Early life and familyEdit
Winkleman was born to a Jewish family on 15th January 1972,the daughter of Eve Pollard, former editor of the Sunday Express, and Barry Winkleman (born 1939) former publisher of The Times Atlas of the World. Her parents divorced when she was three; both remarried in 1979. Her stepfather is Sir Nicholas Lloyd, former editor of the Daily Express, and her half-sister, from her father's second marriage, to children's author Cindy Black, is actress Sophie Winkleman, wife of Lord Frederick Windsor. She has a younger half-brother, Oliver Lloyd, from her mother's second marriage, to Nicholas Lloyd.
Winkleman's first major television job was in 1991, on the regional discussion programme Central Weekend. In 1992, she began frequently to appear in the long-running BBC series Holiday, and this continued throughout the mid-1990s. This culminated in a special documentary in which she travelled around the world for 34 days reporting from Japan, India, Costa Rica and Dubai.
Throughout this period, Winkleman also appeared as a reporter on other shows, particularly This Morning interviewing celebrities, including Michelle Pfeiffer, Tony Blair, Alan Sugar andHarrison Ford. During the late 1990s, Winkleman presented a number of programmes on smaller digital channels. She had a stint on the cable channel L!VE TV, run by Kelvin MacKenzie andJanet Street-Porter, but soon left to pursue other projects. One programme made during this period was a short series titled Toilets shown on BBC Choice, which examined the "design, etiquette, psychology and hidden culture behind the humble loo"
She also presented a number of gameshows including the dating show Three's a Crowd, LWT show Talking Telephone Numbers, the second series of Granada TV show God's Gift and Fanorama, which featured a young David Mitchell as a team captain in his first television appearance. In 1997 she was the co-host of children's Saturday morning TV show Tricky, along with a green cartoon dragon who called her "Claudia Winklebottom". She was also an occasional team captain on a gameshow called HeadJam, hosted by Vernon Kay.
Between 2002 and 2004, Winkleman began her first daily TV role when she hosted the BBC Three Entertainment update show Liquid News, taking over from Christopher Price on the now defunct BBC Choice. She shared the presenting duties with Colin Paterson, and later Paddy O'Connell. The show featured celebrity interviews, for example Winkleman interviewed S Club 7 in May 2003. In 2003, Fame Academyappointed Winkleman to present a daily update show on BBC Three, in conjunction with its second series. Reporting from behind the scenes of the show, Winkleman conducted daily interviews with contestants, experts and celebrity pundits. She repeated the show in 2005 for the much shorter celebrity version Comic Relief Does Fame Academy. Also in 2005, Winkleman co-hosted The House of Tiny Tearaways, a BBC Three reality TV show, along with Tanya Byron, a British psychologist, writer and media personality. She also began hosting Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, a supplementary programme to Strictly Come Dancing, taking over from Justin Lee-Collins.
Winkleman then presented several more reality shows including End of Story in 2004, a literature-based show, and Art School in 2005, a programme which saw five unlikely celebrities go through a two-week art course at theChelsea College of Art and Design.
More recently, Winkleman has presented a number of prime time programmes. In 2007, she took over from Cat Deeley as the main host for the third series of Comic Relief Does Fame Academy, co-hosting with Patrick Kielty. She also presented the Eurovision Song Contest. She co-hosted coverage of the inaugural Eurovision Dance Contest 2007 alongside Graham Norton for BBC One in September of that year. She co-presented the UK selection process for theEurovision Song Contest 2008 called Eurovision: Your Decision, this time accompanied by Eurovision stalwart Terry Wogan. In March 2008, Winkleman rekindled her partnership with Patrick Kielty when the pair hosted the final leg ofSport Relief 2008, announcing £19,640,321 as the final amount raised through viewers' donations. She has since spoken of how much she was moved by the experience.
In 2007, Winkleman was the face of Sky Movie Premiere's coverage of the 79th Academy Awards, repeating it for the 80th Academy Awards in 2008. The show was broadcast live in conjunction with the ceremony itself, running right through the night into the early hours of the morning.
Winkleman has made many guest appearances on panel and talk shows, including: Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Would I Lie To You? (in which she appeared on David Mitchell's team, thus reprising their earlier gameshow collaboration),Have I Got News for You, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, and Lily Allen and Friends. In February 2008, she appeared on the British version of the comedy improvisational show Thank God You're Here, hosted by Paul Merton. In it she had to improvise a scene in which she played a boarding school girl who had been called to the headmistress's office.
Winkleman narrated the BBC Three show Glamour Girls, a documentary series focusing on Britain's glamour industry.
In March 2009, Winkleman was announced as the host of the new series of Hell's Kitchen on ITV1. She fronted the nightly show live from the restaurant in East London in its fourth series in the spring.
On 14 November 2009, she stepped in on the main show of Strictly Come Dancing to present backstage, this was due to main presenter Bruce Forsyth being on sick leave. She co-hosted the show with Tess Daly and guest presenter Ronnie Corbett.
On 29 March 2010, Winkleman was named as one of the new co-presenters of The Film Programme, replacing Jonathan Ross. The Guardian stated, through her recent hosting of Sky Television's coverage of The Oscars, Winkleman had "proved both a passionate and engaging advocate of cinema", while her husband Kris Thykier is a film producer with credits on several mainstream releases.
It is through her work on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two that Winkleman has gained the most public recognition. The programme, which started in 2004, was devised as a companion show to run conjoined with the second series of Strictly Come Dancing, and continues to run to date. It follows a similar format to the one Winkleman made popular on Fame Academy, and sees the presenter deliberating and dissecting the ins and outs of the main competition, accompanied by an array of dance experts, assorted guests and the competitors themselves. The show is aired every weekday throughout the course of the series at 6:30pm on BBC Two. The show's four judges also appear regularly on the programme.
One of the show's features was "Len's Masterclass," a segment in which Head Judge Len Goodman demonstrated with Winkleman a dance move or two. Her attempts to follow the steps are accompanied by much girlish giggling.
The 2011 series of the programme was presented by former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Zoë Ball, as Winkleman was on maternity leave, and some different segments were introduced. In 2012 it was announced that Zoë Ball would be the regular presenter of Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two,with Winkleman's involvement in Series 10 of the show being limited to co-hosting the Sunday night results show with Tess Daly..