How Carol Kirkwood kept her Strictly figure
Weather presenter Carol Kirkwood talks festive memories, the secret to her super-trim figure and what it’s like when things don’t go to plan on live TV...
Carol Kirkwood may be the first lady of BBC Weather, but she is also modest to a fault. Not only does she instantly refute the idea that she’s a celebrity, but the 2015 Strictly Come
Dancing contestant gets a fit of the giggles when we suggest she’s a bit of a sex symbol, too – judging by how many fans go into meltdown on Twitter when she comes on screen.
Talking about her Strictly experience, the 55-year-old admits she went down two dress sizes on the show thanks to gruelling rehearsals, and thinks someone over 50 (Debbie McGee, anyone?) could one day win the show.
‘I don’t see why not. I think if you’re fit, it’s got more to do with your ability to pick up dances rather than anything else,’ she says.
Here, the weather anchor – whose soft Scottish vowels can also be heard on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show – talks about telly mishaps, her personal style evolution, and how she manages to look so good in those tight-fitting dresses of hers!
Hi, Carol! You cause quite a stir when you present the weather. Do you feel like a sex symbol?
I am your proverbial girl-nextdoor, I am certainly not a sex symbol. I can say that quite categorically! I do get a lot of people asking me where my clothes are from, which is a huge compliment. But, yes, in the past, I’ve had saucy fan mail, requests for marriage, the lot.
You wear some lovely dresses. Is that your signature style?
I’ve gathered quite a collection over the years, too. Years ago, when I worked outside in the Blue Peter garden, I wore black trousers, a black top and a bright-coloured coat, as I was standing in the dark. Coming into the studio was more difficult and, at the start, I got my style very wrong, wearing separates and severe hairdos! But you evolve gradually, and dresses are easy – you don’t have to think too much.
Not everyone in their 50s could rock a tightfitting dress, though! How do you stay so trim?
I don’t feel that way at all! I normally look at myself in the mirror and think I need to go for another run and stop scoffing chocolate. I love running, so I try to run two to three times a week. I’d always thought running wouldn’t be my thing, especially as a woman with… boobs! But you just get the right bra, strap yourself in and you’re off.
What’s your take on social media?
I’m only on Twitter, and it’s mostly for work – I’ll usually talk about the weather or, occasionally, where a dress is from. I get some negativity, which I block immediately. I get people saying, ‘ Your
smile is fake,’ and ‘I can’t stand how you smile incessantly, it’s phoney.’ But it’s not – I’m just a happy, positive person.
Do people often stop you on the street?
They do, it’s lovely. I always get, ‘My dad really likes you!’ It’s not great when you’ve nipped out for milk in a pair of tracksuit bottoms, no make-up, hair scraped back and someone asks for a selfie!
So, tell us how you’re involved in Children In Need this year?
Well, I’ve been involved for years – from performing It’s Raining Men with the other weather girls to visiting places that have benefitted from donations. Do Your Thing is great fun, the idea is you do literally anything you fancy to raise money – wearing fancy dress, soaking in a bath of baked beans… indulge your passion. What’s it really like to work on BBC Breakfast? Lovely. Nothing bad to report! We’re all friends. In fact, Steph [McGovern], Sally [Nugent] and myself go on holiday together regularly. The relationships you see aren’t manufactured for telly.
With live TV, things don’t always go to plan, do they?
No, especially on location. People can suddenly appear behind you. I was photobombed once on a beach by a dog. He decided he was going to relieve himself behind me, but, of course, I couldn’t see him. He carried on regardless, in shot the entire time.
Christmas is coming! What does it mean to you?
I love everything about it. I come from a huge family of seven brothers and sisters – so, in years gone by, imagine how full our front room was! We were like the Von Trapps. Mum played the organ, and we’d sing. These days, if I’m working, I go to work in the morning, then I head out with friends for lunch. It’s a grown-up Christmas, but it’s still magical.
Carol’s getting involved in Children In Need
Carol believes an older woman – like Debbie (left) – could win Strictly