Who is Helen Skelton? Everything you need to know about the Countryfile presenter

The BBC presenter has broken several world records

(Getty, JG)

Helen Skelton has been presenting high-profile BBC shows for over a decade now, mixing gardening advice and country walks with world record-breaking physical feats and challenges.

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Here’s everything you need to know about the multi-talented broadcaster, daredevil and outdoors enthusiast.

Who is Helen Skelton?

Programme Name: Countryfile - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. Generics) - Picture Shows: Helen Skelton - (C) BBC Studios - Photographer: Pete Dadds

Having grown up on a dairy farm, Helen Skelton is no stranger to the countryside.

It’s only fitting then that Helen became a presenter on Countryfile in 2014, a role she still continues to this day. During her time on Countryfile she has helped harvests, tried mud wrestling and appeared on Countryfile Live at Castle Howard.

Before that, she was best known for co-hosting classic children’s show Blue Peter between 2008 and 2013, where she became known for attempting several gruelling fitness challenges before hanging up her badge.

One of her very first Blue Peter challenges saw Helen became the second woman ever to complete the Namibian ultra marathon – a whopping 78-mile run(!) that she completed in 23 hours and 45 minutes.

What else has she been in?

Helen has also become a prominent sports presenter, having hit the headlines as host of the BBC’s swimming coverage during the Olympics. She remains the current host of swimming on the BBC, including the European Swimming Championships and World Aquatics Championships.

She has also saved some holidays from hell as co-presenter of Holiday Hit Squad with Angela Rippon and Joe Crowley, and put her green fingers to more use in The Instant Gardener.

In December 2012 she took part in the Christmas Special of Strictly Come Dancing, where she scored an impressive 37 points.

She’s done A LOT for charity

A Sport Relief veteran, there isn’t much that Helen Skelton hasn’t done in the name of charity.

She famously kayaked the entire length of the Amazon River for Sport Relief in 2010, travelling over 2,000 miles in a solo kayak over six weeks. She broke not just one, but two Guinness World Records along the way – the longest solo journey by kayak, and the longest distance in a kayak in 24 hours by a woman.

As if that wasn’t enough, she walked a 150-metre tightrope over Battersea Power Station for Comic Relief in 2011, and the following year became the first person to reach the South Pole using a bicycle.

In 2013 she took on a series of Comic Relief challenges called the “Magnificent 7”, including flying with the Red Arrows and performing in two West End shows in one night. She also broke yet another world record, creating the longest line of bunting at the time.

In 2018 she defeated Love Island’s Camilla Thurlow in a charity boxing match for Sport Relief, with her fierce boxing skills leaving viewers shocked.

Helen Skelton, Sport Relief (BBC, EH)
Helen Skelton, Sport Relief (BBC)

Was she always a presenter?

Helen initially studied and worked in journalism, working as an extra on Coronation Street and Cutting it while at college. She moved from presenting BBC Radio Cumbria to hosting Newsround on CBBC, and the rest is history.

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Among her endless sporting achievements, she is also a qualified tap dance teacher and would have become a teacher were she not a broadcaster.