Lisa, a patron of the Kings Theatre, Southsea and star of this year’s pantomime Snow White, shares her Strictly Come Dancing experiences in The News each week.
Last weekend was just insane. I feel like I'm watching someone else's life, but it's mine. The public response has been so good, I feel like Kate Middleton. I feel like a princess.
I was so nervous before we danced. You really, honestly, think you're going to forget it all. I said: 'Robin, what if I forget? I'm so frightened.' He said: 'Just focus. Shut everything off.' I thought: 'It's now or never. The more I enjoy myself, the more the studio and at home will enjoy themselves.'
But I never expected to come top of the leader board. The judges were being so harsh, I didn't expect more than fives. In the history of Strictly, Craig has never given an eight in Week One. And a standing ovation. We'll I'm still floating. When I ran back up the stairs after seeing the judges, the other contestants were screaming the place down. If you watch, you can see Brendan literally leaping up into the sky. Fern calls me her little firecracker. We're genuinely all rooting for each other.
My absolute favourite dance last weekend (apart from mine, of course!) was Denise and James. She brought acting to her dance and it was beautiful to watch. And Michael Vaughan surprised me. He was fantastic.
But Nicky and Karen's score was insanely unfair. Apart from anything else, this was Karen's first time on the show and she's mind-blowing. I think the content of their dance outweighed the problems, but the judges just looked at the problems. Mind you, I bet the people who had their waltzes in week one will zoom up the leader board when they get cha cha or samba.
The Viennese Waltz is going to be completely different for me. You think it's slow but it's insanely fast footwork and it's all done on rotation. Your body has to go on three diagonals and I found it really hard to understand. It makes you really dizzy.
But we're getting there. I'll still be myself, but very ladylike, very structured and poised. I'll find my inner Audrey Hepburn. It'll be like My Fair Lady. Robin's got a very big job on his hands.
I'm glad the dance-off is returning, giving head judge Len Goodman the final decision on who goes from the bottom two, after the public have voted. What Len says goes. He is the master. I want his opinion. If he doesn't want you in the show, then that's absolutely right.
So far, we've got a good score with 30. But I'd never say we're out of the danger zone.
Week 1To say things are hotting up in Strictly is an understatement. We’re all on gas point 10. But, if you want to do well, you’ve got to put the hours in. So, we’ve had three weeks of training, six hours a day, six days a week. I’ve lost 10 lbs and I’m tightening muscles I didn’t even know I had.
We’ve not only been rehearsing this weekend’s cha cha cha, but also prepping for dance number two – the Viennese waltz, which is when the public will vote. They are two completely different concepts. It’s like, as an actor, doing Shakespeare in the morning and musical theatre in the afternoon. If I’m honest, I’ve found the fast stuff easier. The cha cha cha is bouncy, fast and funny and suits me down to the ground, but the structured stuff is a completely different matter with it’s poise and ladylike frame.
Robin has the patience of a saint. I was always secretly hoping I’d get paired with him. It was looking like I was going to get
Brendon. Then, on the night, I thought “Oh God, now I’ve got Anton.” I think everyone saw my natural elation at getting Robin, because I knew we would knuckle-down but also have a giggle as well.
Craig was very cruel to me and Robin when he said “good luck” but that works really well for me because it drives me to work harder. In rehearsals, I video Robin’s feet on my phone. I write everything down too and learn it like a script. Then I come in the next day and Robin says: ‘Ooh, someone’s done their homework.’ I work with Robin in the morning, then go and shoot Waterloo Road, then go back to work with Robin again in the evening. But, when I come back for our evening session, my head’s all over the place, thinking of the next day’s script and my Strictly routines.
Like the other professional dancers in each couple, Robin is my safety blanket. I really felt for Johnny Ball with his partner Aliona getting injured because, in the first week, you develop that unbreakable bond with your pro dancer. He lost out on that and it will have been desperately difficult for them both. I hope things go well for them this weekend.
Tonight, we’re dancing to Aretha Franklin’s Think. She’s a disco diva, so I’m going to be one too and Robin and I are going to be dressed-up like human disco balls. I’m also going to be lifting Robin. It’s the first time in the history of Strictly that a woman will lift a man (there’s nothing in the rules that says you can’t!).
I want the public to see that I’ve tried my hardest. I know I’ve worked as hard as I possibly can to nail this routine. But, when we go live, God knows what will happen.