Former MP Ann is Anton du Beke's flexible friend as she limbers up for dance challenge

There's no doubt she's giving it her best effort.

Just look at pictures of Ann Widdecombe gamely copying Anton Du Beke's pose, with her leg raised to the barre, during training for Strictly Come Dancing, the new series of which gets underway on October 1. 

Despite her initial enthusiasm for the new challenge, the former MP has revealed she almost quit the show – after just two hours.

"In those first two hours at the Royal Academy of Dance I came as close to walking away from a contract as I have ever come," said Ann, who is currently writing her fifth novel.

But the 63-yearold says she has improved and has "moved from being six steps behind everyone else to a mere two".

"I am enjoying it," she added. "It is very hard work. But I am fit - I haven't found it physically draining.


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"But technically, it's absolute murder. I mean, I'm the pantomime act."

Describing herself as the "class dunce", the former politician picks Felicity Kendal "the class swot" as the one likely to waltz off with the title.

"While the rest of us take advantage of a too-short rest, Felicity is practising steps in front of the mirror. Relentlessly. Earnestly. Determinedly.

"That, of course, is why she is such a brilliant actress. She deserves to win".

In Ann's view, 'dark horse' Gavin Henson, the star rugby player – on the show attempting to move on after splitting with Charlotte Church – is another possibility for top spot.

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