Ex Strictly star Helen Skelton speaks

Strictly star Helen Skelton was ‘shocked’ by reaction to her BBC Radio 5 Live exit: ‘It became this big thing’

Decided to focus on her kids

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Former Strictly star Helen Skelton – who is on Countryfile tonight (Sunday, June 2) – admitted last year she’d been “shocked” by the support she’d received after announcing her decision to leave BBC Radio 5 Live.

Countryfile host Helen, 40, revealed she would be quitting her BBC Radio 5 Live job back in August 2023. The busy mum of three told listeners at the time: “The juggle is real.”

She also said she wanted to be around to see her children taking part in their weekend sports fixtures. Helen said: “There is an eight-year-old with a sideline who needs me.”

Strictly Come Dancing finalists Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez applaud
Strictly Come Dancing stars Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez made it to the finals of last year’s BBC One dance contest (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Why Helen Skelton left BBC Radio 5 Live

The ex-Blue Peter star was reported to have stepped away from her radio role as she was being ‘stretched’ by childcare needs.

Helen revealed in April 2022 that she and her ex, Richie Myler, had separated. The announcement of their split came just four months after the birth of their youngest child, Elsie Kate.

The former couple are also parents to Ernie, eight, and Louis, six, together.

Richie is now in a relationship with Stephanie Thirkill, and they became parents together in May. Stephanie’s father is the President of rugby league club Leeds Rhinos, who Richie plays for.

However, according to MailOnline back in August last year, becoming a new dad again meant Richie wasn’t able to assist as much “as he would ideally like” with the kids he shares with Helen.

Helen Skelton makes her point
Helen Skelton: ‘I was so shocked at the amount of noise around that’ (Credit: BBC iPlayer)

Strictly star Helen Skelton latest

Speaking to Sophie Ellis-Bextor on her Spinning Plates podcast in November 2023, Helen said she was taken aback by the reaction to her putting her kids first over BBC Radio 5 Live.

She said: “I was so shocked at the amount of noise around that.

It became this big thing.

“It became this big thing, everyone started this narrative and a big discussion around it, which is great.

“But I am not the first parent in history to change their shifts so that I can do things with my kids on the weekend.”

She went on: “It’s clearly something that people are very anxious about. I was lucky, my Mum didn’t have to work until I was 14 or 15.

“I think when you’re public-facing, it’s easy for everyone to have an opinion.”

Read more: Helen Skelton’s new home life after Richie Myler marriage split – from country home to ‘tantrums and fallouts’

Countryfile airs tonight (Sunday, June 2) at 7pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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Robert Leigh
Freelance writer