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Strictly's Shirley Ballas hopes COVID restrictions won't ruin Xmas plans with her mum

The dancing supremo might be harsh when it comes to stars attempting the foxtrot on the BBC show but she says Boris Johnson has scarcely put a foot wrong.

However, Shirley, 60, who was born and raised in Wallasey, Merseyside, cannot wait until the ­latest restrictions end so she can arrange to spend Christmas with her mother Audrey, 83.

She says: “As soon as it lifts on December 2, my Danny [Taylor, her boyfriend, 47] will go up north and bring her down for Christmas, because I have to have Christmas with my mother. That’s just it.

“She’s the only person in lockdown who hasn’t had one complaint out of her mouth. I mean that with my hand on my heart. She’s the most positive person I know.

“She’s had a beautiful routine that she has had all her life, not just lockdown. She does her garden, she has her cleaning, she’s forever washing her curtains and her windows, and cooks herself a nice warm meal every day.

“And she reads, and watches both Corrie and EastEnders, the same shows she has always watched.”

Although tough clampdowns have brought their share of pain and hardship for many this year, Shirley remains a firm backer of the Prime Minister and doesn’t question the need for restrictions.


Shirley Ballas

Shirley cannot wait to spend Christmas with her mum Audrey (Image: INSTAGRAM)

She says: “I believe in Boris, the Government and the ministers – and that they’re doing the best they can to get us where we need to go.” She does, however, admit to feeling anxious during the first lockdown. “For the first two weeks I thought it was great. I did the garden, sorted out the cupboard doors… Then the anxiety set in. I wouldn’t say it was the easiest thing for me.

“Everyone has gone through anxiety issues over this but I did have a little garden to go out in. Otherwise, my heart goes out to people. I was raised in a flat with my mum and me. I know what it’s like.

“I think it’s difficult for everyone but I believe in the Gov­­ernment.

“They’re understanding the virus as we’re trying to understand the virus, as we go along. For me, Boris’s word is law. If Boris says you will lock down, I will lock down. If Boris says you can go out for a 15-minute walk, I’ll go out for a 15-minute walk.” Her political views don’t stop with the Prime Minister. She also firmly backs Democrat president-elect Joe Biden in the US, where she lived for 11 years.


Shirley is due to launch a new dance DVD (Image: Getty )

She says: “People elected Mr Trump and I’m sure he’s done plenty to help the country but I was delighted that Mr Biden and Kamala Harris are representing the US.

“I love his manner, I love that he has a rescue dog, and I love his kindness. He has also had tragedy in his life. I love the fact that he’s not going to fire anyone up.”

Shirley, who launches a new dance DVD tomorrow, has also written a tell-all autobiography – Behind the Sequins – which charts her difficult upbringing and sub­sequent setbacks, but which culminates with her appointment as Len Goodman’s replacement on Strictly Coming Dancing in 2017.

She admits: “It’s been a difficult write and an even more difficult thing to read back. It’s 60 years of my life, through suicides and
tragedies, and husbands, moving 14 times, and no father around.

“I tried to do it without hurting anyone’s feelings and I tried to give an account from my perspective.”

Shirley is no stranger to hurt feelings. She has long been targeted by online trolls, most recently over a stunning dress she wore for week three of the show but manages to laugh most jibes off.

She says: “It was the powder-blue dress. Someone said I looked like a toilet roll holder! I thought that was funny because I remember those toilet roll holders that were shaped like a dress. My mum had ones like that.

“Someone else was like, ‘You’re ugly’, ‘Your dress was horrible’, ‘Oh my god, who dressed you, it’s awful’.

“I have to laugh because you can’t wear the same dress every week. I let them say what they want. I don’t get all sensitive because I understand that people want to say something.”

In part, her tolerant attitude stems from the death of her brother David, who took his own life in 2003.

Shirley Ballas

The Strictly judge has been targeted by online troll – but manages to laugh most jibes off (Image: Getty )

“On social media I give them two or three chances. I’ve been trolled badly but I lost my brother to suicide so I never know from which place they are coming.

“So I often try with a very nice line, ‘I’m sorry you feel that way, blah blah…’ but after three times, if they’re still wishing me dead, I block them. But I really do try to be kind.”

Looking ahead on the show, she says it’s difficult to pinpoint this year’s winner. Bill Bailey is the current favourite, so could he go on to lift the coveted Glitter Ball?

“I wouldn’t like to call that. It will come down to the choice of dances. I would think we’ve got at least five people who could win, let alone make the final.”

 Strictly Come Dancing – Shirley & Craig’s Perfect 10 DVD is out tomorrow; Behind the Sequins by Shirley Ballas is out now


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