Matt Baker recalls ‘grim’ TV job that made him ‘physically sick’

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Countryfile presenter Matt Baker, 45, has recalled how filming a scene where he had to eat “fermented shark meat” made him “physically ill.”

The presenter worked on Blue Peter between 1999 and 2006, a job which meant he “filled three passports” as he travelled the world reporting for the show.

While it may sound like a dream gig, he has admitted that it had its fair share of stomach-churning moments.

One memorable meal came during a visit to modern-day Vikings in Iceland, where he sampled their “fermented shark meat”.

“When I say fermented, what I actually mean is that the Vikings wee on the shark meat and then leave it to ferment some more,” he told the Sunday Times.

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“I managed to cope with the smell, but as soon as I swallowed a piece, I was physically sick.

“As culinary experiences go, that was pretty grim,” he recalled.

That wasn’t the only questionable item on the menu during his time on the show.

Indeed, should I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! ever come knocking he has plenty of experience of chowing down on critters – specifically deep-fried tarantulas which he sampled in Cambodia.

“It wasn’t so much the taste – a bit vague – as the pop of the abdomen.

“You had to bite down quite hard to get through it,” he explained.

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Alongside his presenting work Matt recently penned his debut book A Year on Our Farm: How the Countryside Made Me.

It comes on the back of his recent Channel 4 show Our Farm In the Dales, which saw Matt and his family move to the organic sheep farm where he grew up in the Durham hills to help secure its future.

The show was a big hit with viewers who were very invested in the family’s adventures, so fans were devastated in April when Matt shared the sad news that their pet dog Isla had died.

The presenter announced the news on Instagram on the Farm On The Hill account.

Posting pictures of the beloved mutt he captioned them: “So sad, we’ve said Goodbye to Isla, our oldest & smallest cairn at 13yrs.

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“She was sweet natured, kind, tough, fast as lightning, and a patient gentle Mum.

“She was the one with the voice to let us know when they all wanted to be in or be out.. We’ll miss her #cairnterrier #doglovers #friendforlife.”

One fan was so moved they felt compelled to write a touching tribute telling the family that famed dog lover Paul O’Grady would take care of the pet.

They wrote: “No matter how many years we have with our pets it is not enough. So sorry for your loss of Isla, I’m sure Paul O’Grady will look after her for you.”

During the pandemic, Matt had called for Paul O’Grady to join Countryfile as a presenter. The pair were good friends and bonded over a love of animals.

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