Debbie McGee says late husband Paul Daniels will be with her on Strictly Come Dancing

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Debbie McGee says late husband Paul Daniels will be with her on Strictly Come Dancing

Debbie McGee says late husband Paul Daniels will be with her throughout her Strictly Come Dancing journey.

The former ballet dancer follows in Paul’s footsteps on to the BBC show, after he competed in 2010.

And Debbie, 58, says he would be delighted that she’s taking to the dancefloor.

“He’s always on my mind,” said Debbie, who lost Paul last year to brain cancer.

“It’s a comforting thing. We lived in each other’s pockets for so long.

Paul Daniels and Ola Jordan dancing in the live show
Paul Daniels with Ola Jordan in 2010
(Image: BBC/Guy Levy)

“So much of what I learnt about showbizness was from him so he’s always there. He would love it because he’d know that I would be excited. He would just say ‘Do your best.’”

Debbie says keeping busy helped her through the grief of losing Paul.

“I’ve always done other things but if Paul had a tour that came first,” Debbie said.

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“When he died my doctor told me to go straight back to work, so I went back to my radio show the Sunday after he died. He said get back into normal.

Debbie was determined to get back to work after Paul passed away
(Image: PA)

“Luckily the phone started ringing and I started doing things. What I realised was, I’ve always worked. I’ve never been a person who’s just at home. I don’t know what to do if I’m at home all day.

“I’ve never been the girl who just goes out to lunch. I like to have something to do. Work for me takes away that sadness as I have to focus on something else.”

Tonight’s show saw the debut of new judge Shirley Ballas.

New head judge Shirley Ballas was abandoned by dad George when she was just two
(Image: Getty Images Europe)

One person who tuned in was dad George Rich.

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He abandoned the family when Shirley, 56, was just two, leaving mum Audrey to bring up her daughter and son David alone.

But years later Shirley and her dad reconciled – and he proudly watched on last night.

Speaking from his home in Merseyside, when asked whether Shirley was a good choice for the role, George said: “She is the best in the world. She has worked very hard.”

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