Julia Bradbury: "I want my pay to match that of my male co-presenters"

Nathalie Whittle
Photo credit: Jeff Spicer

From Good Housekeeping

Julia Bradbury has many strings to her bow. She’s one of Britain's best-loved TV presenters, she’s published books, she runs a website, The Outdoor Guide, with her sister, Gina – and that’s not to mention being a mum of three young kids - twins girls, Xanthe and Zena, aged four, and a son Zephyrus, who’s eight.

Her latest project, ITV travel series, The Greek Islands with Julia Bradbury, is particularly close to her heart. Over the course of six episodes, Julia explores the hidden side of the sun-drenched Greek Islands; think secret beaches, exquisite coves and unspoilt countryside.

“My mother is Greek, so it’s a personal story exploring my heritage but also the food, culture, myths and landscapes that so many people admire,” she says.

Here, she talks to Good Housekeeping about finding her resilience, tackling the gender pay gap and why being a working mum is so important to her...

When I walked away from my job on Countryfile in 2014 to have IVF, it was a big risk. Matt Baker and I had taken that show to its Sunday night spot together and it was – and still is – an incredibly successful show. Walking away from a long-running series was scary – a real turning point. But it was also incredibly freeing. I’ve worked hard pitching new shows and putting myself out there to make sure I’m not that woman ‘who used to be on the telly’. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that if we push hard enough, we can do anything. It just might take longer than you planned!

I still face rejection now – it’s tough getting TV shows made these days, but I now realise I’m quite resilient. I think all women have a resilience inside of us. I was getting frustrated with work recently and I thought, ‘Sod it, I’m going to come up with something I like and that I think people will like,’ and the idea for my new series, The Greek Islands with Julia Bradbury, was born. My mother is Greek, so it’s a personal story exploring my heritage but also the food, culture, myths and landscapes that so many people admire.

One of the biggest challenges we face as women is the pay gap. In every industry, men get paid more than women. The TV industry is no different. I’m not talking about the level of pay – it’s about parity. I’m confident enough to speak up for myself now and I’ve made it clear that I want my pay to match that of my male co-presenters. You don’t want to be a troublemaker, but why shouldn’t we be paid equally?

I’m turning 50 this year and I’m actually quite excited about it. It’s a great time to be a woman in your 50s, isn’t it? We’re living longer, we’re healthier – in fact, I’m probably as fit as I’ve ever been because I have three young kids – twin girls, Xanthe and Zena, who are four, and a son, Zephyrus, who’s eight – and I don’t want to be the old knackered mum at the school gates! I’ve taken up tennis recently, which I loved as a teenager and I’ve found my mojo again.

It’s important to me to show my kids that you can be a working mum. I want to be a role model to them in that sense. That’s how the world works. It’s already instilled in them.

The Greek Islands with Julia Bradbury is on ITV every Friday at 8pm. Catch up here.

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Photo credit: Hearst Owned

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