Helen Skelton

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Helen Skelton-Myler
Helen Skelton.jpg
Born Helen Elizabeth Skelton
(1983-07-19) 19 July 1983 (age 31)
Carlisle, England
Nationality British
Other names Helen Skelton
Occupation Television presenter, actress
Years active 1999–present
Known for Presenting:
Blue Peter (2008-2013)
Holiday Hit Squad (2013—)
Spouse(s) Richie Myler (m. December 2013)

Helen Elizabeth Skelton-Myler (born 19 July 1983) is a British television presenter, best known for co-presenting the BBC children's programme Blue Peter from 2008 until 2013.[1][2]

Since 2013, she has co-presented the factual BBC One programme Holiday Hit Squad alongside Angela Rippon and Joe Crowley.

Personal life[edit]

Skelton was brought up on a dairy farm[3] in the village of Kirkby Thore in Cumbria. 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.

Her brother, Gavin, is a professional footballer currently playing for Workington.

In August 2012, Skelton announced she was closing her Twitter account because she "cannot cope with negative comments".[4]

Skelton is a qualified tap dance teacher and has said that if she was not a broadcaster she would be a teacher. In December 2012, she took part in a Christmas Special edition of the BBC One programme Strictly Come Dancing.[5]

In December 2013 she got married to England national rugby league team player Richie Myler.[6]

Career[edit]

Helen Skelton signing autographs

Early career[edit]

After briefly working in public relations, Helen 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,[3] becoming one of the youngest breakfast show presenters on the BBC network.[7] She was then a reporter and occasional presenter on children's news programme Newsround and its weekend sports based version, Sportsround.[7]

Blue Peter[edit]

Main article: Blue Peter

Skelton was revealed as a new Blue Peter presenter on 28 August 2008, replacing Zöe Salmon,[8] becoming the 33rd presenter for the programme.[7] 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 in September, to be replaced by Radzi Chinyanganya.[2]

After Blue Peter[edit]

Skelton has taken on other projects during her time on Blue Peter, mainly correspondent-based. These included reporting from the Championships, Wimbledon, and regular positions on Countryfile and Holiday Hit Squad.

Post her departure from Blue Peter, she is now a presenter of live FA Women's Super League football matches for the BT Sport channel, as well as retaining her other existing BBC reporter roles.[2]

Filmography[edit]

TV & Radio
Year Title Role
1999 Coronation Street Supporting Role
Cutting It Supporting Role
2005 BBC Radio Cumbria Radio Presenter
2007 Sportsround Co-Presenter
2007–08 Newsround Reporter & Relief Presenter
2008–13 Blue Peter Co-presenter
2011— Countryfile Co-presenter
Country Tracks Co-presenter
2012 Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special Contestant
2013 Walk On The Wild Side Presenter
2013— Holiday Hit Squad Co-presenter

Guest appearances[edit]

Challenges[edit]

Ultra marathons[edit]

In April 2009, Skelton became only the second woman ever to finish the 78-mile (126 km) Namibian ultra marathon.[9] 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.[10] Just weeks later, she completed the 2009 London Marathon.

Kayaking the Amazon[edit]

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. It was initially claimed that she had achieved two Guinness World Records: the longest solo journey by kayak, and the longest distance in a kayak in 24 hours by a woman.[11] but the latter of these was not verified and was superseded within months.[12]

MP for the Ribble Valley Nigel Evans tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons after her Amazon challenge:[13]

Tightrope walking[edit]

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.[14][15] Blue Peter created two specials about her walk.

South Pole[edit]

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.[16]

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 (subject to verification).[17] A degree of controversy surrounds the speed for distance claim but Guinness World Records defended 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".[18] Blue Peter also made 5-6 episode specials for this event.

Helen's Magnificent 7[edit]

In April 2013, wanting to inspire the young 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":

  • Rugby Kick - Failed
  • Performing In 2 Shows On One Night - Succeeded
  • Flying With the Red Arrows - Succeeded
  • Photo Shoot - Succeeded
  • Rope Bridge - Succeeded
  • Longest Line of Bunting - Succeeded (at the time, a World Record)
  • Coin Toss - Failed

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Colin Jackson's Raise Your Game No pain No gain - Helen Skelton". BBC Wales. 
  2. ^ a b c "Helen Skelton to leave Blue Peter". BBC News. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Jardine, Cassandra (23 January 2010). "Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton begins epic Amazon kayaking adventure". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  4. ^ ""Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton quits Twitter": Helen Skelton quits twitter". BBC. 2 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing". Series 10. 25 December 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pkjn5. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  6. ^ "Here's one I married earlier! Former Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton is radiant in a sleeveless white lace dress as she poses with new husband Richie Myler". London: Daily Mail. 22 December 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c "Helen Skelton". Kaye BJ Management Ltd. Retrieved 25 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "Blue Peter adds Helen to team". BBC Online. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2008. 
  9. ^ "Blue Peter's Helen Skelton sets marathon record in Namibia". Daily Mirror. 15 April 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  10. ^ "Blue Peter's Helen runs marathon". BBC Newsround. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  11. ^ "TV presenter completes kayak feat". BBC News. 28 February 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  12. ^ "Greatest distance by canoe (kayak) - 24 hours (flowing water) - Female". Guinness World Records Corporate. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "Nigel Evans Tables EDM About Helen Skelton’s Kayak Along the Amazon for Sport Relief". Nigel Evans MP. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 17 March 2011. 
  14. ^ "Blue Peter's Helen Skelton in Comic Relief tightrope walk". BBC News. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  15. ^ BBC World News America, the Oddbox, 5 February 2010.
  16. ^ "Helen Skelton plans South Pole mission". BBC News. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  17. ^ "Blue Peter's Helen Skelton reaches South Pole". BBC News. 22 January 2012. 
  18. ^ Explorers query Helen Skelton kite ski record

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Zöe Salmon
Blue Peter Presenter No. 33
2008–13
Succeeded by
Radzi Chinyanga