Dan Walker: 'Strictly' made me love dancing after years of feeling 'too tall or awkward' (exclusive)

·TV Reporter
·3-min read

Watch: Dan Walker talks to Yahoo about facing criticism and his love for Strictly

Dan Walker has explained how Strictly Come Dancing has finally made him feel comfortable on a dancefloor after years of feeling "too tall and awkward".

The BBC Breakfast presenter partners Nadiya Bychkova in the current BBC One series and admitted he had never expected to be able to enjoy dancing.

Read more: Dan Walker jokes he'll go topless in rehearsals

He told Yahoo UK: "All the years I haven't enjoyed dancing because I've worried about being too tall or awkward or what people will say about me, all that enjoyment and joy is coming out in the last eight weeks."

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 06/11/2021 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Dan Walker, Nadiya Bychkova - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 06/11/2021 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Dan Walker, Nadiya Bychkova - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

Walker, who said that his favourite ever Strictly dance was Ed Balls and Katya Jones' Gangnam Style-inspired routine, added: "Dancing shouldn't be closed off to people like me or like Ed who wouldn't necessarily be the first person on the dancefloor.

"Those are the vast majority of people watching at home, the people who probably like me would go and get a drink, or take the kids to the toilet, or make an excuse for not getting on the dancefloor at a wedding."

Although Walker has experienced some negative comments from viewers about why he has not been voted out yet, he said that he felt no pressure to make people like him.

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 30/10/2021 - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing - TX6 LIVE SHOW (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: ++LIVE SHOW++ Nadiya Bychkova, Dan Walker - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron
Dan Walker has embraced the 'Strictly' experience. (BBC/Kieron McCarron)

He explained: "In my job I need the skin of a rhino and I genuinely don't mind. I don't expect everyone to like me and I'm not worried when people don't like me.

"I don't need to waste my time trying to convince people that I'm nice or they need to vote for me. 

"I fully expect people to think I shouldn't be on this programme but the way I look at it is, when I watch Strictly I love watching people who have never danced before and would never go anywhere near a dancefloor and then someone like Nadiya comes along and goes give me your hand and I'll show you it can be fun."

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: n/a - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing - Generics (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Nadiya Bychkova, Dan Walker - (C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston
The BBC journalist says he feels no pressure for people to like him. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Walker also told the moving story of interviewing Figen Murray, the mother of Martyn Hett who was one of the Manchester Arena bombing victims.

Read more: Why Dan Walker dressed as a lobster for Halloween

He said that she had been making teddy bears to deal with her grief and planned to make one holding a heart created from the 17 pieces of metal removed from her late son's body, telling him "out of all that hate and suffering and what that man was trying to do to me and my son and everyone else, I'm going to find love".

Walker said: "It's a very different situation, but I think when something negative is thrown at you it's a great opportunity to grab it, turn it around and turn it into something positive."

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturdays and Sundays on BBC One.

Watch: Who is Strictly's Dan Walker?

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