Strictly's Shirley nearly bared all after zip broke on first day of show


Now head judge Shirley Ballas has revealed that she was terrified on her first night four years ago and had to be sewn into her dress after her zip broke minutes before she went on air for her first performance on Strictly. Speaking to Susannah Constantine on her podcast My Wardrobe Malfunction, she said: “I’ve still got the dress upstairs. I had dropped my weight down to something like a size six and the dress was a little snug.

“And just as I took a step up, the zip went zzzz and the whole thing was hanging. And there was, ‘Oh my God, needle and cotton, get the needle and cotton, headdress hold, we can’t hold’. It was a mess…but it’s live TV. The show has to go on.

“I remember standing at the back of the stage, my knees were going, quivering, my zip on my dress had broken, and they were trying to sew me in it and the sweat was dripping all down my back. I could feel it.”

Ballas, who is a close friend of former head judge Len Goodman, also admitted that she had been pushed into applying for the job by her son Mark, 35, the son of her second husband Corky Ballas, who is a dancer on Dancing With The Stars, the US version of Strictly.

“It was the most difficult thing I ever did in my life. I wanted to pee my pants every time I was so terrified. It was not easy.

“First of all, when I got the job at 57, who would have ever thought, you know? And it was my son who pushed me because I was being bullied in my own industry. He said: “I think you should try for Uncle Len’s job,” – we’ve known Len since before Mark was born.

“And, to cut a long story short, he pushed me into it: I did terribly on the first interview, great on the second interview. But when it actually came to the night, I had a diary and I wanted to say everything. And then I realised you’ve got short bullet points.”

Ballas, 60, who is now dating actor Danny Taylor, whom she met during pantomime rehearsals for Jack And The Beanstalk, also revealed that she sympathised with the competitors.

“I’ve had that experience as a world class competitor going into major finals to win world title,” she added. “I know what it feels like to be coming down those stairs. You know I sympathise. I get it. I’ve been there.”

But she admitted that her son Mark and her mother Audrey, are her biggest critics. “You know, everything out of my mother’s mouth is positive,’ she said. “And I think that that’s what I’ve learned with her.

“She watches the show. My son had said, ‘Oh your face is a bit scary Mum’. So, I called my Mom and said, ‘Mark thinks I look a bit scary’, and she said, ‘Soften your edges a bit, girl, soften your edges. They’re not all in there to be world champions’.

“I’d love to do Gogglebox with her, but she’s always trying to tell me she’s very shy. But when I put her behind my camera lens for my social media, she’s just right there and giving it large. So, she’s just a natural.”

To hear My Wardrobe Malfunction go to podfollow.com/mywardmal



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