Dan Walker discusses balancing his busy schedule alongside Strictly Come Dancing

The TV presenter is hosting BBC Breakfast and The NFL Show, alongside competing in the dance competition.

Dan Walker has said he treats dance rehearsals for Strictly Come Dancing like exams and learned his last routine in about 17 hours due to his busy schedule.

The TV presenter is balancing his rehearsal time for the dance competition alongside hosting The NFL Show and BBC Breakfast, on which he will interview the Prime Minister on Tuesday.

Walker, 44, performed the paso doble to Giant by Rag’n’Bone Man and Calvin Harris with his dance partner Nadiya Bychkova on Saturday’s show.

Walker told the PA news agency: “I think we’ve found a good rhythm, we’ve worked it out, I think we’ve done about 17 hours this week.

“We’re both treating it like exam conditions but we have a good laugh and we stop, obviously to eat and drink.”

Bychkova added: “We don’t stop when we’re rehearsing those 17-18 hours, it’s full-on. When we rehearse it’s proper rehearsal, and it’s 100%.

“And I don’t know how he’s doing it, but he gives me his 100% every time we’re rehearsing and to be honest, that’s what you need.

“I’d rather have this, less time but he’s 100% focused and dedicated to it instead of just knowing we have the whole week for 12 hours a day, and then sometimes you can get lost in that time.

“But it is full-on to learn a new dance in less than 20 hours, it’s incredible, but he’s amazing.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2021
Dan Walker is making progress on Strictly Come Dancing alongside professional partner Nadiya Bychkova (Guy Levy/BBC)

Walker admitted that if he is hosting BBC Breakfast then he has four hours of sleep and when he does not, he gets five hours, but said he had only fallen asleep in the rehearsal room once so far.

He explained that to manage all of his commitments he compartmentalises things in his head, including making space to interview Boris Johnson.

The TV presenter also admitted he has developed a unique way of learning the dances where he creates stories in his mind to remember the choreography, a technique he said he used during his school days.

He said for his quickstep dance in week one he imagined he was dancing around his house and for week two’s paso doble he envisioned dancing around a zoo, complete with nine animals and a zookeeper.

Bychkova told PA: “It’s just incredible the way he learns, it’s the first for me.”

Walker added that he was “absolutely delighted” with his dance partner, saying: “We’re getting on really well. My family absolutely love her, she comes round for dinner, we’re all getting on really well.

“I want my kids and my wife to be part of all that as well.”

He announced earlier this year he was stepping down after 12 years at the helm of BBC Football Focus.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One on Saturday at 6.45pm.

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