Matt Baker: 'I prefer landscapes that make me feel small'

'I prefer landscapes that make me feel small'

My first 'Blue Peter' trip was the best I ever went on.

I never really wanted to be in television but then I kind of ended up with Blue Peter and within weeks I was off to Australia for a month. I was learning my trade and fortunately I had a cameraman who was brilliant and taught me so much. That's where it all started for me, so I have fond memories; we went from diving to being in the Outback with the animals. I was with Blue Peter for years and absolutely loved every second of it. You appreciate it a lot more looking back than at the time because it was so fast paced.

I've visited one of the driest places on earth.

We did a lot of appeals on Blue Peter so I was able to travel to some remote places. I did a project with WaterAid many years ago to put water supplies into a place called Nala in Tanzania. I did two trips, one to see what the situation was like and to talk to the community. Then we raised some money and went back out there to put in the water supply. To see the difference that fresh water can make … I absolutely couldn't believe it. The people who lived there seemed to be the happiest I've ever met – every single morning they thanked God they were alive. Seeing that really did change me. It made me appreciate what I have got and to be thankful for it every day.

My worst travel experience was on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

The lad in the carriage next to me was Russian and we were getting on like a house on fire. He was quite generous with his vodka, which I drank quite a lot of, and the train kept stopping. We were in the middle of nowhere so I jumped off to get some fresh air and stretch my legs, leaving all my belongings on the train. Suddenly the train started to leave and I was in the middle of nowhere on this platform. I just ran after it like in some action film and I literally jumped on to the back of the train and got back on. Thankfully, I was alright, but we were filming and can you imagine what they would have thought the following morning when they woke up and realised I wasn't in the carriage but my belongings were.

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Matt is drawn to epic scenery like West Scotland

Rotten shark meat is worse than anything else you can eat.

It's a delicacy in Iceland. Sharks apparently urinate through their skin so the meat has to be left for several months to drain it. It looks quite nice, like a block of cheese, and then you put it in your mouth and it is absolutely horrendous. Your body just wants to reject it.

My mum and dad once hid tickets to Disney World under our place mats at Christmas.

I was about nine. We thought we had had all our presents, but when it came to dinner they told us that there was one last little treat under there for us. We lifted up our place mats and underneath were letters from Mickey and Minnie Mouse saying we were off to Disney World – it was just the most extraordinary feeling.

Caravanning is a great family holiday.

The key for me is giving your child the chance to know that the British countryside is accessible. A caravan is a home-from-home that you can come back to and relax in, you can go out and run around … you can do what you want.

My heart lies in the North-east of England.

I prefer landscapes which are quite big and that make me feel small. I like to feel the elements and the North-east has the whole lot really. But I also love the New Forest, and the west coast of Scotland.

Wherever I go I never really turn up with any preconceived ideas.

I am quite an open book, and I think I have learnt to take everywhere as I see it.

Matt Baker is a television and radio presenter who currently hosts 'Countryfile' and 'The One Show' on BBC 1

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