Helen Skelton

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Helen Skelton
Born(1983-07-19) 19 July 1983 (age 29)
Carlisle, Cumbria, England
OccupationTelevision presenter, actress
Years active1999 - Still active
Known forBlue Peter presenter
Double world record holder
Partner(s)David Graham (2006-2009)
Richie Myler (2011-present) Engaged
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Helen Skelton
Born(1983-07-19) 19 July 1983 (age 29)
Carlisle, Cumbria, England
OccupationTelevision presenter, actress
Years active1999 - Still active
Known forBlue Peter presenter
Double world record holder
Partner(s)David Graham (2006-2009)
Richie Myler (2011-present) Engaged

Helen Skelton (born 19 July 1983) is an English television presenter. She has worked on the BBC children's programme Blue Peter since 2008. In 2010 she kayaked over 2,000 miles along the Amazon River, and in 2012 she finished a 500-mile (800 km) trek to the South Pole, both for Sport Relief, making her a double world record holder.[1][2]


Personal life

Skelton was born at the City Maternity Hospital, Fusehill Street, Carlisle on 19 July 1983.

Skelton was brought up on a dairy farm[3] in the village of Kirkby Thore in Cumbria. She attended Kirkby Thore Primary School, and then Appleby Grammar School. She graduated from Cumbria Institute of the Arts, where she gained a BA degree in journalism.[4] During her time at college, she worked as an extra on Coronation Street and Cutting It.

Her brother, Gavin, is a professional footballer currently playing for Barrow.[5] When she joined Blue Peter, she was dating his former Gretna team-mate David Graham;[4] the couple broke up in October 2009.[6]

In March 2012, Helen announced on her Twitter page that she was engaged to Rugby League player Richie Myler.[7]

In August 2012, Helen announced she was closing her Twitter account because she "cannot cope with negative comments".[8]

Skelton is a qualified tap dance teacher and has said that if she was not a broadcaster she would be a teacher as "I like the sound of my own voice."[4]


Helen Skelton Signing autographs

Early career

After briefly working in public relations, Helen 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,[3][4] becoming one of the youngest breakfast show presenters on the BBC network.[9] She was then a reporter and occasional presenter on children's news programme Newsround and its weekend sports based version, Sportsround.[9]

Blue Peter

Helen was revealed as a new Blue Peter presenter on 28 August 2008, replacing Zöe Salmon,[10] becoming the 33rd presenter for the programme.[9] In a challenge for the show, she took an uncredited role in the BBC production of Merlin.ឿ

Ultra marathons

In April 2009, Helen became only the second woman ever to finish the 78-mile (126 km) Namibian ultra marathon.[11] Skelton completed the run in 23 hours and 45 minutes - just 15 minutes under the time limit of one day. "It was a gruelling experience, but one I'll never forget. There were tough times but also amazing times," she told Newsround.[12] Just weeks later, she completed the 2009 London Marathon.

Kayaking the Amazon

In early 2010, Helen kayaked the entire length of the Amazon River 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. It was initially claimed that she had achieved two Guinness World Records: the longest solo journey by kayak, and the longest distance in a kayak in 24 hours by a woman.[13] but the latter of these was not verified and was superseded within months.[14]

MP for the Ribble Valley Nigel Evans tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons after her Amazon challenge:[15]

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

Helen 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.[16][17] Blue Peter created two specials about her walk.

South Pole

In 2012, Helen 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 tyres. She also used skis and a kite to help her pull a sled containing 82 kg of supplies.[18] She covered 329 miles by kite ski, 103 by bike, and 68 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 (subject to verification).[19] A degree of controversy surrounds the speed for distance claim but Guinness World Records defended 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.[20] Blue Peter also made 5-6 episode specials for this event.


TV & Radio
1999Coronation StreetSupporting Role
1999Cutting ItSupporting Role
2005BBC Radio CumbriaRadio Presenter
2007–8NewsroundReporter & Relief Presenter
2008–presentBlue PeterCo-presenter
2011–presentCountry TracksCo-presenter


  1. ^ "Longest journey by canoe (kayak) solo". Guiness World Records. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-2000/longest-journey-by-canoe-%28kayak%29-solo. Retrieved 2012-01-20. 
  2. ^ "Helen Skelton plans South Pole mission". BBC News. 13 December 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16161062. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Jardine, Cassandra (2010-01-23). "Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton begins epic Amazon kayaking adventure". London: The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/7060020/Blue-Peter-presenter-Helen-Skelton-begins-epic-Amazon-kayaking-adventure.html. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  4. ^ a b c d Roberts, Laura (2008-08-28). "Blue Peter employs a blonde WAG as new presenter (assuming you count Hamilton Accies)". London: Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1050204/Blue-Peter-employs-blonde-WAG-new-presenter-assuming-count-Hamilton-Accies.html. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  5. ^ "Major Signing Announced". Barrow A.F.C.. 6 July 2011. http://www.barrowafc.com//news/?article=857. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Here's one I laid earlier". News of the World. 2008-10-01. http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/scottish/scottish_news/article50766.ece. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  7. ^ White, Steve (2012-03-13). ""I am a very lucky lady!": Helen Skelton's delight at getting engaged". Daily Mirror. http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/sport-relief-star-helen-skeltons-759452. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  8. ^ ""Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton quits Twitter": Helen Skelton quits twitter". BBC. 2012-08-02. http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/19092545. 
  9. ^ a b c "Helen Skelton". Kaye BJ Management Ltd. http://www.kbjmgt.co.uk/clients/26-helen-skelton. Retrieved 25 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "Blue Peter adds Helen to team". BBC Online. 2008-08-28. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7585906.stm. Retrieved 2008-08-29. 
  11. ^ "Blue Peter's Helen Skelton sets marathon record in Namibia". Daily Mirror. 2009-04-15. http://www.mirror.co.uk/celebs/news/2009/04/15/blue-peter-s-helen-skelton-sets-marathon-record-in-namibia-115875-21279854/. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  12. ^ "Blue Peter's Helen runs marathon". BBC Newsround. 2009-04-16. http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_8000000/newsid_8002500/8002575.stm. Retrieved 2010-02-09. 
  13. ^ "TV presenter completes kayak feat". BBC News. 28 February 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8541832.stm. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  14. ^ "Greatest distance by canoe (kayak) - 24 hours (flowing water) - Female". Guinness World Records Corporate. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/3000/greatest-distance-by-canoe-%28kayak%29-24-hours-%28flowing-water%29-female. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  15. ^ "Nigel Evans Tables EDM About Helen Skelton’s Kayak Along the Amazon for Sport Relief". Nigel Evans MP. 2 March 2010. http://nigelmp.com/?p=725. Retrieved 17 March 2011. 
  16. ^ Blue Peter's Helen Skelton in Comic Relief tightrope walk
  17. ^ BBC World News America, the Oddbox, 5 Feb 2010.
  18. ^ "Helen Skelton plans South Pole mission". BBC News. 13 December 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16157981. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  19. ^ Blue Peter's Helen Skelton reaches South Pole
  20. ^ Explorers query Helen Skelton kite ski record

External links

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