at home in self isolation.[citation needed]

Other television workEdit

In 2003, Baker was a guest on 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 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 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.[11]

In October 2009, Baker took part in the 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 Sport Relief event Only Fools on Horses.[12]

In 2015, Baker along with Mel Giedroyc co-hosted four-part BBC One series The Gift.[13] 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. [14]

In July 2017, Baker co-presented Wild Alaska Live on BBC One with Steve Backshall and Liz Bonnin.[15]

Strictly Come DancingEdit

In 2010, Baker participated in the eighth series of Strictly Come Dancing, where he was partnered with professional ballroom dancer Aliona Vilani,[5] finishing in second place to the winners Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev in the final.[16] 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.[17]

Performances
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

ActingEdit

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.[citation needed]

In 2008, Baker 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.[18]

Personal lifeEdit

Baker met his wife Nicola, a physiotherapist, when he was performing in the disco show at Pier 39 in Cleethorpes.[4] The couple married at Winston in Teesdale,[3] in 2004[19] and live in Buckinghamshire with their son and daughter.

CharityEdit

In early 2011, Baker was elected as the president for the National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs.[20] He also supports the Grace House Hospice and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.[citation needed]

FilmographyEdit

Television
Year Title Roles Notes
1999–2006 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 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
2010 The One Show Presenter Stand-in presenter
Secret Britain Co-presenter With Julia Bradbury
Strictly Come Dancing Contestant Finished as runner-up
2011–2020 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[21] 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
2017 Gymnastics: World Championships Commentator BBC Two
2018 2018 Gymnastics World Cup Presenter Studio Presentation & Commentator
2018 Royal Wedding Watch Co-presenter With Meredith Vieira for PBS
2018 European Gymnastics Championships Presenter Studio Presentation & Commentator
2019 Classic FM Presenter Stand-in presenter
2019 2019 Gymnastics World Cup Presenter Studio Presentation & Commentator
2019 European Gymnastics Championships Presenter Studio Presentation & Commentator
2019 Magic Breakfast Presenter Stand-in presenter for Magic FM breakfast show
2019 Gymnastics World Championships Presenter Studio Presentation & Commentator
2020 The Big Night In Co-presenter
Guest appearances

ReferencesEdit

  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 "My North: Matt Baker". Living Northeast. 25 February 2010. Archived from the original on 19 September 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  4. ^ a b "TV personality Matt Baker favourite to take Strictly Come Dancing crown". This is Grimsby. 11 December 2010. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Matt Baker". Strictly Come Dancing 2010. BBC. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Hang-gliders break world record". BBC News. 15 October 2002.
  7. ^ "Matt Baker is leaving Blue Peter" Newsround, 5 June 2006
  8. ^ Countryfile moves to peak time on BBC One BBC Press Office, 6 March 2009
  9. ^ Jason Manford quits The One Show BBC News, 19 November 2010
  10. ^ "Matt Baker, David Cameron's baby-faced assassin". The Daily Telegraph. London. 9 March 2011. Archived from the original on 12 March 2011.
  11. ^ "Rio 2016 on the BBC". BBC Media Centre. 26 May 2016.
  12. ^ "BBC - Press Office - Stars saddle-up for Only Fools On Horses". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  13. ^ "BBC - The Gift - Media Centre". Bbc.co.uk.
  14. ^ "BBC One - Big Blue Live". Bbc.co.uk.
  15. ^ "BBC One commissions Wild Alaska Live with Steve Backshall, Matt Baker and Liz Bonnin". BBC Media Centre. 24 May 2017.
  16. ^ Kara Tointon crowned Strictly Come Dancing winner BBC News, 19 December 2010
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 February 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ Review: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Sunderland Empire Journal Live, 23 April 2008
  19. ^ UK Civil Registration index - Marriages
  20. ^ "NFYFC-Latest News". Nfyfc.org.uk. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  21. ^ "Big Blue Live: BBC One for huge live event". 7 May 2015.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Stuart Miles
Blue Peter Presenter No. 28
2000–6
Succeeded by
Andy Akinwolere