TV

The Bewitching Wonder of Claudia Winkleman


The Traitors would be nothing without its presenter.

Claudia Winkleman The Traitors Series 2
Photo: BBC/Studio Lambert/Mark Mainz

It’s almost time for Claudia Winkleman to return to her cool, damp burrow, where she’ll remain, out of sight, for the remaining winter months. When her twitching nose smells summer, Winkleman will emerge refreshed, gorge on a pawful of hazelnuts from the forest floor to nourish her glossy coat, and begin the long journey to Scotland to film a third series of The Traitors.

That’s ridiculous, sorry. Claudia Winkleman isn’t a forest creature; she’s a human person, equal parts knitwear and eyeliner. Her oversized jumpers aren’t self-woven in an underground den; she buys them. From monks. Who knit them out of rainclouds and sin.

Apologies. Again. It’s hard not to tip into fantasy when it comes to Claudia Winkleman, because as a creation she is fantastical. A kohl-rimmed alien. She’s funny and weird and distinctive, with a way of speaking that’s all her own: the delivery of a 1940s newsman and the words of a… 1940s newsman with a cockatoo on his shoulder, a glint in his eye and nothing to lose.

Winkleman is untrammelled. Have you seen her on a promotional circuit? Book her on This Morning to plug her new tour and she’ll derail it by talking exclusively about risotto. Perch her on The One Show sofa to tease The Traitors finale and she’ll turn up looking like a Fifth Beatle, make several noises in the manner of an unnerved horse, and leave them with an innuendo involving a puppy and a blanket.

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