I didnt know anyone apart from Tom Fletcher! Debbie McGee in swipe at Strictly line-up

Big Narstie flirts with Debbie McGee on The Wheel

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I really didn’t know anyone apart from Tom

Debbie McGee

“It’s been a learning thing – learning who they are and their characters.”

It seems safe to say that the 63-year-old performer, widow of famed TV magician Paul Daniels, might not be a fan of the soaps.

This year’s line-up included EastEnders stars Nina Wadia and Rose Ayling-Ellis, both of whom have waltzed in from Walford to give the dancing show their all.

The line-up also featured now-eliminated star Katie McGlynn, now a Hollyoaks actress but formerly famed for the heart-wrenching scenes she produced on Coronation Street as Sinead, a woman slowly slipping away as she battled cervical cancer.

Fans are also rooting for cooking show star Tilly Ramsay, daughter of the notoriously outspoken chef Gordon Ramsay.

Tilly may be of interest to Debbie due to the pair’s shared passion for cooking.

Debbie is no stranger to that area of TV as she herself has appeared on Celebrity MasterChef.

Meanwhile, Tom Fletcher, the only contestant Debbie knew of, has just been sensationally eliminated, in a shock decision that has left many fans complaining.

Some believe he and partner Amy Dowden were “under-marked”, which led to him landing in the dance-off with Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu.

While the debate continues, Debbie will have the opportunity to learn more about the other cast members, as she enjoys tuning in each week.

She also expressed her relief that the dancers were no longer subjected to the tough Covid restrictions of the previous year, branding them “free”.

“It wasn’t natural [before] because they were having to isolate,” she argued over the airwaves.

Of course, the year before the pandemic began, Debbie shot to the top as a winner of Strictly’s Christmas Special.

An earlier attempt in 2017 saw her make it to the final before being beaten at the last hurdle by actor Joe McFadden and his partner Katya Jones.

Debbie has credentials in the dancing world beyond just her celebrity status alone.

She has been a professional ballet dancer, performing at the Iranian International Ballet Company in Tehran as a teenager before the turbulent politics of the Iranian Revolution forced her to flee the country with almost no money or possessions.

After that, she auditioned for the role of Paul Daniels’s assistant and, due to their on-set chemistry, married him almost a decade later.

She once opened a company, Ballet Extraordinaire, with her husband and, in 2000, took their dance shows all over the world.

A string of celebrity appearances have since followed but for now, she’s likely to share her thoughts on Strictly via her Sunday show on BBC Radio Berkshire, which airs each week at 11am.

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