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Claudia Winkleman kicks off Radio 2 show with ‘six minutes’ of sleep after taking over from Graham Norton

Claudia Winkleman had a sleepless night before her first show (Picture: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Claudia Winkleman has revealed she had a bit of a sleepless night before her first show on Radio 2, claiming she got less than ‘six minutes’.

The Strictly Come Dancing co-host, 49, has taken over Graham Norton’s slot on Radio 2 after he left to go to Virgin Radio, and it seems the excitement of her first show was too much for Claudia. 

She told listeners: ‘Look, I’m going to be frank with you. It’s my first show. I slept for under six minutes, so I really only have one word for it…’

Claudia then played the Beatles’ classic song Help!, after which she joked: ‘Genuinely any help would be excellent… Let’s do this!’

Graham had been paid a reported £725,000 from the BBC for his Radio 2 show and some TV work, and joked that it would be a ‘bonus’ to no longer be included on the BBC’s list of its top earners. 

He followed in the footsteps of fellow ex-Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans who also quit the station to head over to Virgin instead. 

Claudia had first joined Radio 2 in 2008 where she hosted a comedy quiz series called Hot Gossip, before started the Claudia Winkleman Arts Show on Friday nights. 

She described her new Saturday morning show as a ‘privilege and an honour,’ admitting she ‘thought it was a joke’ when she was first asked to take over Graham’s slot. 

Claudia said in a statement at the time: ‘I’m not often speechless but the chance to be with the wonderful Radio 2 listeners every Saturday has left me, quite frankly, gobsmacked. 

‘I hope my voice comes back in time for the first show as I can no longer simply rely on a fake tan and a fringe. There’s nobody I’d rather be with at the weekend, it’s a privilege and an honour.’  

Graham also congratulated his successor and tweeted: ‘Congratulations @ClaudiaWinkle You’ll love it!! Welcome to @BBCRadio2 Saturday mornings!!’

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