Countryfile’s Anita Rani on smashing stereotypes and dealing with 'testing' winter conditions

Virgin Radio

1 Aug 2023, 11:07

Anita Rani talks to Tom Allen at Virgin Radio.

When Anita Rani joined The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch, she spoke about presenting popular BBC show Countryfile, and about her debut novel.

The legendary presenter spoke to Tom Allen, who is in for Chris, about working on hit BBC nature programme Countryfile. “The New York Times called it ‘rural porn’,” she said. “Because America can’t get their heads around why Britain loves a programme about the countryside.” 

She continued: “It’s like, ‘This is it, this is who we are’. We are a nation that just loves to sit down and look at fields and dream of our rural idyll, and little lambs bouncing around, and it is such a joy to make.

“It’s a little bit testing in the winter, when it’s absolutely freezing and lashing it down. However, I think the British public quite enjoy watching presenters suffering whilst they are comfortable, sitting by their fires, or drinking their glass of red, or whatever it is, or doing their ironing. I think people have their routines, don’t they, as soon as they hear the music.”

Admitting, “I can’t believe I find myself in this space,” the TV and radio star spoke about how her career has seen her “smashing stereotypes of what Brown women can and can’t do”. 

She told Tom: “And so I find myself somewhere that no South Asian woman has been before, which is a field on a Sunday night on BBC One!”

The Sunday Times bestselling author has just released her first novel, Baby Does A Runner. “It’s about a Punjabi girl from Bradford who drinks too much. I have no idea where I got that inspiration from! I really had to reach to think about what this character was going to be,” Anita joked.

In the book, the lead character, Baby, is grieving for her dad and is fed up with family pressure telling her to settle down. The author told Tom: “She goes home for a birthday party she didn't think she was going to have, but her mum has invited half of Bradford round, and she gets a bit drunk and she finds a family secret.”

This is Anita’s second book after her bestselling memoir The Right Sort of Girl. Talking about creating the main character of Baby in her debut novel, she said: “I think sometimes, as a South Asian woman, or a woman of colour, you're not allowed to fail in spaces. So you have to constantly turn up as your best self, whereas I wanted to show that this girl's a bit messy, and what’s going on in her life.

"Yeah, she still turns up to work and bosses it, but you see everything else that's going on, and all the stuff that she's had to contend with, and all the baggage and the history that she carries.”

Baby Does A Runner is out now.

For more great interviews listen to  The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.