Ed Balls on Strictly: 'Ann Widdecombe and Edwina Currie have given me good advice'

Ed Balls Strictly 2016
Ed Balls

As former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls steps out onto the Strictly dancefloor for his first performance this weekend, he intends to keep his feet well and truly on the ground...

Ed Balls is adamant he won't be resorting to outlandish stunts to win over viewers on Strictly Come Dancing.

The former Shadow Chancellor insists he had no plans to emulate his political rival turned Strictly star Ann Widdecombe, who flew across the stage during a tango when she took part in the BBC1 show in 2010.

Talking to What’s on TV as he gears up for his first performance this weekend, Ed said: "I've had good advice from both Ann Widdecombe and Edwina Currie [who took part in 2011] and I'm obviously going to take on board all their helpful tips. I'm hoping to build on their achievements – but I don't think I will be flying in like Ann did!"


This weekend, Ed and his professional dance partner Katya Jones will be dancing the waltz to Are You Lonesome Tonight by Elvis Presley. And Ed thinks he's definitely safer with ballroom dances…

"I'm OK with the waltz ,but I'm struggling with the idea of Latin – you're supposed to isolate your hips and hold your shoulders but, when I try and move them, other things move! I'm quite challenged, though I do think the Charleston could be a high point for me."

Strictly Come Dancing, Ed Balls

Ed with his dance partner Katya Jones


Ed admitted he's doing Strictly because his wife, Labour MP Yvette Cooper, kept 'pushing me to do it', adding: "Yvette would love to do Strictly herself. She’s deeply envious and she keeps dancing round the house. So I’m doing it on her behalf!"

The father-of-three revealed he’s also under strict instructions not to embarrass his kids by wearing revealing costumes.

"I'm not really a sequins sort of person so I'm staying quite classical – besides my three children have got very strong views, so a lot of things have been vetoed. Lycra is not really family television if I'm wearing it!"

Strictly Come Dancing starts on Friday September 23 at 9pm, and continues on Saturday September 24 on BBC1.


Victoria Wilson
Feature Writer for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and WhatToWatch.com

With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!