Celebrity Interview: Nick Knowles
PUBLISHED: 16:52 04 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:38 20 February 2013
As one of our best-loved and most prolific television presenters, we're used to seeing Nick Knowles in our homes, but you may also have spotted him out and about in the Cotswolds. Words by Marianne Sweet.
TV presenter Nick Knowles is a man on a mission, and the Cotswolds plays a central role in his plans.
I have spent so much time in the Cotswolds that people think I am from here. I love Gloucestershire. The place suits me, explains the 48-year-old looking every inch the country gentleman in his jeans, natty jacket and plaid shirt.
He is one of the most prolific presenters on TV. One needs a long piece of paper to list all the programmes he has been involved with from the popular DIY SOS and to the quiz show Who Dares Wins. There isnt a subject he wont turn his hand to.
He worked with fellow Gloucestershire resident Chris Beardshaw on Wild About Your Garden, recorded documentaries in Africa and hosted the series Last Choir Standing.
He is back on our screens with a new series of DIY SOS. He has a new Saturday night National Lottery Quiz Show called Secret Fortune. And another in the afternoon on BBC2 called Perfection. Not to mention the new series of Real Rescues.
On average he makes more than 100 programmes a year for the BBC alone but Nick now longs for a change in gear and to become more of a homebody.
Which is why he is relaxing in a modern home with lakeside views at the luxury second home development, The Lakes by yoo, near Fairford. He is here celebrating his 48th birthday with friends and family.
We spent the evening on the deck overlooking the water. I played my guitar and we simply relaxed. What a perfect way to mark a birthday, he says.
He fell in love with the Cotswolds more than a decade ago when he became good friends of Lord and Lady Apsley. He is a regular fixture of Cirencester Park and Cirencester after meeting the couple during a TV programme. Sarah is just good fun and so wonderful. She hares around the park on that quad bike of hers, with that mane of hair flying in the wind, looking for all the world like Boadicea.
Over the years he has rented property in the Cotswolds, including a house in Duntisbourne Abbotts. I had been away filming and had not set eyes on the place. My PA said it had a stone wall around it. So I show up at 10 at night to a village full of houses matching that description. I ended up knocking on peoples doors saying Do I live here?
Now Nick has found romance here. His girlfriend, Jessica Moor, grew up in Cirencester. She rejected me at first. I formally asked her to be my girlfriend like I was nine years old again and she said no! But I didnt give up and our first date was here at The Lakes.
Nick is coy when talking about his private life. He is protective of his three children Charles 17, Tuesday 16 and TJ 14. He spends as much time as possible with them. I love them heaps.
He admits his caution comes from bad experiences with the tabloid press. I suppose I have learned the hard way about the need to think carefully before engaging my mouth. I have said things as a joke or in a blokeish sort of way and the next thing I know it is all over the press.
Nick wants to focus more on his writing - he is working on a film script and his first novel and to spend more time in one place. I want to be cared for. For 25 years I have spent thousands of nights away from home. After a couple of years every hotel looks the same. Life is far too busy for me. I need to slow it down and hopefully my writing will allow me to do that.
My ambition as a TV presenter was to present on prime-time Saturday night TV. I have achieved that. Now it is time to develop my other skills and to look for new challenges.
Nick started his TV career at the BBC in London in the Documentary Features department. After a two-year spell in an Australian TV newsroom he then worked in Arizona before returning to the UK
and the ITV TVS newsroom in Maidstone.
Nick wasthe first journalist on the scene of the Deal barracks bombing. Later he moved to the newsroom of Meridian Broadcasting as production editor and reporter. At this stage he was asked to present. The first was Confidential, a sex advice programme, then TV Weekly, Entertainment Today, and Put It To The Test, where Nick worked for the first time with Carol Vorderman.
I never wanted to be associated with one kind of programme. Its important to challenge yourself and make sure you are not pigeon holed. It means it takes longer to develop a career and profile with viewers and commissioners but its a much firmer, broader base. I can never understand presenters who will only work with autocue or will only work in studio its like being a carpenter and only making wardrobes.
Born in London and raised in Southall, Nick loves sport, especially rugby, and all things outdoors. In particular he loves being near the water, thus his fondness for The Lakes. It must be a primeval thing. There is an argument that we were water-born creatures. Everyone is attracted to water and go back to it. When people retire they dont move inland, they move to be beside water - otherwise Cornwall would be empty.
He is also music mad thus the playing and singing on the deck. In his youth he played in various bands before teaming up with his brother and playing clubs and bars in London. He tried acting but it didnt quite suit him. Then he discovered TV. Whatever he does he doesnt like to do it too long. Like a man possessed, the last thing Nick Knowles wants to be is predictable.
There is no doubt in Nicks mind that it is here, in the Cotswolds, where he wants to put down roots. It is easy to see that he is in love but he remains tight-lipped when it comes to discussing his future with Jessica. They have been dating since 2009.
The Cotswolds has always been a special place for me. Now it is more so with Jess family and we have many good friends here. Will we end up here? Home is where you feel most at ease and most at peace - for me that is the Cotswolds.