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Tess and Claudia complete their ‘agonising’ 24-hour danceathon

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman

Image caption

The stars collapsed to the floor after completing their challenge

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman have completed their gruelling Comic Relief danceathon, after fighting through injury and sickness.

The Strictly Come Dancing presenters raised £782,686 by dancing non-stop for 24 hours and five minutes.

They ended their marathon challenge with a weary performance of Destiny’s Child’s Survivor, before collapsing to the floor.

“I never want to dance again,” said Winkleman. “I don’t like movement.”

Daly, who suffered from motion sickness for six hours of the danceathon, said her co-presenter had been her lifeline.

“She’s had my back the whole way through. We’ve looked after each other. We’ve seen each other strapped up with tape. We both had a little cry,” she said.

“We are a bit tired and emotional.”

Media captionThe stars are “exhausted” and “feeling nauseous” after hours of non-stop dancing

The danceathon was broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and the BBC red button, with fans following every fatigued dance step.

“I’m not going to pretend it’s been easy, but I don’t want to moan about it” said Daly when BBC News caught up with the duo, 15 hours into the challenge.

“These guys won’t tell you how bad it is,” chipped in broadcaster Davina McCall, who was on hand for moral support. “They’re both in absolute agony.”

She explained: “Claudia is strapped up on her leg, both of them are strapped up on their back. Tess has been in tears, she’s also feeling nauseous, and Claudia is talking about baby giraffes.”

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But while the duo sounded perky and energetic on air, they slumped in between links, taking hugs from colleagues and massaging their limbs without pausing their eternal shuffle.

By 10:00 BST, Winkleman was slurring her words and Daly was feeling “very sick”.

“We peaked a bit too soon, because we got really overexcited,” said the star.

“I bounced for the first four hours,” added Winkleman, “and Trevor Nelson, who I literally love, came in and went: ‘FYI, you’ve peaked’.

“And I went, “Don’t be silly. I know I’m 47 but I can go on like this for 17 months.’

“About two minutes later, my knee clicked out, my back went out and Tess got sick”.

  • Radio 2: 12 unforgettable moments from the danceathon
  • Comic Relief: Official site
  • Tess and Claudia talk about their preparations
  • Little Mix climb Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief

The presenters received celebrity support from their colleagues at Radio 2, singers Fleur East and Beverly Knight, and the casts of the West End musicals Hair and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown and former judge Mary Berry also turned up at BBC Wogan House with sugary snacks to keep the stars on their toes.

Meanwhile Jeremy Vine and Rylan Clark-Neal engaged in a dance-off to Sylvester’s disco classic You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) that quickly went viral online.

This feat of endurance was all in aid of Comic Relief, ahead of Friday’s Red Nose Day fundraiser.

“Before we did this we went to see extraordinary projects that Comic Relief is supporting, so it was important to us [to do this]” said Winkleman. “The tiniest amount of money makes the most enormous difference.”

“Every penny will go to some of the most vulnerable people living in the most challenging situations in this country and abroad,” added Daly.

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