Gordon Brown campaigns for Ed Balls in new series of Strictly Come Dancing
Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls has revealed that Gordon Brown has given him the seal of approval for Strictly Come Dancing.
Mr Balls received a good luck email from the former prime minister, and admitted he was pleased as he had assumed that Mr Brown thought he was "mad".
He told Radio Times: "Gordon sent me an email yesterday saying, 'Congratulations on Strictly, the whole nation is enjoying every minute of it'.
"I had thought he was sitting there thinking 'Oh my God, he's mad'.
"So it was nice that the email actually said, 'You go for it'."
The ex-politician made his Strictly debut on the launch show earlier this month when he was paired up with professional dancer Katya Jones, and he is now in training for the live shows.
His attempts to sidestep the sparkles and sequins have already been thwarted.
Mr Balls said: "I spent the whole week saying, 'I'm not having any sparkles, I don't think it's me', and then just before the launch dance they said, 'You are going to have to change your shirt', and it had sparkles all over it.
"My shirt made me look more like a beer barrel than a dancer. In retrospect the hoops on it were a mistake.
"Someone on Twitter said the wardrobe department just went, 'Sod it, darts player'."
Mr Balls suggested he is unlikely to be too upset by any negative comments about his moves on the BBC show.
"In politics you need a Goldilocks skin. Not too thick, not too thin," he explained.
"Because if you're thin-skinned then you can't survive, but if you're thick-skinned, you become inhuman and insensitive."
:: This week's Radio Times is on sale on Tuesday.