Graham Norton has led tributes to TV and radio presenter Dale Winton, who has died at the age of 62.
Norton paid tribute, thanking him for the “the best bit of showbiz advice I ever got – don’t quit the hit!”
The former Supermarket Sweep host died at his home on Wednesday, his long-term agent Jan Kennedy said.
Winton spent nearly a decade hosting the ITV daytime hit but also hosted the BBC’s lottery show In It To Win It and game show Hole In The Wall.
Friend and fellow TV presenter Davina McCall described him as a “lovely, warm, kind, sensitive, generous soul with a touch of naughty!”
Comedian David Walliams said he was “heartbroken” to hear of the death of his friend.
Winton’s agent did not give details on the cause of death but said: “While we know many will share this terrible loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy at this time of grief.”
Other friends and celebrity colleagues have paid tribute to the TV star on social media.
Singer and friend Boy George – who appeared on Winton’s episode of This is Your Life in 2000 – said he was “shocked” to hear of the death and described Winton as “a sweet man”.
Actor and presenter Sherrie Hewson, who worked with Winton “many times” said: “So very sad about the gorgeous Dale Winton… 62 is no age it’s hard to believe he’s gone.”
Bucks Fizz singer Cheryl Baker, who appeared in a celebrity special of Winton’s show The Other Half, said Winton was a “gorgeous bloke”.
Former Family Fortunes host Les Dennis said Winton was “a lovely, warm man who posed charm”.
TV presenter Paddy McGuinness said: Winton was “the perfect host” and made presenting look “effortless”.
James McCourt, who presented the National Lottery show with him, said he was “a lovely man.”
Some of Dale Winton’s biggest TV moments
- Supermarket Sweep – probably Dale’s most famous show, it was a big hit and had a huge student following. It ran from 1993 until 2001. It was rebooted for a series in 2007
- In It To Win It – the National Lottery quiz show, which ran from 2002 until 2016.
- Hole in the Wall (2008 – 2009) – based on a Japanese game show, celebrity contestants dressed in silver suits and tried to fit through different shaped holes in a moving wall. Contestants included Andi Peters, Scott Mills and Bobby Davro. It was recommissioned in 2009 with Strictly’s Anton Du Beke, a former team captain, hosting it.
- Pets Win Prizes (1994 to 1996) – contestants’ pets competed in tests of agility etc. It ran for two series – the first was hosted by Danny Baker but Dale took over for series two.
He also presented Celebrity Fit Club, Winton’s Wonderland and Dale’s All Stars.
In 1995 he also appeared in the video for Britpop band Sleepers’ single Inbetweener, peering above the shelves of, not surprisingly, a supermarket.
A year later, his cult status was complete with a cameo appearance in Danny Boyle’s film Trainspotting about heroin addicts in a poverty-stricken area of Edinburgh, starring Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Milller.
In 2000, he was surprised by Michael Aspel on the set of the National Lottery for the now defunct show, This Is Your Life.
Kate Phillips, controller of entertainment commissioning at the BBC, said Winton was “an immensely well-loved individual” and praised his “wonderfully unique and special energy” that he brought to TV programmes.
“He was extremely kind, brilliantly funny and was a true gentleman,” she said.
Winton started his career as a DJ in London leading to work on local radio.
A statement from Radio 2 said: “Everyone at Radio 2 is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dale, who was hugely popular with the Radio 2 audience as the host of Pick of the Pops for a decade. We are thinking of his family at this time and send them our love and best wishes.”
In 1986, Winton joined BBC Bristol to present Pet Watch for BBC One.
But his big break came with ITV’s daytime show Supermarket Sweep, which he hosted from 1993 to 2001 and again when it was rebooted in 2007. Contestants on the show were tasked with running round a supermarket collecting items to win a cash prize.
He went on to work on prime-time shows including the National Lottery’s In It To Win It and he hosted his own Christmas specials and celebrity guest shows.
More recently, Winton made a show for Channel 5 called Dale Winton’s Florida Fly Drive. Channel 5 said the final episodes were due to air in June.
In an interview with the Times in 2008, Winton spoke about coming out as gay at the age of 47.
He said he had not come out before because no-one had ever asked him.
Winton also told the paper that he would stay up every night until the early hours, writing material ahead of his then new BBC show Hole in the Wall.
“I’ve always been a grafter,” he said.
Winton was born in Marylebone, London in 1955. His mother, Sheree, who was an actress, died from an overdose shortly after his 21st birthday.
He told ITV’s Loose Women show in 2016 about his struggle with depression and said: “I always thought, ‘Get over yourself.’ But my mum died of it. It exists and anybody out there who has had it knows it exists. I didn’t want to put one foot in front of the other but for a couple of really good friends.”
One of the friends he named on the show as supporting him was Walliams, with Winton saying “he has kept me going”.