Tess Daly has been at the Strictly Come Dancing presenting helm since the show’s beginning in 2004. While she originally shared presenting duties with the legendary Sir Bruce Forsyth, Tess has been the main host since Brucie stepped down in 2014. She can now be seen presenting alongside Claudia Winkleman.
Born in Stockport, Tess has been working in the world of showbiz since the age of 17. She started her career as a model – a job that took her around the world to places such as Tokyo and New York – before moving into TV presenting, where she has found her niche.
Here are six things you might not know about Tess Daly:
1.Her name’s not Tess.
Tess’s birth name is not Tess. She was born Helen Elizabeth Daly in 1969.
Tess is, of course, an abbreviation of Elizabeth, which is her middle name. She’s been known by the memorable moniker throughout her three-decade career.
2.She’s appeared in not one, but two Duran Duran videos.
Like many models, Tess didn’t just appear on the catwalk and in magazines, she also featured in music videos.
In particular, Tess can be seen in two videos for pop band Duran Duran, both in 1990 – Violence of Summer and Serious.
Serious was set in a circus and saw Tess take a starring role – even appearing at the mike at times.
Tess also appeared in a music video for the band The Beloved.
3.She got her big break on The Big Breakfast.
While Tess was living in New York and working as a model she decided to make a showreel to help her to move into presenting. This showreel caught the attention of 90s British morning show The Big Breakfast and she was offered a presenting slot.
Tess started by presenting the show’s Find Me A Model competition – and then went on to present for shows including SMTV Live and Make Me A Supermodel before starting on Strictly in 2004.
The Big Breakfast ran for 10 years between 1992 and 2002.
4.She doesn’t have a nanny for her kids.
Tess has two daughters with husband Vernon Kay. Despite her busy TV presenting schedule, Tess is keen to be a hands-on mum.
“I just don't want to hand over responsibility for my kids to somebody else,” Tess told The Guardian. “Doesn't matter how good they are.”
5.She’s frightened of flying.
Despite living a jet-setting life as a model, living in Tokyo, New York and Paris, and visiting far-flung destinations like India and Thailand, Tess is actually frightened of flying.
Tess explained to The Telegraph that the fear has increased since becoming a mother – and it’s something she has sought professional help for.
“I actually get terrified in the air now to the point where I’ve had to see a specialist to deal with my fear of flying,” Tess said.
“I’d say it’s at least 70 per cent better now since speaking to someone and trying to rationalise the fear. I’ve spoken to a lot of mothers who feel the same.
“I think it’s the fatalist mentality of being a parent and you think: ‘What would happen if something went wrong?’ whereas before you didn’t care so much but as a mother you’re desperately needed by your children.”
6.She can talk really rather fast.
As a TV presenter, talking is Tess’s livelihood, so it’s no surprise she’s good at it.
In fact, one interviewer from the Guardian calculated that Tess spoke at a rate of 116 words per minute – racking up 7,000 words in total during the interview.
Imagine how many words that is across a whole series of Strictly!
Photo credits: BBC, PA