strictly stacey dooley kevin clifton

Stacey Dooley felt 'embarrassed' when she first danced with Strictly's Kevin Clifton

The documentary filmmaker won Strictly last year

Sharnaz Shahid

She may be the reigning champion of Strictly Come Dancing, but Stacey Dooley has revealed she felt "embarrassed" and was "mortified" when she first started dancing on the show. The 32-year-old, who won the show last year with now-boyfriend Kevin Clifton, didn't enjoy being pitted up against the likes of Ashley Roberts and Faye Tozer, who consistently impressed the judges with their fancy footwork. Speaking on Angela Scanlon's Thanks A Million podcast, Stacey shared: "Strictly for me was total escapism. Really thoroughly enjoyed myself. It is hard work, like physically it's very demanding. I was so [crap] at the start, I was dancing against people like Faye and Ashley who were incredible - I was so embarrassed, I was mortified."

Stacey Dooley won last year's Strictly with Kevin Clifton

Explaining how she thought about increasing her training, she recalled: "So I thought I have to put in more hours than everyone else to just not look ridiculous. It wasn’t even about looking great, it was about not looking horrendous. So I was dancing maybe sort of ten or 12 hours a day." The TV star then added: "The first couple of weeks I was filming Glow Up and didn't have the time so I was doing sort of three hours a day. But you have two weeks on the initial dance so they ease you in quite gently then, after that, I had a really horrible week two, I did the cha cha and it was just absolutely… I can't even bear it, so cringe."

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Stacey, who is known for her hard-hitting BBC documentaries, described Strictly as the perfect "escapism". She explained: "Work can be super intense. You know it got to the stage, when we said yes to Strictly, it got to the stage where I'd been to Iraq a couple to times, and it was just really emotionally draining, it was really full on. It was a total privilege to do but total hard core." The comments come a week after Kevin was voted off the show alongside Anneka Rice.

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