BBC Breakfast star Dan Walkers tragic moments – death threats to brutal injury

Dan Walker is one of Britain's most famous TV presenters, but the beloved BBC broadcaster has suffered a number of tragic moments during his years on the screen.

The golf-loving TV star, 44, is best known for greeting the nation with the latest news on his BBC Breakfast show every Monday to Wednesday alongside his co-host Sally Nugent.

The dad-of-three never turns away from a challenge either, because he took to the ballroom on Strictly Come Dancing last year as his pro partner Nadiya Bychkova taught him to dance, and he made it to the semi-finals.

However, despite his buckets of showbiz success, Dan has been forced to battle through some testing times, from heartbreaking deaths to savage hospital stints.

To celebrate Dan's 45th birthday today (March 19), Daily Star have taken a look at the BBC star's toughest moments.

Dealing with death threats

When Dan interviewed former One Direction star Louis Tomlinson on his Breakfast show, he left some of the hunk's fans fuming.

In fact, the presenter revealed he was sent five online death threats after his infamous interview with the singer in February 2020.

Dan said: "When I interviewed Louis Tomlinson, five people threatened to kill me – including one who said they were going to come over from Brazil."

Louis accused Dan and his ex-colleague Louise Minchin of "proper going in" on him with their questions, and vowed never to appear on the morning show.

At the start, they asked him about the deaths of his mother Johannah Deakin, who passed in 2016, and his sister Felicite, who died of an accidental drug overdose.

They also asked about his feud with former bandmate Zayn Malik, after which he said: "God, you’re proper going in here today aren’t you?"

He later said: "I’m just not ready to have that conversation yet and I think that is fair enough."

After being asked if One Direction would ever reunite, Louis said: "You’ve ticked them all off now. You’ve gone trauma, Zayn, and now we are finally on this one."

A BBC spokesperson said at the time: "We wanted to cover all aspects of Louis’s life that have influenced his new album and feel the questioning was fair."

Grieving a friend

When Walker was competing on last year's series of Strictly, he reportedly broke down in tears backstage after tragedy hit before the quarter-finals.

The star allegedly became emotional as it was the tenth anniversary of his pal Gary Speed's death.

A source told the Sun: "Dan tried to hold it together, but the emotion of the evening became too much after their dance and he broke down in the dressing room."

It came after Dan paid tribute to Gary, the former Newcastle United footballer, during the Saturday show.

The source claimed: "Nadiya consoled him. She was amazing, and basically let him cry it out on her shoulder," before adding she had been the Football Focus star's "rock" every week.

Savage Strictly injury

Dan famously suffered a scary head injury during an accident at a hotel, and it could have meant his Strictly journey was over before it had even begun.

Back in September, before the BBC show kicked off, Dan smacked his head on a revolving glass door after running out of a hotel reception.

The celeb thought he'd left his wallet in a taxi, but he hit his head on the door and fell backwards onto the floor before staff rushed to his aid.

Dan later revealed he had to go in for a brain scan so he could get the all-clear, and his dance partner Nadiya came to support him at A&E, but they had to hide in the car park as the public didn't know who the celebs were dancing with at that point.

Explaining the situation, Dan said: "I’d left my wallet in the taxi but completely ignored the massive glass panel in the way while I was running outside before the car drove off.

"There was an immediate cartoon bump and blood where my teeth burst my lips but thankfully it wasn’t as serious as it looked."

He added: "I had the scan and was told to rest. @NadiyaBychkova was lovely & came with me to A&E but had to hide in the car park for hours because we hadn’t been announced on the launch show at this point"

A killer climb

Before he put on his dancing shoes, Dan put on his climbing gear to take on Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief 2019.

He joined other stars including Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwall and Strictly star Shirley Ballas, but the group's gruelling adventure took a disastrous turn when they fell ill with altitude sickness.

Things got so unbearable that Dan began to cry, and frighteningly he didn't remember the ordeal, which could have meant he was suffering from "fatal" high altitude brain swelling.

Describing his breathing difficulties, Dan said it was like a "rock pressing down" on his chest.

He said: "Man alive that was tough", adding: "I have no memory of going up there. I honestly have no idea where we went or how long it took, so stupid."

The narrator later revealed: "The memory loss means he could be suffering from high altitude brain swelling, which could be fatal,"

Tough TV interviews

During his time presenting BBC Breakfast, Dan has had to console some of his guests when they become emotional on camera.

These sensitive interviews may include guests recalling traumatic experiences on camera, which is an incredibly brave thing to do.

To make sure their guests feel safe and supported, Dan employed a special tactic which his pal Louise called the Breakfast Cuddle.

Speaking in his autobiography, Remarkable People, Dan said: "We often deal with subjects which are difficult to discuss on national TV and, when we do that, we tend to be joined by a couple of guests: One is normally an expert and the other is a case study.

"We always put the case study next to us because they often need to be taken care of and looked after during the interview.

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"It's much easier to do that when they are within touching distance. It is awful to see someone crying when you are too far away to hold their hand or offer them a tissue."

One of the times they used the cuddle trick was in December 2019 during a segment on loneliness at Christmas.

They spoke to Laurie Boult from Age UK and Terrence, who had tragically spent twenty Christmases alone after the death of his mother.

Terrence became a volunteer for the Oldham branch of Age UK, and wanted to try and encourage others who might be alone over the festive period.

Laurie was sat at the end of the couch and Terrence was next to Dan in the "Breakfast cuddle position".

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