Claudia Winkleman: Strictly host tearfully threatened to quit fronting BBC show for son

Claudia Winkleman says she’s ‘ridiculously lucky’ to be on Strictly

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Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman, 49, has revealed that she threatened to quit the BBC dance competition in order to attend her son Jake Thykier’s first day of university. The BBC personality spoke on BBC Woman’s Hour podcast, where she detailed an emotional conversation she had with Strictly boss Sarah James, before admitting that she was worrying for no reason, as she had gotten the date of Strictly 2021’s debut wrong.

I’m out and you’ll have to go with somebody else.

Claudia Winkleman

The star – who co-presents alongside Tess Daly – revealed that she made an emotional phone call to her boss to explain the conflict of schedules.

She said: “I phoned the boss of Strictly quite dramatically and said, through tears, ‘Sarah I love you.'”

The presenter told the BBC boss that if it came down to it, she would leave the show to attend her son’s milestone – despite having made a pact with co-host Tess.

“I don’t want to leave Strictly and Tess [Daly] and I have agreed we will leave together when they’re done with us, but if the first show is September 13, I’m out and you’ll have to go with somebody else,” she told Woman’s Hour presenters.

However, Claudia then explained that she had made a mistake over the show’s start date, meaning she could be there for her son’s first day at uni and present the 19th series of the dance show.

She added: “And there was a beat. And she [Sarah] said, ‘Quite dramatic. We don’t start that week.’

“I was like, ‘alright’. I have to go and put up his posters.”

Explaining her reasoning behind her threat to leave, Claudia said it’s something parents “have” to do.

“It’s not that I love him more than others love their kids, but this is something parents have to go through,” she added.

This will be the first time that the Strictly star has shipped off one of her brood to university.

Claudia shares sons Jake and Arthur, 10 and daughter Matilda, 15, with husband of 21 years Kris Thykier.

Last month, the star revealed that she feels “lucky” to still be presenting on the BBC dance show, joking that her time may come to an end soon.

Speaking to Tom Allen on the red carpet at the BAFTA TV Awards 2021, Claudia said: ““I’m very lucky, ridiculously lucky.

“I keep on going, ‘Wait, are you sure you want me to come back? Tess, am I allowed to stand next to you?’

“No, I love it,” she continued, adding she was “very grateful” to still be there.

On returning to the show, she went on to say: “One day they’ll (the bosses) go, ‘Do not get in the cab! Stay where you are’.”

Yesterday the BBC released its 2020-2021 salary figures, which showed some of its biggest stars taking drastic pay cuts.

While Gary Lineker and Zoe Ball were listed as the highest earning presenters, both Claudia Winkleman and Graham Norton were out of the top 10.

The Strictly presenter is noticeably absent from the latest list, despite earning £365,000-£369,999 from 2019-2020.

BBC Radio 2 presenter Zoe Ball remains the broadcaster’s highest earning female, with a staggering £1,130,000-£1,134,999 pay.

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