Countryfiles John Craven worried about invading personal space amid hearing concern

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John Craven, 81, has revealed how his hearing problem left him struggling to understand his family, friends and colleagues. The Countryfile host would find himself having to get closer to people to understand what they were saying and “invading their personal space”.

He shared: “For years my wife joked that she felt she’d been married to me for twice as long as I had to her – because she always had to repeat everything. Maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention to what she was saying, which, I gather, can be a common fault with partners!

“But slowly it dawned on me that I simply couldn’t hear her clearly enough. ‘Say again’, was becoming a standard response to family, friends and colleagues.

“While filming for television I found myself having to move closer to the people I was interviewing and became increasingly worried about invading their personal space.”

After the star booked a free hearing test at Specsavers it changed his life as he could finally hear full-blown sound after getting a hearing aid fitted.

He added to The Mirror: “I could again hear the chatter of friends, the volume level on TV and radio no longer had to be painfully high for the rest of the family, and my wife didn’t have to say everything twice.”

The star who is married to Marilyn Craven admits he was warned off doing Strictly Come Dancing by his spouse.

He explained in an unearthed interview: “We’ve always worked as a team and I’ve been so grateful to her for her ideas and opinions.

“We work out between us what’s going to happen.

“And we decided I wasn’t going to do things I might later regret, like Strictly or the jungle.

“I have no need. My career isn’t faltering.”

The presenter also admitted during his interview with the Daily Mail in 2019 how he didn’t think he was “showbiz” enough.

He added: “I never think of myself as being showbiz.”

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John first met Marilyn when he was working in local television in Newcastle.

At the time, he was a production secretary on Look North with her.

The presenter continued to the publication how he thought she was a “strong northern woman, and all I had been looking for”.

He said of their marriage: “We hadn’t been together that long when I was asked to move to Bristol and I wasn’t sure if she would say yes, but she did, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

“She keeps me grounded. She’s been my rock.

“Without being too soppy, she was always there for me, which is the main thing in my business because it can be precarious.

“You’re very exposed, and it’s always good to be able to get that reassurance.”

John has had a long career on television so far, after beginning in print journalism.

His first big break came in the children’s show Newsround, which was originally called John Craven’s Newsround.

He left the show in 1989 when he began presenting on Countryfile.

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