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Claudia Winkleman: 'It felt like my daughter was on fire for hours'


Claudia Winkleman

Claudia Winkleman

Claudia Winkleman

Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman has described the moment her daughter "screamed out for me" as her Halloween fancy dress witch costume went up in flames.

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

She told Chris Hollins: "I was talking to somebody, and then I heard her shout and she was on fire.

"It felt like she was on fire for hours, but the surgeon said that it 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.

"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."

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

She said: "It was definitely life-changing for me. I can't remember life before it. I wish I had been dressed as the witch, that it had happened to me. She went up, and I don't want that to happen to another child.


"I would like parents, just on Halloween, 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 tonight, is Jorge Leon-Vallapalos, the paediatric plastic surgeon who treated Matilda at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. The show also tests how safe high street costumes are.

See the full interview on Watchdog tonight at 8pm on BBC One.