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Reality TV Interview

Erin Boag ('Strictly Come Dancing')

By
Strictly (Sat 2nd Oct): Peter Shilton

© BBC

England's superstar goalie Peter Shilton dropped the ball on Saturday night, finishing bottom of the judges' leaderboard after a dodgy Charleston routine. Bruno claimed that the footballer looked like a dancing penguin and the public agreed, giving him the chop. Shilts's pro partner and Strictly favourite Erin Boag gave us a ring yesterday to chat about the latest drama on the dancefloor.

How are you feeling this morning?
"It is pretty sad actually. It is sad. Poor Peter last night definitely had mixed emotions. He was like, 'What am I going to do on Monday?' You are always thinking about the next dance on this show. The thing about Strictly is that you are learning a new skill every time you perform. One week you go in one direction, the next you go in another. And now Peter is not going to have that anymore, so I think he's a bit gutted. And I think he felt like he let himself down and me down yesterday by making mistakes, but he never let me down at all. Unfortunately, it just wasn't his dance. I think he knows that it wasn't his dance. He appreciated that and he was the worst dancer on the night. It was his time to go. He wasn't a bad sport or anything like that."

What has Peter been like as a partner?
"He is a legend. Although I'm not a football fan myself, when I told my father that I was dancing with Peter Shilton, he said, 'You are dancing with Peter Shilton!' He couldn't believe it. After that I did a study on him and he was an incredible, incredible goalkeeper during his time. And none of that work ethic has been lost with Peter. Although he is 61 now, he came in every day and I'm the one who has lost six pounds from dancing with him. He trained like crazy. It wasn't a natural thing for him at all. But there was never one moan, no complaints, never a bad moment. We had a great time in the studio and we really enjoyed our time on the show."

How did you think the Charleston went?
"I knew it wasn't going to be Peter's dance. I was just hoping that public may save us. Something like that was always going to be tricky for Peter, but he did the best he could and he did try. That was never going to be his dance because it was so much about performance and acting. If he'd had the tango he may have had more of a chance, but it wasn't our week for the ballroom and sometimes on Strictly you get dances that suit you and other times you don't. That's part of the show."

Do you think the judges were at all harsh with their marking?
"I think Craig may have been. I think Craig made an awful comment about the fact that he 'couldn't wait for it to end'. I think that was a bit off, making a statement like that. I don't think Peter appreciated that. But the judges in general were correct, it wasn't Peter's best dance. They can't stand there and lie, can they? They have to be honest. I don't think they were too harsh, apart from that one comment from Craig. But that's part of being on Strictly, you've got to learn to stand there and take criticism, otherwise why would you do it."

The big talking point of Saturday was Ann Widdecombe's flying entrance. What did you think of it?
"Oh I love her. I honestly love Ann Widdecombe. And I love her partnership with Anton. They are hilarious together and they are always coming up with new things. What are they going to do next week? You'll have to turn on your TV on Saturday to find out. I know what dance they are doing next week, but I'm not quite sure yet what they are going to actually do in the dance. But I'll tell you what, this dance they are doing next week is the one dance I've wanted to see Ann Widdecombe do since I heard she was signed up for the programme. I can't tell you what it is, but I am very excited about watching it."

What's she been like backstage with the other celebs and pros?
"The thing you have to say about Ann is that she's captured the nation and that is a big part of this show. She knows that she will never be the best dancer in this contest, but she will keep on going until she gets knocked out. She'll keep on entertaining people and loving it. Did you ever think you would see Ann Widdecombe smile so much? It is unheard of from a politician. But do you want some backstage information? Backstage Ann is laughing and joking with us and she is loving dancing with Anton. She still won't have a spray tan, she won't wear hair extensions or the fake eyelashes, she will only go out there as herself. She wears beautiful costumes, looks elegant and she has got the right attitude. She goes out for a good time. And in terms of criticism from the judges, there is nothing that they can say which will harm her. She's heard it all before in the world of politics."

Are you worried Anton may ditch you as his pro partner and run off with Ann?
"I don't think that will happen! I actually think Anton is the only one who could dance with Ann, because he is someone who she really gets on with. He finds it easy to get on with most people. He is a very intelligent person Anton, he is very well read and keeps up with the papers - he reads The Times every day. Ann is a very intelligent woman and needs someone like that, so they've always got plenty to talk about. And for Anton, there's not much pressure on him either. He can have a lovely time, but there's only so much he can do in terms of correcting her footwork. She isn't going to be able to learn lots and lots. The only pressure on him is to come up with a new idea like the flying each week. But he always has a funny story to tell about Ann, he's always calling me up from training, joking, 'What am I going to do with her funny little legs next week?' But I don't know about you, I was crying with laughter when I watched their quickstep. Her little feet going 100 miles an hour was incredible."

Apart from Ann, which celebrity has impressed you most?
"Impressed me the most? From the technical side of things, Scott, Matt, Pamela, Kara...the list goes on. It's the highest level from all eight series. There's a big bunch of them up there who could win the show. But they all need to do something that will grab the public's imagination as well. That's what they are lacking and nobody can beat Ann at that yet. I think when it gets down to the last five weeks, this year's show will be a real battle. Because all of them are such brilliant dancers."

Do you think there are five potential winners still in the competition?
"I would say there was about six of them that could reach the final. And in fact seven if you include Ann Widdecombe!"

Do you seriously believe that she could go that far?
"Definitely, oh definitely. I really think Ann could make the final of Strictly. I don't know whether she will win. I think then the public would do the decent thing, you'd think. Maybe not, maybe she will lift the trophy and if she does, good luck to her. And she will deserve to win the trophy if she gets the biggest votes. And remember, the last two years, the best dancer has not won the competition. It has always been the people's favourite or the one with the biggest journey."

Strictly continues next Saturday at 6.25pm on BBC One

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