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Ed Balls: I won't turn my back on Strictly over judges' low scores

Published 18/10/2016

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ed Balls showed off his fancy footwork with weather presenter Carol Kirkwood as he appeared on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Mr Balls also stressed that he would not follow the lead of journalist John Sergeant by pulling out of the show early for repeatedly getting low scores.

Former Strictly contestant Kirkwood - who came in 10th place in 2015 - allowed herself to be spun around the studio by Mr Balls during the live broadcast.

The former shadow chancellor re-enacted his paso doble to Holding Out For A Hero from the latest episode of Strictly, which saw him and professional partner Katya Jones given the lowest score of the series so far by the judges.

Kirkwood and Mr Balls giggled as presenter Derbyshire watched on before awarding him six points for his effort in the style of the show's judging panel.

Mr Balls acknowledged that he was unlikely to go much further in the dance show, after coming bottom of the leaderboard every week.

He received just 16 points at the weekend for his clumsy dance routine with Jones.

Nevertheless, he stressed that he would not quit in the same style as broadcaster Sergeant, who pulled out of the series in 2008 for his marks despite being backed by the voting public.

Mr Balls - who lost his seat in Parliament in last year's general election - told Derbyshire: "I really would like to do a jive and I think hopefully the tango the week after next. There's no way I'm going to last very long, but another couple of weeks would be great.

"As a politician, I do know that, in the end, it's the public who decide. That's true in general elections but it's also true in Strictly. If people want to keep me in, I'm going to stay in and do my best. And when they've had enough, that's it. I know what that's like."

Asked how far he could go, Mr Balls said his wife, Yvette Cooper, said he had "another stone to lose in weight".

And he added: "At the end, it is a show which is about learning to dance and about entertaining and the public, in the end, with the judges, decide. If it was a dance competition, then I wouldn't have entered, I wouldn't have got through the qualifying stages.

"I clearly started from the lowest base, but I think people can see that we are trying really hard. This week didn't go very well, but last week Len (Goodman) said 'You're putting in all the steps and you're doing them' and that was the best thing anybody had said."

Mr Balls said he was delighted by the positive public response to his appearances, but added: "When people say 'We knew you were a politician but it's great to find you're a human being as well', I think 'Actually, politicians are human beings. They have families and hopes and they make mistakes and they are vulnerable and they try to do their best.'

"Sometimes people do bad things in politics. Most people do good things. Maybe it's not a bad thing for people to see that politicians are human beings too."

During his stint on the daily news and current affairs programme, Mr Balls also confessed to being worried about "Brexit, the Government and the Labour Party".

He added: "However, my biggest worry at the moment is my American smooth foxtrot which I have got to do in four days' time.

"You start on a Monday, totally cold, never having done it ever before. And you've gotta get to a performance stage in four or five days. So, as of today, I'm a bit stressed about that."

Mr Balls revealed that he narrowly missed a road accident on his way to the TV interview.

He said: "We were in a car, and in front of us a lorry was turning right and some other driver decided to try to overtake on the other side, careered off the road on to the pavement, just missed two people and then reversed and went charging off again.

"We stopped and we got his number plate and reported it and gave our contacts, so we had a bit of a dash to get here to the show.

"It was totally crazy driving. Really luckily, the people he almost hit weren't hurt, but it could have been really terrible.

"It shows that every day could be your last and you've got to enjoy it. Life is so random and uncertain and you never know what's going to happen.

"You can't think about that too much but it also means that if you think 'In 10 or 20 years' time I will achieve or be fulfilled', that can be quite debilitating.

"I'm at the stage of my life where I think I want to enjoy every day and ensure I see our kids grow up and do things which are fun and enjoyable."

Press Association

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