Entertainment

Dan Walker discusses going from avoiding the dancefloor to Strictly performances

The BBC Breakfast presenter is paired up with professional dancer Nadiya Bychkova on the show.

Dan Walker has said he previously felt “awkward and uncomfortable and avoided a dancefloor” but has loved the “process of learning the different dances” on Strictly Come Dancing.

The BBC Breakfast presenter, 44, performed a Viennese Waltz to She’s Always A Woman by Billy Joel with his professional dance partner Nadiya Bychkova on Saturday’s show.

Walker said: “I’m not a great dancer, I don’t think I ever will be, but I’m loving the process of learning the different dances, and I never thought I would be in that situation.

Strictly Come Dancing 2021
Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychkova (Ray Burmiston/BBC)

“So that’s what Strictly is to me, it’s about somebody like me, who’s always felt awkward and uncomfortable and avoided a dancefloor being able to do what I did to MC Hammer last week, and hopefully dance a half-decent Viennese waltz.”

The TV presenter revealed that his wife had been the inspiration behind his performance on Saturday night’s show as they danced to one of her favourite songs.

He added: “When my wife came to training with the kids, I could see on her face how much she loved it when we danced it and she was like, ‘Oh, that’s beautiful’.”

Walker explained that he and his dance partner have built a strong bond during the series, adding: “You meet somebody at the right time in your life and I think that Nadiya and I have got a really strong friendship, and we get on really well, and I’ve learned an awful lot from her.

“That for me has been the best thing about the programme.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2021
Dan Walker said he is ‘loving the process of learning the different dances’ (Guy Levy/BBC)

The Ukrainian-Slovenian dancer, 32, agreed she had also learnt a lot from her partner this season, including him helping her feel more comfortable expressing herself in front of the camera.

“Speaking in English, which is my fourth language, sometimes I’m worried will I understand the question right, will I understand all the words and then Daniel goes ‘Well, if you don’t you just ask again, that’s OK’,” she added.

“And he made me feel much more comfortable in front of the camera and being able just to say what I think about (things).”

Walker also expressed how supportive the rest of the celebrities have been towards each other, even forming a group chat on WhatsApp before the series started so they could get to know one another.

He said: “We’ve all got to know each other really well and there’s been loads of really nice support about all sorts of things, about obviously Covid which has caused a few issues, injuries we’ve talked about a bit, but just a lot of fun as well and there’s been a load of kindness and encouragement.”

Reflecting on Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty’s Argentine tango with dance partner Katya Jones which caused a stir after viewers believed the steamy routine had ended with the pair nearly kissing, Walker said: “You have to embody a character when you get into a dance, wherever that is.”

He added: “But I think it was really important for Adam as well because he was bottom of the leaderboard the week before and he really was keen to get the steps right and commit to it, so I think he just went full Olympic focus and I thought they did a brilliant job.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One.

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