STRICTLY Come Dancing star Tilly Ramsay faces the unenviable prospect of being critiqued by five TV judges this series – one of whom is her dad.
Tilly says: “I think I’ll take criticism from the judges pretty well. I do live with one of the harshest critics in my house, Dad, so I’m pretty used to that kind of stuff. Dad will be like, ‘Oh well I thought . . . ’ He’ll give his own criticism. But it’s all about learning and the whole process. You need criticism to learn.”
At 19, Tilly is the youngest competitor in the new series. In fact, she is one of the youngest in the show’s 17-year history.
The Sun revealed last year she was in the running to appear in the 2020 series, but a nasty fall ruled her out. It was eventually won by comedian Bill Bailey and his professional dance partner Oti Mabuse. Gordon had pleaded with BBC bosses to give Tilly — who fronts their family reality show on CBBC called Matilda And The Ramsay Bunch — her primetime break.
And it seems the TV chef is living vicariously through Tilly, as his daughter revealed he has always wanted to learn to dance.
She explains: “Dad is very excited for me to be taking part. He’s always wanted to learn how to dance but he’s just not very good at all. He has got two left feet.
‘I am not very good at dancing’
“I will try to teach him but I do get slightly impatient with him because it takes him a very long time.” After Tilly’s place in the new series was confirmed last month, proud Gordon made one of his famously unfiltered outbursts.
Referencing the Strictly Curse that has seen the marriages of several celebrity contestants fall apart, Gordon warned his daughter off potential suitors, saying: “Don’t date those dancers.”
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And if male professionals value their manhoods, they should take that on board. Not that Tilly needs any distractions ahead of this weekend’s launch show, which will reveal who the stars have been paired with.
Tilly admits she is far from being a natural on the dancefloor, and faces stiff competition from the other contestants including swimmer Adam Peaty, 26, Hollyoaks star Katie McGlynn, 28, and Peep Show actor Robert Webb, 48, who won BBC1’s Let’s Dance for Comic Relief in 2009.
Despite showing off her moves on TikTok — and sometimes roping in her dad — she rates her dancing ability as a “two out of ten”. Plus, when Tilly’s mum Tana, 47, enrolled her in ballet school as a nipper, she quit after one day to join her older brother Jack in football camp. She says she was also always “at the back” of school productions.
She says: “I am not very good at dancing. If I was to describe my dancing style in three words it would be awkward, uncoordinated and pretty clumsy, I am a very clumsy person.”
If I was to describe my dancing style in three words it would be awkward, uncoordinated and pretty clumsy, I am a very clumsy person.
Tilly is the second youngest of Gordon’s children. She says her siblings Megan, 23, twins Holly and Jack, 21, and two-year-old Oscar, will be cheering her on from the family home when she takes to the dancefloor.
Though Tilly can vividly recall Jack’s reaction to her signing up for Strictly, saying: “My brother said, ‘But why? You cannot dance’. I was like, ‘Well thank you for the confidence boost, it was just what I needed’.”
Tilly already feels slightly on the backfoot because she was all set to take part in Strictly last year but fell off a seesaw, breaking her arm. She had to withrdraw from the competition before it had even got underway. Luckily BBC bosses had told her they would reconsider her for this series.
But there is another hurdle she must overcome if she wants a chance at winning the glitterball trophy — Tilly has barely ever walked in heels let alone danced in them. She adds: “It is definitely more of a hate-hate relationship with heels.
“I have worn them about once in my life to my 18th birthday party and they were off within five minutes. They were too painful and since then I have never really put them back on until recently.
“I have been trying to walk around the house in some heels and get used to them but after a couple of minutes my feet hurt and my slippers come on.”
I am so excited, it’s going to be a big change for me.
“I would love to be able to do the waltz in slippers and be different.”
Tilly might favour “comfy” when it comes to footwear, but she is certainly not going to give the Strictly glam squad the boot when they come calling.
Given her love of glitter and sparkles, she is looking forward to the makeover more than learning the Tango. She adds: “I am so excited, it’s going to be a big change for me.”