Alex Jones talks to TV Times magazine about how dance has taken over her life…

Since reaching the semi-final of Strictly Come Dancing last year, you’ve now become synonymous with dance shows…
“I don’t know how that’s happened ,but it’s a really nice! It’s lovely to do Let’s Dance… because I really miss the glitziness and old school showbiz that Strictly gives you. Matt Baker did it two years ago and he says there’s still a big gap in his life, even now.”

How do remember your Strictly experience?
“It was so fantastic! I made great friends and fulfilled a childhood dream of dancing in front of people, but the main reason I did it was because I’m invited into people’s houses at 7pm every night, but I didn’t feel they knew me. Strictly gave me an opportunity to show a different side of my personality. It’s really paid off because it made me more confident on The One Show. Now I feel I can be myself and people know what I’m like.”

You seem like a very confident person!
“I’m really shy. Lots of people who do this job are, but there’s just a perception that everyone in the public eye must be very confident. I was petrified on Strictly. I loved the training, but on Saturday nights the nerves would be horrendous. I was a painfully shy child, so I never for a second imagined that I’d work in a performing environment. I found it very hard to speak in the presence of adults so my parents are still absolutely gobsmacked that I do this job!”

You must now know what everyone on Let’s Dance… is going through!
“I’ve definitely got a lot more empathy for the contestants now. I think they’re really brave – some of them only have seven hours to rehearse before coming out in front of a few million people, it’s terrifying.”

Do you give them pep-talks beforehand?
“I tell them all that it will be nerve-wracking ,but they will feel amazing afterwards because you really feel like you’ve achieved something, especially people who have no dance training like me. It’s a real achievement to go out there and spend a couple of minutes on live Saturday night telly performing something you’ve put together during the week because you’ve done something that you were scared of.”

Have you had any favourite celebrities dancing on the show so far this year?
“EastEnders’ Tameka Empson and Laurie Brett were amazing. Those girls can really dance! It wasn’t an easy routine and they had costume changes in it, but they did it seamlessly and the audience loved them.”

*Let’s Dance for Sport Relief screens on BBC1 on Saturday nights