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Ann Widdecombe and Anton du Beke

Ann

My friends warned me against Strictly

Ann Widdecombe has revealed that she jumped at the chance to do Strictly Come Dancing - despite her friends warning her that it was a bad idea.

The former Conservative MP- who unexpectedly reached the quarter finals of the 2010 series with partner Anton du Beke, despite continual bad reviews from the judges - said her success and popularity came as a huge surprise.

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Russell Grant and Flavia Cacace

Pudseys to join Strictly dancers

Pudsey meet Pudsey - Children in Need's bandaged bear will team up with his dancing dog namesake for the charity show. Viewers will see the show's mascot perform a dance routine with the Britain's Got Talent winner on the BBC appeal next month.

Former Strictly Come Dancing stars Ann Widdecombe and Russell Grant will also return to the dance floor to team up with their partners Anton Du Beke and Flavia Cacace.

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Ann Widdecombe and Anton du Beke

Ann Widdecombe - Doctor of University

A former Conservative Home Office Minister are amongst those who will be given honorary degrees at the University of Birmingham graduation ceremonies in July 2012.

Ann Widdecombe was a Member of Parliament for Maidstone, and then Maidstone and The Weald from 1987 until her retirement in 2010. Previous to her parliamentary career Ann worked in marketing at Unilever, and as a senior administrator at London University.

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Ann

Ann: Now I'm An Opera Diva

If anyone had said to me when I was retiring this time two years ago that I would be dancing on prime-time television, touring in live shows with Craig Revel Horwood, hosting a quiz show and appearing in pantomime my response would have been: “Lie down and have an aspirin.”

Yet it has all happened and I often think nothing can surprise me again. Nevertheless I did think it was a wind-up when my agent rang to say she had received a bid for me to appear in an opera at Covent Garden.

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Ann

Ann: I'm my own person on quiz show

Ann Widdecombe has said that she plans to be her own quizmaster on her new Sky Atlantic show - and will not be emulating anybody else.

The former MP and Strictly Come Dancing star will front Cleverdicks, which begins this week - but refuses to follow in the footsteps of other quiz show hosts such as Ann Robinson. "I do not like Ann Robinson's style," she said. "I like Ann Robinson, but I didn't want that ritual humiliation and rudeness.

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Ann

It isn't all laughs in panto

Ann Widdecombe has now done 30 shows in the panto season and has another 19 to go.

She marvels at the way the dwarves, animals and dancers, who are all children under 11, never seem to become bored or fractious. The grown-ups are beginning to yawn in the wings but as soon as the curtain goes up all fatigue vanishes in a rush of adrenalin.

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Ann

Ann: 'I can't sing or dance'

As I came to the end of my time on Strictly Come Dancing last year, I remarked to Craig Revel Horwood that I would be naming that particular chapter of my autobiography Three Months in Luvvyland, to which he replied “It might be a bit longer than that, Daahling.”

He was right. We began the year by touring the country and dancing at venues as huge as Wembley and the O2 on the Strictly Live Tour, have appeared together on programmes such as The Antiques Road Trip and Pointless and we are now ending it by acting together in pantomime.

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Craig Revel Horwood

Ann reunites with Strictly nemesis

Ann WIddecombe has been reunited with Strictly Come Dancing nemesis Craig Revel Horwood – as his Servant in her debut pantomime performance.

The former Conservative MP, described by Craig as "a dancing hippo", joined the acid-tongued judge in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford, Kent.

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Edwina

Ann: Edwina changes her Strictly tune

Whatever fun I might have had on Strictly last year I would never have claimed that it left me an expert in dance so I was pleasantly surprised at how often the judges alighted upon the same points I had noted: the unconvincing, fixed smile of Rory Bremner, the tendency of Robbie Savage to let Ola do all the work, the carefully placed rather than fluent footwork of Harry Judd.

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Ann Widdecombe and Anton du Beke

Ann: Anton deserves a good partner

Poor Anton du Beke. This year he actually draws somebody who looks as if she might be able to dance but her self-regard and boasting will probably guarantee early elimination by a public who prefers people who know how to laugh at themselves.

Spare a thought for the professionals on Strictly Come Dancing. Some of the best of them have never made the final because the celebrities with whom they have been paired have never had a chance.

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Ann Widdecombe and Anton du Beke

Ann Widdecombe blasts Nancy Dell’Olio

Ann Widdecombe has quickstepped into a Strictly catfight — by calling sultry Nancy Dell'Olio a "battleaxe". Fiery Nancy has been paired up with Anton Du Beke — who partnered Ann last year.

And the ex-MP reckons Anton's going to have his hands full. Ann, 63, said: "Nancy will be more high maintenance than me. I hope I have prepared Anton for knowing how to handle battleaxe women — because he'll need it with Nancy.

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