Belfast Telegraph

Strictly Come Dancing’s new judge promises she’ll be the four Fs

Contestants will come face to face with Strictly Come Dancing’s new judge for the first time this weekend.

Strictly Come Dancing’s new judge has cautioned celebrity contestants that they will need to deliver on any performance advice she gives them.

Shirley Ballas will make her debut on the Strictly panel this weekend, taking over from former show veteran Len Goodman.

The 56-year-old, who dominated the world of professional Latin American dance in the 1980s and 1990s, has said she will be “the four Fs: fun, firm, feisty and fair”.

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Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas

She added: “I can also be strict – if I ask them to do something and they don’t deliver it the following week I’m not going to tell them that it’s OK, I’m not that kind of judge.”

The former ballroom star said she would be “expecting things from them”, adding: “I hope that they will be expecting things from me, to be as honest and as forthright as I can, to help them become the best dancer they can be.”

Ballas has been crowned British National Champion multiple times and is nicknamed the Queen of Latin.

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Strictly's new judge Shirley Ballas (BBC)

She retired from competitive dancing in 1996.

She said she is grateful that her 80-year-old mother is still alive and able to “share the journey” with her.

The decorated professional dancer also said she and Goodman have known each other for many years and she trained with him as a teenager.

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Strictly Come Dancing Launch 2017

She said: “We have remained friends and at any dinner party we were at together, he was the life and soul of the party.

“Len always had great things to say about my dancing and I’m a big fan of his sense of humour and his insight into ballroom dancing.

“He played such an iconic role on Strictly and I know the viewers adored him!”

This Saturday’s launch show will pay tribute to Sir Bruce Forsyth, who died in August.

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Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2017 at Broadcasting House in London

Ballas will take her seat at the judging podium with returning judges Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood.

The show’s glamorous duo of Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will return to front the BBC One dancing spectacular.

During Saturday night’s launch show, the celebrities will find out which professional Strictly dancer they will be paired with.

This year’s celebrity line-up features names from the world of music such as The Saturdays singer Mollie King and former JLS star Aston Merrygold, TV personalities such as Ruth Langsford and Charlotte Hawkins, and sports stars such as Paralympian Jonnie Peacock.

Following the launch show the newly announced couples will have two weeks to rehearse their first number before taking to the Strictly stage to impress the judges and viewers.

Strictly Come Dancing returns for the launch show on BBC One at 7pm on September 9.

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