Claudia Winkleman on her daughter’s fire horror: ‘I wish it had happened to me’

Strictly Come Dancing co-host Claudia Winkleman has described the moment her daughter ‘screamed out for me’ as her Halloween fancy dress witch costume went up in flames.

The star spoke to BBC consumer campaign show Watchdog about the incident, which left eight-year-old Matilda in hospital.

She told Chris Hollins: “I was talking to somebody… and then I heard her shout and she was on fire… it feels like she was on fire for hours, but the surgeon said that it definitely wasn’t the case and it was probably just seconds… she went up, is the only way I know how to describe it… it was a spark and she screamed out for me.

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman present Strictly Come Dancing (Ian West/PA)


“It was like those horrific birthday candles that you blow out and then they come back… it was really fast, it was fast, it wasn’t fire like I’d seen.”

Claudia said the incident was ‘life changing, but not life defining’.

She said: “It was definitely life changing for me. I can’t remember life before it… I wish I had been dressed as the witch is mainly all I wish, that it had happened to me… She went up, and I don’t want that to happen to another child.

“I would like parents to – just on Halloween, just to think about what they’re going to put their kids in because I didn’t, and it cost us.”

Claudia Winkleman

Claudia is a Royal Television Society award winner (Ian West/PA)


Claudia, who missed several weeks of the BBC ballroom show to be with her daughter, eventually returned in triumph, picking up a Royal Television Society (RTS) award for her work.

Also featured in the show, which screens at 8pm tomorrow, is Jorge Leon-Vallapalos, the paediatric plastic surgeon who treated Matilda at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and the show tests how safe high street costumes are.

See the full interview in Watchdog tonight at 8pm on BBC One.

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