simon rimmer karen clifton

Exclusive: Simon Rimmer admits he was jealous watching Strictly's Karen Clifton move on

The celebrity chef appeared on Strictly in 2017

Sharnaz Shahid

Sunday Brunch host Simon Rimmer has opened up about his friendship with his former Strictly Come Dancing partner, Karen Clifton, revealing that the professional dancer is still a part of his family. Speaking to HELLO! this week, the celebrity chef also admitted that he felt jealous when he watched Karen, 36, get partnered up with TV actor Charles Venn in the last series, a year after his stint on the popular BBC show. "We had such a good time when I was on it," he confessed. "But it was weird during the last series because when you are involved in the show, you think you are the only person that professional has ever danced with."

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Simon Rimmer appeared on Strictly in 2017

"You know, you see the laughs and private jokes with Charles [Venn] and I'm thinking, 'I don't like it,'" he added. "It is like when you see your ex with somebody and you think, 'I don't care they've got someone new.' But when you see them giggling with each other - that bit of intimacy. It also the fact they are enjoying being with someone else, I didn't like it." The pair were eliminated in the sixth week when they took part in 2017.

READ: The Strictly professional dancers and their sizzling romances

When asked if he would like to see his co-host Tim Lovejoy appear on Strictly - and whether he would approve of him being partnered up with Karen, 55-year-old Simon joked: "I think that would be a bit weird. I think that would be a bit odd since she was my partner. I am still friendly with her - I speak to Karen a lot." He continued: "Of course I would love Tim to do it but he has not been asked yet. I think he would say yes. However, he was as nervous as I was when I was on the show. He came and watched me train. I think he would love to do it." Despite appearing on Strictly over a year ago, Simon has remained on the very best of terms with Karen. "I speak to her on a regular basis," he shared. "We have been out a couple of times, she will still speak to my daughter let alone me." The TV continued: "She has become a family friend. It's really cute, it's really nice that she is such a great person. I love her to bits."

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As well as juggling his own restaurants with various filming commitments, presenting Sunday Brunch live the morning after Strictly was definitely testing at times. "When I was doing Strictly. I was shattered every Sunday was really really hard. But I think it was one of the best things I have ever done, one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever done." Asked how he feels about sacrificing his Sunday mornings for viewers, Simon replied: "Before I was doing Sunday Brunch, I was a chef and I would be in restaurants on Saturday evenings and most weeks on Sunday mornings too," he explained. "So it's not a problem, it's not a big hardship. I train myself, I go to bed at 9.30pm on Saturday evening, then I wake up at 5.30am on a Sunday morning. I live a rock and roll lifestyle - it's genuinely the best show in the world."

READ: James Jordan reveals which Strictly pro he would like to see replace Pasha Kovalev

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The Sunday Brunch host has teamed up with comparethemarket.com

Speaking about his on-screen and off-screen friendship with co-host Tim, the northern chef revealed: "We are proper close friends, we went to Miami two Christmases ago with all my family. I speak to Tim five days out of seven every week." He then joked: "There are weeks when I am away filming that I speak to him more than my wife." Meanwhile, Simon has recently teamed up with comparethemarket.com to launch the #SundaySwitch. The eight-week campaign is hoping to get consumers make the most of their Sunday morning downtime, and show them how easy it is to switch energy providers, and most importantly see how much money they can save. "I am a cynical old man, and it took me two minutes and 42 seconds to register and get quotes," Simon said. "From my point of view that's shorter than a commercial break on Sunday Brunch."

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