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Things hot up for Strictly Denise
IT is week two of the Strictly Come Dancing competition and the heat is on - quite literally - for Basildon’s Denise Van Outen.
Denise sailed through the first round and topped the leader board with her jive performance.
But she told the Echo she is still in agony after suffering a whiplash injury during rehearsals. “It was pure adrenalin that got me through the show last week and after that I could barely move my neck,” admits Denise.
“I’m still in pain but it is getting a bit better after a lot of hot water bottles and physiotherapy!” Her husband, the musical theatre star from Southend, Lee Mead, was in the audience cheering her on.
The dance received rave reviews from the judges and at one point the infamous Craig Revel Horwood described it as ‘fab-u-lous’, much to the delight of Denise and her dance partner James Jordan.
Craig and James have not always seen eye-to-eye, in last year’s series the pair fell out over his comments about Alex Jones's performances on the show and the feud escalated when Jordan and his wife Ola from the show's tour.
“I had never danced the jive it in my life before and it was so much fun. It was nice to hear positive feedback from the judges,” says Denise, 38. “James and Craig have a bit of history and it meant a lot to him to get a positive comments from him.”
Denise has also had a friendly reception when she comes back to Basildon to see her mum Kathy and dad Ted and brother Terry and sister Jackie.
She says: “When I went back recently to see my mum the neighbours were calling out ‘well done dear!’ It’s really lovely to feel that Essex is supporting me.” The pressure is on for the former St Josephs Primary School and Grays Convent High School student this week as she prepares for her foxtrot routine tomorrow (Saturday). It is a routine she is not entirely confident about.
Denise says: “I am so nervous this week - we all are. Everyone wants to impress the judges. They are all really honest and so when you do well and get positive feedback it means a lot. “It’s foxtrot this week and I am worried about it. Craig has picked up on my foot work before so it is something I am working hard on. “We all have our strengths and weakness. I like the all singing all dancing routines rather than the slower more technical ones. I know Lisa Riley feels the same as me.”