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Spl.Photos: Strictly Come Dancing 2010 : Participants/Contestants/Partners - Series 8

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Old 09-12-2010, 04:09 AM
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Thumbs up Spl.Photos: Strictly Come Dancing 2010 : Participants/Contestants/Partners - Series 8

About the Show and Season 8, in the year 2010:
  • Strictly Come Dancing returned for its eighth series on BBC One with a red carpet launch show on 11 September 2010, and the competitive live shows began on 1 October.
  • The series concluded on 18 December when Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev won the competition.
  • According to BARB data, this series was the consistently highest rated of the show to date, peaking at 14.28 million viewers.
  • Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Alesha Dixon returned as judges.
  • Five professional dancers from the last series didn't return for this series, Matthew Cutler, Brian Fortuna, Ian Waite and married Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova.
  • Three male professionals joined this years series, Artem Chigvintsev, Robin Windsor and Jared Murillo.
  • For series 8 the set has been totally revamped to try to attract more viewers to the programme, the backstage room where scores were given has been replaced by a tower above the dancefloor so the couples can watch as their teammates perform (much like the so-called 'celebriquarium' on the American version of the programme).
  • In week 8 of the competition the live show was transmitted from the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.
  • Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly returned to present the main show on BBC One. For the results show, Daly is joined by Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two presenter Claudia Winkleman.
  • The celebrities did not know their professional partners until they were introduced to each other at the launch show. At the age of 61, Pamela Stephenson became the oldest contestant to ever make it to the finale.

Darren Bennett and Ian Waite will not compete but have been offered a place in the new professional dance group. Brian Fortuna, Lilia Kopylova and Matthew Cutler will not return to the new series after not wishing to be part of the professional dance group. The other dancers competing in the professional dance group were announced on the 26th August 2010 as West End star Tanya Perera, Shem Jacobs and Aneta Piotrowska from the Polish Dancing with the Stars (Taniec z Gwiazdami), and South African Strictly Come Dancing professional Crystal Main. It is already known that Main will partner Darren Bennett in the group.

After he dragged Strictly into a damaging race row many thought Anton Du Beke wouldn't be asked back. The dancer somehow managed to hang onto his role, but it seems BBC bosses may have had a more suitable punishment in mind. As the celebrity partners were revealed tonight, du Beke was told he had the difficult task of turning politician Ann Widdecombe into a dancer.

She was thrilled, labelling du Beke 'my fantasy' as the judges wiped tears of laughter from their eyes - perhaps at the substantial height difference.

Punishment? After last year's race row Anton du Beke has been teamed with politician Ann Widdecombe

I'm just glad to be here: du Beke punches the air; but Widdecombe has already dubbed herself the pantomime act

Ann Widdecombe

Ann Noreen Widdecombe (born 4 October 1947) is a British Conservative Party politician and, since 2000, television presenter and novelist. She is a Privy Counsellor, and was the Member of Parliament for Maidstone from 1987 to 1997, and for Maidstone and The Weald from 1997 to 2010. She is a social conservative and member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship. She is also a convert to Catholicism.

Describing herself as "this year's John Sergeant", Ann is best known for her political role as a British Conservative Party politician. She was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1987 general election, where she stood as a member for the constituency of Maidstone and since then has held many prestigious political titles including the Minister of State for Prisons from 1995 to 1997 and the Shadow Home Secretary from 1999 to 2001. She was named an Honorary Fellow of Canterbury Christs Church University in the same year. Ann holds some strong moral and political views, including a zero tolerance policy on prosecution for cannabis users along with consistently voting for a ban on fox hunting, something that very few Conservative MPs vote against. In fact, Ann announced her retirement from the Shadow Cabinet in 2001, citing her wish to be able to speak about issues that she felt strongly about without the constraints of the office.

Outside of Parliament, Ann's accomplishments include six novels, four of which are fiction and two of which are non-fiction, and she has taken part in many television series including a Louis Theroux documentary depicting her life in and out of politics, and Celebrity Fit Club which she appeared in alongside Emmerdale actress Kay Purcell and Loose Women star Coleen Nolan. Ann has also appeared in Have I Got News For You and University Challenge, and has presented an episode of Channel 4's Christianity - A History where she spoke of her devout Roman Catholic beliefs. Ann has never married and has no children. She is often spoken about as the country's most famous virgin and when asked about her lack of a love life, she simply answered: "It's nobodies business."

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Old 09-12-2010, 04:10 AM
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Whether this is a match made in heaven remains to be seen - the 62-year-old former Conservative minister has already dubbed herself the pantomime act.

But du Beke, who has appeared in all eight series of Strictly, is unlikely to be heard complaining. The 44-year-old was last year dubbed a 'dead man walking' by the press after telling his dance partner Laila Rouass she 'looked like a P***' after she received a spray tan for the show.

All mine: Charlotte Church's ex Gavin Henson meets his partner Katya Virshilas

Gavin Henson

Gavin Lloyd Henson (born 1 February 1982 in Bridgend) is a Welsh rugby union player who plays for the Ospreys regional side in the Magners League and Heineken Cup, as well as the national team. He attracted much media attention as part of a Wales team which achieved Grand Slams in the Six Nations Championship in 2005 and 2008. He has also played for the British and Irish Lions, touring in 2005 to New Zealand but has never appeared at a World Cup. Henson has played in a variety of positions including fly-half, fullback and inside centre. After an extended spell out of the national side, including missing the 2007 Rugby World Cup, he was recalled by caretaker coach Nigel Davies, being included in the squad to play against South Africa.


Gavin played rugby for his school, Brynteg Comprehensive, Bridgend, Wales. Despite his Bridgend origins, he joined Swansea RFC at the age of 18. He was promptly the International Rugby Board's Young Player of the Year in 2001.[2] During which time he had started paving the way to his international career by signing for the Wales A team. He made his international debut for Wales during June 2001 in a Test against Japan, coming off the bench. He then started his next match, at fly-half in a game against Romania in September. In November of that year he played for Wales A against Uruguay, scoring his first try in an international.

In 2003 regional rugby was launched in Wales, and Henson now played for the Ospreys. He made his debut for the Ospreys off the bench on 9 September 2003 in a match against Ulster, scoring two tries and kicking both a penalty and conversion to score 15 points. He was elevated to fly-half for the subsequent match against the Newport-Gwent Dragons, scoring 14 points from kicks in that game as well. Henson return to the international field for Wales in 2003. He played twice, though he was on the bench for another two Tests. He was capped against both the All Blacks and Romania.

Henson came to wider notice in 2004 with a series of excellent performances in Wales' autumn internationals against New Zealand and South Africa. Henson became a firm part of the Welsh starting lineup, and after playing at fullback in the second Test against Argentina and the first against South Africa, he remained in the centres for the remainder of the season.

He remained on the team for the 2005 Six Nations championship. In Wales' opening fixture in February, at home to England, Henson gave an effective performance; landing the match winning points with a successful 48 m penalty kick and being named man of the match.

Henson in action for the Ospreys

Back in his club side, Henson was part of a team which took the Celtic League cup: in the deciding match (Ospreys v Edinburgh, 26 March 2005), he scored 24 of his side's 29 points.

In the (northern hemisphere) summer of the same year, Henson was a member of the Lions tour of New Zealand. He was "devastated not to be playing" in the first Test.[6] When he did get selected for the second test he was unfortunately injured and could not play in the final test. A groin injury delayed his return to club rugby in the autumn of the year.

Within months of his Ospreys return, Henson was cited (reported following a game for events during it) for kicking and elbowing Leicester prop Alex Moreno in a game against Leicester on 19 December 2005. He was found not guilty of the kicking offence, but guilty of the elbowing. He was initially suspended for ten weeks and two days: this period was reduced on appeal to seven weeks. Following this suspension and a single game at club level, he returned to international rugby against Ireland but did not shine.

Henson in action for the Welsh national rugby union team

In October 2005 Henson's My Grand Slam Year (ISBN 0-00-721686-6), was published. Comments about the Lions tour and remarks about other players ensured rapid publicity and Henson had to apologise to his team-mates. He was not selected in the Wales squad for the 2007 Rugby World Cup by then coach Gareth Jenkins, after failing to prove his fitness after recovering from an Achilles tendon injury.

Henson was recalled to the Welsh Squad by caretaker coach Nigel Davies, to play against South Africa shortly after the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He then started for of all of Wales 2008 Six Nations Championship games, Wales then went on to win the Grand Slam for the second time in four seasons. Henson lost his first 6 Nations match which he started on the 21st of March 2009 as Ireland beat Wales in Cardiff 17-15, to win the Grand Slam.

Henson was named man of the match in the EDF cup Semi Final on 22 March 2008 when the Ospreys beat Saracens 30-3.

On 13 July 2009, British tabloid newspaper, The Sun, announced that Henson planned to retire immediately from rugby and spend more time sailing.[8] On 14 July 2009, Henson and the Ospreys issued a joint statement denying the player has any intention of quitting the game. Henson said, "I've certainly been having difficulties with the recurring injury but I have absolutely no intention of quitting the game".

Off the field

His relationship with singer Charlotte Church, is well covered by the media in the United Kingdom. On 20 September 2007, Church gave birth to a daughter named Ruby Megan Henson.[10]. On 11 January 2009, Church gave birth to the couple's second child, a son named Dexter Lloyd Henson.[11] The baby weighed 7lb 5oz.[12] Henson was excused from a 13 December 2008 Heineken Cup match against Benetton Treviso because Church was set to deliver about a month prematurely, however this never happened.[13] On the 31 May 2010 Henson and Church announced that their relationship was over, only two months after they announced their engagement.

Henson has appeared in adverts for several companies, including Nike pro, Matalan, and for one of the Wales national team sponsors, Brains brewery.

On 10 December 2007, Henson was charged along with three other men with disorderly conduct after alleged "rowdy" behaviour while they were travelling on the 19:37 First Great Western train from London Paddington to Cardiff Central on 2 December 2007.[15] They had been summoned to appear at Cardiff Magistrates' Court on 14 January 2008, but the case against Henson was later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service due to insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.

On 1 April 2009, it was reported on the BBC that Henson was cautioned by police .[17] "in relation to the incident" following an investigations of assault at a premises in Cardiff's St. Mary's Street on 15 February.
In 2009 Mike Turner of the Celtic Crusaders (who play in Super League) stated that if Henson ever thought of switching to rugby league the club would be happy to talk to him.[18] Since this time Henson has made no official statement on the subject, shown any intent with regards to joining a Super League club or held any talks with the Crusaders, although he regularly attended their matches in 2009.
In September 2010 he featured in the ITV1's outdoor series 71 Degrees North, a challenge show set in Norway aswell as being a contestant on BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing's Eighth series partnered with Katya Virshilas.

  • British & Irish Lions
  • Wales U16
  • Wales U18
  • Wales U19
  • Wales Development XV
  • Wales A
  • Wales U21
  • Wales

He's already admitted to wearing fake tan and shaving his legs, so 28-year-old Gavin will fit right in with the Strictly crowd. With his relationship with Charlotte Church landing Gavin many front page headlines over the past few years, you may be forgiven for forgetting his real claim to fame; rugby. A Welsh Rugby Union player, Gavin plays for the Ospreys regional side in the Magners League and Heineken Cup, as well as the national team. He started playing the sport aged 18, where despite his Bridgend roots, Gavin joined Swansea RFC, where he became the International Rugby Board's 'Young Player Of The Year' in 2001. Following this accomplishment, Gavin signed with the Welsh A Team and made his international debut in June 2001 in a Test against Japan. His career rocketed from that moment on and in 2004, Gavin's s****s as a rugby player were apparent during a series of excellent performances in Wales' autumn internationals against New Zealand and South Africa. Tragically, Gavin's career came to a halt when he failed to recover from an Achilles tendon injury and he was left out of the Rugby World Cup squad in 2007. However, he recovered in time to play in the tournament against South Africa and went on to start for all of Wales' 2008 Six Nations Championship games, where Wales won the grand slam for the second time in four seasons.

Despite his flourishing sports career, Gavin's personal life hasn't been so simple. He began dating singer Church in the early 2000s and the couple have two children together, Ruby and Dexter. Their relationship, however, was unfavourably portrayed in the media and the pair were often criticised for regularly arguing in public. Earlier this year, the couple announced their decision to split and since then, Gavin has been in the media on an almost weekly basis as their relationship breakdown is followed by the press.

On a more positive note, Gavin has achieved a successful television career over the past month or two. Not only is he appearing in Strictly, but Gavin took part in an ITV documentary entitled 71 Degrees North, where alongside nine other famous faces, Gavin embarked on the enormous challenge to fight his way to the most northern part of mainland Europe and is confronted with mountain trekking and a dangerous ravine crossing to name just two of the many dangers and adventures he experienced along his journey.

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Old 09-12-2010, 04:11 AM
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Kara Tointon

Kara Louise Tointon (born 5 August 1983) is a British actress, best known for playing Dawn Swann in the popular BBC soap opera EastEnders.

Early life

Tointon was born in Basildon in Es***, but shortly afterwards moved to Southend. Her younger sister Hannah is also an actress, best known for portraying Katy Fox in Hollyoaks. She had speech and drama lessons at school. She also took part in LAMDA examinations, entering local musical festivals performing poetry recitals. This was done whilst attending the Morgan Academy of Performing arts (M.A.P.A) in Leigh-on-Sea. She dated James Bourne from Busted from when she was 15 till she got her part in Eastenders.


Her first professional acting experience came when she played the part of Brigitta in The Sound of Music at the Cliffs Pavilion. Shortly after that, her first paid job was as one of the children in the pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Her first appearance on television was as an extra in EastEnders in 1994 when she played a school friend of Sonia Fowler.

She also played the part of student Pauline Young in 2001's first series of Teachers on Channel 4. In 2004, Tointon appeared in Mile High and in December returned to her former Dream Team role as Gina Moliano until May 2005. She has also made appearances in the films Just My Luck and The Football Factory, and adverts for a number of companies, including McDonalds.

Almost a month to the day that her last Dream Team episode aired, it was revealed to the press that she would be joining the BBC soap EastEnders as a new character, Dawn Swann. Tointon auditioned for EastEnders at the same time as Tiana Benjamin, Matt Di Angelo, Kellie Shirley and Charlie Clements all auditioned for their respective roles. Tointon left EastEnders, along with co-star Ricky Groves, on 27 August 2009. She has said that she would return to eastenders.

Tointon won the Sport Relief version of Strictly Come Dancing in March 2008, partnering former champion, Mark Ramprakash.
In August 2009, she was unveiled as the new face of Michelle for George ********* at Asda.She co-starred with then partner Joe Swash in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Bristol in the 2009/2010 pantomime season. The couple split-up during the performance run, but after getting back together finally split in May 2010.

In July 2010, alongside former co-star Ricky Groves, she recorded a documentary for BBC Three on how the two learn lines differently. Tointon revealed that she suffers from dyslexia, and resultantly has a reading age of 12.In September 2010 it was announced that Tointon would be appearing as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing

  • The Bill (2010)
  • EastEnders (2005–2008) - Dawn Swann (2009) - Dawn Hobbs
  • Just My Luck (2006) Uncredited, along with sister Hannah, most likely to be herself
  • America Or Busted (2004) - Herself
  • The Fete (2004) - Lizzie
  • The Football Factory (2004) - Shie/Tameka
  • Mile High (2004) - Geneveve
  • Keen Eddie (2004) - Fred Friedman
  • Boudica (2003) - Poppaea
  • Dinotopia (2002) - 18 Year Old Le Sage
  • Harry and Cosh (2002) - Gabby
  • Never Play with the Dead (2001) - Victoria
  • Teachers (2001) - Pauline Young
  • Dream Team (1999, 2004–2005) - Gina Moliano
Having already been crowned Britain's '***iest Actress', Kara is well on her way to becoming the ***iest contestant of this year's Strictly. Best known for her role as Dawn Swann in EastEnders, Kara's first break into the acting spotlight was as the mouthy student Pauline in the first series of Channel 4's Teachers in 2001. From there, Kara appeared in a Sky1 drama called Mile High and later on in 2004 returned to her role as Dream Team's Gina Moliano. She also appeared in the film Football Factory and took part in many television adverts, including one for McDonald's, until she landed her big break as Dawn in EastEnders. Kara remained on Albert Square for four years and left in 2009, although has admitted that she would consider coming back to the Square in the future. Since then, Kara appeared in the pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs where she, of course, played the leading role alongside fellow EastEnders alumni and then-boyfriend Joe Swash - the couple split in May 2010.

Kara has a huge advantage against her fellow Strictly celebs as she appeared in the Comic Relief version of the show in 2008, partnering former Strictly champion Mark Ramprakash. Since her performance on the show, Kara has been named the new face for Asda *********. Kara has already been tipped as a favourite to win the show this year along with fellow contestant Matt Baker.

EastEnders star Kara Tointon seems thrilled by Artem Chigvintsev

His 'unreserved apology' saw him narrowly survive the media storm which followed, but with Widdecome as a partner it seems the scandal hasn't been forgotten.

The unlikely pairing is not entirely unexpected. There had been wide speculation on internet forums that du Beke would be paired with a celebrity with no chance of winning. But while unlikely to become a s****ed dancer, Widdecombe is popular with the public, and could well receive votes because of her forthright personality. Now a novelist, Widdecombe insists she is 'very ambitious' and revealed she was inspired to take to the dancefloor by the unlikely success of former journalist John Sergeant in 2008.

Enthusiastic: Not The Nine O'Clock News's Pamela Stephenson meets James Jordan

Pamela Stephenson

Pamela Helen Stephenson Connolly (born 4 December 1949) is a New Zealand born Australian clinical psychologist and writer best known for her work as an actress and comedian during the 1980s. She has written several books, which include a biography of her husband Billy Connolly, and presents a psychology-based interview show called Shrink Rap on British television.

Comedy and acting

Stephenson was born in Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand. After attending the University of New South Wales and then Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art, from which she graduated in 1971, Stephenson pursued a successful acting career in Australia for several years before moving to London in 1976, where she continued to perform.

Probably her most widely recognized role was in the classic 1980s UK comedy television sketch show Not The Nine O'Clock News, alongside Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones. Her parodies included Kate Bush (in a song called "Oh England My Leotard"), Janet Street-Porter, Esther Rantzen and Clare Grogan.

Her personal contribution as a comedian added to the success of Not the Nine O'Clock News and led to a collaboration with comedy and satire writers Mark Lepine and Mike Leigh. This spawned a book, How To Be A Complete *****, and a board game.

She also featured in the American comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live (1984-1985), becoming the first female SNL cast member to be born outside North America. Her characters on the show included Angela Bradleigh (Weekend Update commentator) and celebrity impersonations of Madonna (in a fake commercial parodying the singer's "Lucky Star" music video), Billy Idol, Debby Douillard, Peggy Ashcroft, Joan Collins and Cyndi Lauper.

Stephenson acted in a number of films including Superman III, Bloodbath at the House of Death, Mel Brooks's History of the World, Part 1, and Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers. She is now in rehearsal for Strictly Come Dancing on the BBc in the UK

In 1996 she gained a doctorate in clinical psychology from the California Graduate Institute, now a part of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology which was not accredited until 2008. Her psychology background proved useful when she wrote a biography of her husband, Billy, in which she related elements of his behaviour to his ***ual molestation as a child; the book won the 2002 British Book of the Year award. She now works in private practice and in her capacity as a psychologist often uses the names "Pamela Connolly" or "P.H. Connolly".

In 2007 Connolly presented a series of programmes for the British television channel More 4 called Shrink Rap in which she interviewed various celebrities using psychothe****utic techniques. Those questioned were reality show star Sharon Osbourne, writer and performer Stephen Fry, Sarah, Duchess of York, former British Cabinet Minister David Blunkett and actor-comedian Robin Williams. A second series of Shrink Rap began in April 2008, with guests comedienne Joan Rivers, actors Gene Simmons, Kathleen Turner, Tony Curtis and author Salman Rushdie. A one-off episode in August 2009 featured her husband Billy Connolly. Shrink Rap focused on relating various childhood experiences and traumas to the adult difficulties of the celebrities. While quasi-the****utic in approach, the interviewees were briefed that the conversations were interviews and not strictly therapy.
Connolly writes a weekly column for the Guardian newspaper in Britain titled "***ual Healing", under the name Pamela Stephenson Connolly.

Personal life

Stephenson met her husband, actor and comedian Billy Connolly, in 1979 on the set of the BBC television show Not the Nine O'Clock News. They were married in Fiji on 20 December 1989 and have three children together: Daisy (b. 1983), Amy (b. 1986) and Scarlett (b. 1988). She was previously married to actor Nicholas Ball.
Stephenson started practising Buddhism in 1979.[2] Her sister Leslie is an opera singer in Switzerland.


In the United Kingdom general election, 1987, Pamela stood in the Windsor and Maidenhead (UK Parliament constituency) representing the Stuff Pink Blancmange down Terry Wogan's Trousers Party - she came 6th with 328 votes.


In late 2004, she sold her house in California and spent a year on a sailing cruise around the South Pacific Ocean, following the path of Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Stevenson. She said she was inspired by Fanny (also married to a Scotsman) who had convinced her husband to travel to the tropics for the sake of his fragile health. Her travels were documented in her book, "Treasure Islands". The boat she bought was re-christened "Takapuna" after her birthplace.

A year later, she went on another voyage to discover the fate of an ancestor, a sailing captain who had disappeared in the South Seas. The voyage was the subject of a documentary for Australian television, "****** or Mutiny."

Australian Pamela is probably most recognised for her role in the 1980s comedy television sketch show Not The Nine O'Clock News that also starred Rowan Atkinson and Griff Rhys Jones. It was on the show that she met her husband, comedian Billy Connolly. She parodied many famous females including Esther Rantzen, Janet Street-Porter and Kate Bush. The success of the show was largely down to Pamela's hilarious contributions and led to a collaboration with comedy writers Lepine and Leigh. This resulted in a book titled How To Be A Complete *****. She has also appeared in the American comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live where she famously impersonated the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Billy Idol and Joan Collins. Her comedy success led to a film career that includes appearances in Superman III, Stand Up and Bloodbath At The House Of Death.

In recent years, Pamela has become a certified clinical psychologist, having gained a doctorate in Clinical Psychology in 1996, and she now owns her own private practice. Following her success as a psychologist, going by the name of Pamela Connolly, she wrote a biography detailing her famous husband's abusive childhood that eventually won her the 2002 'British Book Of The Year' award. In 2007, Pamela presented a series of programmes for More4 called Shrink Rap, in which she interviewed celebrities using psychothe****utic techniques. Among those she interviewed were Sharon Osbourne, Robin Williams, Stephen Fry and Sarah Duchess of York. She now writes a weekly column in The Guardian titled '***ual Healing'.

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Old 09-12-2010, 04:11 AM
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It's magic! Paul Daniels was teamed with last year's winner Ola Jordan

Paul Daniels (born Newton Edward Daniels in 6 April 1938) is a British magician and television performer. He achieved international fame through his television series The Paul Daniels Magic Show, which ran on the BBC from 1979 to 1994.


Early life

Daniels was born at 51 North Street in South Bank, Middlesbrough, the son of Handel Newton Daniels and Nancy Lloyd.[2] Handel Newton Daniels (known as Hugh) was a cinema projectionist at the Hippodrome Theatre and a former worker at ICI Wilton.
During World War II Paul was evacuated to the Helmsley area. After Sir William Turners Grammar School on Coatham Road in Coatham, Redcar (now the Redcar & Cleveland College Connections Campus on Corporation Road) and his first job as a junior clerk in the treasurer's office of Eston council, Daniels served as a conscript in the 1st Battalion, The Green Howards, during his National Service and was posted to the British garrison in Hong Kong, before training as an accountant in the Civil Service. Even at this early age he had thinning hair which he claimed to be an act of 'magic'. Daniels later sported a wig for much of his television career.[3] After working as a junior clerk and then as an auditor in local government Daniels joined his parents in the grocery business they were running at the time. He later set up his own shop - at one point a mobile shop - but eventually gave this up in favour of his growing career as a magician.

Showbusiness career

Daniels's interest in magic began at the age of 11 when, during a holiday, he read a book called How To Entertain At Parties. He has stated that: "From that moment, I can safely say that all I ever wanted to do in life was to become a professional magician". He began performing magic as a hobby, occasionally entertaining at parties and youth clubs and later doing shows for fellow servicemen during his national service. After returning to civilian life he continued to develop his magic by performing in clubs in the evenings while working at his grocery business during the day. At one point he worked with his first wife Jackie under the name of 'The Eldanis', an anagram of Daniels. It was while working the clubs that he developed what would become his long running catchphrase, "You'll like this...not a lot, but you'll like it." He has stated that he first came up with the line at a club in Bradford as a way to deal with a heckler.

A major turning point in Daniels's career came in 1969 when he was offered a summer season at Newquay. He decided to sell his grocery business and try magic as a full time business. He made his television debut on the long-running talent show Opportunity Knocks in 1970, and came second. Television producer Johnnie Hamp saw Daniels in that show and later gave him a regular spot on a show compèred by Bernard Manning The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club for Granada Television.[6]
Daniels presented his own television series, The Paul Daniels Magic Show, on the BBC from 1979 until 1994. As well as featuring tricks and illusions for pure entertainment, he also included a regular segment (the "Bunco Booth") in which he exposed the confidence tricks of street charlatans. He also replicated the kind of results that have impressed researchers of the paranormal and parapsychologists in a segment called Under Laboratory Conditions, thereby demonstrating his skepticism about claims made in these fields.

Daniels starred in his own stage show, It's Magic, at the Prince of Wales Theatre from 10 December 1980 until 6 February 1982. At that time, the show was one of the longest-running magic shows ever staged in London. By this point he was already working with his future wife, Debbie McGee, whose role as his assistant would become a major feature of his act. She had first worked with him on his summer season show in Great Yarmouth in 1979.

In addition to his magic shows he hosted a number of other television series during the 1980s and 1990s, including three BBC1 quiz shows: Odd One Out, Every Second Counts and Wipeout, and the children's television programme Wizbit (also for the BBC), about a magician called Wizbit and a rabbit called Woolly, who lived in Puzzleopolis.

On the magic circuit, Daniels's appeal diminished as the 1980s drew to a close, and in the 1990s, the ratings for his TV show slumped. A 1995 magic show for the BBC entitled Secrets, set in a variety club, failed to catch on and was not renewed.He has, however, made several guest appearances on television, though this has often been as the unsuspecting **** of the joke on satirical comedy shows, such as the Chris Morris show, Brass Eye. Daniels and McGee were the focus of one of the episodes of the 2001 BBC documentary series When Louis Met…, presented by Louis Theroux, with Daniels additionally appearing on Da Ali G Show in an Ali G costume, interviewed by Caroline Hook in her guise as Mrs Merton. In 2004, he and Debbie appeared in the Channel 5 reality TV show, The Farm, and in 2006, they appeared in the ITV show The X Factor: Battle Of The Stars. They were the first act voted off the show, after singing Let Me Entertain You by Robbie Williams. Daniels and McGee also made a guest appearance in the Wife Swap series in early 2007, with McGee changing places with journalist and presenter Vanessa Feltz. In 2008 Daniels was part of Dec's team in the Ant v Dec segment of Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, but was eliminated by Dec after the team lost the Bobsleigh challenge in show 3 (of 6).

Daniels still tours doing live magic and recently presented a show about magician 'Max Malini'. He currently owns a magic/fancy dress shop in Wigan town centre. He has stated he has an ambition to star in a Hollywood film. During 2009, he has toured a number of more ******** venues, performing for audiences of around 200.


Daniels was awarded the prestigious "Magician of the Year’" Award by the Hollywood Academy of Magical Arts in 1983, and was the first magician from outside the US to receive it. An Easter special of The Paul Daniels Magic Show won the Golden Rose of Montreux Award at the International TV Festival in Switzerland in 1985.

Daniels was the first recipient of The Maskelyne, awarded for services to British Magic by The Magic Circle in 1988.
More recently he was named "Worlds Greatest Magician" by students at Boston Spa School, Yorkshire. Daniels turned up to the ceremony and gave an impromptu show.

Outspoken views

Daniels is known for being outspoken on a range of matters, including politics and current affairs as well as magic, entertainment and fellow celebrities.

Daniels is a supporter of the Conservative Party. On the subject of criminal justice, he has stated: "...make them afraid of the punishment...when I heard Ian Huntley had tried to commit suicide – I’d have helped him. There are no ifs or buts about Huntley. With him, I wouldn’t even have told him the result of the trial, he'd just have gone to sleep and never woken up".

Daniels has stated that he has very little sympathy with the homeless since, in his words, "I was always trying to be best, to get ahead of the other guy. And I can't say why, I just knew I could...I saw Peter Stringfellow on TV one time, and we both have a little, but not very much, sympathy for the homeless, because both of us came from very poor backgrounds, got off our arses, and grafted".

Daniels now refuses to attend magic conferences in the UK since they "...were ruined for me by *****iness and jealousy...now I only go to foreign conventions where, to be honest, I am greeted with respect and civility AND I have tons of ‘foreign’ magician friends." He is dismissive of modern illusionists. He has described David Blaine as "not very original".

He is also dismissive of modern impressionists - "I don't think much to modern impressionists either. Forget Alistair McGowan." [
On journalism - "I don't really understand why journalism has to be so nasty, so sarcastic and intrusive".[12] Daniels has often remarked that for his final trick he would like to make "The Sun disappear", a reference to the British tabloid newspaper.
On Anne Robinson, following his 1987 Halloween special hoax performance, he said: "[she] was asked to leave the room, not knowing if it was for real or not, and I banned her from telling the press. She's hated me ever since, but then she's nasty." [12]
On the satirist, Chris Morris he commented: "[He's] just nasty."

On the hereditary system in the House of Lords - "The hereditary peers, the real Lords, have the genetic knowledge so they know what to pass and what not to let through. I believe the gene carries more than physical characteristics. It's more than just education that makes the Lords better at making these kind of decisions than leaving it with the Commons. It's like an animal instinct. The aristocracy may act foolish, but in times of war and riots they have the knowledge and a belief and strength of leadership and instinct that coal miners just haven't got...".

On ****ography - "**** is fine when it's between consenting adults. The stuff with kids is wrong, but between consenting adults it's fine. There's a lot I like, although nothing weird. There's a group of people who are really into looking at pictures of women in guillotines. Not naked or anything. Just in guillotines. They have a page full of pictures of Debbie in guillotines - I have used guillotines in my routines. How strange is that as a fetish?".

Family and personal life

Daniels married his first wife, Jacqueline Skipworth (born 1942), in 1960, when she was 17 and he was 21. He has three sons by her: Gary, Paul and Martin. Martin sometimes appeared on The Paul Daniels Magic Show, and Paul's father, Hughie, often made props for the show, such as wooden boxes for the Selbit Sawing illusion. His nephew James Phelan is a budding young magician.
Daniels married his second wife, long-time assistant Debbie McGee on 2 April 1988 in Buckinghamshire.[13] The couple first met in London in May 1979 during rehearsals for Daniels' summer season show in Great Yarmouth that year. At that time he was 40 and she was 20. McGee went on to work with Daniels in his 1980 summer show in Bournemouth and then his London stage show It's Magic before being offered the role of assistant in his long-running television series. Their relationship gradually became more established until he proposed in 1987. Early in their marriage they lived in a house in Denham, Buckinghamshire, that once belonged to Roger Moore. In 1998 they moved to house on the banks of the River Thames set in several acres at Wargrave in Berkshire.

Daniels' autobiography, Under No Illusions, includes descriptions of his and McGee's joking life:
"I was writing and needed to concentrate, so I had a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on my back. Eventually I went to bed and Debbie was lying stark naked on the bed - eat your heart out fellas! She was wearing the sort of sleeping blindfold you get on long-haul flights. Printed on it was Do Not Disturb. But further down her body she had a sign that said Disturb!"
Daniels also claims in the book to have had, as of the year 2000, ***ual relations with more than 300 women.[2] This figure includes a Chinese girl he met on a Hong Kong ferry during his National Service, whom he recalls as being "rather throaty".[16]
Daniels maintains a website that includes personal information, a detailed blog and records podcasts. The blog incorporates Daniels' diary entries and day-to-day musings and observations on a range of topics.

He has an Isuzu Trooper with the personalised registration plate that reads 'MAG1C'. In February 2009, Daniels and McGee appeared in Closer magazine in a picture recreating an image from an Armani advert that featured footballer David Beckham and his wife Victoria

Paul is by far the oldest contestant on the show at 72 years of age. He is a magician and television performer, achieving international fame through his television series The Paul Daniels Magic Show which ran on the BBC from 1979 to 1994. Paul has also starred in his own stage show It's Magic and at the time, the show was coined as one of the longest-running magic shows of its time. Throughout the show, he worked alongside his assistant Debbie McGee, who would later become his wife. In addition to his shows, Paul has presented many television programmes including Odd One Out, Wipeout and the children's programme Wizbit.

Since his magic career has started to wane, Paul has appeared in many reality shows such as Channel 5's The Farm, the infamous Wife Swap where Paul's wife Debbie was swapped with Vanessa Feltz, and The X Factor: Battle Of The Stars. Paul still tours and performs his magic but is keen to have a movie career.

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Old 09-12-2010, 04:12 AM
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She said: 'I said 'no' year after year, then along came John Sergeant and I thought the one thing he demonstrated was that you really can do this programme at your own pace and not have to turn into a semi-professional which is how I had previously viewed the programme.'

But she did have some encouraging words for du Beke. 'Anton and I are very ambitious,' she revealed. 'We're not quitting, we may end up eliminated but we are not quitting.'

Bootylicious: Destiny's Child star Michelle Williams meets Brendan Cole

Michelle Williams

We haven't heard much from Michelle since her Destiny's Child days (unlike her bandmates Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland) but she is probably the biggest star to be appearing on this year's Strictly. As one-third of one of the world's best-selling girlbands, Michelle, whose real name is Tenitra, was always the "quiet" Destiny's Child member. The Illinois-born star first began singing in her church's choir but chose to study Criminal Justice at university in Illinois. She later abandoned her studies in order to pursue her music career and became a backup singer for R&B star Monica. Michelle was later recommended for an opening spot in the already famous Destiny's Child and she officially joined the group in 2000 along with Farrah Franklin. Franklin didn't last long and eventually the final Destiny's Child trio was born and went on to have phenomenal chart success, with their single 'Independent Women', the anthem for hit movie Charlie's Angels, remaining at the top of the US singles chart for 11 consecutive weeks; a feat that no other artist has achieved to date. With the group, Williams has sold more than 50 million records worldwide.

Following the band's split in 2002, Michelle pursued a solo career and chose to focus on her passion for gospel and Christian music. Her album Heart To Yours became the best-selling gospel album in 2002. Michelle also wanted to follow her dream of a stage career and following the success of her debut solo album, she appeared in the hit Broadway musical Aida with music by Elton John. In 2004, Destiny's Child reformed and released another hit album and it was following their second bout of global success that Destiny's Child were recognised as the best-selling girl band of all time.

In 2006, the band split for good. Michelle went on to make some low-key television appearances including starring in the comedy Half & Half and taking part in the Fox reality show Celebrity Duets. Probably her biggest achievement since Destiny's Child, despite scoring herself more albums and singles, was landing the role of Roxie Hart in the London West End musical Chicago where she was so popular, her run was extended. Earlier this year, Michelle took up the same role in the Broadway version of the show before joining Strictly and may well return to Roxie once Strictly finishes.
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