Strictly Come Dancing’s Shirley Ballas has promised that the show’s tribute to its former host Sir Bruce Forsyth will be a 'beautiful dedication'

Strictly Come Dancing’s new head judge Shirley Ballas has promised that the show’s tribute to its former host Sir Bruce Forsyth will be a “beautiful dedication”.

Shirley, 56, who makes her debut as Len Goodman’s replacement on Saturday night, told ITV’s Lorraine that views will be moved by the show’s tribute to the former host, who died aged 89 last month. “I think everybody will have to have their tissues”, she said.

Shirley went on to warn that she will not be going easy on the show’s celebrity contestants – as they’ve had “weeks to prepare”. Asked whether she would give a little more leeway to the stars with no dance experience under their belts, she said: “No, no, no, because you come into the show, you understand about what you’re signing up for I imagine.

“They have several weeks to prepare… I’m expecting quite interesting things from the very beginning.

“I’m not expecting them to dance like world champions. But they’ll come in and we’ll start to see who’s serious, who’s nervous. It’s a competition for me, I take it quite seriously.”

 

The Queen of Latin admitted that she “dropped to my knees” when she discovered she had the Strictly job, saying: “So many great people went for the lovely role.”

Len stepped down from the high-profile position in 2016, after 12 years.

Shirley joins judges Darcey Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli on the hit BBC1 dance show.