Debbie McGee has said being a part of Strictly Come Dancing has made her “genuinely happy” for the first time since the death of husband Paul Daniels

Debbie McGee has said being a part of Strictly Come Dancing has made her “genuinely happy” for the first time since the death of husband Paul Daniels.

The 58-year-old TV and radio personality also shared her joy at the “connection” she and her professional dance partner Giovanni Pernice have and how welcoming the stars on the BBC programme have been.

Magician Paul died in March last year, and Debbie told Christine Lampard on ITV’s Lorraine: “It really is the first time since I lost Paul that I actually feel genuinely happy.

Debbie McGee, Giovanni Pernice
Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice (BBC/Ray Burmiston/PA)

“I’m always giggling and having a good time, but until now there was still this knot in my stomach, and this kind of… Paul is there, the fact I’ve lost him.

“But the last three weeks on Strictly… everyone is so lovely on every level. I love all the other contestants, they make you feel so good and wanted.”

On being partnered with Giovanni, Debbie said: “We are really plugged in. We have a connection.

“We feel really comfortable in each other’s company. There’s nothing that’s difficult. We’ve got the same sense of humour. We laugh a lot. We have the same work ethic, so we’re totally focused.

“We did a radio interview yesterday, he said, ‘the thing is, with Debbie, I look at her and she knows what I mean’, and I think that explains how well we get on. We’ve already melded together.”

Paul took part in Strictly in 2010, and Debbie spoke of his wish that she would follow in his footsteps.

She said: “I keep pinching myself, I can’t believe how lucky I am that I’ve been offered it, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it so far.”

Debbie and Giovanni, 27, will dance the Paso Doble to Fergie’s Be Italian in this weekend’s live launch episode.

Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturday at 6.25pm on BBC1.