Countryfile given peak time slot

After 20 years of profiling all the latest news from rural areas, Countryfile is moving to a new primetime slot on a Sunday evening. There will also be a shakeup of presenting, with long-time anchor John Craven moving to a more specific role. He will take a closer look at the big news stories regarding the countryside, whilst Julia Bradbury and Matt Baker will take on the lead roles.

Bradbury has previously worked on Watchdog, and Kill It, Cook It, Eat It. Baker has presented Blue Peter, and done a lot of work on Radio 4, including Open Country and Farming Today.

Regarding the changes, John Craven said:

“I’m thrilled that Countryfile is going from strength to strength. Over the years I’ve seen it become a great and much-loved institution and now I’m looking forward to working with Matt, Julia and the new team. My new role will give me a fantastic opportunity to probe in-depth issues that really matter to people who love and care about our countryside.”

There will still be many other reporters involved in the programme, and it will continue to broadcast from various locations around the country. More importantly, the week-long weather forecast will still be a part of the show. This is the one over-riding memory I have of Countryfile, even though the weather is invariably wrong.

To replace the show on a Sunday Morning, a new programme called Country Tracks will begin, which combines old footage from Countryfile with new sequences to take a look at how rural areas are changing.