start fresh: bbc breakfast presenter dan walker

Dan talks us through his sleep rituals

start fresh: bbc breakfast presenter dan walker

Does the thought of a 3.11am wake-up call make you wince? For BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker, it comes with the job. So it’s lucky that waking early is second nature to him. As part of our Start Fresh series, he talks us through his morning rituals and nighttime routine, including that alarm...

rise and shine

  • 3.11am My alarm goes off for BBC Breakfast. I actually have four alarms. ‘The Foghorn of Destiny’ goes off at 3.11am. ‘The Klaxon of Disaster’ is 3.14am and if I ignore that, at 3.18am ‘Get Up You Massive Horse’ will sound. 3.21am is ‘Argh’. I’ve never got to ‘Argh’ but sometimes I will stay in bed until 3.18am.
  • 3.20am I live with my wife and three kids in Sheffield, so I try to be fairly quiet in the morning. I don’t wake up my wife anymore – I used to be like a drunken elephant, but I’m a ninja now. I go to the bathroom, get dressed and leave. If I’m not at BBC Breakfast, I’ll get up around 6.15am. I’ve never been a lie-in type.
  • 4.45am I’ll arrive at the studio in Salford and put the rest of my suit on, and sit in hair and makeup to sort out my bedhead. I’ll say hello to the team and go through the programme – they’ve been up since 9pm the night before preparing the show, so my job is very easy compared to theirs.
  • 5.30am I have one cup of tea and peanut butter on toast before we go on air. It often surprises people but I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life. It’s not a ‘body is a temple’ thing but I hate the smell of it. I couldn’t go on air without any food, though. That’s non-negotiable.
  • 5.55am The show starts at six, so we’re in the studio five minutes before, getting ready to go until we go off-air at 9.15am. I really enjoy doing my job so the fact it’s early doesn’t bother me. I do breakfast TV three days a week (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday), so it’s manageable and the early starts mean I get to spend a lot of time with my family, which is great.

winding down

  • 5.30pm I usually have an early dinner with the kids after school, or I might come home and do a few things around the house first.
  • 8.45pm I’ll go upstairs and iron a shirt before going through stuff for the next day and sending any work emails that need to be sent. Sometimes I’ll read my notes or watch something for work the next morning, so I suppose I have a routine of sorts.
  • 9pm I used to have a bad back fairly often – perhaps because I’m 6ft 6. Since I started using eve’s original mattress, I don’t wake up with a bad back any more, which is brilliant.
  • 10.30pm I’ll aim to turn my light off by 10.30pm if I’ve got BBC Breakfast the next day. On a Wednesday night, I’ll go to bed an hour later, at 11.30pm or midnight. I’m aware I go to bed far too late. But if I go to bed earlier, I’ll lay there awake.

Want to know more about what gets people up in the morning? Get the scoop from Kayleigh, service manager for a homeless charity or Alex, a commercial airline pilot.