Strictly Come Dancing star Anton du Beke said he had forgotten how ‘terrible’ the show’s contestants were until he started rehearsals with Nancy Dell’Olio.

The dancer, who was famously paired with former MP Ann Widdecombe in last year’s show, is working with Nancy ahead of next weekend’s live premiere.

He said: “Always when I do this I forget how terrible the celebrities really are because all I remember is how they finished in the series and I forget the pain at the beginning, but they pick it up.”

Half of the celebrities will make their debuts in next Friday’s show, with a second group, including Anton and Nancy, taking to the floor the following night.

Nancy admitted feeling the ‘pressure’ of getting ready for the big night, but Anton said he had an idea for a ‘big finish’ to impress the judges.

He said: “It’s all right, it’s good, you know. I’ve got some choreography that I’ve put down and it’s about two-thirds of the dance and I’ve got an idea for a big finish, but that remains to be seen how that goes.”

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