Ed Balls: Why I'm waltzing on to Strictly Come Dancing


Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls has joked that going on Strictly Come Dancing could be due to a midlife crisis.

The ex-MP, 49, is the first name to be officially announced for the ballroom dancing show, which kicks off again in the autumn.

Ed Balls
Ed Balls (Chris Ison/PA)

He said being on the BBC1 dance show was part of his "post-politics bucket list" and that he could "do with losing half a stone".

He told Chris Evans on his Radio 2 breakfast show: "I've done sensible things. I learned the piano. I ran marathons. I always thought I wasn't going to get a motorbike to go across the Sahara.

"I have a feeling that going on Strictly is a bit more like getting on a motorbike to go across the Sahara than practising the piano."

Ed, who was famously spotted on the dancefloor at the Labour Party conference in 2014 doing a Gangnam Style dance, added: "I've taken the view, if you're going to have a midlife crisis you should make sure you plan it well and enjoy it."

But he added: "My only hope is that it stays a dream and doesn't become a nightmare."

He told Chris: "I spent 20 years in politics. I was a cabinet minister doing serious things. I'd like to do serious things again and get a full-time job again. In the meantime, I want to have some fun."

Rumoured contestants so far include model Daisy Lowe, pop star Will Young, TV presenter Angellica Bell, singer Louise Redknapp.

Daisy Lowe is one of the rumoured contestants this year (Ian West/PA)
Daisy Lowe is one of the rumoured contestants this year (Ian West/PA)

The ex-Cabinet minister, who is planning to embark on 12 hours a week of training, lost his Morley and Outwood seat in May last year to become one of the most high-profile casualties of the 2015 election.

Other ex-politicians who have appeared in the ballroom show include Edwina Currie and Ann Widdecombe.

Former business secretary Vince Cable took part in the Christmas special in 2010, but Ed will be the first male politician to appear on the main Strictly show.

Ed said appearing on the BBC1 show was a "dream come true" but admitted he thought that life in politics was "much easier than this is going to be".

Yvette Cooper.
Yvette Cooper (Joe Giddens/PA)

He said that his wife, Yvette Cooper, who is still a Labour MP, supported his decision to join the show.

"She kept saying: 'I'd like to do it ... you've got to do it. How can you say no?' If she'd said 'You're mad', I wouldn't have done it."