We’re dancing for our grandparents, say Jewish Strictly contestants ahead of new series


Daisy Lowe has said she plans to dance to her grandfather’s favourite songs after he passed away on the first day of Strictly Come Dancing rehearsals.

The model and actress, who has appeared for Chanel and Marc Jacobs, was wearing her grandfather Ed’s shirt, watch and necklace in tribute to him at a Strictly press conference earlier this week.

She said the sudden loss “wasn’t easy,” but despite losing a loved one to a heart attack, her grandmother convinced Ms Lowe to stay on the show.

“I’ve always loved the show, and my grandma hasn’t missed an episode in 12 years - she’s obsessed. She got on the phone and said: ‘You are not coming home; you have to finish the day; he would want you to be there’.

“His name was Ed - ‘Fast Eddie’. He was so excited about me doing this. I’ve got to try to do my best for him. I’d like to dance to some of his favourite songs.”

She recalled how she was talking to him with fellow Strictly celebrity contestant Louise Redknapp - the former Eternal singer - on video chat the day before he died.

“It was all quite sudden. It was really tough. I’ve been with the family whenever I’ve had time off, and my grandma’s coming to the recording. She’ll be here every week as long as I stay in.

“She told me: ‘You’d better stay in to do that tango.’”

Lesley Joseph, who played Dorien Green in the sitcom Birds of Feather, said that she had entered the show seeking a positive experience after “a tough year.”

Her voice cracking, she said: “There are a lot of people we’ve lost - Victoria Wood and David Bowie, for instance.

“My first ever job was with David Bowie, and I just thought: ‘This is a celebration of life, therefore I’d like to do it and put a smile on people’s faces.”

Ms Joseph, who will be the oldest female Strictly entrant at 70, said she hoped that her performances could make her a role model for older viewers.

“I’ve never been ageist about myself, because if I wasn’t the age I am, I wouldn’t be here anymore. But a lot of people say that about Birds Of a Feather, when you come on and you’re wearing short skirts, that you’re an inspiration to people of a certain age.

“You know how old I am; it’s no good my pretending I’m not. So I’d hope that after this, people will say: ‘Oh my goodness, if she can do that, I can.’

“I’m not doing it to be an inspiration, but I hope I will be along the way.”

Rehearsals had been difficult though, with Ms Joseph calling her first experience of Strictly dancing “a baptism of fire.

“On the hottest day of the year we learned the group dance - the jive - in a room with no air conditioning, and literally we were all dripping.

“That was quite scary, and I thought: ‘If we’re going to go at this pace throughout the whole series, I might be dead by week two.’”

Robert Rinder, who hosts his own reality court show on ITV, said he had been taken aback by the pleasant atmosphere among the celebrity cast.

“This business tends to interfere with people’s moral chemistry - you start doing show business, someone runs after you, and by week seven you’re [North Korean dictator] Kim Jong-un.

“But here, everyone is fantastic and loves being part of the experience. There hasn’t been a single negative thing.”

After revealing that he had joined the show to make his grandmother Frances proud, he said he was looking forward to her attending his first performance.

But when asked her age, he joked: “We don’t know how old she is, she’s had all records destroyed. You understand - no-one knows how old a Jewish grandmother is.”

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