Debbie McGee on following in the Strictly footsteps of late husband Paul Daniels

"I feel like he’s kind of always there and on my shoulder.”

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Debbie McGee

Debbie McGee has said her late husband Paul Daniels is “on my shoulder” and would “tell me to enjoy it” as she follows in his Strictly Come Dancing footsteps.

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Magician and entertainer Daniels competed in Strictly in 2010 with Ola Jordan as his partner, although he was booted out in the second week. Now, 18 months on from his death, McGee has decided to put on her own dancing shoes for the 15th series of the BBC show.

Asked whether the moment she steps out on the dance floor will be bittersweet, McGee insisted: “No. Everything I do that relates to Paul is with that wonderful feeling of what an amazing time I had with him, and how that has coloured the rest of my life.”

Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee in 2015
Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee in 2015 (Getty)

McGee, who served as Daniels’ magician’s assistant, added: “But I have to go on. Life is different, so I have to find another way of being happy, but through that, the whole positive thing about Paul is that we laughed every day and he taught me so much about show-business, and that’s a real positive thing that’s with me on Strictly.

“I feel like he’s kind of always there and on my shoulder.”

And if he could give her any advice? “He would tell me to enjoy it, would be the first thing,” McGee said.

“But he was very good at constructive criticism. It’s like my radio show, he used to listen to me and when I got home he’d give me notes. ‘Did you know you said “okay” 27 times during the show today?’ Very good things that you wouldn’t be aware of.

“So I’m sure that if he was alive and watching me on Strictly he’d have his notes at the end saying like, ‘Oh, you didn’t look down at the camera’.”

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Strictly Come Dancing – The Launch show airs on Saturday 9th September from 7pm on BBC1