How Dan Walker almost lost lucrative career over religious beliefs: ‘Against God’s plan’

Dan Walker almost lost his lucrative BBC job over his commitment to Christianity – and now, as the presenter marks his 47th birthday – reflects on the reasons why. The Channel 5 and Classic FM star started out as a sports journalist – and though he had a passion for football, nothing was more important to him than honouring the Sabbath day.

The former face of Football Focus recalled how bosses were incredulous about his unusual rule – refusing to work on Sundays, but he insisted it was “against God’s plan”. Although he comes from a deeply religious family, with his father even working as a Evangelical church minister during his childhood, his sister doesn’t follow the same rules.

As an intensive care nurse, the urgent nature of her work means that she’ll work on a Sunday. Dan, on the other hand, refused to go near the pitch.

“When I said I don’t work on Sundays I’d get laughed out of interviews,” he admitted in one candid interview with The Times. “When I did get jobs, some people resented me because they couldn’t work me out. They’d think, ‘How did you get that, being like you are?’”

For example, Dan landed a presenting role on Football Focus despite slamming the structure of the game, insisting that playing football on Sundays was against God’s will. On one episode of Loose Women, a curious Katie Piper quizzed him about the topic – and he was happy to oblige with an explanation.

“I suppose in this country we don’t have a tradition of talking about it but I’m happy to say my faith is a big part of who I am,” he explained.

“I don’t swear but I do say my three Fs… family, faith and friends are important parts to me.

“From my perspective my faith grounds me, the faith never takes me too high and the criticism never takes me too low. I like to have that separation.”

It turns out that those three Fs are the only “F-bombs” that he’ll ever utter, as his faith also includes a vow not to swear.

Dan found one of his first ever live broadcasts for the BBC challenging, when a director spoke into his ear piece to tell him: “Don’t f*** it up.”

And he might have dreamt of being a presenter since the age of 11, even writing to Des Lynam at the time to tell him he’d love to follow in his footsteps – but he remains adamant he’ll never work on a Sunday, no matter what.

“Yes, there have been jobs that I haven’t been able to do, but there have been other opportunities,” he shrugged.

The one occasion when Dan was sacked, back in 2020, had absolutely nothing to do with his faith.

He was axed from talkSPORT after just three days, when bosses took a dim view of him arriving an hour and a half late.

A road closure due to a terrorist alert meant he couldn’t make the journey from Liverpool, where he was living at the time, to London – and he was swiftly ousted.

He was too late to make an appearance on his show at all, and the following morning – as he revealed exclusively to – the controller phoned him to say: “Don’t bother coming in today. You’re sacked.”


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