Shirley Ballas admits she originally turned down role on Strictly Come Dancing

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Strictly Come Dancing’s latest series is in full swing and has been lucky enough to have received some of its highest-ever viewing figures since coming back to air. Last night’s edition of the BBC show saw the 11 remaining couples take to the floor for Movie Week with some great fun routines for fans to watch. One person who got to voice their opinions on the performances was Shirley Ballas, the programme’s Head Judge – but the star revealed today how she turned the job down once before later going on to replace Len Goodman.  

BBC viewers watched in their millions as they got to see how the contestants fared with a brand-new set of routines. 

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And one person who certainly knows how the stars can improve is Shirley, who divulged some information about the hit show this morning. 

Shirley joined Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer on Sunday Brunch to discuss her autobiography and her time on the show so far. 

The pair probed Shirley on the massive ratings the show has been pulling in since its return last month.

Shirley noted: “They’re huge, through the roof, the best they’ve ever been!”

She went on to describe this year’s set of celebrities as the “best” yet, adding: “Well I have to say, every year just when you think the cast can’t get any better it does!”

Long-term fans will remember the previous Head Judge was Len Goodman until he left the role back in 2016. 

However, despite Shirley now being such an integral part of the Strictly family, she admitted she nearly didn’t take the job.

Shirley explained: “I was approached to do it three and a half years ago and said, ‘No.’”

But luckily, she soon had a change of heart after bosses came to her again.

She added: “And then, I was approached again and I thought, ‘Which 57-year-old gets a job on one of the biggest TV shows with no TV experience?

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Reflecting on her life beforehand, she noted: “The journey that got me there was extremely difficult, it was always like swimming upstream – it gives hope, it’s inspiring.”

She went on to explain how it was her son who urged her to go for the Strictly gig despite her lack of TV experience. 

“It was my son who gave me the push to go for the job,” she told the hosts.

“He said, ‘Yes but you have knowledge mother, you should try,’ And he gave me a nudge in that direction!”

The judge revealed she was teaching in LA when she was given the position on the panel, adding: “I could not believe it!”

Tonight will see another contestant have to wave goodbye to the Strictly dance floor after Jacqui Smith became the first to be eliminated last weekend. 

And Shirley also confessed she wasn’t keen on having to boot any one of this year’s crop out of the competition. 

The Head Judge commented: “I’m nervous to send anyone home, they’re all giving 100 percent, all trying hard and all very good dancers in their own way!” 

Strictly Come Dancing: The Results airs tonight at 7:25pm on BBC One. 

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