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RICHARD URIDGE

Richard Uridge
Brought up in Bedfordshire, Richard wanted to be a farmer and became the youngest ever chairman of the Toddington Young Farmers Association. He opted to follow a career in journalism, however, and worked on local newspapers before joining BBC Radio WM in Birmingham. He later became presenter of the local evening news on the BBC's Midlands Today, joined Farming Today and began presenting Open Country in 1998.

In 2002 he took a break from the programme to concentrate on television commitments and returned in February 2003. He's delighted to be back: "I've missed these regular forays into the parts of the countryside that most people know very little about. I always come back from a programme having discovered something new, or met someone with an unusual take on country life."

Richard lives with his Australian partner Sandy and their two children, Jack and Rose, in a 150-year-old cottage on the side of Clee Hill in Shropshire, where they grow an abundance of fruit and vegetables and keep hens - when the neighbourhood fox allows them.

"I'd have made a lousy farmer. Speckle, Ginger and Anzac got eaten because I didn't get home in time to lock them in their run for the night. We had to send Marmalade on permanent bereavement leave to the neighbouring farm so that she wouldn't end up the same way. In that sense broadcasting's gain is probably farming's gain as well!"

Richard enjoys rural crafts and handiwork and is particularly proud of the toposcope (a sculpted metal plate on a pedestal pinpointing the panoramic features to be seen from the top of Clee Hill) that he built.

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