At the time of writing this, I’m still in Strictly and I couldn’t be more surprised! I can’t believe I’ve survived this long because I know I’m a terrible dancer. But I’m loving it, and getting a wee bit better each week.
I still have to pinch myself every Saturday and Halloween week was the pinnacle. Last year I was in the audience watching the show and this year I performed in it. As Cruella De Vil. Flying into the studio in a car. With real dalma- tians. I don’t really care what happens after this!
I wasn’t fazed by being suspended in the air – the jumps, the lifts, the flying – I’m fine with that. It’s the dancing I can’t do! Anton asked if we could have a smoke machine for Halloween and I laughed and asked if that was to cover my feet so people couldn’t see any mistakes. “No,” he smiled, “I’ve ordered one to reach neck height so it can cover your whole body.”
I’ve accepted that I’m never going to be a good dancer, but I’m happy to play it for laughs. Although I have got a bit better, despite what the judges have said – I definitely feel more comfortable out there. I can feel the dance now and, instead of overthinking the steps, I can relax and let Anton lead me.
I still make mistakes, don’t get me wrong – and every time I do, Anton makes a Muttley-style snigger behind his unflinching smile! But I now feel confident enough to recover. For me, that’s good enough.
And my son Jamie got a chance to see me perform. It was so lovely having him in the audience supporting me – I don’t think that has ever happened before. It has always been me cheering him on or sitting nervously on the sidelines, so it was great giving him a taste of what that feels like.
As a top sportsman he really appreciated how good the pro-dancers are and how hard what they do is. They’re in peak physical condition and are almost the ultimate combination of athlete and actor. I don’t think people appreciate just how physically demanding performing every week is.
Jamie made me look at the whole thing from a physical perspective – he gave me sports drinks to replenish my electrolytes before my performance and booked me a sports massage with his physio for Monday morning. The pupil really has turned into the master – anyone would think he was my coach!
Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC1 this Saturday (8th November) at 6.30pm and on Sunday (9th November) at 7.45pm