Helen Skelton

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Helen Skelton
Helen Skelton.jpg
Skelton, 2011
Helen Elizabeth Skelton

(1983-07-19) 19 July 1983 (age 38)
Other namesHelen Skelton-Myler
Years active1999–present
TelevisionBlue Peter[1] (2008–13)
Countryfile (2008—present)[2]
Holiday Hit Squad (2013–2014)
The Instant Gardener (2015—2016)
Lorraine (2016–2017)
Big Week At The Zoo (2019—present)
Friday on the Farm (2020-)
Spouse(s)Richie Myler[3] (m. 2013)

Helen Elizabeth Skelton (born 19 July 1983)[4][5][6] is an English television presenter and actress. She co-presented the BBC children's programme Blue Peter from 2008 until 2013,[5][7] and since 2014 has been a presenter on Countryfile.[8] She also co-presented two series of the BBC One programme Holiday Hit Squad alongside Angela Rippon and Joe Crowley. She also presented the daytime series The Instant Gardener that ran for two seasons.

Skelton is the current presenter of all swimming coverage on the BBC, including the European Swimming Championships, World Aquatics Championships and the Olympics.

Early life[edit]

Skelton was born on 19 July 1983, in Carlisle, Cumbria, England, and brought up on a dairy farm[9] in the village of Kirkby Thore. She attended its local Primary School, and then Appleby Grammar School, ultimately graduating 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.

Skelton is a qualified tap dance teacher and has said that if she was not a broadcaster, she would be a teacher. Her brother Gavin is a professional footballer and has also been a player-manager.[10]


Helen Skelton signing autographs in December 2010

Early career[edit]

After briefly working in public relations, Skelton 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,[9] one of the youngest breakfast slot presenters on the BBC network at that time.[11] She was then a reporter and occasional presenter on children's news programme Newsround and its weekend sports-based version, Sportsround.[11]


Skelton was revealed as a presenter on Blue Peter on 28 August 2008, replacing Zöe Salmon[12] and becoming the 33rd presenter for the programme.[11] In a challenge for the series, Skelton took an uncredited role in the BBC production of Merlin. In August 2013, she announced her departure from the show; she was replaced by Radzi Chinyanganya.[7] Skelton worked on other projects during her time on Blue Peter, mainly correspondent-based; these included reporting from the Championships, Wimbledon.

After her departure from Blue Peter, Skelton became a presenter of live FA Women's Super League football matches for the BT Sport channel, as well as retaining her BBC reporter roles.[7] She has occasionally presented segments of Countryfile since 2008, and also presented two series of Holiday Hit Squad in 2013/14 alongside Angela Rippon and Joe Crowley. In 2014/15, she presented the London Marathon Highlights show on the BBC. She was replaced by Ore Oduba in 2016.

In December 2012, Skelton took part in a Christmas Special edition of the BBC One programme Strictly Come Dancing.[13] Since 2015, Skelton has co-presented daytime BBC One series The Instant Gardener alongside Danny Clarke. In early 2016, she presented Tonight: Kids V Career.

Skelton also hosted coverage of the 2016 European Swimming Championships with Mark Foster and Rebecca Adlington. She worked for the BBC at the 2016 Summer Olympics presenting swimming coverage alongside Rebecca Adlington, Adrian Moorhouse, Andy Jameson and Mark Foster. In October that year, Skelton guest presented five editions of Lorraine on ITV,[14] plus further five in February 2017.[15][16] She also co-presented two editions of Walks with My Dog on More4 in 2017; in the same year, Skelton returned to host the swimming coverage on the BBC during the 2017 World Aquatics Championships with Adlington and Foster.


Skelton's first novel, Amy Wild: Amazon Summer, was published in May 2015.[17]


Skelton hosts a weekly slot on BBC Radio 5 Live on Sundays from 3pm to 6pm and acts as temporary co-host on BBC Radio 5 Live Drive Time with Tony Livesey.[18]


Wheelchair dance contest challenge[edit]

In December 2008, Skelton entered and won the Malta Open Dance Competition[19] with a 16-year-old wheelchair user as her partner, defeating 100 other dancers.[20]

Ultra marathons[edit]

In April 2009, Skelton became only the second woman ever to finish the 78-mile (126 km) Namibian ultra marathon.[21] She completed the run in 23 hours and 45 minutes – just 15 minutes under the time limit of one day. She told Newsround: 'It was a gruelling experience, but one I'll never forget. There were tough times but also amazing times.'[22] 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. She achieved two entries in the Guinness World Records: the longest solo journey by kayak, and the longest distance in a kayak in 24 hours by a woman.[23]

Nigel Evans, the member of parliament for the Ribble Valley, tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons after her Amazon challenge:[24]

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.

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.[25][26] 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.[27][28]

Skelton 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.[29] Guinness World Records commentated on 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.'[30] Blue Peter also made five six-episode specials for this event.

Helen's Magnificent 7[edit]

In April 2013, wanting to inspire Blue Peter viewers to do something to support Comic Relief, Skelton took on seven challenges set by Comic Relief while breaking one world record. She called this series of challenges her "Magnificent 7", a reference to the 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven:[31]

  • Rugby Kick – failed
  • Performing In 2 Shows On One Night – succeeded[32]
  • Flying With the Red Arrows – succeeded[33]
  • Photo Shoot – succeeded
  • Rope Bridge – succeeded
  • Longest Line of Bunting – succeeded (at the time, a World Record)
  • Coin Toss – failed

Sport Relief[edit]

In March 2018, Skelton took part in a celebrity boxing match defeating Camilla Thurlow via unanimous decision after three 2-minute rounds for the BBC's Sport Relief[34]

Personal life[edit]

In December 2013, Skelton married England national rugby league team player Richie Myler, and gave birth to their first child, a boy, on 19 June 2015.[35] After Myler joined the Catalans Dragons club, they moved to France in September 2015. He currently plays for the Yorkshire club Leeds Rhinos. Their second son was born in April 2017.[citation needed]


Year Title Role
1999 Coronation Street Supporting role
Cutting It Supporting role
2005 BBC Radio Cumbria Presenter
2007 Sportsround Co-presenter
2007–2008 Newsround Reporter & relief presenter
2008–2013 Blue Peter Co-presenter
2008— Countryfile Co-presenter
2009–2011 Country Tracks Co-presenter
2012 Strictly Come Dancing: Christmas Special Contestant
2013–2014 Holiday Hit Squad Co-presenter
2014–2015 London Marathon Highlights Presenter
2015— The Instant Gardener Co-presenter
2016 2016 European Swimming Championships Coverage (BBC) Presenter
2016, 2018— Tonight Reporter
2016 BBC Sport Olympic Coverage Presenter
The School that Got Teens Reading[36] Co-presenter
2016–2017 Lorraine[37] Guest presenter
2017 Walks with My Dog Co-presenter, 2 episodes
2017 2017 World Aquatics Championships Swimming Coverage (BBC) Presenter
2018– Big Week at the Zoo/This Week at the Farm Co-presenter
2019– Digging Up Britain's Past Co-presenter, 1 Season, 6 Episodes
2020 Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins Contestant
Luxury Christmas for Less[38] Co-presenter
This Week on the Farm Co-presenter
2021 Steph’s Packed Lunch Guest presenter
Live: Summer on the Farm Co-Presenter

Guest appearances[edit]


  1. ^ Thompson, Phillip (1 June 2019). "Countryfile's Helen Skelton helps shine a spotlight on Tewkesbury". Gloucestershire Live. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  2. ^ Meechan, Lauren (26 May 2019). "Helen Skelton: Countryfile favourite spills on 'very competitive' co-star Matt Baker". Express. Express UK. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  3. ^ Dosani, Rishma. "Helen Skelton's kids power her Channel swim training – but she's not growing family just yet". metro.co.uk. Metro UK. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 July 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ a b "Colin Jackson's Raise Your Game No pain No gain – Helen Skelton". BBC Wales.
  6. ^ "findmypast.co.uk". search.findmypast.co.uk. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  7. ^ a b c "Helen Skelton to leave Blue Peter". BBC News. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Helen Skelton". Countryfile.com. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  9. ^ a b Jardine, Cassandra (23 January 2010). "Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton begins epic Amazon kayaking adventure". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  10. ^ Burns, Scott. "Skelton reveals Gretna sackings are final blow". Daily Express. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  11. ^ a b c "Helen Skelton". Kaye BJ Management Ltd. Archived from the original on 1 April 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
  12. ^ "Blue Peter adds Helen to team". BBC Online. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
  13. ^ "Christmas Special 2012". Strictly Come Dancing. Series 10. 25 December 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  14. ^ "Countryfile's Helen Skelton will present ITV's Lorraine". Digitalspy.com. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  15. ^ "A very warm welcome to our guest presenters!". Itv.com. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  16. ^ "Christine Lampard and Helen Skelton to front Lorraine as she heads on polar trek". Metro.co.uk. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  17. ^ "Youngsters go wild for Cumbrian TV star Helen's adventure book". Times & Star. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "BBC Radio 5 Live: Helen Skelton". 14 June 2020. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  19. ^ Sheldon, Jess (19 August 2018). "Helen Skelton: Countryfile star's incredible record-breaking achievements revealed". Express UK. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  20. ^ "James spins it and wins it".
  21. ^ "Blue Peter's Helen Skelton sets marathon record in Namibia". Daily Mirror. 15 April 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  22. ^ "Blue Peter's Helen runs marathon". BBC Newsround. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2010.
  23. ^ "TV presenter completes kayak feat". BBC News. 28 February 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ "Blue Peter's Helen Skelton in Comic Relief tightrope walk". BBC News. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  26. ^ BBC World News America, the Oddbox, 5 February 2010.
  27. ^ "Helen Skelton plans South Pole mission". BBC News. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  28. ^ "TV stars to hand out awards at Bishop Burton College". ministerfm.com. Minister FM. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  29. ^ "Blue Peter's Helen Skelton reaches South Pole". BBC News. 22 January 2012.
  30. ^ Attwooll, Jolyon (5 February 2016). "Explorers query Helen Skelton kite-ski record". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  31. ^ "Helen Skelton kicks off seven magnificent challenges for Red Nose Day" (PDF). Comic Relief. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 April 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  32. ^ "Blue Peter's Helen stars in two shows on the same night". Standard.co.uk. 5 February 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  33. ^ "RAF_air_cadets_news". Raf.mod.uk. Archived from the original on 22 April 2016. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  34. ^ Meechan, Laura (30 July 2018). "Helen Skelton reveals why she was 'aggressive' in boxing match against Love Island star". Express UK. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  35. ^ "Former Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton welcomes baby boy". Digital Spy. 21 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  36. ^ "How to make kids read again: Helen Skelton and Javone Prince reveal the secrets". Radiotimes.com. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  37. ^ "Lorraine lines up huge guest hosts for next three weeks". Digitalspy.com. 16 February 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  38. ^ "Luxury Christmas for Less". channel4.com. Retrieved 7 December 2020.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Zöe Salmon
Blue Peter Presenter No. 33
Succeeded by
Radzi Chinyanganya