Helen George on her Strictly co-stars: “We do genuinely all get on”

The Call the Midwife star talks her Strictly "family" and why she sometimes feels like "an idiot" in front of the cameras

Strictly competitor Helen George is feeling the love for her fellow competitors. There might have been reports this week that this year’s Strictly is the ‘bitchiest’ yet, but Helen is quick to rubbish those rumours.

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“We do genuinely all get on. There is a support network and we’ve got a little support Whatsapp group,” she tells RadioTimes.com. “We’re always messaging each other with ‘Come on you can do it!’ and ‘I know you’d had a hard week but we’re all here for you on Saturday’ and ‘Lets have dinner on Friday.'”

In fact, she’s not even feeling competitive. “I’m quite surprised at myself because I normally am quite competitive, but there’s no point. We are all inherently so different that there is no competition.” 

“The more you get into it the more you really enjoy it and you become part of the… oh God this sounds really cheesy,” she laughs, “…  the family of Strictly.”

“It’s getting to the point where you’re losing one of your friends each week. Last week when Daniel [O’Donnell] went we were all so upset because he’s sort of like the godfather. He’s really is there with advice and tips every step of the way. It is sad now. The pressure is that you don’t want to be missing out. You don’t want to be sat at home watching your friends do it. It’s not about winning, it’s not about getting to the quarter final, it’s about getting there every week so you can be part of the fun as well!”

Helen admits she’s struggled being in the spotlight as herself, rather than as bubbly Nurse Trixie Franklin. It was what worried her most at the start of the series. But she’s getting used to it. 

“Last weekend I kind of let go a little more. It was the first time that I’d just danced withouth thinking about it and really had fun doing it. It was my favourite Strictly night actually. After that I’ve let myself be a bit more relaxed about it all,” she says, adding: “But there are certainly times when I just think ‘Oh god! I’m being such an idiot!’ It’s just not something I’ve ever done before.” 

This week she’s dancing a “really fast” Quickstep. “It’s definitely a dance you can’t mentally switch off from. It’s like an equation of dance steps. You have to get it in the right order or you get completely out of sync.” 

“It’s about staying present and remember those steps!” she adds. 

She’s keen to impress the judges this Saturday so she can get to Halloween – “to do the hair and makeup – I’ve always watched from afar and thought it would be really fun!” And even though she’s currently accumulated more points than any other competitor, she’s not assuming she’ll definitely make it there. 

“It’s a tough one to call this week. None of us are particularly safe!” 

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