Strictly Come Dancing: Jacqui Smith says she's in it to win it

Anita Singh
·2-min read
Jacqui Smith on Strictly - Ray Burmiston/BBC
Jacqui Smith on Strictly - Ray Burmiston/BBC

Jacqui Smith unveiled her glamorous Strictly Come Dancing makeover as she declared that she is in it to win it.

The former Home Secretary, 57, said she had singled out Caroline Quentin, the Men Behaving Badly actress, as her main rival because both are women of a certain age.

“I thought to myself, ‘Caroline is the same age as me.’ And then I hear she’s done some dancing in her childhood and teen years. So I suppose she’s going to be what people will see as my biggest competition,” Smith said. Quentin, 60, studied dance until the age of 16.

Smith’s new look is a long way from the smart suits of her Westminster years, and she hailed the BBC show’s wardrobe, hair and make-up teams as “genius”.

Asked to name the biggest challenges she faced on the show, Smith replied: “Small issue of not really knowing how to dance. Overcoming my nerves, feeling confident, wearing something slightly skimpier than I would usually wear.”

Jacqui Smith on Strictly - Ray Burmiston/BBC
Jacqui Smith on Strictly - Ray Burmiston/BBC

However, she said: “I’m a very, very competitive person. I hardly ever do anything unless I think I’m going to be able to win. I’m realistic, but I will be trying hard.

“Anyone who’s ever seen me playing sport, doing politics or anything else will know that I’m not necessarily always good, but I’m always trying to win.”

Smith said she had been taking advice from Ed Balls, her former colleague and a past Strictly contestant.

Quentin, meanwhile, is being supported by Liz Hurley, after the pair worked together recently on a film.

"I’ve been working with Elizabeth Hurley and she’s more excited about it than anyone I’ve ever met. She has told me so much information about the programme that I didn’t know, past years and winners, what’s happened and how to go about it. She and her son Damien have been extraordinarily supportive," Quentin said.