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Kevin Clifton's Strictly Christmas partner Debbie McGee says he ‘nearly killed' her

Kevin Clifton, 37, and Debbie McGee, 61, will be performing a Quickstep to song Jingle Bells in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special this evening. It comes after Debbie was last on the dance floor with professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, 29, in 2017, where they reached the final.

Debbie admitted Kevin was a tough teacher and pushed her a “little further” than the Italian hunk, which she joked nearly “killed” her off.

Revealing how she got on dancing with Kevin, the former magician’s assistant spilled to The Sun: “He’s reminded me of techniques and he’s taught me, given me some new tips and taught me a few new steps which I didn’t learn before.

“So he’s actually pushed me a little bit further time, and nearly killed me off some days!”

While Kevin said he was surprised how quickly Debbie got back into the swing of things, especially regarding ballroom technique.

He said: “I didn’t know what to expect with the training sessions, and didn’t know if she would have forgotten it or maintained it, but I think Giovanni did a really good job.

“So the first thing we did was get into ballroom hold just to see her position and I didn’t know how it was going to look or feel but Debbie just went bang into position and I thought ‘this is going to be fine’.”

Debbie will be competing against celebrities Gemma Atkinson, Joe Sugg, Richard Arnold, Mark Wright and Chizzy Akudolu.

When Debbie was on Strictly two years ago, she was beaten to the post by Joe McFadden and professional dancer Katya Jones.

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And the star, who was married to the late Paul Daniels, said she doesn’t have much hope of winning the Christmas special as she believes Joe or Gemma will have the edge.

She said: “It’s not totally about dancing it’s about who the people like Joe and Dianne [Buswell] have this huge following on social and so has Gemma.

“People will like that they’re dancing with real life partners – it adds another dimension,” she said.

“It’s anyone’s this Christmas.”

Meanwhile, Debbie appeared on Good Morning Britain last week where she chatted about how she deals with the loss of her late husband during this time of the year.

Paul died from an incurable brain tumour in February 2016 at the age of 77 and three years on, Debbie said she is slowly beginning to get used to Christmas without him but “misses” him everyday.

Host, Piers Morgan, said to the star: “You’ve had to learn to have Christmas now without Paul obviously, what sort of advice do you give to people when they’re trying to deal with the family event, the Christmas day without their loved ones?”

“I think even on a day-to-day basis when you’ve lost someone, you always miss them,” Debbie replied.

“You mentally can say to yourself, ‘I’m going into an empty house now, I’m going to feel sad’.

“You have to mentally say to yourself, ‘No I had all those years of happiness with that person, life has changed. I will go into my house and feel happy’.”

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The BBC Radio Berkshire host explained there’s “certain things” she would do to help herself cope without him in the house.

“I always put the radio on so there’s always a noise. I am always busy,” she opened up.

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special airs today on BBC One at 4.40pm.


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