Great Britain

Strictly’s Dan Walker admits he is close friends with head judge Shirley Ballas – risking ‘favouritism’ claims

STRICTLY Come Dancing star Dan Walker has controversially admitted he is close friends with head judge Shirley Ballas.

The BBC Breakfast star has risked fuelling a favouritism row after admitting the pair have been friends since they met on Comic Relief in 2019.

Dan, 44, made his debut on Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday night as it was revealed he is to dance alongside pro partner Nadiya Bychkova.

But the telly host has already risked getting himself in hot water after he admitted he is close pals with one of the Strictly judges.

He and head judge Shirley, 61, have been friends for two years after they climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania together for Comic Relief.

Dan revealed their close bond at the launch of the new Strictly series this weekend as he "looked forward to seeing" Shirley again.

"We had some great conversations on that trip. I really got to know her well. I'm looking forward to seeing her," he explained.

"We've had a few Kilimanjaro reunions. She's great, talented and knows what she is talking about."

With eyebrows raised as to whether or not the star would get special treatment from Shirley, he insister she would NOT go easy on him.

He recalled of their time climbing the mountain: "On one particular occasion Shirley was feeling a bit down and a bit upset.

"I nicked one of the blankets we were using to keep warm at night and I did a bit of impromptu pasodoble. She laughed her head off.

"I questioned whether I would've got a 10 but she continued to laugh, so I'm not sure the technique was great."

On Saturday night, Dan sung the praises of his pro partner Nadiya -who patiently waited hours for him as he attended A&E following a head injury.

The 44-year-old star revealed yesterday that he'd suffered a horror accident after crashing into a glass door when running to get his wallet.

Sharing selfies from his hospital dash, the BBC Breakfast favourite revealed he'd been taken in after feeling "woozy" - just a day before Strictly's launch.

"Bit of head-based drama today! After whacking my noggin on the big glass window yesterday I got sent to A & E today because I was feeling a little wobbly," he explained.

"A lovely nurse at Barnet Hospital called Karina checked my vitals and 6ft 9 Consultant Erik Witt gave me a CT scan to check for a bleed on the brain. Thankfully… all ok.

"I’ve got to rest for a couple of days - so I’ll be a bit behind - but ready to dig in again next week. A timely reminder of how amazing the NHS is."

He went on to sing Nadiya's praises on the live show as he admitted she "waisted for hours" alongside him at the hospital.

The BBC news presenter said: "I hope you all get to know Nadiya a bit too. She’s really funny and such a great teacher.

"We’ve had a real giggle already and the partnership was cemented when she waited for hours for me in A & E the other day."

Strictly Come Dancing start date revealed by Dan Walker in slip up live on BBC Breakfast

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