19 July 1983 |
Carlisle, Cumbria, England
|Occupation||Television presenter, actress|
|Known for||Blue Peter presenter
Holding two world records for Sport Relief
|Partner(s)||David Graham (2006-2009)
Richie Myler (2011–present) Engaged
Helen Elizabeth Skelton (born 19 July 1983 in Carlisle) is an English television presenter. She worked on the BBC children's programme Blue Peter from 2008 to 2013. In 2010 she kayaked over 2,000 miles along the Amazon River, and in 2012 she finished a 500-mile (800 km) trek to the South Pole, both for Sport Relief, making her a double world record holder.
Skelton was brought up on a dairy farm 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.
In August 2012, Helen announced she was closing her Twitter account because she "cannot cope with negative comments".
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 programme Strictly Come Dancing.
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, becoming one of the youngest breakfast show presenters on the BBC network. She was then a reporter and occasional presenter on children's news programme Newsround and its weekend sports based version, Sportsround.
Skelton was revealed as a new Blue Peter presenter on 28 August 2008, replacing Zöe Salmon, becoming the 33rd presenter for the programme. 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.
In April 2009, Skelton became only the second woman ever to finish the 78-mile (126 km) Namibian ultra marathon. 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. Just weeks later, she completed the 2009 London Marathon.
Kayaking the Amazon
In early 2010, Skelton kayaked the entire length of the Amazon River 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. but the latter of these was not verified and was superseded within months.
|“||That this House congratulates Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton on her 2,000 mile kayak along the Amazon to raise money for Sport Relief; notes her considerable position as a role model to young people and the magnificent example she sets; further notes the forthcoming verification by Guinness World Records of the two records set by Helen during her effort - longest solo journey by kayak and the longest distance travelled in a kayak in 24 hours by a woman; and further notes the work of Sport Relief in raising money to help transform the lives of poor and vulnerable people, both in the UK and all over the world.||”|
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. Blue Peter created two specials about her walk.
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.
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). 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". Blue Peter also made 5-6 episode specials for this event.
Helen's Magnificent 7
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (April 2013)|
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 (World Record)
- Coin Toss - Failed
Other work/post-Blue Peter
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 will become 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.
|1999||Coronation Street||Supporting Role|
|1999||Cutting It||Supporting Role|
|2005||BBC Radio Cumbria||Radio Presenter|
|2007–8||Newsround||Reporter & Relief Presenter?|
|2012||Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special||Contestant|
|2013||Walk On The Wild Side||Presenter|
|2013||Holiday Hit Squad||Co-presenter|
|2013||Countdown||Dictionary Corner Guest|
- "Colin Jackson's Raise Your Game No pain No gain - Helen Skelton". BBC Wales.
- "Helen Skelton to leave Blue Peter". BBC News. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- "Longest journey by canoe (kayak) solo". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- "Helen Skelton plans South Pole mission". BBC News. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
- Jardine, Cassandra (23 January 2010). "Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton begins epic Amazon kayaking adventure". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
- "Major Signing Announced". Barrow A.F.C. 6 July 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
- ""Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton quits Twitter": Helen Skelton quits twitter". BBC. 2 August 2012.
- "Strictly Come Dancing". Series 10. 25 December 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pkjn5. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
- "Helen Skelton". Kaye BJ Management Ltd. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
- "Blue Peter adds Helen to team". BBC Online. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
- "Blue Peter's Helen Skelton sets marathon record in Namibia". Daily Mirror. 15 April 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
- "Blue Peter's Helen runs marathon". BBC Newsround. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
- "TV presenter completes kayak feat". BBC News. 28 February 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- "Greatest distance by canoe (kayak) - 24 hours (flowing water) - Female". Guinness World Records Corporate. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- "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.
- "Blue Peter's Helen Skelton in Comic Relief tightrope walk". BBC News. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- BBC World News America, the Oddbox, 5 February 2010.
- "Helen Skelton plans South Pole mission". BBC News. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
- Explorers query Helen Skelton kite ski record
- Helen Skelton at the BBC
- Helen Skelton at KBJ Management
- Helen Skelton at the Internet Movie Database
|Blue Peter Presenter No. 33