Claudia Winkleman: Strictly host speaks out on harrowing ‘flashbacks’ amid family torment

Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman, 47, has admitted she suffered “flashbacks” following the incident which took place in 2014. Her daughter Matilda was eight when she caught fire after her Halloween costume went up in flames due to a nearby candle.

Claudia revealed that the accident had a devastating impact on her mentally while speaking to child clinical psychologist Tanya Bryon on their podcast How Did We Get Here?

The Strictly host confessed she suffered “flashbacks which hit like a tsunami” following the horrific incident.

Speaking on the podcast, Claudia admitted Tanya had helped her to deal with the torment when she felt she was about to “drown”.

“I can say out loud that you helped me with flashbacks,” the BBC favourite explained. “I had flashbacks of my daughter when she had an accident when she was eight-years-old.”


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Claudia continued: “And they come at you – the only way that I can describe it – it’s like a bull. Like a tsunami.

“It’s so enormous that you think you are going to drown. So instead you have to shove it to one side.”

The youngster suffered severe burns to her legs and her neighbour, Jamie Poulton, was left with second-degree burns after trying to tackle the fire with his bare hands.

Speaking at the time, he told the Daily Mail: “All the children were wearing the same kit.

“It was like a potential horror film in front of me because they were all going to go. This material just keeps reigniting and re-burning.”

He added: “And it is sticky, so it melts on the skin. It doesn’t cinder. It remains hot. It was horrific, to be honest.”

Claudia’s comments come after she recently spoke about the incident and how Tanya had come to her rescue.

Speaking to Times magazine, the BBC favourite credited the psychologist as one of the first people to have contacted her after the accident.

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Claudia told the publication: “I just knew I would need Tanya. I did [need her] and she put me back together again, let’s just say that.

“I am incredibly lucky that I happen to have an incredible friend who happens to be in my eyes the world’s best clinical psychologist and I was facing something that felt difficult.”

She continued: “I don’t want to use big words because I have to be respectful to [my daughter] and the rest of my family, but Tanya genuinely, well, she saved me.”

The two became friends after working together on the BBC Three show The House of Tiny Tearaways in 2005.


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Claudia admitted that she would “replay the trauma”, which then caused her to be hyper-vigilant over Matilda and her two sons, Jake and Arthur.

She says Tanya gave her “majestic” advice on how not to be overprotective, despite her saying she “can’t remember life before” the incident happened.

The friends are currently working together on their new podcast How Did We Get Here?

The podcast features parents who have been through challenging or traumatic experiences.

Claudia has been married to husband Kris Thykier since 2000 and the couple share three children together, Matilda, Jake and Arthur.

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