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Ed Balls: I like being introduced as “Strictly’s Ed Balls”

The former Shadow Chancellor is pleasantly surprised by his new reputation as a dancer

Published: Saturday, 22nd October 2016 at 8:00 am

I’m used to people shouting my name out in the street. When I was an MP and walking around my constituency, Yvette said more teenagers knew my name than of any other MP in the country – and boy, did they enjoy shouting it out every time they saw me!


But since I’ve been on Strictly, even popping to the shops near our house in London I’m having to get used to younger children pointing me out to their mums and saying, “There’s that dancing man.”

One dad told me on Twitter that his eight-year-old son had asked: “Are you as good at dancing as Ed Balls?”

Me? A dancer! But I guess for young viewers who don’t remember debates on whether Britain should join the euro or how fast we should cut the deficit, a dancer is – sort of – what I am! Hopefully one who makes them smile.

And it’s not just the under-tens who see me in a new light. A couple of weeks ago I did an interview during which Jeremy Corbyn came up – the newspaper headline summarising my opinion introduced me as “Strictly’s Ed Balls”.

So I feel well and truly part of the Strictly family now, and what a warm and supportive family it is. The drama with Tameka and Laura hit us all hard, and we were all so sad to lose Will last week. I just hope that, come Saturday, we were able to regroup. 

My dancing has not been brilliant, so I’ve had to go for entertainment too. Following in the footsteps of Jeremy Vine and Aled Jones, I’ve worked hard, put in the hours in training, and learnt to throw myself fully into the character of each dance. 

But as for following the steps, I know I leave a lot to be desired and I’m only still in the competition because of everyone at home voting to keep Katya and me in.

I’d like to think that’s because we’ve been trying our hardest. I know it won’t last, but I still hope to dance a Jive and an American Smooth, get to Blackpool... and lose a few more pounds! I’m still having so much fun.


Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 6:35pm on BBC1


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