Written by Alion James
If ever there was a ‘Strictly Come Smiling’ competition, there’s no doubt who would win it – weather presenter Carol Kirkwood. She has one of the most radiant smiles on TV – it literally lights up a room. When Carol smiles the sun comes out even if it’s pouring outside. She still manages a bit of a beam as she talks to us about her nerve-wracking Strictly ‘journey’.
“Of course I feel apprehensive dancing in front of millions of viewers. I get very nervous and do worry about my performance, but…” her smile widens and her eyes begin to twinkle, “getting something right feels wonderful. I’ve been going through so many emotions since I joined the Strictly class of 2015. One minute you’re feeling frustrated because you can’t get a step right, but when you manage it, you’re elated. Apart from a bit of Scottish country dancing, I’d never had a dance class before Strictly.
“The hardest thing has been trying to follow the steps to the letter. With Strictly, you have to think about what you’re doing every single second yet make it seem like you’re not. It is very hard but I am enjoying it so much.
“I’ve watched the show since series one back in 2004 when Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole won. I love the glitz, the glamour, the dancing and the music. I honestly love every single thing about it – even the spray tans!’
And of course she loves her partner, last year’s champion pro, Pasha Kovalev. Carol still can’t believe her luck at being paired with him. “Oh Pasha’s a darling,” she says. “He’s so patient and kind, and has such a lovely way of explaining things. He says things like, ‘Would you expect to suddenly be able to speak fluent Chinese when you’d never had a lesson before? Of course not. So why do you think you’ll be able to pick this up immediately?’ He does cut me a bit of slack, though!’
Has Strictly brought out Carol’s competitive side? “I’m quite competitive in the sense that I always want to do the best I can,” she replies. “I’m throwing everything I have at Strictly and giving it my best shot, but I’m also a realist. I’m 53 and probably not the fittest person you are ever going to meet, but I do dream of making it to the final – and holding up that glitter ball trophy. Whether I will or not is another story.”
Carol’s been holding down her day job on BBC Breakfast while doing the Strictly thing. “Yes I’ve been doing both jobs,” she says. “I’m up by 3am, I go to work, finish work and then go straight to training. That’s not just straight forward, dancing as we film rehearsals and do interviews while we’re there. Then I go home, have something to eat, go to bed and then do it all again the next day.
“Strictly’s been dominating my life but that’s fine, because I so want to learn. It’s also keeping me fit so it’s all positive. I’m a positive person generally – although it’s not always easy. But it’s my natural disposition to be happy and even when something’s hard and a bit scary – such as Strictly – I try to find the positives in it.”
A number of Carol’s BBC Breakfast colleagues – past and present – have also taken on the Strictly Challenge. Bill Turnbull finished sixth in 2005, Susanna Reid was runner up in 2013 and Chris Hollins lifted the glitter ball trophy in 2009. Has she asked them for advice?
“Absolutely,” she replies. “Both Bill and Chris have advised me to enjoy it but not to let it take over my life and to let my partner do most of the work! You know, I’ll so miss Bill when he leaves BBC Breakfast in January. He’s one of my dearest friends and we’ve worked together now for 17 years. It won’t be the same without him.”
We’ve been wondering if Carol will also be leaving the Beeb now the Met Office has lost its weather forecast contract with the organisation, but thankfully she assures us that’s not the case.
“No.” She shakes her head. “Although I worked for the Met Office for many years and I was trained there, I’m employed by the BBC.”
But she almost didn’t become a weather forecaster at all! “I was just another jobbing TV presenter when my agent suggested I go for an audition at the Weather Channel,” she recalls. “I really didn’t want to do it because I didn’t want to be a weather girl, but I went along and absolutely loved it. I got the job and was trained in meteorology. In 1998, I joined the BBC as a forecaster.
“I love my job with a passion and I get to have the most amazing experiences. I’m able to travel around this beautiful country and meet wonderful people. Plus I’m lucky enough, as a by-product of my job, to be part of something such as Strictly. What’s not to like?”
We could say the same about Carol!
- Strictly Come Dancing is on Saturday and Sunday evenings on BBC1
- PICS: Rex Shutterstock and Express Syndication
- There's more celebrity chat in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.