Strictly's bitchiest group of celebrities ever? That's simply not true says Kellie Bright
"What? I hear you cry, no divas? No backstabbing? There must surely be at least one bitch among you! The answer is a resounding no"
This series of Strictly Come Dancing has been dogged by rumours of back-stage bitchiness, speculation that's been denied by Peter Andre, Jeremy Vine and Helen George on this very site. Now Kellie Bright has poured cold water on the reports, telling Radio Times "that headline simply isn't true."
"Ask yourself, why that statement makes you think immediately of the women involved?" she says. "Why not Ainsley, Jeremy or Peter? Because men (and I adore all of our male comrades) are not referred to as bitches. Period."
Writing in the latest issue of the magazine, the EastEnders star says she's not a feminist and "not usually compelled to write a gushing piece about a group of women who have unexpectedly found themselves bonding for life during an extraordinary experience. And yet, here I am.
"Women are wonderful but can be unbelievably mean to each other," added the actress, referencing a spell among the "threatening and cliquey" cast of Bad Girls which she joined for its fourth series.
But Bright refuted speculation that rifts had emerged between this year's female Strictly contestants. "What? I hear you cry, no divas? No backstabbing? There must surely be at least one bitch among you! The answer is a resounding no."
She continued: "I want you to celebrate this flock of women with me: Carol [Kirkwood], Anita [Rani], Helen [George], Jamelia, Georgia [May Foote], Kirsty [Gallagher] and Katie [Derham]. Celebrate them for their bravery – you have to be brave to take part – and for being able to juggle motherhood (for some of us), our careers and training all at the same time. For not being what the media would love us to be – a bunch of backstabbing 'bitches' only out for ourselves."
Read Kellie's full piece in the latest issue of Radio Times, available in shops and on the Apple Newsstand from Saturday 28th November