With her stage experience, Denise van Outen is a favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing, but she says we’ve got it all wrong…

After your first performance last Friday you’re seen as one of the favourites. How do you feel about that?
“It is a lot of pressure, but I’m trying not to think about it. This is something I’ve never done before so I just want to have a good time and learn a new skill.”

Certain people have questioned your part in Strictly, saying your experience in musical theatre gives you an unfair advantage over other contestants. What do you say to that?
“I’ve gone into this the same as everybody else. I’ve only ever danced one number in a show and that was in Chicago 11 years ago. And there are many people who’ve done Strictly that have had some kind of dance training.”

Is your husband, West End star Lee Mead, supportive of you doing Strictly?
“Lee is really supportive of everything I do, but with this, he knows from experience how scary it is, waiting to hear if you’ve got through to the next round. And he’s pleased I’m with James… because his wife’s on the show!”

And is your daughter Betsy excited that Mummy’s doing Strictly?
“Betsy is really excited too. She’s two now and just at the age where she’s getting into things like dollies and sparkly outfits, so I’m going to bring her to the studio. The costume department have said they’ll make her a little Strictly outfit!”

You received positive comments from the judges for your first performance last week. But how will you handle negative criticism?
“I’m not too worried about it because when I’ve done shows, I’ve been reviewed – and I’ve had some terrible reviews! You just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and do a better job the next week.”

Finally, will you be giving James the full Essex treatment?
“Abso-bloody-lutely!”

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturdays and Sundays on BBC1.