Former Strictly Come Dancing champion Caroline Flack has been lending a hand to pal Laura Whitmore with some out-of-hours dance practice ahead of her debut in the ballroom later this month.
“I know her first dance,” Flack teasingly tells RadioTimes.com. “So we did a little bit of ‘tap tap tap’ in the lounge,” she says, miming a couple of moves (not enough for us to guess, of course).
“She had had her first training day and every time she got up she was like ‘Owwwww!’ and I was like, ‘yep, know that feeling!’
“She’s good. She’s really good. She’s a natural,” Flack adds of her fellow presenter, who has been partnered up with Italian dancer Giovanni Pernice for this year’s fourteenth series.
“I think it’s a really good pairing. He’s very strict and you need that. That’s why I liked having a Russian [Flack won in 2014 with Pasha Kovalev]. I’d sit down and be like, ‘Let’s have a coffee’, and he’d be like, ‘Do it again!’ I needed that.”
But while Flack’s keen to help her friend – as well as support model Daisy Lowe and DJ-cum-presenter Melvin Odoom with whom she’s also close – she admits she’s still very much ‘Team Pasha’.
“I was talking about this yesterday with Laura as I’m going down the first weekend to watch and Laura said, ‘So are you coming down to support me?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah… but also I’ve got to support Pasha because Pasha’s Pasha. He’s my mentor, he’s my everything.’”
Although, when asked if her former pro partner would be prioritised above Whitmore, Flack couldn’t be sure: “That’s a toughy. I’ve got to think about that one.”
She’s pleased with Pasha’s new partner after he was teamed up with BBC Breakfast newsreader Naga Munchetty.
“Whoever gets Pasha is always going to be so lucky because he’s such a good teacher. He’s so patient. He’s funny, he’s great to be with. He’s just incredible. He’s strict but he’s just the best. They look good together. She’s beautiful, isn’t she?”
Flack hopes to see Pasha in the final (with Naga, of course, not just floating around on his own) and is also pretty certain Whitmore and Odoom will be there – as well as a certain courtroom star…
“I’ve already seen that Laura’s a natural, so I’m going to put Laura in there for the final. I’m going to throw Melvin in. I’m going to say Judge Rinder and Daisy.”
Flack says she enjoys watching the show as a viewer and is looking forward to going to watch from inside the ballroom. But she does admit she is “envious”.
“I’m envious that I’ve had the experience and not ever going to have it again in a weird way. But it’s still exciting and I’ll put it on and be obsessed with it.
“You watch it in a different way,” she explains. “In a way where you can go, ‘Oh that’s the salsa; 1, 2, 3 da, da, da…’. I suppose you watch it like the viewers that watch every year, they get to know the routines and they can say whether that’s a good Cha Cha or that’s a good Rumba. Become a judge at home, that’s really fun.”
Strictly Come Dancing returns Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th of September on BBC1