Tess Daly

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Tess Daly
Born Helen Elizabeth Daly
(1969-27-04) March 4, 1969 (age 44)
Stockport, Cheshire, England[1]
Ethnicity English
Education New Mills Secondary School
Occupation Model, television presenter, novellist
Years active 1990–present
Television Strictly Come Dancing
Spouse(s) Vernon Kay (m. 2003)
Children 2
Parents Vivian Daly (deceased)
Sylvia Daly (née Bradley)
Official Twitter

Helen Elizabeth "Tess" Daly (born 27 April 1969)[2] is an English model and television presenter, best known for co-presenting the BBC One celebrity dancing show Strictly Come Dancing.

She is married to fellow presenter Vernon Kay.

Early life[edit]

Daly was born in Stockport, Cheshire to Vivian (1932–2003), who died of emphysema, and Sylvia Daly [3] and grew up in Birch Vale near New Mills, Derbyshire. She attended Hayfield Primary School and New Mills Secondary School, where she gained 9 O Levels. She has a younger sister, Karen.



Scouted outside a McDonald's restaurant while waiting for her sister in Manchester, six weeks after she turned 18 she undertook her first professional modelling job in Tokyo.[4] After a series of work assignments across Asia and Europe while based in London, she was based in Paris for five years. She then returned to London for six months, before moving to New York for work for five years.[4] In 1990, Daly appeared in two Duran Duran videos for the songs "Serious" and "Violence of Summer (Love's Taking Over)", both from the album Liberty. She also appeared in the video for The Beloved's 1993 song "Sweet Harmony".[5]

She was later the face of lingerie company La Senza in the UK, and appeared in their Steal the Show Christmas 2009 campaign.[6]


Whilst living on the Lower East Side, a friend who arranged red carpet events suggested that she interview the celebrities who attended the events. After buying a video camera, Daly's first interview was with New York-based Quentin Crisp, author of The Naked Civil Servant, who became a lifelong friend until his death.[4] After a few red carpet interviews, in 2000 she sent a show reel to the producers of Channel 4's The Big Breakfast,[4] who immediately contracted her to host the Find Me a Model competition. Since then, she has presented shows including Get Your Kit Off, Singled Out, Smash Hits TV, SMTV Live, Back To Reality, the first series of Make Me a Supermodel (with Dave Berry) and Strictly Come Dancing, which she has co-hosted with Bruce Forsyth in all eleven series to date. Daly missed a couple of episodes in the second series because she was pregnant with her first daughter. Natasha Kaplinsky, the first series winner, took her place. Daly has also hosted This Time Tomorrow, the National Lottery show broadcast on BBC One. On 14 November 2008, she presented Children in Need with Terry Wogan and Fearne Cotton. Daly won the special version of Strictly Come Dancing against Wogan, where she was partnered with Anton du Beke. She co-hosted the Royal Variety Performance 2008 on 11 December, broadcast on 17 December 2008.

Daly was joined for the eighth series result shows of Strictly Come Dancing by Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two presenter Claudia Winkleman whilst Bruce Forsyth took a break, with Daly filling Forsyth's role as main presenter and Winkleman filling Daly's role as co-presenter. The format remained like this for the ninth, tenth and eleventh series. On 13 November 2013, Daly guest presented The One Show for the first time, alongside Matt Baker. In May 2014, Daly was announced to be joined by Winkleman for the twelfth series of Strictly Come Dancing, with Daly taking over Forsyth's role as main presenter and Winkleman taking over Daly's role as co-presenter.


Her first novel, The Camera Never Lies, a tale of love behind the scenes, was published by Coronet, an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton in 2011. It's Up to You New York, Daly's second book was released in 2013.

Personal life[edit]

Daly married DJ & TV presenter Vernon Kay on 12 September 2003, at St Mary's Catholic Church in Horwich, near Bolton.[7] The couple have two daughters, the first born in Westminster, London, on 17 October 2004, the second born on 30 May 2009, also in London. In January 2007, Kay and Daly co-presented the second series of Just the Two of Us on BBC One. They live in Fulmer, Buckinghamshire.[8]


  1. ^ Births 1761-2006
  2. ^ "Weekend birthdays". The Guardian. 26 April 2014. p. 49. 
  3. ^ I laughed on the TV - but inside I was so broken up
  4. ^ a b c d Elizabeth Day (26 September 2010). "Tess Daly: the interview". The Observer. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Tess Daly videos
  6. ^ Tess Daly steals the show at La Senza, Bras.co.uk, 2 November 2009
  7. ^ "The sun shone, the bride wore white ....and so did the groom", Bolton Evening News, 13 September 2003
  8. ^ Perfect country life a short hop from the M25

External links[edit]