Claudia Winkleman may be the jumper-wearing, quick-witted linchpin that adds glitz to the UK series of The Traitors, but she almost didn’t return for season 2.
The suspenseful BBC rivalry returns in the new year with an all-new cast, as the Faithfuls use every weapon at their disposal to find the Traitors hidden among them.
The first series kept spectators on the edge of their seats, wondering if the Faithfuls who made it to the finish would be able to divide the huge cash prize, or if a Traitor would steal it at the last minute.
It’s no surprise that the show’s return for a second season pleased viewers throughout the country – yet in another world, Claudia might not have returned as the dramatic presenter.
In a recent interview, she stated that she felt “nervous and weird” about returning, despite the fact that the first season was phenomenal.
‘I originally said, “Let’s just leave it as this magical thing that happened.” Then the head of BBC took my temperature,’ she told Heat magazine.
‘I just don’t want people’s expectations to be so high.’
Claudia stressed that the game is ‘compelling’ and it ‘taps into something I’ve been told all my life’, which is to ‘trust your gut’.
‘But it turns out you can’t. You know absolutely nothing,’ she added.
The 51-year-old likened her time on The Traitors to her position as co-host of Strictly Come Dancing with Tess Daly, where she is significantly more upbeat with the contestants.
‘On Strictly Come Dancing I’m like a cheerleader,’ she said.
Referring to the beginning of The Traitors UK season one when two people were booted out straight away in shocking scenes, she continued: ‘When they sat me down and said I had to kick two people out, I was like, “Don’t be ridiculous I can’t do that.”
‘I do have to be quite cold. Sometimes I’m on the side of the Traitors and sometimes I really want the Faithful to get one of them. They work in equal measure because I respect game play above everything.’
In The Traitors, all competitors must collaborate to complete challenges that increase the total amount of money in the reward pot.
If there are any Traitors remaining at the conclusion of the game who haven’t been discovered by the others, they can keep all of the money instead of dividing it with their fellow participants.
It’s a thrilling game of deception, manipulation, and talent, and we can’t wait to see what the second season has in store for us.
The Traitors will launch on Wednesday, January 3 at 9pm on BBC One, and episodes 2 and 3 will be available on iPlayer immediately after.
The show will then air Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights.