Ex-Strictly judge Arlene Phillips has said that she’s hardly surprised by the news that contestants Seann Walsh and his pro-dancing partner Katya Jones have been caught in a romantic clinch.
She also revealed that she too has had relationships with dance partners in the past.
Walsh and Jones, who is married to Strictly choreographer Neil Jones, were snapped kissing in the street after a night out, with the pictures emerging in the Sun on Sunday newspaper.
Both have apologised for their conduct, but since then, Walsh’s partner, actress Rebecca Humphries, has ended their five-year relationship.
“The intensity of those Saturday nights, then going out partying, drinking: it can be like a pressure cooker waiting to let off steam,” Phillips writes in a column for the Daily Mail.
“Rehearsals are very intense. Couples spend long days in the studio and then have perhaps a 14-hour day on a Saturday before the live show. Going for a drink is often the way to defuse before it all starts again the following day.
“Then you have the celebrity who has to travel — they might be staying in a hotel. If you are pushed together it can be very easy to wrap yourself in someone else’s arms. You are so physical in the dancing that it is easy at the end of a long day to just be with that other person.”
Of her own experience, she writes: “I, too, have had many relationships on the dance floor. My most passionate was with a brilliant French dancer, who has sadly passed away, and I can tell you that there is nothing quite like dancing a pas de deux with someone who excites you more than anyone you have ever known before.”
But as for the so-called ‘Strictly Curse’, Phillips remains unconvinced.
“I don’t think there have necessarily been any more Strictly relationships than those that begin at the office Christmas party,” she went on.
“Although people talk about the Strictly curse, I don’t think anything is a curse — whatever happens.
“And I don’t think you can have been madly in love with your partner if it only takes five minutes to fall for someone else.”
Broadcaster Jeremy Vine, a contestant on the show in 2015, also weighed in, saying that he struggled with his feelings for his then-married dance partner Karen Clifton, calling her ‘a goddess’.
Speaking on his Channel 5 show, Vine, who has been married to his wife Rachel Schofield for 16 years, said: “I thought gosh, I can see why this happens because you go into a completely different space.
“For me, I hadn’t done any dancing. Suddenly I’m seeing someone who is like a goddess – super human.
“The power and the strength and grace of that person, and then you are spending eight, nine hours a day within two inches of them.
“It’s a powerful thing, that’s all I can say. I thought, ‘I don’t know what I’m feeling here’.”