Dan Walker explains how he touched Nicole Kidman over her father’s heartbreaking story | Celebrity News | Showbiz and television
She was so moved that she donated £10,000 to the charity they were supporting. It’s one of many moving real-life encounters captured in Dan’s new book this fall – Standing On The Shoulders – in which he interviews ordinary people with extraordinary stories.
The foreword is written by winner Strictly Rose Ayling-Ellis. The incredible story of the deaf actress and the role her mother played in her life are also told.
The book was so moving to write that Dan admits he had to take six weeks off to deal with the heartbreaking stories it tells.
He is also looking forward to discussing his many new projects, including the Channel 5 show Digging For Treasure Tonight, which starts on Friday.
Dan is clearly excited about this new chapter in his own life, having left BBC Breakfast this year and Football Focus the year before.
He admits that the changes have given him back his family life and his holidays.
Dan also credits his Strictly appearance last year with making him a better TV presenter and giving him “a lot more confidence”.
He also reveals that passers-by often walk past him and imitate his dance.
Of the new book, he said, “I’m really proud of it. There are a lot of people I’ve spoken to over the last year – people like Martin Hibbert who was paralyzed in the Manchester bombing and recently climbed Kilimanjaro.
“There are also the three dads who lost their daughters to suicide. They came together and raised almost £1million for Papyrus, the suicide prevention charity.
“Nicole Kidman was in the UK watching BBC Breakfast and was so captivated by the story that she got in touch and donated £10,000. So I contacted her to explain why this story had such an impact, and it is in this chapter.
“In all honesty, this book is the best thing I’ve ever written and it’s also the worst thing.
“When I was writing about fathers who lost their daughters, I really had to take six weeks off to think about the book. to stop thinking about what they had been through and how I would react if I was in that situation.
“What I found inspiring was that they went through some of the worst things life could throw at them, but they found a
Digging for Teasure Tonight with Dan and Michaela Strachan
“I hope that by reading the book people can see that we all live in dark, strange and mysterious times.
“There’s so much pressure on people, financial pressure, we’ve all been through the pandemic and I think these people have found their way through the muck, mud and dirt of life. I find that really inspiring and I hope other people will too.
Dan was a surprise hit on Strictly last year, reaching the quarter-finals with professional dancer Nadiya Bychkova.
Discussing the winner Rose and her inclusion in the book, he says, “It’s about Rose and Giovanni on Strictly, but more about Rose’s mom, Donna.
“Rose wrote a foreword to the book and the chapter basically explains how her mother, with a deaf daughter, struggled her whole life to try to give her daughter equal access to the world around her – and ultimately her becomes the first deaf person to win strictly.
It also tells the story of his partner Strictly, the Ukrainian world champion Bychkova, who fell in love with dancing at the age of five.
Dan lives in Sheffield with his wife Sarah and children Susie, 15, Jessica, 13 and Joe, 11. The couple met in college and married in 2001.
Finally freed from the 3am departures he endured while working on BBC Breakfast for over a decade, Dan says: “I feel like I’ve got part of my brain back. It’s good to have regular hours, but Monday mornings are the weirdest.
“The children are getting ready for school and I walk around eating some toast.
“I’m not complaining, but because I worked every Saturday we only had four days off for many years.
“So we went on vacation for a whole week! Went to Keswick with friends and had a great time.”
Nadiya Bychkova and Dan Walker on Strictly Come Dancing
Looking back on his Strictly journey, he says mastering the dance floor – something he thought was impossible at first – was a huge boost. Dan learned various dance styles, including the Viennese Waltz, to his wife’s favorite song, She’s Always a Woman, by Billy Joel. And he performed a jive disguised as a lobster.
He explains, “I’ve always been a confident person, but I think the whole process gave me a lot more confidence in something that I thought was totally beyond myself. It was a bit of a revelation, really. I was really comfortable on TV but barely on the dance floor and I think I’m a better presenter because of that.
This allowed for some very unusual encounters with the public. Dan explains: “I was in London yesterday and two people were pointing at me from across the street. They waved at me and walked past me.
But don’t expect the same flamboyance in outfits on the new show he co-hosts with Michaela Strachan and Raksha Dave.
Digging For Treasure Tonight features a team of amateur metal detectorists in a location known for its archaeological treasures on a mission to find artifacts.
Experts from the British Museum and the Treasure Trove in Scotland will be at the camp to identify all the objects discovered in the series.
Dan said he’s always been interested in the story: “I asked for a metal detector for Christmas when I was about 12 and then threw it away.
“I only found ringpulls and twopence, and I thought I didn’t have the patience for that.”
Much like Dan’s extraordinary book, this show promises to teach us more about the world around us and the people who inhabit it.
“These discoveries just go back in time, allowing us to learn a bit more about the people who walked around this part of our world. The idea of finding out how people lived hundreds and thousands of years ago years is something I love.
● Digging For Treasure Tonight, Channel 5, Friday, 9 p.m.