Home Entertainment Strictly’s Jacqui Smith has been getting advice from ballroom legend Ed Balls...

Strictly’s Jacqui Smith has been getting advice from ballroom legend Ed Balls ahead of the launch

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Jacqui Smith and Ed Balls
Jacqui has hit up Ed for some advice (Picture: PA/REX)

Ed Balls is one of the all-time great Strictly Come Dancing contestants, because what he lacked in skill and technique, he made up for in enthusiasm.

And Jacqui Smith is hoping to put as much effort into the competition as Ed did.

The former Home Secretary is one of the 12 celebrities set to take to the floor tonight to meet their professional partners, and in preparation, she has been chatting to former Shadow Chancellor Ed for advice.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Jacqui, 57, said that her fellow former Labour Party politician has stressed the importance of ‘projecting yourself and enjoying it and really looking as if you’re trying’.

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She said: ‘Trust me, I am trying.

‘One of the things about being a politician is you are reasonably comfortable about doing an interview about yourself, but I obviously haven’t got any dance skills.’

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Jacqui is trying so hard that she has been left in quite a bit of pain, adding: ‘I’ve made good use of my bath salts, my foot spa, my plasters this week.’

Ed was famously partnered with Katya Jones in 2016, and despite not really having the skills to win the Glitterball, he became a viewer favourite thanks to the commitment he showed to learning – and pure entertainment, of course.

Some of his signature dances includes the samba dressed as Jim Carrey’s The Mask, a cha cha as a gyrating scientist, and, of course, his salsa to Psy’s Gangnam Style which involved him skidding through Katya’s legs on his stomach.

He made it all the way to week 10, even managing to dance at Blackpool.

While Blackpool Week has been cancelled this year due to coronavirus restrictions and the shortened series, we’re sure Jacqui will be hoping to get at least as far as Ed.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 20:00:00 on 16/10/2020 - Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing - TX: 17/10/2020 - Episode: Launch show (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Strictly Come Dancing 2020 celebrities EMBARGOED until 2000hrs Friday 16th October 2020 Max George, Nicola Adams, Jacqui Smith, Caroline Quentin, HRVY, Bill Bailey, Jamie Laing, Jason Bell, JJ Chalmers, Maisie Smith, Clara Amfo, Ranvir Singh - (C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston
The stars will be partnered up tonight (Picture: BBC)

The politician, who quit the cabinet in 2009 and lost her seat in the election the following year, also teased the atmosphere on set – and there’s no bitter rivals just yet.

Jacqui said: ‘Some of them are young and fit and some of them have done some dancing before and look absolutely fabulous, but everybody is full of nerves.

‘We are sharing a common adventure. They are brilliant, such a fun bunch.’

Jacqui is up against Clara Amfo, Ranvir Singh, Caroline Quentin, Maisie Smith, Nicola Adams, HRVY, Bill Bailey, Max George, Jason Bell, Jamie Laing and JJ Chalmers in the 2020 series, which kicks off tonight with the launch.

The celebs will find out who they will be dancing with, out of Oti Mabuse, Katya Jones, Karen Hauer, Amy Dowden, Dianne Buswell, Luba Mushtuk, Janette Manrara, Johannes Radebe, Giovanni Pernice, Aljaz Skorjanec, Gorka Marquez and Anton Du Beke. 

Nicola Adams will become the first female celebrity to dance with a female pro on the show.

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Strictly Come Dancing starts at 7.50pm on BBC One. 

MORE: Dancing On Ice stand-in Matt Richardson left with concussion after being ‘hit with pole’ during training

MORE: ‘I came out on TikTok before I told my family’: How internet star Lily-Rose ‘found herself’ after overcoming homophobia and trolls

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