Countryfile recently debuted Celebration of the Seasons, a 50-minute, documentary taking in some of the greatest landscapes the UK has to offer.
Regular presenter Helen Skelton took the Countryfile team back to her native Cumbria. She reveals how outdoor activities have been an integral part of her life since childhood – and why she believes this is a great time for women’s sport.
“It’s amazing how people underestimate the cameramen on something like Countryfile,” Skelton says. “The camera team on the show are so brilliant, and I think that really shows in Celebration of the Seasons. It’s a celebration of our country, and our countryside, and it would have been wrong of the production team to scrimp and save on the pictures, so luckily, Countryfile is one of the few shows these days that really invests in its filmmakers.”
The documentary, which spans the length and breadth of the UK through the changing seasons, also sees Skelton back in the Lake District, where she grew up on a dairy farm. “I’ve been lucky with my job to go all over the world; Alaska, New Zealand, Australia and Africa, yet I always compare those places to the Lake District and to Cumbria, because Cumbria has a bit of everything. Huge mountains, big lakes, stunning coastline – I feel really proud of where I’m from,” she smiles.
“I spent years living in London trying to convince friends to come back up to Cumbria with me, and they always thought it was like going to the end of the earth. They’d happily drive five hours to Cornwall, but they wouldn’t get on a train for three hours to go to Cumbria.”
If she did manage to drag friends back to her home turf, Helen has already planned out a fun-packed itinerary for her visitors. “We’d go to the lakes, go kayaking, go for a swim, and have a barbecue by the lake. There are great pubs, great food, great views, great people; loads of stuff happens in Cumbria that people aren’t aware of; Kendall Calling, for instance. I’ve loved Kendall Calling for years, but I had London friends telling me ‘oh there’s this really cool new festival called Kendall Calling…’ and I’ve been going to Kendall Calling since it was like, five men and a dog!” she laughs.
It’s clear that despite her media success – she has been a Newsround and Blue Peter presenter, as well as her current Countryfile and BT Sport football pundit roles – she has retained her quintessentially Cumbrian down-to-earth attitude. “People don’t get too carried away with themselves where I’m from,” she adds.
A Celebration of the Seasons is out now on DVD, Blu-ray and digital HD.