Dick Strawbridge engineer-inventor, sustainability expert, motivational speaker, TV presenter
Dick was born in Burma in September 1959, the third of seven children. He was raised and educated in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
In 1978 Dick joined the Army, and completed degree in Electrical Engineering. Over the next 20 years he rose from Troop Commander to Lieutenant Colonel, and enjoyed serving in the army (and playing rugby) all over the world.
Whilst he was still serving in the Army, Dick’s family persuaded him to audition for Channel 4’s Scrapheap Challenge. His leadership abilities, personality and engineering skills, (and possibly because he had the biggest moustache the series producers had ever seen) secured him the job. Dick was in all 10 series of the show – first as a team captain, then as a contestant and finally as a presenter.
In 2001 Dick left the army and began a career in industry. He also ran leadership and teamwork courses, and began giving lectures to schools and colleges.
He then went on to present Crafty Tricks of War, BBC 2. In this series, Dick celebrated British ingenuity and demonstrated his practical skills by reconstructing and testing some of the most unusual inventions of war.
Following this Dick was part of the production, Geronimo, BBC 2, co-presenting with Ferne Cotton. Dick again demonstrated his extensive technical knowledge, as he challenged some of the great British public to build some of the craziest machines seen on television.
In 2006 Dick and his family made a life changing move from The Malverns to Cornwall to a small holding that they restored and set about running sustainably. This ecological move was filmed and became the BBC 2 series, It’s Not Easy Being Green. In the 2nd and 3rd series Dick, and his son James, worked with members of the public on ecological projects across the UK
Dick then made The Re-Inventors, UKTV History, 2005 with his son James and Jim Milner. In each episode they reconstructed an invention of historic significance, with only a limited budget (£500), limited time, and limited facilities to construct a modern version and try it out against the real thing.
From 2006 Dick has made regular contributions to the hit BBC 2 series Coast.
Dick was invited, with his son James, to cook on the February 21st 2008 edition of ‘Ready Steady Cook’; he cooked spotted dick and won!
2008 saw Dick teaming up with Jem Stansfield to present Planet Mechanics, National Geographic.They used their eco-engineering ingenuity to build Britain’s first street-legal air-driven motorbike, a wood fueled truck and to power a farm using cow poo!
In the summer of 2010 Dick took part in Celebrity Master Chef, BBC 1 and did phenomenally well, making it to the final with Christine Hamilton and Lisa Faulkner. Lisa won but Dick and Christine made their mark!
Dick’s most recent series, The Hungry Sailors played out across 20 hours on ITV Daytime. It showed Dick and his son James back together on screen. Both equally self-sufficient, Dick and James set sail aboard pilot cutter the Amelie Rose to explore the food of Britain’s coastal towns. Mooring in tiny harbours and busy ports they met farmers, fishermen, producers and foragers, gathering fantastic local produce and heading back onboard to cook up a number of fabulous dishes in their galley kitchen. It was a coastal, culinary and critical triumph!
He and James are also co-writing a series of books: Made at Home (Octopus, May 2012).
In the time he has left, Dick writes, hosts conferences, gives talks on British innovation, leadership and teamwork, lectures at schools and colleges, and makes keynote and after dinner speeches. In the last year he has given talks to a range of clients including Rolls Royce, BAE Systems, The British Council, The National Trust, Siemens, and The RSPB.
Hungry Sailors, ITV Daytime, January 2012 [20 x 60]
Celebrity Masterchef, BBC 1, 2010 [10 X 60]
Coast (contributor), BBC2, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011
It’s Not Easy Being Green (3rd Series), BBC2, 2009 [6 X 30]
Planet Mechanics, Nat Geo, 2008 [6 X 30]
It’s Not Easy being Green (2nd