She’s been a mainstay in our living rooms since the 1980s.
It’s hard to think of a time when presenter Michaela Strachan has been off our television screens.
Her varied CV runs the gamut from presenting Saturday morning children’s TV with Timmy Mallett to hosting a short-lived vegetarian cookery show.
Michaela, with her girl-next-door looks and mega-watt smile, became the stuff of fantasy for schoolboys tuning into children’s TV during the ’80s and ’90s, with indie pop band Scouting for Girls penning an ode to her in 2007.
It contains the lyrics ‘I turned on the telly, when I got home from school. You were there in your wellies, and a yellow cagoule.’ But the Surrey-born mum-of-one, who now lives in South Africa, is best known for presenting wildlife shows.
She is among a host of poets and authors who are giving talks at Camp Bestival in Dorset this year and will be recounting some of her adventures with wildlife.
With the intriguingly titled How to be a Polar Bear Dentist, Michaela will be talking about the many extraordinary experiences she has enjoyed in her 25 years of filming wildlife and conservation around the world.
She said: “It’s a scaled down version of the show I was doing in the theatre.
“I wrote a book called Michaela Strachan’s Really Wild Adventures which the show came from and we did it with props like a cobra puppet.
“We got the kids up there to see how far the cobras reached. It was very interactive, very educational and a lot of fun.”
The stage is a natural home for Michaela, who is trained as a dancer and an actor.
“I really enjoyed doing the show because I come from a theatre background and realised that that side of my training really helped when I was creating the show with the producer,” she said.
Michaela has created her own website containing details of her numerous television jobs, listed under the self-deprecatingly titled ‘Rambling Biog’ section.
“I did that website about a year ago for exactly the reason that if you don’t have your own website journalists look at Wikipedia for information!
“I do look back at my career and think it’s been amazing, I’ve had a fantastic time,” she said.
Michaela is still very much in demand for TV work.
She has recently finished a stint presenting BBC wildlife show Springwatch and is set to return for Autumnwatch.
In between, she will be at Camp Bestival and Lollibop, a family festival to be held at Hatfield House near London in August.
Michaela said she hopes the work will keep coming.
She and fellow presenter Miriam O’Reilly were dropped from BBC’s Countryfile when it underwent a revamp in 2008. Miss O’Reilly, then 53, went on to win an ageism case against the corporation.
Michaela said: “I don’t think the Countryfile case was about age at all.
“They wanted to change the look of the show and the range of presenters.
“Things come to an end and I didn’t have a problem with it. Miriam did and took it on.”
Capetown resident Michaela said her experience of being a female TV presenter has been being treated on merit.
“Maybe I’m not of the age where it’s affected me yet. I think we’re seeing a few more older women presenters on TV now.
“Someone of my age is suited to Springwatch, it generally has an older audience and I think the fact that I have been on television for a while means that people feel comfortable when they watch.
“I know when I’ve come back to England and put on breakfast TV and see a familiar face you feel as though you trust that person and you feel comfortable,” she said.
Next up for Michaela and her family is a relaxing break to British Columbia, Canada – which she’ll be treating like a busman’s holiday.
“We’ll be flying to Vancouver and going out to Vancouver Island and looking for grizzly bears.
“Even when I do go away on holiday I always seem to end up trying to find wildlife,” she said.
- Camp Bestival is at Lulworth Castle from July 31 to August 3. See campbestival.net for details