Helen Skelton

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Helen Skelton
Helen Skelton.jpg
Born Helen Skelton
(1983-07-19) 19 July 1983 (age 39)
Kirkby Thore, Cumbria, England
Nationality British
Other names Helen Skelton-Myler
Occupation Television presenter and actress
Years active 1999–present
Television Blue Peter (2008–2013)
Countryfile (2008—)
Holiday Hit Squad (2013–2014)
The Instant Gardener (2015—)
Spouse(s) Richie Myler (m. 2013)
Children 1

Helen Skelton-Myler, born and also still known professionally as Helen Skelton (born on 19 July 1983, Kirkby Thore),[1] is an English television presenter. She is best known for co-presenting the BBC children's programme Blue Peter from 2008 until 2013 [1][2] and as a regular relief presenter on Countryfile since 2008.[3]

She co-presented two series of the BBC One programme Holiday Hit Squad alongside Angela Rippon and Joe Crowley.

Personal life

Skelton was brought up on a dairy farm[4] 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. During her time at college, she worked as an extra on Coronation Street and Cutting It.

Her brother, Gavin, is a former professional footballer who played in the Scottish Premier League with Gretna (with whom he won three promotions and played in the UEFA Cup),[5] Kilmarnock and Hamilton Academicals, as well as for several teams in Cumbria. He is currently caretaker manager of Queen of the South.

Skelton is a qualified tap dance teacher and has said that if she was not a broadcaster she would be a teacher. In December 2012, she took part in a Christmas Special edition of the BBC One programme Strictly Come Dancing.[6]

In December 2013 she got married to England national rugby league team player Richie Myler.[7] Skelton gave birth to her first child, a boy named Ernie, on 19 June 2015.[8]


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,[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

Skelton 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. In August 2013 she announced her departure from the show in September, to be replaced by Lindsey Russell.[2]

After Blue Peter

Skelton worked on other projects during her time on Blue Peter, mainly correspondent-based. These included reporting from the Championships, Wimbledon, and regular positions on Countryfile and Holiday Hit Squad.

After her departure from Blue Peter, she became a presenter of live FA Women's Super League football matches for the BT Sport channel, as well as retaining her BBC reporter roles.[2]

Writing career

Skelton's first novel; Amy Wild: Amazon Summer was published in May 2015.[11]


Year Title Role
1999 Coronation Street Supporting role
Cutting It Supporting role
2005 BBC Radio Cumbria Presenter
2007 Sportsround Co-presenter
2007–2008 Newsround Reporter & relief presenter
2008–2013 Blue Peter Co-presenter
2008— Countryfile Co-presenter
2009–2011 Country Tracks Co-presenter
2012 Strictly Come Dancing: Christmas Special Contestant
2013–2014 Holiday Hit Squad Co-presenter
2014— London Marathon Highlights Presenter
2015— The Instant Gardener Co-presenter
2016 Tonight: Kids V Career Presenter

Guest appearances


Ultra marathons

In April 2009, Skelton became only the second woman ever to finish the 78-mile (126 km) Namibian ultra marathon.[12] 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.[13] Just weeks later, she completed the 2009 London Marathon.

Kayaking the Amazon

In early 2010, Skelton kayaked the entire length of the River Amazon 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.[14] but the latter of these was not verified and was superseded within months.[15]

MP for the Ribble Valley Nigel Evans tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons after her Amazon challenge:[16]

Tightrope walking

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.[17][18] Blue Peter created two specials about her walk.

South Pole

In 2012, 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-wide tyres. She also used skis and a kite to help her pull a sled containing 82 kg of supplies.[19]

She covered 329 miles by kite ski, 103 by bike and 69 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).[20] 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".[21] Blue Peter also made five six-episode specials for this event.

Helen's Magnificent 7

In April 2013, wanting to inspire the young Blue Peter viewers to do something to support Comic Relief, she took on seven challenges set by Comic Relief while breaking one world record. She called this series of challenges her "Magnificent 7", a reference to the 1960 Western The Magnificent Seven:[22]

  • Rugby Kick – Failed
  • Performing In 2 Shows On One Night – Succeeded[23]
  • Flying With the Red Arrows – Succeeded[24]
  • Photo Shoot – Succeeded
  • Rope Bridge – Succeeded
  • Longest Line of Bunting – Succeeded (at the time, a World Record)
  • Coin Toss – Failed


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Colin Jackson's Raise Your Game No pain No gain – Helen Skelton". BBC Wales.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Helen Skelton to leave Blue Peter". BBC News. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Helen Skelton". Countryfile.com. Retrieved 19 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jardine, Cassandra (23 January 2010). "Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton begins epic Amazon kayaking adventure". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Burns, Scott. "Skelton reveals Gretna sackings are final blow". Daily Express. Retrieved 19 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Christmas Special 2012". Strictly Come Dancing. Series 10. 25 December 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Here's one I married earlier! Former Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton is radiant in a sleeveless white lace dress as she poses with new husband Richie Myler". London: Daily Mail. 22 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Former Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton welcomes baby boy". Digital Spy. 21 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Helen Skelton". Kaye BJ Management Ltd. Retrieved 25 November 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Blue Peter adds Helen to team". BBC Online. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Youngsters go wild for Cumbrian TV star Helen's adventure book". Times & Star. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Blue Peter's Helen Skelton sets marathon record in Namibia". Daily Mirror. 15 April 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Blue Peter's Helen runs marathon". BBC Newsround. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "TV presenter completes kayak feat". BBC News. 28 February 2010. Retrieved 4 May 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Greatest distance by canoe (kayak) – 24 hours (flowing water) – Female". Guinness World Records Corporate. Retrieved 4 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Nigel Evans Tables EDM About Helen Skelton's Kayak Along the Amazon for Sport Relief". Nigel Evans MP. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 17 March 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Blue Peter's Helen Skelton in Comic Relief tightrope walk". BBC News. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. BBC World News America, the Oddbox, 5 February 2010.
  19. "Helen Skelton plans South Pole mission". BBC News. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 14 December 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Blue Peter's Helen Skelton reaches South Pole". BBC News. 22 January 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Explorers query Helen Skelton kite ski record
  22. http://www.comicrelief.com/sites/comicrelief.com/files/doc/pressrelease/025rnd13helenskeltonlaunch310113.pdf
  23. http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/theatre/blue-peter-s-helen-stars-in-two-shows-on-the-same-night-8481703.html
  24. http://www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets/newsandevents/index.cfm?storyid=4B6DCBA6-5056-A318-A853836367C6575F

External links

Preceded by
Konnie Huq and Zöe Salmon
Blue Peter Presenter No. 33
Succeeded by
Lindsey Russell