JO DAVISON: Daredevil Helen takes TV work to a different level

Blue Peter: Helen Skelton

Blue Peter: Helen Skelton

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So, you think you’re cut out to be the next new telly presenter, do you?

You’ve got a pretty face and the gift of the gab. You wear shorts over your tights and you know how to do your hair in that peculiar Diana Vickers side fringe.

And, but of course, you want fame more than anything.

You and every other girl doing media studies.

The brutal truth is that virtually everyone who wants to be “in the meeja” doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance.

And that, if they did succeed, it would never live up to their expectations.

You no doubt think a job in journalism is glamorous; that you’d be interviewing celebrities all day long and getting free clothes.

Try sitting through a full council meeting, or dashing from case to case at the magistrates’ courts. Or, worse, imagine how you’d feel as you knock on the door of a family who have just lost their children in a car crash.

Telly presenting is easier? Tell that to Blue Peter girl Helen Skelton, the lass (northern, of course) who has just walked a tightrope slung between Battersea Power Station’s twin towers.

There she was, 250 feet up, totally focused ‘in the zone’, calmly taking it one valiant step at a time as she swayed gently in the breeze. And she had perfect eye-make-up on.

It was for Comic Relief, that incredibly courageous feat, but for sure it was also for Helen, a remarkable young woman with as much guts as thirst for adventure.

Last year, Supergirl Skelton hopped in a kayak and paddled the entire length of the River Amazon. On her own. All 2,000 miles from Peru to Brazil for Sport Relief. As she said to the cameraman as she hopped off the high-wire with a bashful little smile: ‘What’s next, then?’

Helen is a world away from the ten-a-penny TV poppets who are in it because they want to be famous. Or even better, nab a famous boyfriend.

In her shadow, their fake-tanned faces pale.

Plus she’s transported the job remit of Blue Peter presenter into another stratosphere. When she leaves to move on to surely greater things, like lion-taming or conquering Everest, how on earth will her successors be allowed to get by on papier maché skills and making Christmas decorations from coat hangers, toilet roll holders and empty Fairy bottles?

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