Tess Daly pays heartfelt tribute to ‘fantastic’ Claudia Winkleman
16th March 2023

Tess Daly on her close friendship with Claudia Winkleman

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Tess Daly, 53, and Claudia Winkleman, 51, have become iconic BBC presenters in their own right with years of experience under their belts. Every Autumn, the duo reunite to host Strictly Come Dancing together and Tess paid tribute to her co-star during a candid chat with Lorraine Kelly on Thursday’s instalment of the Scottish broadcaster’s ITV talk show.

Lorraine told Tess she makes presenting Strictly Come Dancing alongside Claudia “look effortless”.

When a photograph of Tess and Claudia hosting the hit BBC dancing programme was shown on a screen, Tess said: “Oh Claud, I love her to bits.”

Lorraine interjected: “Do you know what I love about this show?

“It’s that you are genuinely good pals – you can tell.”

Tess added: “Yes, it’s just lovely spending time together because she is my mate.

“We have worked together now for over a decade – I’ve known her for 20 years almost since she was pushing her eldest, Jake, in a pram.

“That’s how we met and she’s fantastic, yeah.”

Tess used to present Strictly Come Dancing alongside Sir Bruce Forsyth who retired from the series in 2014.

Sir Bruce died at the age of 89 in 2017 and Tess has opened up about missing the entertainment icon in recent years.

She told Fabulous magazine in 2020: “I’d worked in TV for a number of years before Strictly, doing kids’ telly and a couple of Saturday-night shows, but nothing on that scale.

“And I had grown up watching Bruce Forsyth on the telly on Saturday night, so to be next to him was quite surreal.

“He never had any ego. To maintain a career in show business as long as Brucie did – so long that he was in the Guinness World Records as the nation’s longest-running entertainer – you can’t have too much ego because if it was unpleasant working with you, then they’d choose someone else.”

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Tess added: “It was thrilling to work with him because he was endlessly generous and kind and selfless with me and everyone he met.”

Tess and Claudia are set to present this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing once again.

Last year’s series marked the 20th anniversary of the star-studded show and the return of the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

Wildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin and his professional partner Jowita Przystal were the proud winners of the coveted Glitterball Trophy after dazzling the judges and viewers alike with their moves.

Hamza broke down in tears as he was crowned the winner of the BBC programme.

“Words cannot describe how I feel right now,” he said as he won the series. “I want to thank one person in particular.”

Hamza turned to Jowita and said: “You are an angel disguised as a human being.

“Thank you to everyone who voted for me. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC One later this year on a date yet to be announced.

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