Julia Bradbury was born in Dublin to a Greek mother and a Derbyshire born father. The family moved back to the UK in the early 70’s and settled in Rutland (the smallest county in Britain).
Business interests of both parents also took them to Sheffield where Julia went to school. Julia Bradbury took part in the Crucible Theatre’s stage production of Peter Pan, starring Joanne Whalley and Paula Wilcox where she donned a fishtail and got afternoons off school playing a mermaid Julia’s first professional engagement.
After leaving school Julia Bradbury moved to London to live with Gina and after a short spell of working in the family fashion business, she followed her dream of working in television.
Julia Bradbury started as a television presenter with Chrysalis TV, followed by L!VE TV, before making the transition in 1996 from cable TV to terrestrial with GMTV as its Los Angeles correspondent. She has since presented Watchdog, Top Gear, Accidental Heroes, Wainwright Walk and Railway Walks for the BBC, as well as Rough Guide for Channel 5. She has also presented Wish You Were Here…? for ITV and anchored Exclusive! for Five. With Tim Vine, she presented the launch of Channel 5 in 1997.
Julia Bradbury and co-host Arkin Salih hosted the BBC’s Are We Being Served?, which examined customer service in the UK and ran for six programmes in the summer of 2006. The show later received strong criticism from comedian Lee Mack when he named it as ‘the most evil programme ever made’ during his appearance on TV Heaven, Telly Hell.
From 2008 to 2011, Julia Bradbury presented four series of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It on BBC Three. The first series concentrated on commercially farmed animals such as chickens, pigs, sheep and cattle. The second series featured hunted wild game such as ducks, rabbits, deer and grouse. The third series focused on fast food; a group of six people went through the process of killing, cooking and eating animals. The fourth series focused on how animal products from the first series are used outside of the meat trade. Bradbury was joined by young consumers to uncover the animal origins of many of western society’s favourite things as body parts were transformed from abattoir to shop display.
From 2 March 2009, Julia Bradbury temporarily stepped down from BBC One’s Watchdog following allegations in the press concerning irregularities in her Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer account. Anita Rani stepped in to co-present the show with Nicky Campbell. On 15 April 2009, Bradbury was cleared of any wrongdoing in the investigation, and it was confirmed that she would return to present Watchdog, which she did on 20 April 2009.
Julia Bradbury did not have to repay Â£20,000 worth of Air Miles, as was incorrectly reported in several papers her account (and several others) had been tampered with by an employee who was later arrested and charged. In April 2009 it was announced that Bradbury would present the relaunched primetime Countryfile with Matt Baker. Anne Robinson returned to Watchdog after an eight-year absence.
In August 2007, Julia Bradbury presented Ultimate Britain Climbing on BBC One, with rock climber Tim Emmett. Bradbury’s lifetime ambition to be a ‘real’ rock climber was achieved when the pair successfully ascended Cornwall’s Commando Ridge, Crackstone Rib in the Llanberis Pass, and the Old Man of Stoer.
That year, Julia Bradbury also presented Wainwright Walks on BBC Four, in which she followed the mountain routes of the renowned fell walker and guidebook author Alfred Wainwright. The series was later repeated on BBC Two and ran for two series. Her appearance in this and the Railway Walks series earned her the title of “Walking Man’s Totty”. On 20 July 2009 her series Coast to Coast started on BBC Two.
In 2010, Julia Bradbury went to South Africa and embarked on a series of South Africa Walks as part of South Africa season for the BBC during the 2010 World Cup.
In December 2010, she presented another walking-themed series, Julia Bradbury’s German Wanderlust on BBC Four in which she explored Germany and its Romantic movement through a series of walks across the country. The series was repeated on BBC Two in January and February 2011. In May 2011, she presented Canal Walks with Julia Bradbury.
Another walking programme, Julia Bradbury’s Icelandic Walk, aired on 11 May 2011 on BBC Four. Her challenge was to walk the 60 kilometres of Iceland’s most famous hiking route, which includes the newest hills on Earth.
From November to December 2011, Julia Bradbury presented a series called That’s Britain! with Nick Knowles, focusing on the good, the bad and the ugly in Britain. She presented with Hugh Dennis a four-part BBC One documentary series The Great British Countryside, which began in February 2012. She has co-presented (with Richard Hammond) a programme about the wildlife of different countries called Planet Earth Live in 2012, which has aired on BBC One.
In 2013, Bradbury co-presented the BBC One show Fightback Britain with Adrian Simpson, the ITV show Mystery Map with Ben Shephard and the BBC One show Keeping Britain Safe 24/7 with Matt Allwright.
On 3 March 2014, it was announced that Bradbury would be leaving Countryfile and the BBC completely later in the year before joining ITV full-time after doing odd jobs for them in the past. In 2015, Bradbury presented an ITV programme called The Wonder of Britain.
In 2016, Bradbury began presenting her own eight-part ITV series Best Walks with a View with Julia Bradbury.
Julia Bradbury has also presented on radio for BBC London 94.9, and Radio 5 Live. She crossed NUJ picket lines to present Radio 5 Live’s breakfast programme on 15 July 2011. She presented the programme with Ian Payne who also broke the strike.