Denise Van Outen reveals Tess Daly was NOT first choice for Strictly job

How different life under the glitterball could have been…

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by Millie Payne |

Ten years ago, Denise Van Outen tangoed her way to the Strictly Come Dancing final, where she finished as a gracious runner-up. But if the presenter had taken a different path, it would not have been ballroom shoes she was stepping into, but those of the show’s veteran host, Tess Daly.

Denise was offered the presenting gig ahead of its inaugural series but turned it down, telling the late Bruce Forsyth, “It sounds really boring!”

Talking to entrepreneur and investor Matt Haycox on his podcast – The Matt Haycox Show – Denise explained why, despite feeling like “an idiot” when the BBC show became a hit, she is grateful for her “varied career”.

She recalled, “[Bruce] came to me and approached me to be sidekick in the new Strictly Come Dancing. He said, ‘I want to open the show with a song and dance with you, and close it with you’ - because he knew that I danced and sang. And I remember I went to him, ‘Bruce, it sounds really boring!’ So, they gave it to Tess Daly. And then it became a huge hit, and I was thinking maybe I was an idiot turning that down.

"When I look back, Tess has done it so well for many years, but just kind of does that, and she's associated with it. Whereas I went on to do Broadway, I've done film, I've done theatre in the West End - I've done so many other things. And, I wouldn't have had such a varied career if I’d taken it. So, actually, for me, it worked out.”

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Elsewhere, Denise discussed how becoming single twice (from ex-husband Lee Mead and more recently Eddie Boxshall) has strengthened her relationship with her daughter Betsy, “You do see the dynamic develop, because it's just like we're friends,” she said.

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