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Craven, John (1940-)


Main image of Craven, John (1940-)

Born 16 August 1940 in Leeds, John Raymond Craven first plied his journalistic trade on local papers The Harrogate Advertiser and the Yorkshire Post. His first BBC posting was in Newcastle but his TV career took off after a transfer to BBC Bristol.

His network TV debut came as a reporter/presenter with Search (BBC, 1971-75), a serious, newsy look at contemporary issues made for children. This led to his big break, the experimental children's news bulletin Newsround (BBC, 1972-), where he pioneered an authoritative but easygoing style.

Now a known face in factual children's TV, he presented The Story Behind the Story (BBC, 1972) examining myths and legends, but Saturday morning miscellanea Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (BBC, 1976-82) made him a household name. Here he further developed a fun-loving side to his hard news persona.

He continued to bring news items and debate to Swap Shop's successor Saturday Superstore (BBC, 1982-87) while moving upstairs to become Editor of Newsround in 1986 and finally bowing out from the presenter roster in 1989, ending his children's TV career.

Immediately he moved to rural reportage with Countryfile (BBC, 1989-), which marked its 20th year in 2009 with a move to peaktime with Craven still at the helm. Craven has joked that he has made a four-decade career out of working on just three programmes - Newsround, Swap Shop and Countryfile.

In 1996 he was inducted into the RTS Hall of Fame and in 2000 received an OBE for services to children's and rural broadcasting.

Alistair McGown

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Thumbnail image of John Craven's Newsround (1972-)John Craven's Newsround (1972-)

Daily news bulletin aimed at younger audiences

Thumbnail image of Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (1976-82)Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (1976-82)

Pioneering BBC children's phone-in show, hosted by Noel Edmonds

Thumbnail image of Saturday SuperStore (1982)Saturday SuperStore (1982)

Saturday morning kids' TV for the consumer age

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