Presenter Helen Skelton shares her experience of being ‘groped live on air’

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • She was pregnant at the time

    Words by Anna Clarke

    Helen Skelton, the Countryfile presenter, has revealed that she was groped live on air during a television broadcast. The incident occurred back in 2014 during coverage for a sports event. Helen, who was pregnant at the time, was left feeling unsure of what to do.

    In an interview with the Telegraph, she described how ‘Basically, this guy grabbed me on the arse when I was presenting live telly. I felt really awkward about it. I was pregnant at the time as well,’ she said.

    ‘It’s intimidating and you don’t want to be the person who is being difficult and awkward.’

    A response that many women—not just in the media industry— can relate to, the feeling of not wishing ‘to be difficult’ or rock the boat.

    ‘It’s just the culture that television breeds. No one wants to be difficult. You want to bring solutions, not problems,’ says Helen.

    The 34 year-old presenter did not give any further details on the exact date that it took place or indeed disclose which programme she was presenting at the time or the identity of the man.

    She did describe how her BBC co-presenter, Colin Murray, had been incensed by the incident and had ‘kicked off and said that needs dealing with.’

    ‘It was handled brilliantly because of that. I’d never thought about complaining. I don’t want it to become my identity. The man in question was punished. There was a line drawn under it, and that was that.’

    Helen, who started her career on Blue Peter and since has worked on Newsround and contributed to the BBC’s 2016 Rio Olympic Games, also addressed the gender pay gap in the interview. She described how ‘inherently unfair’ the industry is, making reference to the BBC’s pay disparity. In October 2017, the BBC’s pay review revealed that on average men were being paid 9.3% more than women. But Helen said the high pressure of competition means she ‘signed that contract because, the minute you don’t, there are 10 people behind you that will.’

    Reading now

    Popular entertainment stories