Debbie McGee: Strictly Come Dancing is “propelling me forward” through my grief

Debbie McGee was widowed last year, but says Strictly could not have come at a better time

Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice on Strictly Come Dancing

Debbie McGee lost her husband Paul Daniels to a brain tumour last year – but now all the glitz and excitement of Strictly Come Dancing is helping her deal with the grief.

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“I really don’t think it could have come at a better time in my life,” she tells Radio Times. “It’s something that I need now.

“I’m getting much stronger and getting through my grief. So this is just kind of propelling me forward.”

The magician Paul Daniels, who died in March 2016, actually competed in Strictly Come Dancing in 2010 with Ola Jordan as his partner.

McGee has previously said her late husband is “on my shoulder” and would “tell me to enjoy it” as she follows in Daniels’ footsteps and returns to the Strictly ballroom – this time as a dancer.

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

“I was in the audience every week that Paul did it,” McGee tells us. “So I know what that buzz is in that audience.”

McGee, who’ll be taking to the dance floor with her dream partner Gorka Marquez, says we can expect some surprises.

“I know in England I do have an image of being a sort of well-behaved girl,” she explains. “But all my friends know that I’m actually quite cheeky.”

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Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday 23rd September