Interview: Natasha Kaplinsky

What happened after she sashayed off the Strictly dancefloor and out of Channel 5?

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Natasha on…

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Strictly Come Dancing

“I had my arm tied behind my back by BBC executives. I went kicking and screaming into the Strictly studio. I had just got to the BBC newsroom, and wanted to be taken seriously. I was terribly worried that donning sequins and wearing tight dresses would not do me any favours.”

“At [my] wedding [to investment banker Justin Bower], people were expecting our first dance to be amazing. It was absolutely hopeless! We kind of stumbled around and trod on each other’s toes. I can dance with a world professional, but not with my husband. In Strictly, you are guided around, you see.”

The media

“I had to develop a thick skin very quickly. There was a lot of nonsense written about me. I was at home one weekend feeling very low, and I read on the Monday in the newspapers that I had been dating three different men that weekend, including Tony Benn. You soon realised that whatever you did, the stories would still be written.”

Family life

“I don’t look like this in the morning. You should see me when I’m pushing the kids around in their buggy. I have an awful diet. Yesterday I had a Twix Xtra before 7am. And one-piece swimsuits are much more in use nowadays than bikinis.”

“Telling [Five News] was very embarrassing. But anyone who has ever had children knows you can’t plan it. Actually, I wish I could have done the baby thing earlier, and was now on my fourth child. But you can’t put a date in your diary. It wasn’t something that I had planned, but it was a huge blessing for me that I was pregnant. And despite all the attention, the Five execs were perfectly fine about it. They knew I wanted to have a family.”

“I am so deeply in love with my son that even when he’s in trouble and on the Naughty Step, he gives me this naughty wink, and what can I do? I can’t help but scoop him up. And my daughter, she loves her food. She has the biggest appetite you have ever seen. Now she can walk, she basically just stands beside the fridge until it opens.”

New series Born to Shine

“There is a little boy we filmed for the appeal in South Africa. He has HIV and doesn’t know it. His mother is HIV positive, and the rest of his family has died. He is seven. He’s on the anti-retroviral drugs, but they don’t work unless you have food, and they have no food.

“His mother will tell him everything when he is eight, at which point his whole world will come crashing down. If he were here, and had the facilities…he would shine in the way I hope my own children might. But the limitations on his life are just so heartbreaking.

“There are eight million people in Soweto. And this is just one child. But I was…very traumatised by his life experience.

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“I’m not supposed to say anything. And Save the Children is not about individuals. But when you have met somebody like that, it’s very hard to walk away.”