John Craven to host daily Countryfile show

The weekly Sunday broadcast has reached a record viewership of 9.5 million

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After becoming an unstoppable Sunday night juggernaut, magazine show Countryfile is looking to conquer weekday TV as it secures main series host John Craven to helm daily spin-off Countryfile Diaries.

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Taking place over five days, the series will also feature Jules Hudson, Flog It’s Paul Martin and weather presenter Keeley Donovan, and will run for a week in mid-May to follow the Countryfile spring special (with future seasonal specials seeing it return).

“The British countryside in spring – what better place to launch this new show?” Craven asked in a release.

“I’ve been with Countryfile for the best part of 30 years and for me this is a really exciting development, hosting a daily diary that brings viewers the best of our countryside at this magical time of year. We have a great team on board and we can’t wait to get started.”

While Countryfile was originally a modest success during most of its run as a morning TV series, a 2009 move to Sunday primetime saw it skyrocket in popularity, reaching record viewership of 9.5 million last month, beating both the War and Peace finale and Call the Midwife in the ratings.

“It’s a time for new life, innovation and expectation for the growing season ahead,” new contributor Martin said.

“I can’t wait to be part of this unfolding story and to see the effects of this year’s extreme weather. I hope we can show the passion farmers have for this challenging yet incredible British industry.”

Executive editor Bill Lyons added: “Countryfile is Britain’s most popular weekly factual TV show and on air 52 weeks a year, so we constantly see the dramatic difference that the turn of the seasons makes to the landscape, wildlife and working lives of everyone in our countryside.

“We want to offer BBC daytime viewers a real chance to celebrate spring with us and the team of presenters we’ve got are the perfect people to do just that.”

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Countryfile continues this Sunday at 6.45pm