Countryfile's Ellie Harrison quits the BBC to focus on family

Countryfile’s Ellie Harrison becomes the latest woman in her 40s to quit BBC to focus on family as she steps down from the show after 13 years to focus on raising her children

Last month Helen Skelton stepped down from BBC Radio 5 Live to spend more time with her children. 

And now it seems that Ellie Harrison has followed suit, quitting her role on the BBC’s beloved Countryfile after 13 years to focus on raising her son and two daughters. 

The long-time presenter, 45, who was a firm favourite with viewers, has said she is leaving the show so that she can have more time with her family as well as pursuing her ambitions of becoming an artist. 

‘After 13 years, my final column is a fond farewell to Countryfile – I’ll miss the people, places and stories,’ she wrote in the latest issue of Countryfile Magazine. 

‘Thirteen-and-a-half years after I arrived four hours early for my first Countryfile shoot, which culminated in me commuting up Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) to deliver Matt Baker a sandwich of freshly harvested mushrooms, it has come time for me to bid you farewell. 

She’s off! Countryfile presenter Ellie Harrison, 45, has revealed she is leaving the show after 13 years to focus on raising her children

‘It has been a decision I’ve drawn out, such is the bond with the programme, and boy will I miss the geography field trips.’ 

She said that she had realised that she needs to ‘chart a new course’ that involves spending more time at home. 

‘I’ve come to realise that I don’t need to navigate to a whole new ocean or even a new sea, but to chart a new course somewhere in these waters, raising my three wonderful children, growing our family business and following my own creative calling to produce art of my own making,’ she said. 

Ms Harrison lives in the Cotswolds with her GP husband Dr Matt Goodman and children Red, 13, Lux, 11, and a seven-year-old she has not publicly named. 

The presenter manages a five-acre ancient cider apple orchard, which she rents from her local pub, while Dr Goodman founded health app MapMyHealth, which helps manage chronic conditions. 

She stumbled into television when she was picked to cover Michaela Strachan’s maternity leave on Michaela’s Wild Challenge after working as a secretary at Channel 5 and turning down a role in children’s programme, Milkshake. 

She joined Countryfie in 2009 and has presented a number of shows including Secret Britain, Country Tracks and has appeared on The One Show. 

‘The winds of change are blowing, my hands turn the tiller and I close my eyes to take comfort from Invictus: ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’ I’ll see you again someday,’ she wrote in her column, quoting William Ernest Henley’s poem Invictus. 

Departure: The long-time presenter, who was a firm favourite with viewers, has said she is leaving the show so that she can have more time with her family

She added: ‘But like all endings, I’ll take all the lessons from these days forward with me on my journey. Some of them are purely practical. 

‘There are some thornier lessons that come with me: a belief that tradition doesn’t get a free pass and needs to prove its place in the countryside; a question about land ownership and payments (it’s right that we challenge outcomes that see millionaires being paid to burn biofuels with the windows open); the difficulty of showing the full and graphic process of meat production; and the ever-downward trend in wildlife numbers. 

‘But there are the joyful reminders, too, that our countryside is a gilt. Along with the lessons, there are many things I’ll miss.’ 

Ms Skelton shocked Radio 5 Live listeners when she stepped down from her role last month, just one year in, to focus on looking after her children. 

The presenter bid an emotional farewell to listeners of her Sunday morning slot as she explained she was struggling to balance her work with her family life. 

Ms Skelton, 40, is a mother of three and has Ernie, eight, Louis, five, and 19-month-old daughter Elsie with ex-husband Richie Myler. 

She announced her split from the Ireland and Leeds Rhinos rugby league player, 33, in April last year. 

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