Dan Walker: Breakfast host caught eating interviewers’ lunch during early days at BBC

Dan Walker recalls eating BBC job interviewer’s lunch

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Dan Walker, 43, has admitted to once eating a colleague’s lunch, as he mistook a lavish spread put on at the BBC for his own meal. The BBC Breakfast host was applying for a trainee scheme at the public broadcaster when he made the error, which saw him get caught out by a senior member of staff.

It could have gone differently

Dan Walker

Speaking on the Life Interrupted podcast with Simon Thomas, Dan explained: “I was selected to be on the shortlist for this BBC trainee scheme, where you essentially go off and become a correspondent. 

“This was very early in my career, so I must have been 21 at the time. It was an amazing course to get on to, and I got down to the final selection process.”

However, after working hard to impress his soon to be colleagues, Dan felt slightly peckish after a full day of being tested.

He continued: “I think they were choosing three people, and I was in the final eight. So I had a full day of being assessed, I was doing quite well, very nicely, and then I went in for my final one of three interview, which I thought had gone OK, and as I walked out I was feeling top of the world thinking, ‘I’ve got a chance here’, and there was a big spread laid out, and I thought, ‘Fantastic’.”

As he began to tuck into the buffet, one assessor walked out and caught him enjoying the savoury delights, which were actually meant for the assessing panel to eat.

Dan added: “Nobody else in the room, I just tucked in, and I can still see… you know when you’re outside your own body? I can see the image of me and I had this massive prawn vol-au-vent and I was wedging it in my mouth, when the head assessor walked out and said, ‘What do you think you’re doing? That’s our lunch’.

“So that’s another one where it could have gone differently,” he laughed.

Thankfully Dan’s honest mistake did not cost him a job at the BBC, as he has gone on to build a hugely successful career with the public broadcaster.

Dan began his career on Hallam FM in Sheffield, then joined Granada TV and went on the join the corporation on regional show BBC North West before moving to BBC Sport.

He has presented Football Focus since 2009 and has been a main host on BBC Breakfast for four years, when he replaced Bill Turnbull.

In a statement at the time, Dan said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the BBC Breakfast team. 

“I have watched the show avidly over the years and am even looking forward to setting my alarm clock and doing what I can to make it even more successful.

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“It is an honour to be given this opportunity and to follow in the footsteps of someone like Bill Turnbull. The man has significant shoes to fill, so I hope I can do as good a job as he did waking up the nation,” he added.

However, the 43-year-old has since admitted it has been difficult at times, as he recalled some parting advice he was given by Bill.

He told Express.co.uk: “When I took over from Bill – who did the programme for 15 years – he said, ‘I don’t need to give you any advice Dan because I think you’ll be alright. The only thing I would say is to manage your sleep’.

“I entirely ignored that,” the BBC host added.

Dan often gets to bed too late, despite having to be on-air from six in the morning.

“I go to bed far too late and get up far too early,” Dan remarked.

“The one piece of advice Bill actually gave me I completely ignored. It’s horrendous.”

The dad-of-three stays in touch with Bill, who was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer in 2017.

Last year, the former BBC host gave an update on his health following the current lockdown restrictions and explained he is doing well.

Dan said: “I do keep tabs on Bill. You know, the people at BBC Breakfast love him. I’m aware that stepping into his shoes is huge.”

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