Claudia Anne Winkleman is an English television presenter, film critic, radio personality and journalist, best known for her current work with the BBC.
Between 2004 and 2010, Claudia presented Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two on daily on BBC Two. She was replaced in 2011 by Zox Ball. Since then she has co-presented the main results show on Sunday nights with Tess Daly for BBC One.
Claudia was the co-presenter of Let’s Dance For Comic Relief for it’s 1st two series in 2009 and 2010. She co-hosted the show with Steve Jones and was replaced by Alex Jones. Since 2009, she has hosted the main Comic Relief and Sport Relief annual telethons on BBC One.
In 2010, Claudia replaced Jonathan Ross as the presenter of The Film Programme on the BBC after Ross’ move to ITV. Winkleman currently presents the show annually on the BBC.
Since April 2013, she has presented the sewing series The Great British Sewing Bee for BBC Two.
Winkleman was born to a Jewish family the daughter of Eve Pollard, former editor of the Sunday Express, and Barry Winkleman, former publisher of The Times Atlas of the World. Her parents divorced when she was three; both remarried in 1979. Her stepfather is Sir Nicholas Lloyd, former editor of the Daily Express, and her half-sister, from her father’s 2nd marriage, to children’s author Cindy Black, is actress Sophie Winkleman, wife of Lord Frederick Windsor. She has a younger half-brother, Oliver Lloyd, from her mother’s 2nd marriage, to Nicholas Lloyd.
Brought up in the London suburb of Hampstead, Winkleman was educated at the City of London School for Girls and New Hall, Cambridge, obtaining an MA Hons degree in History of Art.
Winkleman’s 1st major television job was in 1991, on the regional discussion programme Central Weekend. In 1992, she began frequently to appear in the long-running BBC series Holiday, and this continued throughout the mid-1990s. This culminated in a special documentary in which she travelled around the world for 34 days reporting from Japan, India, Costa Rica and Dubai. Throughout this period, she appeared as a reporter on other shows, particularly This Morning interviewing celebrities, including Michelle Pfeiffer, Tony Blair, Alan Sugar and Harrison Ford. During the late 1990s, Winkleman presented a number of programmes on smaller digital channels. She had a stint on the cable channel L!VE TV, run by Kelvin MacKenzie and Janet Street-Porter, but soon left to pursue other projects. One programme made during this period was a short series titled Toilets shown on BBC Choice, which examined the “design, etiquette, psychology and hidden culture behind the humble loo”.
She also presented a number of gameshows including the dating show Three’s a Crowd, LWT show Talking Telephone Numbers, the 2nd series of Granada TV show God’s Gift and Fanorama, which featured a young David Mitchell as a team captain in his 1st television appearance. In 1997 she was the co-host of children’s Saturday morning TV show Tricky, along with a green cartoon dragon who called her “Claudia Winklebottom”. She was also an occasional team captain on a gameshow called HeadJam, hosted by Vernon Kay.
Between 2002–04, Winkleman began her 1st daily TV role when she hosted the BBC Three Entertainment update show Liquid News, taking over from Christopher Price on the now defunct BBC Choice. She shared the presenting duties with Colin Paterson, and later Paddy O’Connell. The show featured celebrity interviews, for example Winkleman interviewed S Club 7 in May 2003. In 2003, Fame Academy appointed Winkleman to present a daily update show on BBC Three, in conjunction with its 2nd series. Reporting from behind the scenes of the show, Winkleman conducted daily interviews with contestants, experts and celebrity pundits. She repeated the show in 2005 for the much shorter celebrity version Comic Relief Does Fame Academy. Also in 2005, Winkleman co-hosted The House of Tiny Tearaways, a BBC Three reality TV show, along with Tanya Byron, a British psychologist, writer and media personality. She also began hosting Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, a supplementary programme to Strictly Come Dancing, taking over from Justin Lee-Collins.
Winkleman then presented several more reality shows including End of Story in 2004, a literature-based show, and Art School in 2005, a programme which saw five unlikely celebrities go through a two-week art course at the Chelsea College of Art and Design.
More recently, Winkleman has presented a number of prime time programmes. In 2007, she took over from Cat Deeley as the main host for the 3rd series of Comic Relief Does Fame Academy, co-hosting with Patrick Kielty. She also presented the Eurovision Song Contest. She co-hosted coverage of the inaugural Eurovision Dance Contest 2007 alongside Graham Norton for BBC One in September of that year. She co-presented the UK selection process for the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 called Eurovision: Your Decision, this time accompanied by Eurovision stalwart Terry Wogan. In March 2008, Winkleman rekindled her partnership with Kielty when the pair hosted the final leg of Sport Relief 2008, announcing x19,640,321 as the final amount raised through viewers’ donations.
In 2007, Winkleman was the face of Sky Movie Premiere’s coverage of the 79th Academy Awards, repeating it for the 80th Academy Awards in 2008. The show was broadcast live in conjunction with the ceremony itself, running right through the night into the early hours of the morning. Winkleman has made many guest appearances on panel and talk shows, including: Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Would I Lie to You?, Have I Got News for You, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and Lily Allen and Friends. In February 2008, she appeared on the British version of the comedy improvisational show Thank God You’re Here, hosted by Paul Merton. In it she had to improvise a scene in which she played a boarding school girl who had been called to the headmistress’s office.
Winkleman narrated the BBC Three show Glamour Girls, a documentary series focusing on Britain’s glamour industry.
In March 2009, Winkleman was announced as the host of the new series of Hell’s Kitchen on ITV1. She fronted the nightly show live from the restaurant in East London in its 4th series in the spring. On 14 November 2009, she stepped in on the main show of Strictly Come Dancing to present backstage, this was due to main presenter Bruce Forsyth being on sick leave. She co-hosted the show with Tess Daly and guest presenter Ronnie Corbett.
On 29 March 2010, she was named as one of the new co-presenters of The Film Programme, replacing Jonathan Ross. The Guardian stated, through her recent hosting of Sky Television’s coverage of The Oscars, Winkleman had “proved both a passionate and engaging advocate of cinema”, while her husband Kris Thykier is a film producer with credits on several mainstream releases.
It is through her work on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two that Winkleman has gained the most public recognition. The programme, which started in 2004, was devised as a companion show to run conjoined with the 2nd series of Strictly Come Dancing, and continues to run to date. It follows a similar format to the one Winkleman made popular on Fame Academy, and sees the presenter deliberating and dissecting the ins and outs of the main competition, accompanied by an array of dance experts, assorted guests and the competitors themselves. The show is aired every weekday throughout the course of the series at 6:30pm on BBC Two. The show’s four judges also appear regularly on the programme.
One of the show’s features was “Len’s Masterclass,” a segment in which Head Judge Len Goodman demonstrated with Winkleman a dance move or two. Her attempts to follow the steps are accompanied by much girlish giggling. The 2011 series of the programme was presented by former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Zox Ball, as Winkleman was on maternity leave, and some different segments were introduced.
In 2012, it was announced that Zox Ball would be the regular presenter of Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, with Winkleman’s involvement in Series 10 of the show being limited to co-hosting the Sunday night results show with Tess Daly. Claudia continues to host the Sunday night results show for Strictly Come Dancing.
Winkleman started her journalism career as a travel writer, with columns about her various worldwide excursions. She did so in The Sunday Times and The Independent, but also contributed to the free daily London paper Metro in a similar capacity. As her television career and family evolved, she travelled less, and began to write more general work, opinion-led Lifestyle journalism about womanhood, sex and relationships. She wrote for Cosmopolitan and Tatler amongst others. Between 2005–08, she wrote a regular Wednesday column for The Independent called Take It From Me, collating her thoughts on the lighter sides of current affairs, celebrity news and anecdotes concerning her own life.
In April and May 2008, Winkleman hosted a six-part comedy quiz series taking a humorous look into the week’s celebrity gossip, called Hot Gossip. The show was broadcast on a Saturday afternoon on BBC Radio 2; points were awarded to those who dished out dirt. The show featured many famous pundits, including Will Smith, Phil Nichol, Jo Caulfield, Rufus Hound and Jonathan Ross’ brother, Paul.
She hosts a weekly show also on BBC Radio 2 every Friday night between 10pm and midnight called Claudia Winkleman‘s Arts Show consisting of interviews with people from the arts world, as well as reviews and debate. In July 2010, Winkleman sat in for Dermot O’Leary. She covered for Ken Bruce for two weeks during the London 2012 Olympics 30 July–9 August 2012 on BBC Radio 2 10am-midday. She also covered for Ken Bruce again between 18–22 February 2013.
In 2007, she travelled to Uganda for Comic Relief, where the harsh realities of the AIDS situation there affected her greatly. Following this, she manned the phones at the BT Tower for the Disasters Emergency Committee in response to the problems in Darfur. In May 2007, she helped relaunch The National Missing Persons Campaign, and also supported a Christmas campaign by the charity Refuge, which aimed to stop domestic violence.
In June 2008, Winkleman was featured in Heat magazine with no make-up on, as part of a stand against the excessive airbrushing of prominent women, which she described as “pretty terrifying”.
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