BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker: his career, wife and Strictly

Discover more about presenter, writer and broadcaster Dan Walker ahead of his Strictly debut.

Dan Walker

by Emily Gilbert |

If you've ever switched on the BBC in the morning, you're bound to recognise presenter Dan Walker. But how much do you know about him?

Dan Walker leaves BBC breakfast and moves to 5 News

Dan has been at the helm of BBC Breakfast since 2016 when he replaced Bill Turnbull. After co-presenting the show from Monday to Wednesday with Louise Minchin for around six years, he's now moving to Channel 5, where he will be presenting 5 News.

Speaking in a video about his new role, Dan said: "I can’t wait to get stuck into the daily news show, but I am also excited about making some great new TV for Channel 5. I love their ideas and creativity and it’s rare to get an opportunity like this where paths and ambitions meet. The chance to do something different was too good to turn down."

He has also presented BBC Olympic Breakfast throughout this year’s games, regularly presents Match of the Day and The NFL Show, hosted Football Focus for 12 years before hanging up his boots at the end of last season.

Dan has also covered Wimbledon, The Grand National, Royal Ascot, The Derby, the 6 Nations and the Open golf coverage for the BBC as well as hosted The One Show and Songs of Praise.

Dan Walker

Who is Dan Walker's wife?

Dan has been married to his wife Sarah since 2001. The pair met while studying at the University of Sheffield.

The couple have three children together: daughters Susanna and Jessica and son Joe. The family live in Sheffield.

Dan Walker Family
©Instagram // @mrdanwalker

Strictly Come Dancing

Dan was announced as the eighth celebrity contestant for the 2021 series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Catching up with Dan ahead of the new series, it’s clear we have a lot to thank his kids for!

“They sat me down at Christmas and said, Dad, if you ever get asked again, we'd really love you to do it. I've got two daughters who are 14 and 12, so they’re very much into dancing and Strictly.”

But it’s not just his children Dan is doing Strictly for. It’s fair to say in a job like his, this passed year has been rather challenging and upsetting, so it’s no surprise he wanted a bit of cheering up.

“I cover a lot of news and the last 18 months, it's been grim story after grim story after grim story. So I thought, this is an opportunity to do something that's fun, that's very different, that doesn't involve reading headlines about awful stuff and just to have a bit of a giggle, and to learn a new skill.”

We can’t quite believe it, but Dan almost revealed all to his friends and family!

‘I nearly gave the game away, because we all share a YouTube account at home. The kids were looking at something on YouTube and the last thing that they saw on YouTube was how to Charleston for beginners, or something like that. So my eldest daughter said dad is there something you want to tell us?’

While most of the celebs on Strictly this year are taking a break from their careers to take part in the series, Dan will continue with his presenting duties.

“Some people give up their jobs for three months. Some people move to London and concentrate on the program fully. I've always been busy, so I don't quite know how it's gonna work with three o'clock starts at the start of the week, and I'm also doing the NFL show as well on Friday. We record that with Jason and Osi. Jason knows all about this program, of course. So yeah, I've got like two jobs plus Strictly to do so. I'll fit the training in where I can. I'm determined that I won't go out of this competition for not trying hard enough, that might be my curse, but I will definitely do as much training as I possibly can around other stuff.”

One area Dan is particularly unsure about is all the Strictly costumes and exactly how much skin he’ll be required to show!

“I've had lots of discussions about the outfits. I'm sort of 40 per cent excited, 60 per cent terrified, and that would exist around the outfits as well. But so far, there's been a few funky tuxedos and some rather tighter shirts than I would normally wear. I'll be concerned once we get towards the sort of see through numbers and trying to avoid that, leave that to the boys with the muscles. But that's part of Strictly isn't it, you've got to understand that you will wear stuff that you don't normally wear. And I think my kids are particularly looking forward to that.”

And his nerves?

“It's good to do stuff that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable or scares you every now and again. I think I've always been somebody who doesn't want to be comfortable all the time.”

This isn’t the first time he’ll be meeting the Strictly judges. Not only has he played golf with Anton in the past, but he also climbed Kilimanjaro with head judge Shirley Ballas where the two formed a close bond.

“Shirley was quite distressed from the first night because, as she said, quite openly camping’s not really her thing. And also, she was amazing on that trip because she was sort of doing it and being inspired all the time by the memory of her late brother David who tragically took his own life. And I think that really spurred Shirley on and we had some great conversations on that trip, I really got to know her quite well. And on one particular occasion, she was feeling a bit down and upset understandably, side, I nicked one of the blankets were using to be warm at night and I did a bit of impromptu pasodoble as she laughed her head off, which I'm not sure is a top secret best thing. And I questioned whether I would have been given a 10 from Len, but she sort of continued to laugh. So I'm not sure the technique was great, but it had the desired effect of making her laugh.”

When it comes to Dan’s perfect partner, there are a few things he needs from his professional dancer.

“Someone who's very patient, and someone who, I suppose, has quick reflexes to avoid the old stray elbow. I'm six foot six, and I need a bit of space on the dance floor. So patience, someone who's kind and someone who is that for a giggle as well, because I think we can have a really good laugh. I love learning. I feel like I'm a good student. I hope so anyway, and I love working with other people.

“I love that sort of relationship that you can get with somebody where you become really good friends and you can be honest with each other and I'm looking forward to learning along the way as well.”

We can't wait to see how Dan gets on in the competition!

Is Dan Walker on Twitter?

Yes! You can follow Dan on Twitter here where he is a regular tweeter.

Dan also has an Instagram account too.

Dan Walker's books

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