Claudia Winkleman kicks off new Radio 2 slot after sleepless night

Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Claudia Winkleman kicked off her new Radio 2 show after a sleepless night.

The Strictly Come Dancing co-host has taken over Graham Norton’s slot on the station after he quit to go to Virgin Radio.

“Look, I’m going to be frank with you. It’s my first show,” Winkleman, 49, said.

“I slept for under six minutes, so I really only have one word for it,” she said before listeners heard the Beatles track Help!

After the song finished, she said: “Genuinely any help would be excellent… Let’s do this!”

Graham Norton has moved to Virgin Radio
Graham Norton has moved to Virgin Radio (Matt Crossick/PA)

Winkleman previously said she “thought it was a joke” when she initially got a call about taking over the programme.

Norton, who was paid about £725,000 from the BBC for his Radio 2 show and some TV work, followed in the footsteps of ex-Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans when he left for Virgin.

He later said a “bonus” of him quitting Radio 2 was that he will no longer be included on the BBC’s list of its top earners.

Winkleman first joined Radio 2 in spring 2008, hosting a comedy quiz series called Hot Gossip before moving to Friday nights to host the Claudia Winkleman Arts Show.

She described her new, Saturday morning show as a “privilege and an honour”.