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Naked at 40: See TV's Julia Bradbury in her birthday suit - PICTURES

SHE'S Fit, she's 40 and she's now naked - Julia Bradbury learned her love of the countryside as a girl growing up in Sheffield.

The TV presenter, naturalist and now naked model has been described as the 'walking man's crumpet'.

Looking at this stunning image, taken for a Give Up Clothes For Good charity photo shoot, it's easy to see why.

The woman who makes slogging up hills look sexy grew up walking in the Peak District.

The daughter of a Tideswell-born steel works' executive Julia took to the hills from a young age with dad Michael and is now known internationally for her documentaries on walking some of the world's most spectacular terrain.

But life hasn't always been a walk in the National Park for the former Watchdog presenter.

Her time in Sheffield was blighted by the bullying she suffered at school.

"I went to school in Sheffield, King Edward VII, from age 13 to 16. It was not a happy place for me, I have to say," said Julia.

"Academically I struggled at school a little bit. I got bullied and I didn't really find my way in certain subjects and did not fully appreciate the school system.

"Nor did it appreciate me really. Looking back, you notice all of these things.

"My mum is Greek and I was seen as a little bit different in school and schools can be very cliquey places. I don't think they have changed much and I guess it's all part of the school experience and growing up.

"I love my mum's side of the family dearly and it adds something else to the melting pot in terms of your life, but it made things difficult for me at school."

Now the edge and energy her background gave her has made Julia Bradbury one of the most recognised faces on our TV screens.

Her TV career appeared to be briefly threatened when her name was associated with an air-miles scandal. But she was cleared from any wrongdoing in a police inquiry and subsequently re-appeared on the BBC's TV Consumer protection programme Watchdog.

Now she's striding on to new levels of celebrity.

"Derbyshire is where I first learned to walk and got my love of the countryside," said Julia whose family used to divide its time between Sheffield and the family home in Rutland.

"My dad being a Tideswell man, took me out walking in the Peak District from the age of five. I have always been exposed to the countryside and my dad was very knowledgeable about the Peak District.

"He would be pointing things out to me as we walked, rocks and features in the landscape, and would make up stories about them as well. Now I'm very passionate about the countryside."

If she got her love of the country from her dad she got her fire and desire to always be warm from her mother.

"I think the Greek thing it made subtle differences to the way I grew up," said single girl Julia.

"My mum is a very passionate lady and I have inherited some of that Mediterranean spirit. I don't like being cold and I'm good at slamming doors and smashing plates!

"My mother used to run a fashion shop on Ecclesall Road called Cibi.

"I used to go there after school and I would go into the workroom and I would play with the girls' sewing machines there. I was no good at sewing but I was pretty good at pattern cutting."

So is walking some of the most beautiful but breezy terrain on the planet a good career choice for a someone who feels the cold?

"The good thing about walking is that when you are moving you are keeping warm," said Julia.

"When you are filming, it gets bloody cold hanging around waiting to do something and I have every heating device known to man.

"I have various tricks to say warm, I look like I am a mad woman and I run everywhere to keep warm."

Julia isn't actually 40 until next week and all she would say on the impending big day is: "I'm ignoring it", but she was more forthcoming about taking her clothes of for charity.

"I wasn't sure about it at first but I had an absolute blast doing the shoot and am thrilled to help support such an important campaign.

"The British public have helped Cancer Research UK spearhead major advances in the treatment of childhood cancers and to help that continue I encourage everyone to donate what they can."

* Julia Bradbury supported Give Up Clothes for Good, a TK Maxx, HomeSense and Cancer Research UK campaign for children's cancer research.

Feet firmly on the ground

SHE'S upset a few people in her time...

Watchdog con-men would quake at the sound of her voice, she got under the skin of a green-eyed Edwina Currie on Celebrity Come Dine With Me and one silly blogger called her 'an annoying old dog'.

But former Sheffield schoolgirl and hard-line hiker Julia Bradbury knows better than to take her public image too seriously.

"Erica Jong said: 'Fame is millions of people having the wrong idea of who you are', said Julia who celebrates her 40th birthday on July 24.

"If some people see me as the walking man's crumpet then great, thank you. Having a tag like that is not something to take seriously but if what I do and the attention it attracts gets more people out there, hiking over fells, walking in parks, enjoying the outdoors then I'm chuffed.

"A friend emailed me a forum chat recently and I really got on this guy's nerves, he thinks I'm an 'annoying old dog'. For every one person who thinks you're OK there are hordes you irritate."

A little harsh but Julia Bradbury is a woman with her feet firmly on the ground.

"I have always tried to keep variety in my career so that I don't get stuck with one thing," said Julia who once appeared as a mermaid in Peter Pan at the Crucible alongside Joanne Whalley and Paula Wilcox.

"I've lots of experience in a wide variety of work and I long to keep that and not get pigeon-holed. In terms of the work I'm doing now, the walks have worked, people really like them.

"It's terrific to work in something that people respond to so warmly. Next year I'll be doing a Germany walks for the BBC and a special on Iceland. I enjoy the work but I like to break it up, variety is important to me. The great thing about Countryfile is that you get to do such diverse things from cheese sculptures to crab fishing."

"The latest DVD is about four very different walks across South Africa from the coastal to the Kalahari. I loved that and if I'm still doing things like that in five years, I won't be complaining too much."

WHATEVER happened to Abi Brown?

Abi was Julia Bradbury's closest friend when her family lived in Sheffield - but trhe TV presenter hasn't seen her old mate for moreb than 20 years.

"We lived on Graham Road in Fulwood and I often went to stay with my friend, Abi Brown.

"It was a bit of a mobile period for me as I was at school in Sheffield and home was in Rutland. There are lots of things I remember about Sheffield, I think it's a great city. It seems from memory we were always driving in and driving out and when you come into the city there is a very distinctive view and I'll always have that memory.

"Abi and I would have great fun together, we would go camping in her garden, or my garden. We had lots of good times and I haven't seen her for 20 years. It would be great to get in touch with her again. She left Sheffield, all her family left but I'd love to get in touch with her again."

* Do you know Abi Brown or her family? Contact Star Features Editor Martin Smith on sheffield 2894558 or at martin.smith@sheffieldnewspapers.co.uk and we'll try and re-unite Julia and Abi .

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Latest sport I don't like being cold and I'm good at slamming doors and smashing plates!

"My mother used to run a fashion shop on Ecclesall Road called Cibi.

"I used to go there after school and I would go into the workroom and I would play with the girls' sewing machines there. I was no good at sewing but I was pretty good at pattern cutting."

So is walking some of the most beautiful but breezy terrain on the planet a good career choice for a someone who feels the cold?

"The good thing about walking is that when you are moving you are keeping warm," said Julia.

"When you are filming, it gets bloody cold hanging around waiting to do something and I have every heating device known to man.

"I have various tricks to say warm, I look like I am a mad woman and I run everywhere to keep warm."

Julia isn't actually 40 until next week and all she would say on the impending big day is: "I'm ignoring it", but she was more forthcoming about taking her clothes of for charity.

"I wasn't sure about it at first but I had an absolute blast doing the shoot and am thrilled to help support such an important campaign.

"The British public have helped Cancer Research UK spearhead major advances in the treatment of childhood cancers and to help that continue I encourage everyone to donate what they can."

n Julia Bradbury supported Give Up Clothes for Good, a TK Maxx, HomeSense and Cancer Research UK campaign for children's cancer research.

What happened to Abi?

Walking tall: TV presenter Julia Bradbury enjoys the scenery.

Early influence: Julia Bradbury took to the hills from a young age with her Tideswell-born steel worker dad Michael.

Now 40: Julia Bradbury at 5.

Exposed: Julia Bradbury in Give Up Clothes For Good photo shoot in aid of cancer charity.

 
 
 

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