TV CHAT

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Television - with Ju­lia Brad­bury

Dublin-born TV pre­sen­ter Ju­lia Brad­bury is a fa­mil­iar face on TV thanks to her work on shows rang­ing from Top Gear and Watchdog to Wain­wright Walks and Rail­way Walks. She can cur­rently be seen host­ing Coun­try­file, and her lat­est se­ries South Africa Walks is out now on DVD. Away from TV, Ju­lia is the 2010 pres­i­dent of the Ram­blers.

YOU’RE A REG­U­LAR VIS­I­TOR TO SOUTH AFRICA, WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE COUN­TRY THAT YOU LOVE?

I’ve got fam­ily there, so that’s al­ways a pull to a coun­try. Also, some of my best friends that I made in London are South Africans and over the years, as hap­pens with South Africans, they all end up go­ing home, lured by the blue skies and the life­style. So I’m con­stantly go­ing back to see them, and catch up with them, and I think my love of the coun­try was borne out of that.

WAS IT GOOD TO SHOW A DIF­FER­ENT SIDE TO THE COUN­TRY?

Yes, I’m al­ways sur­prised when I talk to peo­ple that they ques­tion go­ing to South Africa, they ques­tion the safety. I sup­pose be­cause I’m such a reg­u­lar trav­eller there, that side isn’t some­thing that has daunted me or stopped me from vis­it­ing at all. Like ev­ery­where, South Africa has an edge and like ev­ery­where you have to be care­ful and aware, but no more than any­where else to be hon­est.

HAVE YOU BEEN PLEASED BY THE RE­AC­TION TO YOUR WALKS SE­RIES?

The re­ac­tion has been a com­plete sur­prise and ab­so­lutely won­der­ful. It’s lovely to be a woman at the fore­front of this. I was at a photo shoot yes­ter­day, and the stylist said to me that she only started watch­ing the Wain­wright Walks se­ries be­cause it was a woman do­ing it and that opened it up for her. I think the out­door world can be a quite male­dom­i­nated world, and there’s a ten­dency to be quite ex­treme and quite gung-ho. That’s not to say I don’t have a spirit of ad­ven­ture. I’ll have a go at lots of things and en­joy it, and hope­fully that en­thu­si­asm does come across.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE MORE SUR­VIVAL-BASED PRE­SEN­TERS LIKE BEAR GRYLLS AND RAY MEARS?

The thing about Ray Mears and Bear Grylls is that they’re em­i­nently watch­able and what they do is very ex­cit­ing, but it’s not nec­es­sar­ily what peo­ple want to do. I like to think that the walks I’m do­ing are quite achiev­able. I think that is part of the ap­peal - I don’t bed un­der a cow skin and eat dung from the Serengeti, I take a back­pack with me. Things hap­pen, thing go wrong, you get stuck on a moun­tain in a light­ning storm, but it’s a much more ap­proach­able kind of a watch.

YOU HAD A TOUGH YEAR LAST YEAR (JU­LIA STEPPED DOWN FROM HER PRE­SENT­ING ROLE ON WATCHDOG WHILE IR­REG­U­LAR­I­TIES IN HER FRE­QUENT FLYER AC­COUNT WERE IN­VES­TI­GATED, AND RE­TURNED AF­TER BE­ING CLEARED). IS IT RE­WARD­ING THAT THIS YEAR SEEMS TO BE GO­ING WELL?

I did have a bad year last year, and the story which hit the head­lines, which was com­pletely un­true, was ab­so­lutely shat­ter­ing and had a huge af­fect on me and my fam­ily. I’ve been in telly for nearly 15 years and it’s the first time that a story like that has ever bro­ken about me. You feel com­pletely help­less be­cause you are at the mercy of the pa­pers and they have par­tic­u­lar head­lines they want to run be­cause it sells news­pa­pers. The most frus­trat­ing thing is when you sit down and you tell peo­ple the truth and it still doesn’t get printed and your voice isn’t heard.

YOU RE­CENTLY POSED NAKED FOR THE GIVE UP YOUR CLOTHES FOR CAN­CER RE­SEARCH CAM­PAIGN, WAS THAT A GOOD EX­PE­RI­ENCE?

It was a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence. I did that pri­mar­ily be­cause I do a lot for can­cer char­i­ties. I have a lot of friends who I’ve lost to can­cer so I do as much as I can. That was cou­pled with the fact that I thought it was a re­ally fun cam­paign, and I’m get­ting to that stage in my life where in a few years time, if some­one asked me to take my clothes off, I don’t think I’d be able to say yes.

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