Here’s why we’re going to be hearing a lot more from Claudia Winkleman in 2021.
We didn’t need any more reasons to love Claudia Winkleman in 2020, but that didn’t stop her from giving us some. Firstly, Winkleman published her very funny and warm debut book, Quite. She also released a second season of her fascinating therapy podcast, How Did We Get Here?. And, of course, she’s currently keeping the nation entertained in lockdown with Strictly Come Dancing. Oh, and Winkleman’s guest interview on the Off Menu podcast – which sees her claiming to “hate” water – is the funniest thing you’ll plug into this year.
Because all that clearly isn’t enough for one year, Winkleman has just announced another project – and it’s a whopper. She’ll be replacing Graham Norton on BBC Radio 2 when he leaves his Saturday 10am-1pm slot next February. The news was confirmed on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on Monday morning, and Winkleman has since responded to it on her Instagram page.
“Thrilled. Terrified. Enormous shoes to fill. Send socks,” she wrote. “I’m not often speechless but the chance to be with the wonderful Radio 2 listeners every Saturday has left me, quite frankly, gobsmacked.”
In an official statement, she added: “I hope my voice comes back in time for the first show as I can no longer simply rely on a fake tan and a fringe. There’s nobody I’d rather be with at the weekend, it’s a privilege and an honour.”
Norton congratulated Winkleman, tweeting: “Congratulations Claudia Winkleman, you’ll love it! Welcome to BBC Radio 2 Saturday mornings!”
The news comes a year after Winkleman, along with Zoe Ball and Vanessa Feltz, featured in the top 10 of the BBC’s star salaries list after the corporation made efforts to tackle its equal pay problem. Winkleman, however, earned up to £374,999, while Norton earned up to £610,000. It will be interesting (and crucial) to see how this changes for Winkleman after taking Norton’s popular show under her belt.
But right now, we’re celebrating hearing more Winkleman on weekends.
Images: Sarah Brick