Sunday 18 August 2019

Mike Bushell bids to turn clumsy into graceful on Strictly dance floor

The BBC Breakfast regular is famous for a number of gaffes during live interviews.

BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell is ready to tackle Strictly (Barrington Coombs/PA)
BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell is ready to tackle Strictly (Barrington Coombs/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Strictly Come Dancing could be a cinch for BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell, as he is a record holder in trying out different sports.

Bushell claims on his Twitter page that he has tried more than 500 different sports and activities during his career in what is thought to be a world record.

But despite his willingness to try new things, Bushell is known for being somewhat gaffe-prone – a reputation he may not wish to bring with him to the Strictly dance floor.

Perhaps the clumsy presenter’s most famous moment came when he fell into a swimming pool during a live BBC Breakfast interview with members of the England swimming team on Australia’s Gold Coast during the Commonwealth Games.

Bushell, 53, who presents sport on BBC Breakfast, the BBC News Channel and BBC World News, gamely got into the shallow water in the pool to talk to the athletes while joking about having to be careful because of his sound pack, before slipping into deeper water with a splash just a moment later.

The swimmers – and the rest of the world – were in fits of laughter at his blunder, which caused the microphone to stop working and was watched by millions.

He once also spilled water on his trousers during a live interview, and in 2015 he appeared to accidentally cup BBC Breakfast weather presenter Carol Kirkwood’s breasts as they hosted live from Wimbledon.

Bushell, unveiled as the sixth celebrity to join this year’s Strictly on BBC Breakfast, started his Saturday slot on the channel in 2006.

He started his career at the BBC in 1990 as a reporter with Radio Solent.

He went on to become a reporter for BBC South Today on the Isle of Wight, and he was one of the first people to appear on the BBC’s rolling news channel News 24 in 1997, now the BBC News channel.

As well as taking on a variety of different sports over the years – such as playing tennis against Novak Djokovic and cricket with Alastair Cook – Bushell is known for presenting from large sporting events including the Olympics, Paralympics, football World Cups and Commonwealth Games.

He is also said to hold the world record for crossing a mile of water in a large inflatable ball called a zorb, the unusual task taking him one hour and 57 seconds.

Of his forthcoming challenge on Strictly, Bushell told BBC Breakfast: “I’ll try not to fall over but if I can get one foot in front of the other to the beat of the music, I’ll be fine.”

Last year’s Strictly winner Stacey Dooley joined Bushell for the announcement, and she described him as “clumsy” but added: “It’s not really about the dance, I think they love a trier.”

Bushell follows in the footsteps of other BBC Breakfast sports presenters Chris Hollins and Ore Oduba, both of whom won the glitterball trophy during their attempts in 2009 and 2016 respectively.

PA Media

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