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Dan Walker has revealed that he won’t be dancing on Sundays for Strictly Come Dancing as he always takes the day off for religious reasons.
The BBC Breakfast presenter is a devout Christian and as a result he never works the Sabbath. He has told his professional dance partner Nadiya Bychkova that he will take Sundays off to “gain perspective” and recover from the live show on Saturday night.
This decision could jeopardise the 42 year old’s progress in the competition as his fellow contestants on the BBC One hit show will be putting in additional hours on Sunday.
Yet, an insider told The Mail on Sunday that for Dan taking the time to be with his family is worth the sacrifice to his training hours.
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The source disclosed: “Dan’s religion is very important to him and he won’t be dancing on Sundays. It is a sacrifice he makes for his faith.
“While Nadiya will have to understand, the professional dancers become more competitive than the celebrities as the series draws to a close, the rivalry amongst them is huge.”
Throughout his 20 year career in journalism, Dan has upheld his Evangelical Christian faith and the religious practice of not working on Sunday’s.
At times this has led the dad-of-three to miss out on professional opportunities as the majority of football matches occur over the weekend.
Dan spoke to The i about holding onto his work life balance and how important it is to him to keep Sunday’s free to be there for his young children and wife.
He told the outlet: “I’ve always had that day as a family day. Sometimes, it’s been difficult, and some people find it peculiar that that’s the stance I’ve chosen to take. But it’s really important.
“I work a lot, so I have to make up for the fact that I'm not there. My faith is important to me. It's what makes me tick.
“Having that time to rest, gain perspective and concentrate on the important things in life keeps me grounded.”
Dan lives in Sheffield with his wife, Sarah and their three children Susie, 14, Jessica, 12 and Joe, 10. He revealed that his main inspiration to go onto Strictly were his kids as in previous years he’d declined the opportunity.
“My kids had sat me down at Christmas and said, ‘We only really want you to do two programmes,” he commented to the i.
“We’d love you to do [children’s entertainment show] Saturday Mash-Up and, if you get asked again, can you do Strictly?’
“I thought, ‘If I’m going to do this, I want to do it before they’re either too embarrassed to watch it.”
“My 14 year old, who loves dancing and singing, is coming to the first live show with my wife. She can’t wait to dress up. She’s got some sparkly shoes and glittery lipstick.
“And if I get one, ‘That was cool’, that’s brilliant. However long I’m in it, I’m in it for them.”
The timing was also perfect for the presenter as Dan recently stepped down from presenting Football Focus after 12 years on the Saturday show.
Dan previously told the Radio Times that he would turn down “the best job in the world” if it required working on Sundays as his faith is “more important.”
He continued: "For practical and spiritual reasons it's really important to me.
“It's a personal decision I made for the good of my family, and I've managed somehow to maintain it for 20 years.”
The presenter made an impressive start in the competition scoring 24 points with his debut dance, the quickstep to Everybody Needs Somebody to Love by The Blues Brothers.
Followed by his Gladiator inspired Paso Doble to Giant by Rag’n’Bone Man that left the judges divided, but still scored him a reputable 26.
With only six days to pick up new dances, Dan admitted that he had been “really struggling” to pick up the Latin dance.
He tweeted: “Legs are a bit weary. I'll be honest with you … I am really struggling with this week’s dance.
“Nothing went in yesterday. It was just a sweaty mess. Back at it today with @NadiyaBychkova so hopefully something will click.”
Along with not training on Sunday’s, Dan only has five hours a day to rehearse with Nadiya due to his early start to host BBC Breakfast compared to other contestant’s 12 hour days.
Strictly continues on BBC One on Saturday 9 October at 06:45pm.
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