Thursday 29 September 2016

Strictly star Winkleman tells of fire horror

By Robert Dex

Published 13/05/2015 | 22:38

Claudia Winkleman who is to appear on consumer rights show Watchdog tomorrow speaking about how her daughter was badly burned when her Halloween fancy dress costume went up in flames. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Claudia Winkleman who is to appear on consumer rights show Watchdog tomorrow speaking about how her daughter was badly burned when her Halloween fancy dress costume went up in flames. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

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.

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

"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," she told presenter Chris Hollins.

"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."

Read more: Claudia Winkleman missed 'Strictly' broadcast after daughter (8) involved in Halloween accident

Winkleman said the incident was "life changing, but not life defining".

Claudia Winkleman being interviewed by Chris Hollins for BBC One's Watchdog about making children's fancy dress outfits safe. Photo: BBC/PA
Claudia Winkleman being interviewed by Chris Hollins for BBC One's Watchdog about making children's fancy dress outfits safe. Photo: BBC/PA

"It was definitely life changing for me," she said.

"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".

Winkleman, 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 goes out 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.

Read more: Claudia steps back on to Strictly

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

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