Ed Balls won't quit Strictly over low scores like John Sergeant


Ed Balls stressed that he would not follow the lead of journalist John Sergeant by pulling out of Strictly Come Dancing early for repeatedly getting low scores as he appeared on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme.

Ed - who also pulled off a dance routine with former Strictly contestant weather presenter Carol Kirkwood during the live broadcast - acknowledged that he was unlikely to go much further in the dance show, after coming bottom of the leaderboard every week.

Ed Balls and Katya Jones
Ed Balls has said he won't quit Strictly Come Dancing over low scores (Guy Levy/BBC/PA Images)

The former shadow chancellor received just 16 points at the weekend for his clumsy dance routine with professional partner Katya Jones.

Nevertheless, he stressed that he would not quit in the same style as broadcaster John, who pulled out of the series in 2008 for his marks despite being backed by the voting public.

John quit the show after saying "there was a real danger I could win, which would be a joke too far".

Strictly Come Dancing
John Sergeant quit Strictly Come Dancing in the sixth series following criticism from the judges (Guy Levy/BBC/PA Images)

Ed - who lost his seat in Parliament in last year's general election - told host Victoria: "I really would like to do a jive and I think hopefully the tango the week after next. There's no way I'm going to last very long, but another couple of weeks would be great.

"As a politician, I do know that, in the end, it's the public who decide. That's true in general elections but it's also true in Strictly. If people want to keep me in, I'm going to stay in and do my best. And when they've had enough, that's it. I know what that's like."

Asked how far he could go, Ed said his wife, Yvette Cooper, said he had "another stone to lose in weight".

And he added: "At the end, it is a show which is about learning to dance and about entertaining, and the public, in the end, with the judges, decide. If it was a dance competition, then I wouldn't have entered, I wouldn't have got through the qualifying stages.

"I clearly started from the lowest base, but I think people can see that we are trying really hard. This week didn't go very well, but last week Len (Goodman) said 'You're putting in all the steps and you're doing them' and that was the best thing anybody had said."

Ed said he was delighted by the positive public response to his appearances, but added: "When people say 'We knew you were a politician but it's great to find you're a human being as well', I think 'Actually, politicians are human beings. They have families and hopes and they make mistakes and they are vulnerable and they try to do their best'.

"Sometimes people do bad things in politics. Most people do good things. Maybe it's not a bad thing for people to see that politicians are human beings too."

Ed also revealed that he narrowly missed a road accident on his way to the TV interview.

He said: "We were in a car, and in front of us a lorry was turning right and some other driver decided to try to overtake on the other side, careered off the road on to the pavement, just missed two people and then reversed and went charging off again.

"We stopped and we got his number plate and reported it and gave our contacts, so we had a bit of a dash to get here to the show.

"It was totally crazy driving. Really luckily, the people he almost hit weren't hurt, but it could have been really terrible.

Ed Balls
Ed Balls wants to stay in the competition (Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Images)

"It shows that every day could be your last and you've got to enjoy it. Life is so random and uncertain and you never know what's going to happen.

"You can't think about that too much but it also means that if you think 'In 10 or 20 years' time I will achieve or be fulfilled', that can be quite debilitating.

"I'm at the stage of my life where I think I want to enjoy every day and ensure I see our kids grow up and do things which are fun and enjoyable."