Strictly Come Dancing’s Claudia Winkleman terrified of being axed from show

The star has fronted the BBC dance show alongside Tess Daly for five years and is a hit with viewers. But she’s secretly convinced she could be sacked at any time. In a candid chat, she said: “If they’ll have me, I’ll keep doing it. But I assume I’ll be fired any minute. I’m really grateful that I’m employed. But I imagine it will stop any minute now.” Claudia, 47, has worked in television for almost 30 years and presented some of TV’s biggest entertainment shows.

BBC bosses love her so much they reportedly pay her more than £450,000 a year, making her one of the corporation’s highest earners. 

But the humble star is surprised her career has lasted this long and puts her success down to luck. She said: “I feel like I’ve already had too long a run. I am incredibly lucky. Honestly, the luckiest person. I appreciate it all. I don’t want to take it for granted.” 

Claudia has helped a string of shows become ratings hits over the years. They include The Great British Sewing Bee and since 2018 Best Home Cook alongside Mary Berry. 

While millions tune in, Claudia has never seen herself on screen. 

She said: “I have never watched anything I’ve done. I really have never watched myself. I can’t or I’d be sick. I can’t imagine how irritating I am. 

“My children don’t watch the things I do either. They’re not interested! I like to think the things I do don’t go out on telly… they’re an elaborate home video that my parents have created to make me feel good about myself.”

She is a household name, but Claudia says she is often unrecognised while out in London. She said: “I go on the Tube and hum the Strictly theme tune and no one looks up. I’m thinking, ‘Come on!’.” 

Best Home Cook is back for a new series in January on BBC One and Claudia let us in on some backstage secrets. 

She said: “When me and Mary sit in a room we have a couple of hot water bottles down our trousers. The heating is full on, we’re sitting there with blankets… warming. I have never knowingly been warm. I mean I’d happily sit there with a sweatshirt on on the beach. 

“Mary is the funniest person and what’s so magnificent about her is her cool and intelligence. She puts everyone at ease from cameraman to contestant, she is the kindest girl.”