Claudia Winkleman admits concerns over fan expectations for The Traitors season 2

Claudia Winkleman has asked fans of The Traitors to lower their expectations as the hit TV show returns for its second series.

First airing in December 2022, The Traitors is a reality TV competition all about deception, sabotage and lying. In it, 22 contestants are split into “Traitors”, who must get to the end of the game undetected, and “Faithfuls”, who are trying to catch them.

The show was a huge hit in its first series, with both the series and host Winkleman picking up Baftas at the 2023 TV Awards.

As The Traitors comes back for its second outing, with a new cast of contestants preparing to take on the ultimate social deduction game, Strictly Come Dancing host Winkleman has spoken about how the team were “winded” by the response to series one.

“What happened never happens. It was overwhelming for all of us,” she said. “When Kathy Burke, who is a hero of mine, and Russell T Davies, when they tweeted, I was amazed with the whole experience.”

Of the first series, Winkleman added: “It felt like some sort of magical dust and I just don’t want people’s expectations to be so high.”

The success of the first series had taken Winkleman and the team aback so much that she’d initially suggested the BBC “leave it” with one series.

The cast of ‘The Traitors’ (PA)
The cast of ‘The Traitors’ (PA)

“The success of the first series literally winded us,” she said. “I said to lovely [production company] Studio Lambert and the BBC, ‘Let’s just leave it. This thing happened, this magical thing happened. Enough!’”

“The head of the BBC said she wanted to take my temperature. So we went again but I’m nervous and weird about it.”

As The Traitors returns to the BBC on Wednesday (3 January), the cast of season two has already been revealed.

Among the cast of 2024, you’ll find ex-military workers, NHS employees, and even a clairvoyant. You can meet all 22 contestants here.

Winkleman won a Bafta for her role hosting ‘The Traitors' (BBC/Studio Lambert/Mark Mainz)
Winkleman won a Bafta for her role hosting ‘The Traitors' (BBC/Studio Lambert/Mark Mainz)

Winkleman is back on the hosting duties, after revealing in a recent interview that she nearly turned down the series when she was first approached in order to spend more time with her family.

“I wasn’t keen on leaving home for three weeks, so initially I said, ‘I don’t think so, but thank you,’” she said.

“They then sent me the original Dutch version. I watched the first four episodes in one sitting, told the kids to make their own tea and then begged the BBC to let me be part of it.”

The Traitors returns Wednesday 3 January at 9pm on BBC One. Episodes two and three will be immediately available on iPlayer, and air at 9pm on BBC One the following nights.