Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly, 51, on missing being able to hug her co-stars, protecting kids online, seeing husband Vernon Kay on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, and wearing high heels on the telly.
How did you all cope with Vernon away doing I’m A Celebrity…?
It was the longest I hadn’t spoken to him in 20 years together. But we were so proud of him.
We loved seeing him comforting his campmates, being a great mate to them all. He’s a big softie with a big heart.
That said, I got stressed when they didn’t eat because I’m a feeder and happiest when I’m feeding a big roast dinner to family or friends.
I’d been saying to (our daughter) Phoebe, I’m sure your dad’s lost weight. He eats three to five meals a day usually – he’s never away from the fridge at home!
Was it weird hearing him talk about you on TV?
Yes, it was! I’d been barely sleeping because I was so into it, I woke up dreaming that I was doing trials. I’ve laughed, cried and heaved with them.
Hooves and giblets dropped on your head? How could you cope? And all those creepy-crawlies, I’m just so squeamish. I wouldn’t last two minutes. Hats off to them.
Might Vernon not have done the show had it not been for Covid?
The show had approached him before but the time was right this year. Sadly he didn’t get to sunbathe in a hammock in Australia but I think he was secretly quite pleased about that, as was I, because he was only a few hours away up the road rather than on the other side of the world.
You’ve been doing Strictly for nearly as long as you’ve been married so you must be glad it went ahead this year…
I’m so grateful, it was a big deal to make Strictly happen.
Why do you and Claudia get on so well?
I’ve known her for over ten years and we’ve seen each other’s kids grow up, we’re both working mums and we just get on. She’s such a laugh to be around and always a great source of advice.
We pool ideas and bounce off each other. We’re normally side by side and I sometimes find myself reaching to her and I have to stop myself. Let that never be normal, by the way!
I can’t wait until we’re able to cuddle each other again. I can’t bear not being able to cuddle celebrities when they’re eliminated and in tears, it’s human instinct to do that.
Who are you backing this year? Your girls must be excited about Hrvy…
They’re big Hrvy fans. But my favourite changes from week to week. Often you can predict loosely who’ll be in the final but this year it’s anyone’s game. I’ve been loving the couple’s choice routines. Bill Bailey dancing hip hop to Rapper’s Delight was unforgettable.
Vernon’s good at breakdancing – would he do Strictly?
He does that at home so it makes me laugh seeing it on the telly. I can’t decide if it’s bad or brilliant! It reminds me of all the Take That moves he’d do when he used to go and see them in concert! He’s not a bad dancer, which is quite a surprise considering he’s six foot four inches and built like a giant.
Could you see Anton Du Beke becoming a permanent judge?
Anton was such a great stand-in judge – he’s very highly qualified. But obviously he can’t have that role permanently because Motsi Mabuse is back and she brings such an energy.
You’re also supporting the NSPCC’s Net Aware campaign. What made you get behind it?
It’s about keeping our children safe online and, as a parent, that concerns me more than ever. The website explains really simply how to help keep your kids safe while they’re using games, apps or social media.
My 11-year-old is into Minecraft and stuff while my 16-year-old is on Instagram and Snapchat so it’s about educating them that they need to protect themselves.
Do your kids want to follow in yours and Vernon’s footsteps?
Phoebe, our eldest, is very much into drama and she’s good at it too. But she’s also a little entrepreneur and really into her business studies so I’m not sure yet which path she will choose.
Did you slob out during lockdown or make an effort?
A bit of both. After wearing trainers and loungewear for pretty much six months it was a bit of a shock to put on a dress and high heels.
Running across a shiny floor at speed for two hours – I almost threw my back out by the end of the first week. The second week I had pains shooting up my legs because your calves are not used to it.
What are your plans for Christmas?
It will be a traditional family Christmas at our house, roast turkey and all the trimmings, Christmas movies.
I’m a bit panicked – ordinarily I’ve finished my Christmas shopping by the beginning of November and then I do the finishing touches in December. But this year I’ve been so disorganised! I’ve been too distracted by I’m A Celeb!
Tess Daly is working with O2 and the NSPCC to raise awareness of Net Aware.
Credit: Original article published here.