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Helen Skelton

Helen Skelton

Helen Elizabeth Skelton (born 19 July 1983)[4][5][6] is an English television presenter and actress. She co-presented the BBC children's programme Blue Peter from 2008 until 2013,[5][7] and since 2014 has been a presenter on Countryfile.[8]

She co-presented two series of the BBC One programme Holiday Hit Squad alongside Angela Rippon and Joe Crowley. She is the current presenter of all swimming coverage on the BBC including the European Swimming Championships, World Aquatics Championships and the Olympics. She also currently presents daytime series The Instant Gardener.

Helen Skelton
Helen Elizabeth Skelton

(1983-07-19)19 July 1983
Carlisle, Cumbria, England
Other namesHelen Skelton-Myler
Years active1999–present
  • BBC
  • ITV
TelevisionBlue Peter[1] (2008–2013)
Countryfile (2008—present)[2]
Holiday Hit Squad (2013–2014)
The Instant Gardener (2015—present)
Lorraine (2016–2017)
Big Week At The Zoo (2019—present)
Spouse(s)Richie Myler[3] (m. 2013)

Early life

Skelton was born on 19 July 1983, in Carlisle, Cumbria, England, and brought up on a dairy farm[9] in the village of Kirkby Thore. She attended Kirkby Thore Primary School, and then Appleby Grammar School. She graduated from Cumbria Institute of the Arts, where she gained a BA degree in journalism. During her time at college, she worked as an extra on Coronation Street and Cutting It.

Skelton is a qualified tap dance teacher and has said that if she was not a broadcaster she would be a teacher. Her brother Gavin is a professional footballer and has also been a player-manager.[10]


Early career

After briefly working in public relations, Skelton decided to concentrate on journalism. She worked in the newsroom at CFM Radio, and was involved with various programmes at Border Television, before becoming a breakfast presenter on BBC Radio Cumbria in 2005,[9] one of the youngest breakfast show presenters on the BBC network at the time.[11] She was then a reporter and occasional presenter on children's news programme Newsround and its weekend sports-based version, Sportsround.[11]


Skelton was revealed as a new Blue Peter presenter on 28 August 2008, replacing Zöe Salmon,[12] becoming the 33rd presenter for the programme.[11] In a challenge for the show, she took an uncredited role in the BBC production of Merlin. In August 2013, she announced her departure from the show; she was replaced by Radzi Chinyanganya.[7] Skelton worked on other projects during her time on Blue Peter, mainly correspondent-based. These included reporting from the Championships, Wimbledon.

After her departure from Blue Peter, she became a presenter of live FA Women's Super League football matches for the BT Sport channel, as well as retaining her BBC reporter roles.[7]

In December 2012, she took part in a Christmas Special edition of the BBC One programme Strictly Come Dancing.[13]

She has occasionally presented segments of Countryfile since 2008 and presented two series of Holiday Hit Squad in 2013 and 2014 alongside Angela Rippon and Joe Crowley. In 2014 and 2015, she presented the London Marathon Highlights show on the BBC. She was replaced by Ore Oduba in 2016.

Since 2015, Skelton has co-presented daytime BBC One series The Instant Gardener alongside Danny Clarke. In early 2016, she presented Tonight: Kids V Career.

Skelton also hosted coverage of The 2016 European Swimming Championships with Mark Foster and Rebecca Adlington. She worked for the BBC at the 2016 Summer Olympics presenting swimming coverage alongside Rebecca Adlington, Adrian Moorhouse, Andy Jameson and Mark Foster. In 2017, she returned to host the swimming coverage on the BBC during the 2017 World Aquatics Championships with Adlington and Foster. In October 2016, Skelton guest presented five episodes of Lorraine on ITV.[14] She presented a further five episodes in February 2017.[15][16] She co-presented two episodes of Walks with My Dog on More4 in 2017.


Skelton's first novel, Amy Wild: Amazon Summer, was published in May 2015.[17]


Wheelchair dance contest challenge

In December 2008 Skelton entered and won the Malta Open Dance Competition[18] with a 16-year-old wheelchair user as her partner, defeating 100 other dancers.[19]

Ultra marathons

In April 2009, Skelton became only the second woman ever to finish the 78-mile (126 km) Namibian ultra marathon.[20] Skelton completed the run in 23 hours and 45 minutes – just 15 minutes under the time limit of one day. "It was a gruelling experience, but one I'll never forget. There were tough times but also amazing times," she told Newsround.[21] Just weeks later, she completed the 2009 London Marathon.

Kayaking the Amazon

In early 2010, Skelton kayaked the entire length of the River Amazon for Sport Relief 2010. She kayaked 2,010 miles (3,230 km) on a solo journey from Nauta in Peru on 20 January, to Almeirim, Brazil on 28 February. She achieved two Guinness World Records: the longest solo journey by kayak, and the longest distance in a kayak in 24 hours by a woman.[22]

Nigel Evans, the member of parliament for the Ribble Valley, tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons after her Amazon challenge:[23]

Tightrope walking

Skelton walked a 150-metre tightrope between chimneys at Battersea Power Station, 66 metres above ground, to raise money for Comic Relief on 28 February 2011.[24][25] Blue Peter created two specials about her walk.

South Pole

In 2012, Skelton raised more money for Sport Relief by becoming the first person to reach the South Pole using a bicycle. The bike was custom built for her trip, with 8-inch-wide tyres. She also used skis and a kite to help her pull a sled containing 82 kg of supplies.[26][27]

She covered 329 miles by kite ski, 103 by bike and 69 by cross-country ski. She is also the first person to claim a world record for the fastest 100 km by kite ski, in seven hours 28 minutes, which was set during the trip.[28] Guinness World Records commentated on the award saying "We are aware of explorers who have achieved longer distances, but Helen Skelton’s application was the first that Guinness World Records had received specifically for the 100-kilometre distance".[29] Blue Peter also made five six-episode specials for this event.

Helen's Magnificent 7

In April 2013, wanting to inspire Blue Peter viewers to do something to support Comic Relief, she took on seven challenges set by Comic Relief while breaking one world record. She called this series of challenges her "Magnificent 7", a reference to the 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven:[30]

  • Rugby Kick – failed

  • Performing In 2 Shows On One Night – succeeded[31]

  • Flying With the Red Arrows – succeeded[32]

  • Photo Shoot – succeeded

  • Rope Bridge – succeeded

  • Longest Line of Bunting – succeeded (at the time, a World Record)

  • Coin Toss – failed

Sport Relief

In March 2018, Skelton took part in a celebrity boxing match defeating Camilla Thurlow via unanimous decision after three 2 minute rounds for BBC Sport Relief[33]

Personal life

In December 2013, Skelton married England national rugby league team player Richie Myler,[34] and gave birth to their first child, a boy, on 19 June 2015.[35] After Myler joined the Catalans Dragons club, they moved to France in September 2015. He currently plays for the Yorkshire club Leeds Rhinos. Their second son, Louis,[36] was born in April 2017.


1999Coronation StreetSupporting role
Cutting ItSupporting role
2005BBC Radio CumbriaPresenter
2007–2008NewsroundReporter & relief presenter
2008–2013Blue PeterCo-presenter
2009–2011Country TracksCo-presenter
2012Strictly Come Dancing: Christmas SpecialContestant
2013–2014Holiday Hit SquadCo-presenter
2014–2015London Marathon HighlightsPresenter
2015—The Instant GardenerCo-presenter
20162016 European Swimming Championships Coverage (BBC)Presenter
2016, 2018—TonightReporter
2016BBC Sport Olympic CoveragePresenter
The School that Got Teens Reading[37]Co-presenter
2016–2017Lorraine[38]Guest presenter
2017Walks with My DogCo-presenter, 2 episodes
20172017 World Aquatics Championships Swimming Coverage (BBC)Presenter
2018-2019Big Week at the ZooCo-presenter
2019-Digging Up Britain's PastCo-presenter, 1 Season, 6 Episodes

Guest appearances

  • What's Cooking? (2013) – Guest

  • Countdown (2013) – 'Dictionary Corner' guest

  • The Chase: Celebrity Special (2013) – Contestant

  • All Star Family Fortunes (2015) – Contestant

  • Blue Peter (2015) – Guest

  • The TV That Made Me (2015) – Subject

  • Pointless Celebrities – Contestant

  • Sunday Brunch (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019) – Guest


Citation Linkwww.gloucestershirelive.co.ukThompson, Phillip (1 June 2019). "Countryfile's Helen Skelton helps shine a spotlight on Tewkesbury". Gloucestershire Live. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
Sep 22, 2019, 2:34 AM
Citation Linkwww.express.co.ukMeechan, Lauren (26 May 2019). "Helen Skelton: Countryfile favourite spills on 'very competitive' co-star Matt Baker". Express. Express UK. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
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Citation Linkmetro.co.ukDosani, Rishma. "Helen Skelton's kids power her Channel swim training – but she's not growing family just yet". metro.co.uk. Metro UK. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
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Citation Linkwww.bbc.co.uk"Colin Jackson's Raise Your Game No pain No gain – Helen Skelton". BBC Wales.
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Citation Linkwww.countryfile.com"Helen Skelton". Countryfile.com. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
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Citation Linkwww.telegraph.co.ukJardine, Cassandra (23 January 2010). "Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton begins epic Amazon kayaking adventure". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
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Citation Linkwww.express.co.ukBurns, Scott. "Skelton reveals Gretna sackings are final blow". Daily Express. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
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Citation Linkwww.kbjmgt.co.uk"Helen Skelton". Kaye BJ Management Ltd. Archived from the original on 1 April 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
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Citation Linknews.bbc.co.uk"Blue Peter adds Helen to team". BBC Online. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
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Citation Linkwww.bbc.co.uk"Christmas Special 2012". Strictly Come Dancing. Series 10. 25 December 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
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Citation Linkwww.digitalspy.com"Countryfile's Helen Skelton will present ITV's Lorraine". Digitalspy.com. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
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Citation Linkwww.itv.com"A very warm welcome to our guest presenters!". Itv.com. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
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Citation Linkmetro.co.uk"Christine Lampard and Helen Skelton to front Lorraine as she heads on polar trek". Metro.co.uk. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
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Citation Linkwww.timesandstar.co.uk"Youngsters go wild for Cumbrian TV star Helen's adventure book". Times & Star. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
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Citation Linkwww.express.co.ukSheldon, Jess (19 August 2018). "Helen Skelton: Countryfile star's incredible record-breaking achievements revealed". Express UK. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
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Citation Linkwww.echo-news.co.ukhttp://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/3943346.James_spins_it_and_wins_it/
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Citation Linkwww.mirror.co.uk"Blue Peter's Helen Skelton sets marathon record in Namibia". Daily Mirror. 15 April 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
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