Strictly’s Ed Balls: I am going to try and be less camp

Former politician reveals that his wife Yvette Cooper has urged him to be Strictly Come Dancing's Prince Charming this weekend

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Strictly Come Dancing’s Ed Balls has suggested that he may have overdone his “camp” in his previous dances on the show.

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“I think people who do not know me well think it is a revelation and people who do know me well know that I do have an inner camp side,” he joked at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on Friday night.

He said that his dances on the show, including a Charleston and a Samba where he dressed as Jim Carrey’s character from the film Mask, had been “a bit camp” and that he is hoping to change that with his routine this weekend.

He revealed – and don’t read on if you don’t want spoilers about his plans – that he had been preparing all week to do a Pasa Doble. This involves him acting the part of a knight-style Matador who saves his professional dancing partner Katya Jones from a dragon.

He said that in rehearsals for the dance he had tried to dampen down his campness and be a “completely serious Matador”.

He added: “In the rehearsals I wanted to do this really serious Matador. But all the producers said was that is the campest Pasa Doble they have ever seen. I said that I was trying to de-camp it. And they said if you wanted to do a camp one, goodness knows what that would be like. It is really hard to walk like a Matador, I just mince.”

He added his wife, the Labour MP Yvette Cooper, had told him to channel his “inner Adam Ant” and be “Prince Charming” for the routine.

Balls, who surprisingly lost his seat in the 2015 General Election, said that the experience on the show had been “totally mad”. He added that what annoyed him most about participating in the programme had been the number of people who now said to him that “we knew you were a politician but did not know you were human”.

Speaking to political journalist Steve Richards, Balls also reflected on his time in the previous Labour governments and said one of his most satisfying experiences as a politician was helping a grieving mother erect a park bench for her daughter.

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He also laid into US Presidential candidate Donald Trump calling him “shockingly offensive” and saying he trusted what he claimed was the wisdom of the US electorate not to elect “that creep”.