Head judge Shirley dispenses her essential advice to Faye, Joe and co.... and reveals that she calls her mum, who's in her 80s, after every show!

Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas has already defended this year’s line-up from criticism that there are too many trained dancers, praising the BBC for a “good mix” of celebs.

Now she’s getting on with the important business of preparing the new cohort for their glitterball experience, starting with a bit of advice we could all do with listenting to: stop being so obsessed with your phone!

“Put your mobile phone away and embrace every moment!” she recommends. “Enjoy the experience because it will go by in the blink of an eye. Take as much instruction as you can from your professional, really listen to the judges’ critiques and work hard. And too much complaining never does anyone any good, even if you get bad scores.”

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As she gets ready to critique the likes of Faye Tozer, Joe Sugg and Danny John Jules (above), Shirley also has some preparation of her own to see to.

“There’s a lady called Alexandra who organises my clothes for the show, so I went to visit her. There was a rack full of gorgeous, glamorous dresses I had the chance to try on,” she smiles. “Then I went to see my mum, I call her after every show and she tells me exactly how she feels about that week’s dress and hair! I’ve been working out too, making sure I feel healthy because it is a long run and I need to have my mind together. Bruno (Tonioli) has been working out too, we were chatting about it the other day!”

Shirley also reveals there’s one Strictly Come Dancing ambition she’s keen to achieve this year. “An American foxtrot with Anton Du Beke is on my bucket list!” she tells us. “I’m not sure what’s planned this series, everything’s still a surprise but ooh just give me the chance!”

Strictly Come Dancing, with head judge Shirley Ballas, returns this Saturday at 7.35pm on BBC1.