Dan Walker says ‘people’s champion’ Helen Skelton was ‘robbed’ of Strictly win

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Dan Walker declared fellow presenter Helen Skelton the “people’s champion” and insisted that she had been “robbed” of the Strictly Come Dancing trophy in a new interview.

The 46-year-old broadcaster believed she “developed” hugely as the competition progressed with her dance partner Gorka Marquez, and ought to have won.

“[Wildlife documentary star] Hamza [Yassin] and [pro dancer] Jowita [Przystal] seem lovely but Helen, she’s the people’s champion,” he told OK! magazine.

“As a really good friend of hers, watching the way that she danced with Gorka and the way that she developed – I still think she was robbed.”

The 40-year-old had progressed to the final last year and built up a loyal following among viewers, but missed out at the last hurdle, much to Dan’s dismay.

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Dan also revealed that he’d given his pal a pep talk before she began, as he’d gone through the same experience, appearing on Strictly in 2021 with Nadiya Bychkova.

“[We had] a really honest conversation [about] what it’s like to be in that spotlight. I gave her a really clear picture of what she would have to go through,” he explained.

Though Helen missed out on the trophy – along with Fleur East and Molly Rainford, who were also finalists – Dan clarified that she’d found the show an “amazing experience”.

The Blue Peter and Countryfile presenter won viewers’ hearts after she broke up from rugby ace Richie Myler, who is the father of her three children.

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The eight-year marriage had sadly come to an end just four months after the birth of the pair’s daughter, Elsie.

She announced sadly on Instagram at the time: “Very sad to say that Richie and I are no longer a couple. He has left the family home. We will be doing our best to co parent our small children.”

Later that year, when she signed up for Strictly, she was inundated with support, while Gorka made some sweet gestures to help her build her confidence back up, including public speeches praising her performances.

She received rapturous applause for her cabaret dance efforts, and in one interview with Lorraine Kelly on ITV, she exclaimed that Gorka had been a huge support.

“If I could bottle that atmosphere from Saturday it’ll see me through any dark days,” she explained of her appearance on one of the hit shows.

“It was just the most wonderful feeling. It just goes to show what happens when you surround yourself with good people.”

Meanwhile, Helen celebrated her 40th birthday with her three kids – Ernie, seven, Louis, six, and Elsie, one – in the Lake District in July.

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