Dan Walker (broadcaster)

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Dan Walker
Arsenal 2 Chelsea 1 (34968568976).jpg
Walker (left) interviewing Ruud Gullit at the 2017 FA Cup Final
Born
Daniel Meirion Walker

1976/1977 (age 45–46)[1]
EducationHazelwick School
Alma materUniversity of Sheffield (BA, MA)
OccupationJournalist, television presenter
EmployerBBC
TelevisionFootball Focus
Final Score
Match of the Day
BBC Breakfast
The NFL Show
Spouse(s)Sarah Walker
Children3
Websitedanwalker.tv

Daniel Meirion Walker (born 1976/1977) is an English journalist, newsreader and television presenter. He presented Football Focus from 2009 to 2021, and BBC Breakfast from 2016 to 2022. He also presents shows on BBC Radio 5 Live and has presented Sportsday on the BBC News Channel and BBC World News, as well as regularly reporting for Final Score and Match of the Day.

Early life[edit]

Walker was born in Crawley, Sussex, to a Welsh mother.[2] He lived in Crawley until the age of 18, where he attended Ifield Primary School, Three Bridges Middle School, and Hazelwick Secondary School.[3][4] He earned a BA (Hons) degree in History in 1998 and an MA degree in Journalism Studies in 1999 at the University of Sheffield.[5]

Career[edit]

Radio[edit]

Walker's professional broadcasting career started with work experience at Sheffield's Hallam FM. He gained the work experience after winning a competition for young sports commentators. In 1999, Walker moved to a full-time career with a four-year stint as a sports presenter and commentator for Manchester's Key 103 radio. In his time at the station he presented the regular midweek sports show (often broadcasting from UEFA Champions League matches at Manchester United's Old Trafford ground) and also appeared as the resident sports correspondent for Mike Toolan's breakfast show.[citation needed]

Television[edit]

Walker moved into television with a six-month spell at Granada Television in Manchester, appearing as a commentator on the Football League Review show before joining BBC regional news programme North West Tonight. During this time, he was nominated for a number of awards and won the Royal Television Society Sports Award in 2005 for Regional Sports Presenter of the Year. He was unable to attend the ceremony because he was covering the Champions League final in Istanbul.

In 2006, Walker started working in London and in 2008 started presenting and reporting at Wimbledon, The Open, Aintree, Ascot and The Derby at Epsom as well as the Six Nations.

In August 2009, Walker took over from Manish Bhasin as the presenter of Football Focus. Walker also presents the web-based Friday preview Friday Focus and writes a blog on the BBC website where he discusses the show and football in general.

Walker was part of the BBC Sport team covering the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[6] He spent the tournament travelling from Cape Town at the start of the tournament to Johannesburg for the final in a double-decker bus, filming packages to be shown both as part of the TV coverage and online, and providing commentary and news via the BBC's online channels and Twitter.

On 26 November 2011, Gary Speed appeared as a guest on Football Focus with Walker. The two men spent a total of about four hours with each other on the day. Walker said of Speed: "I always found him to be kind, funny, intelligent and insightful. I found him to be a top bloke and really enjoyed his company." The following morning on Sunday 27 November 2011, Walker received the news[7] that Speed had died by hanging[8] at his house in Cheshire. Walker said that he was "stunned" by Speed's death[7] and that he was "incredibly saddened". He had known Speed for quite a long time and had played football with him in a charity match two months earlier.[9] In March 2012, Walker said that he was "staggered by the depth of feeling and shock" on the Sunday when Speed's death was announced.[10]

In addition to Walker's TV work, he presented Afternoon Edition every Monday-Thursday[11] on BBC Radio 5 Live until 2016, and has previously hosted shows on the station's evening sports output.[citation needed]

In 2016, Walker replaced Bill Turnbull as presenter of BBC Breakfast. His first show aired on 29 February and he currently co-presents the programme from Monday to Wednesday with Louise Minchin until mid-2021, and with Sally Nugent from late 2021 onwards. Walker presented the 'Clash of the Titans' segment of the Sport Relief telethon. Along with that, Walker also reported for the 2016 Olympics.[12]

In January 2019, Walker had a chance meeting with Tony Foulds, in Endcliffe Park, Sheffield, where Foulds was voluntarily maintaining the "Mi Amigo" memorial. Foulds, then aged eight, was in Endcliffe Park when a USAAC Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber crashed in the park in February 1944; the crash killed all ten men on board.[13] The pilot apparently tried to avoid Foulds and his friends. After the meeting, Walker started a campaign on social media to organise a flypast at the park.[13] The campaign was successful, and the flypast took place on 22 February 2019, the 75th anniversary of the crash. The event was broadcast nationally and thousands of people, including the families of the airmen involved in the crash, attended the flypast.[13]

In November 2020, Walker was confirmed as the new host of The NFL Show following previous host Mark Chapman's decision to step down.[14]

Walker left Football Focus after 12 years on 22 May 2021;[15] he continued as a presenter on BBC Breakfast and BBC Sport.[1]

On 10 August 2021, it was announced he would be competing in the nineteenth series of Strictly Come Dancing.[16] He was paired with the Ukrainian-Slovenian professional Nadiya Bychkova. They were eliminated in week 11.[17]

In September 2021 Walker led tributes to his co-presenter Louise Minchin who left BBC Breakfast to enjoy respite from 20 years of enduring early nights and 3:45 am wake-up alarms.

On 4 April 2022, Walker announced, via a Twitter video, that he would be leaving the BBC to move to Channel 5.[18] On 3 May 2022, he announced live on TV that his final day on BBC Breakfast would be 17 May 2022.[19]

Charity work[edit]

Walker is an active patron of several charities including the Sheffield Children's Hospital charity,[20] alongside Jessica Ennis-Hill, Michael Vaughan and Lee Westwood.[citation needed] Walker climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief with a number of other celebrities in 2019.

Personal life[edit]

Walker is married to Sarah. The couple met at Sheffield University and they have three children, two daughters and a son.[21][22][23] He lives in Sheffield.[24] He is a practising Christian[25][26] who has maintained his position not to work on Sunday throughout his career.[27] His spiritual upbringing came largely through the Evangelical Christian tradition and his higher profile in the BBC attracted media reports highlighting fringe Christian groups and inferring that Walker himself held "loopy" beliefs.[28] Walker later clarified through his spokesperson that he was simply a Christian who believes that God is behind creation.[29]

He supports Crawley Town Football Club, also known as The Reds and Red Devils.[30][31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Dan Walker: Football Focus presenter to leave at end of season". BBC Sport. 8 April 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  2. ^ Walker, Dan (13 November 2013). "The Real Dan Walker" (Interview). Matlock, Derbyshire: John Smedley. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  3. ^ Bower, Will (22 June 2015). "BBC Presenter, Dan Walker, talks about his time in Crawley – Crawley TV". Crawley TV. Archived from the original on 27 September 2015. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  4. ^ Bower, Will; Walker, Dan (17 June 2015). Dan Walker - My Crawley. Crawley TV. Archived from the original on 13 April 2022. Retrieved 14 April 2022 – via YouTube.
  5. ^ "My Sheffield". Your University. The University of Sheffield. 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  6. ^ "BBC Press Release April 2010". Wscdn.bbc.co.uk. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  7. ^ a b Walker, Dan (27 November 2011). "Gary Speed leaves a huge hole in football". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  8. ^ "Gary Speed narrative verdict after wife tells inquest of marriage strain". BBC News. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  9. ^ "Football Focus's Dan Walker saddened". BBC Sport. 27 November 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  10. ^ Walker, Dan (1 March 2012). "Cardiff in full voice to commemorate Gary Speed". BBC Sport. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  11. ^ "Afternoon Edition". BBC Radio 5 live. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  12. ^ Blair, Olivia (15 August 2016). "Rio 2016: Dan Walker's BBC Olympic broadcast interrupted by hen party on Copacabana beach". The Independent. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  13. ^ a b c "Sheffield bomber crash: Flypast on 75th anniversary". BBC News. 22 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  14. ^ TVZone (18 November 2020). "Mark Chapman steps down from the NFL Show as Dan Walker is announced as replacement". TVZoneUK. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  15. ^ Walker, Dan (22 May 2021). "Football Focus: Dan Walker signs off as host for the last time". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 22 May 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  16. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing 2021: BBC Breakfast's Dan Walker confirmed for new series". Metro. 10 August 2021.
  17. ^ "Dan and Nadiya leave Strictly in the Quarter Final". BBC Blogs. 5 December 2021.
  18. ^ Walker, Dan [@mrdanwalker] (4 April 2022). "Thank you for all your kind comments. Big decision for me to leave Breakfast but I'm really excited to join 5 News & Channel 5. It's been a privilege to work with some amazing people at Breakfast and I've had such a happy 6 years there. See you back on the sofa tomorrow 👍🏻 t.co/haieEpiZSD" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 30 April 2022. Retrieved 15 May 2022 – via Twitter.
  19. ^ Walker, Dan [@mrdanwalker] (3 May 2022). "So… my final day on #bbcbreakfast will be 2 weeks today! (May 17th) It still feels a little surreal but @sallynugenttv has promised to bake me a goodbye tart 😂 Thank you for all the kind comments. You're all lovely. t.co/ra4unzbyb3" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 3 May 2022. Retrieved 15 May 2022 – via Twitter.
  20. ^ "Jess at City Hall for Children's Hospital charity". Sheffield News & Sport. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  21. ^ "BBC Breakfast's Dan Walker makes rare admission about wife Sarah". HELLO!. 4 November 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  22. ^ "BBC Breakfast's Dan Walker makes cheeky intimate quip about wife Sarah". HELLO!. 19 July 2021. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  23. ^ Honebeek, Talya (1 October 2021). "Strictly Come Dancing star Dan Walker's wife, religion and BBC salary". Birmingham Live. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  24. ^ Walker, Dan [@mrdanwalker] (28 August 2021). "We've had a beautiful walk with pals on some of the Peak District edges around Sheffield today. White Edge, Curbar Edge and Froggatt Edge all looking gorgeous in the sunshine. We love living in Sheffield… all this is a 15 minute drive away from the city centre. t.co/w4feKpTMlg" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 3 May 2022. Retrieved 15 May 2022 – via Twitter.
  25. ^ "Dan Walker – an interview". Gracemagazine.org.uk. Archived from the original on 14 April 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  26. ^ Jones, Marcus (28 March 2021). "Dan Walker: My Christian faith is what makes me tick". Premier Christianity. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  27. ^ "Sport & Sundays". E-n.org.uk. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  28. ^ Bennett, Catherine (14 February 2016). "Dan Walker: it's tricky to trust a presenter who feels God got him the job". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  29. ^ Hitchens, Dan (11 February 2016). "Dan Walker's creationism shouldn't disqualify him from breakfast TV". The Spectator. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  30. ^ Walker, Dan (8 December 2009). "Nuts, Crawley trip ends in disappointment". BBC Sport. Retrieved 8 October 2021.
  31. ^ Walker, Dan (24 February 2011). "Bizarre weekend as Crawley go for glory". BBC Sport. Retrieved 8 October 2021.

External links[edit]