Strictly Come Dancing 2016 contestants: Ed Balls
Famous for: Being a Labour MP, minister in Gordon Brown’s government and a senior member of the shadow cabinet from 2010 until 2015, most of which he served as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer opposite George Osborne.
Who is his professional partner?
Ed was paired with new pro Katya Jones – who in 2015 became a World Professional Latin Showdance Champion with husband and fellow Strictly dancer Neil Jones.
Married to fellow Labour MP and one-time Labour leadership contender Yvette Cooper, Balls lost his Morley and Outwood parliamentary seat to a Conservative challenger in the shock “Portillo” moment of the 2015 General Election.
He is now a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s centre for Business and Government, and a visiting professor at King’s College London. He became Chairman of Norwich Football Club in December 2015.
Most importantly Ed Balls is known for the 28th April 2011 – or Ed Balls Day as it is now known.
On that fateful day, Ed, still coming to grips with the inner workings of Twitter, mistakenly sent this tweet.
It was retweeted time and again by delighted Twitter users who have ever since celebrated the incident every April on the same day. What a wonderful world we live in…
Ed Balls Q&A
Why are you doing Strictly this year? Well, it’s the most iconic show on British television. We’ve [he and his wife Yvette Cooper] watched it for years and years, and we’ve always watched it as judges at home saying, you know, “Seven!” or, “Arch that back,” or, “Straighten your hands,” and then suddenly I have the chance to be a contestant! I was scared to death, but my wife, Yvette, said, “It’s the best show on telly, you’ve got to do it.” She’s deeply envious, so I’m doing it for the family.
What has their reaction been to your dancing? She and my children are very critical of me. Facial movements. They keep saying: “Stop looking like a f*cking idiot!” So, yes. They’re quite tough, aren’t they?
And do you think people will see a different side to you, because you were known for being quite stern and serious in politics? It’s funny, isn’t it? Because I think people who knew me in parliament and in my team always knew me in the opposite way – we would do a lot of karaoke singing and a lot of joking and have great fun, but on television it’s a serious business, and you end up being a bit serious, sometimes a bit tough, so I think that lots of people at home will think: “I didn’t know he was like that,” but lots of people I know well in politics will think: “That’s the Ed we always knew.”