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Abbey Clancy, Fiona Fullerton and Sophie Ellis-Bextor talk Strictly Come Dancing 2013 | Mail Online

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  • Abbey Clancy, Fiona Fullerton and Sophie Ellis-Bextor talk Strictly Come Dancing 2013 | Mail Online

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    A model, an ex-Bond girl, a pop star - you'd think Abbey Clancy, Fiona Fullerton and Sophie Ellis-Bextor would ooze elegance on Strictly. Er, not quite, they tell Jenny Johnston...
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    <a href="http://www.timberlandbootoutlet.com">timberland boot sale</a> Oh what glamorous tales a Bond girl must have to tell. Fiona Fullerton makes a very unglamorous noise – somewhere between a snort and a guffaw – at the mere suggestion, pointing out that sharing a Jacuzzi with James Bond, as she famously did in A View To A Kill, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
    timberland boots on sale ‘The thing that very few people appreciate about that scene is that before they asked Roger Moore and me to get in the Jacuzzi, they’d given it a coat of wood varnish to make it an authentic mahogany colour.
    timberland fashion boots 'The blasted stuff came off all over us. Our fingers were already like prunes when we got out – we were in there forever – and our skin was the oddest colour. Glamorous? I don’t think so.’
    A model, an ex-Bond girl, a pop star - you'd think Abbey Clancy, Fiona Fullerton and Sophie Ellis-Bextor would ooze elegance on Strictly, not quite, they explain
    timberland boot outlet What good training those days were, however, for the actress’s latest venture – one where teak-hued skin and having to smile through all manner of pain are essential. She’s one of the stars of the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing, where Fiona, 56, is spending every Saturday night in the arms of the wonderful Anton du Beke (filling the space once occupied by Nancy Dell’Olio and Jerry Hall). ‘This year I’m the ageing glamourpuss of the line-up. Oh don’t try to be kind and tell me I’m not. I am! There has to be one every year.’
    Fiona’s been out of the limelight for nearly 20 years, having ditched her acting career in the mid-90s for one in property development. She always did have a love/hate relationship with showbiz and her decision to bow out was ‘quite an easy one’ when she became the victim of a stalker.
    ‘It happened when I had my daughter Lucy. I was 39 then and just wanted another type of life. Where I live I’m very much Fiona, Lucy’s mum, who does the school run in her Timberlands and drinks down the pub.

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    'The reaction there has been hilarious. I’ve been asked, “Why are you on Strictly?” I don’t like to say “Because I used to be a terribly famous actress, darling” because that just draws attention to the contrast!’
    So what are her fears? The biggest one is going out first ‘which would be horrid, but is quite a possibility because it’s about a public vote, and I’ve been out of the limelight for so long. I’m obviously up against some people who are very high-profile, on TV every week.’
    Her second fear is of exposing her body – ‘which is slightly tubby around the middle’ – to the nation. Of course, it’s not at all tubby around the middle – she looks incredible – but she insists, ‘Time has taken its toll. I was much bigger than this a few years ago. I put on two stone – I really did get frumpy. But I lost it again. Good job too. I’m sure Strictly wouldn’t have asked me if I hadn’t. And poor Anton certainly wouldn’t have been able to lift me when I was a size 16.’
    What all three women have in common - apart from a terror of falling flat on their faces in front of the entire nation - is that they all chose to do Strictly because it fitted in with their domestic set-ups
    If she seems a touch preoccupied with not living up to some Bond girl ideal, there is perhaps good reason.
    Today she’s linking up with two of her fellow Strictly contestants for our chat – and possibly the most glamorous two at that. Step forward singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and model Abbey Clancy – and cue near palpitations for Fiona. ‘I think Sophie’s absolutely beautiful,’ she says. ‘And she’s good on the dancefloor too. I think she’s the dark horse of this competition.’
    Sophie quickly pooh-poohs any idea that she has natural elegance, however. The first thing she does when she arrives is tell a story about getting carried away when her Strictly partner Brendan Cole taught her to do a handstand as part of their routine.
    ‘As we practised, he always caught my legs. Unfortunately, I got it into my head that I could do a handstand – not appreciating that you can’t really do a handstand if someone is always holding your legs. I tried to practise at home and went crashing straight into the baby’s cot. I thought I’d broken a bone.’
    So far, so very unglamorous. Perhaps Abbey – all teeth and legs when she pitches up today as you might expect for a bona fide Wag (she’s married to Stoke City striker Peter Crouch), will add that certain elegance. Well, not exactly. She admits she’s more terrified than composed.
    ‘When you’re modelling they can take 200 pictures until they get one of you looking all glam and lovely. It’s not the same on Strictly. There’s no hiding. It’s terrifying, actually. I’m spending most of my time thinking, “What must I look like?”’
    What all three women have in common – apart from a terror of falling flat on their faces in front of the entire nation – is that they all chose to do Strictly because it fitted in with their domestic set-ups: Fiona because her daughter ‘is driving now, so finally old enough not to need me for the school run’, and the other two because they can juggle childcare with rehearsals. ‘We’ve been laughing about that,’ says Abbey.
    ‘Sophie has three kids and I’ve just put Sophia [her two-and-a-half-year-old] into nursery. We’re always on the phone sorting out pick-ups.’
    If you toil on the tills at Tesco, the idea of Strictly being ‘work’ is a bit much. But, of course, it is. And in the business of show, all three confirm that it’s actually harder work than most jobs – if only because of the hours involved.
    And Abbey is quite serious about the fact that she wants – no needs, to work. When I make a throwaway comment about her not needing to work on account of having a multi-millionaire husband, she’s quick to correct me. ‘Why would I not need to work? I do. My mum worked, my aunties work. I want my daughter to grow up and see me going to work and be proud of me for it. It’s always been really important to me to earn my own money.’
    Sophie talks of Strictly being an 'indulgence' and her attempt to carve a bit of 'me time' into a rather hectic life
    Some might be surprised to hear she’s put Sophia in a local nursery, though (‘She knows that Mummy drops her off on the way to work, and Daddy picks her up again’). Don’t Wags have teams of nannies to handle the childcare? ‘Well, I don’t,’ she says.
    ‘We’ve never gone down that route. I’ve never felt we needed to. Sophia was the first baby in our family for 18 years so there are lots of people around to help out, like my mum. I want to keep it all as normal as possible.
    ‘Strictly’s exhilarating, though,’ she continues. ‘It’s not like anything I’ve done before. The hours are long and you really have to concentrate – but at the same time it’s the chance of a lifetime to get trained up by some of the best dancers in the world. What I just have to get over is feeling really silly when I’m up there. Mind you, everyone feels like that.’
    It must help that she’s been partnered with Aljaž Skorjanec, regarded as one of the hotter of the Strictly professionals. How has that one gone down at home?
    Fiona's been out of the limelight for nearly 20 years, having ditched her acting career in the mid-90s for one in property development
    ‘He’s fine about it,’ she laughs. ‘Peter knows he doesn’t have anything to worry about. He knows I love him to bits.’ So has he been helping with the dance routines? She says he’s pitched in helping her out with some stretches – but has designs on taking part in the show himself. ‘He’d love to do it,’ she says. ‘He’s not a bad dancer too. I reckon he’d do alright.’
    Perhaps the surprise addition to the Strictly line-up this year was Sophie. With her glacial good looks and trendy vibe, she always gave the impression of being too cool for school – possibly not the sort of person to hurl themselves into the sequin-fest that is Strictly.
    She hoots with laughter at the idea of being considered cool. ‘Maybe that was the case ten years ago, when I wasn’t as confident as I might have been, and was desperately worried about what people would think. But I’ve had three children since then. You kind of chill out after that. Now, I really don’t care. It’s not about an image, it’s about being me.’
    Sophie talks of Strictly being an ‘indulgence’ and her attempt to carve a bit of ‘me time’ into a rather hectic life. Married to musician Richard Jones, her three sons – Sonny, nine, Kit, four, and baby Ray, 17 months, have taken up much of her time for the past decade.
    And she’s also been juggling a full-on touring and recording schedule. So not much room for waltzing, then? ‘No, and believe me it will show. It’s just one of those shows that captures the imagination, though, and I’m regarding it as an investment in me.’ Wouldn’t a spa day do the job? ‘Well, it would probably lead to less bruising.’
    Down-to-earth and funny, Sophie is well aware that some preconceptions about her will be shattered the minute she takes to the stage. ‘I think I’ve been bringing those barriers down gradually, but this will be a chance for quite a different me to come through.’
    Actually, she sounds a bit like her mum, former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis – a prospect she admits would once have horrified her. ‘When I was growing up Mum was very gung-ho, very Girl Guide about everything – and however much I wanted to sneer at it at the time, it’s part of my DNA too. You can’t avoid it!’
    All three reveal that their assorted children and partners will be joining them for the Strictly jamboree – some more aptly attired than others. ‘Sophia has her tutu at the ready,’ says Abbey, while Sophie – to hoots of laughter – reveals her boys have been putting their Barbie dolls through their paces.
    Barbie dolls? ‘Absolutely,’ she says. ‘Isn’t it odd how life turns out?’

    Strictly Come Dancing, tonight, 6.20pm, and tomorrow, 7.20pm, BBC1.
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    Comments ( 4 )
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    The comments below have not been moderated.
    emma,
    london,
    3 weeks ago
    I do like Abbey, she may come across a bit ditzy and her accent a tad annoying - but theres something very down to earth and normal about her.
    11
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    MooTheCow,
    MooTown - MooLand,
    3 weeks ago
    Fools; Rachel's the natural beauty, brains and elegance of the bunch, why was she excluded? How rude.
    21
    6
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    Stuart25,
    Glasgow,
    1 month ago
    I love SEB, so natural and down to earth
    2
    57
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    elgar61,
    Fife,
    1 month ago
    I hope Fiona Fullerton is not going to take up acting again. She was as wooden as Liz Hurley in her day.
    16
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