BBC Escape To The Country's Alistair Appleton's journey from TV fame to meditation and psychotherapy

Alistair in a blue dry robe on the beach
-Credit: (Image: alistair_appletons_mindsprings/Instagram)


Escape To The Country presenter Alistair Appleton has been open about his previous struggles with alcohol and drugs during the early days of his television career.

The well-loved BBC One host, who has been a staple on the show since 2007, revealed in a frank 2019 interview that despite his on-screen success, he faced significant challenges in his personal life, sharing that he was "pretty unhappy" in his early 30s.

Alistair has not shied away from discussing his past issues, openly talking about his experiences on his blog, mind-springs.org. He admitted: "I was drinking a lot, doing a lot of drugs, going out a lot."

Reflecting on his journey in a poignant 2019 blog post, he expressed how he felt about his younger self, as reported by OK!, saying: "I realised how fossilised and dead-souled I'd become in my 20s," and added: "You know, in my 20s all I wanted to be was a famous TV presenter, and by the time I turned 30 I was already seeing that was a very dangerous path for me because I knew that it would just mean more anxiety, more laying value on external looks.", reports the Mirror.

Apart from his work on television, Alistair has pursued a deep interest in meditation, which eventually led him to train as a psychotherapist, aiming to understand burnout better and help others manage anxiety in their lives.

His dedication to spiritual practices nearly led him to a monastery in Thailand, as he contemplated becoming a monk after an intensive meditation retreat. His friends, however, persuaded him not to pursue this path.

Alistair has since found peace away from the chaos of life, making a home in Newhaven with his husband, Daniel, where they offer yoga and meditation sessions. In this tranquil phase, Alistair shares his experiences on spiritual retreats, emotional well-being, and wisdom from other yogis and meditation experts through his blog.

On another note, Jules Hudson, who has been a staple on the show since 2007, took a creative and emotional sabbatical last year. Living up to the spirit of Escape To The Country, he joined a 12-week boat building course at a Boat Building Academy that he discovered during a shoot in 2012.

Reflecting on his break, Jules commented: "I always wanted to return [to the Academy]. But when you have a family and are working, life just moves on, and you go with it."