Laura Whitmore hopes ankle pain will give her "an edge" on Strictly

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Strictly star Laura Whitmore has said she hopes "pain will give (her) a bit of an edge" as she prepares for a second week dancing on an injured ankle.

Last Saturday's Halloween special episode saw her return to the competition for the first time after sitting out for a week due to an injury that left her almost unable to walk.

The presenter, 31, topped the judges' leader board with a passionate tango with partner Giovanni Pernice.

She said: "Last Saturday made all the pain and anguish worth it. Sometimes pain gives you a bit of an edge.

The pained, stern expression worked well for a Halloween tango.
The pained, stern expression worked well for a Halloween tango (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

"I've worked in TV for so many years and never been in a situation where I've felt so exposed and out of my depth.

"I have never had an injury before. When your body tells you to take a rest it's very difficult and it's tough to find that motivation to get back on your feet. It has made me stronger."

But she added that, although she has received huge support from Giovanni and everyone involved in the BBC dance contest, she was "not ready at all" for the next round of the competition on Saturday.

The pair began full training for their next dance, a samba, on Wednesday, the day after they attended the Pride of Britain Awards in London.

"Giovanni actually taught me the first steps on the red carpet," she said, "so even that wasn't an evening off".

As well as training for the show and attending award ceremonies, Laura has also been busy supporting a festive charity campaign with Very.co.uk in the lead-up to the release of the website's Christmas advert.

After taking part in the gift-giving event in London she said: "Christmas is absolutely my favourite time of year.

"I'm a big gift giver and spend ages thinking about the perfect gift for someone - there's nothing better than that feeling of joy and excitement you get when you see how much they love it, that's the best feeling.

"Every year I'm excited to see the festive adverts, as I think it really marks the start of the Christmas countdown, so I was thrilled to be able to reveal Very's in such a special way with this public event - it's been amazing to bring it to life for everyone and give away some amazing gifts."

The advert will broadcast for the first time during ITV's X Factor on Saturday.