Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor almost went all the way in last year's Strictly Come Dancing but won't have a pang when the latest contestants line up for the new series. "The lovely thing about Strictly is that it's once in a lifetime. I've had my turn. Now someone else can have a go," she tells HELLO!.
After waltzing her way to the fourth place with her pro partner Brendan Cole, Sophie says: "I really loved the experience last year even though it was terrifying at times! "It's a really special show to be involved with. The public support is brilliant and I'll definitely tune in to see how this year's cast get on and watch Brendan and the other pros doing their thing."She is also looking forward to seeing how Tess Daly and her new co-presenter Claudia Winkleman shape up after the departure of host Sir Bruce Forsyth: "Claudia and Tess have great chemistry. I think Claudia is funny, quick witted and warm," she says.
The show thrust Sophie, 35, firmly into the limelight and she is still in touch with her Kiwi partner Brendan and other contestants from the show: "Luckily for me, I still get to wear sparkly clothes and dance about on stage in my day job," she smiles. Sophie's day job is as busy as ever. Her fifth album, the critically acclaimed, Wanderlust, was a departure from her pop roots and was released earlier this year. It reached No 4 in the charts – her first time in the Top 10 since 2007 - and her new single The Deer & The Wolf is out now. "With Wanderlust it was very important that I made a different kind of record. It was time for a change," Sophie says. "I'm very proud of the record and it's success means a lot to me.
"I am touring next month (Sept) and then after that I should probably think about my sixth album. But I am never very good at making plans -I like to follow my nose." Sophie, who is the daughter of TV producer Robin Bextor and former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis (her parents divorced when she was four), has enjoyed a busy summer gigging at festivals with her husband, The Feeling's bassist Richard Jones, 35, who is currently working on his band's fifth album. The couple, who met in 2003, married at the Palazzo Terranova in Italy nine years ago and have three sons, Sonny, 10, Kit, five, and two-year-old Ray: "Richard is so kind and funny, he is a good man," she says. "We always make time for ourselves and go on date nights. It’s good to sometimes to be a bit selfish and ultimately the kids are happy when we are happy."
Sophie with her husband Richard Jones
Despite her busy career which takes her to performances all over the world, motherhood is all-important to Sophie. Family life in London is hectic but fun: "This year has actually been a bit easier as most of my work has been in the UK," she smiles. "I do still enjoy travel but being in my own bed at night is perfect. Obviously the best time is when the whole family is together." As a caring parent, it was one of the reasons she teamed up with Actimel for Kids to encourage children eat healthily. They have launched a series of quick and easy 'how to' videos offering tips on making nutritious food fun: "My children are always receptive to food that looks good and I spent a day with Actimel for Kids and a creative food artist called Mark Northeast who makes food like sandwiches turn into monsters as a way of exciting and enticing children into food that is good for them. The new Actimel for Kids yoghurt drinks comes in a funky bottle that look like little space characters which kids will love. It’s a great way to get children to have something that helps get essential nutrients into their diet." Mum-of-three Sophie Ellis-Bextor has teamed-up with Actimel for Kids to launch a series of quick and easy 'how to' videos; offering tips on making fun and nutritious food options to accompany the tasty yogurt drink for children. Visit the Actimel Facebook page for more information.