Strictly’s Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton on ‘pressure’ of being favourites

The couple are firm favourites to lift the glitterball trophy in December’s finale.

Press Association
Last updated: 12 November 2018 - 1.10pm

Strictly Come Dancing’s Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton have said they are feeling the pressure as the favourites to win the series.

The couple have been the top choice with bookmakers in recent weeks to lift the glitterball trophy and have regularly scored above 30 points each week.

Documentary filmmaker Dooley, 31, is one of the highest-scoring stars of Strictly, despite having no dance experience, unlike co-stars Faye Tozer from Steps and Ashley Roberts, who was previously in the Pussycat Dolls.

Strictly Come Dancing
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton (Guy Levy/BBC)

Professional dancer Clifton told ITV’s This Morning: “You don’t want to be the favourites.”

Dooley said: “He gets the same chat every time because he’s been in the final so many times. They’re always like, ‘is it your year, is it this year?'”

Clifton added: “It’s just adding to the pressure, because I’ve been runner-up four times on the show, and everybody’s going, ‘with Stacey it’s going to be your year, the bookies are saying this is it’, and it’s like, ‘stop it!'”

Clifton, 36, joined Strictly in 2013 and made it to the final for four consecutive years with Susanna Reid, Frankie Bridge, Kellie Bright and Louise Redknapp.

Last year he was in seventh place with comedian Susan Calman.

The dancer also said that performing in Blackpool, an annual Strictly tradition, is another source of added pressure.

Clifton said: “You feel you want to do something special. Out of all your dances you do in the series, you don’t want Blackpool to be a bit of an average one, you want to go out and do something special, because everyone gears up for Blackpool week.”

Dooley said she is “so delighted” she agreed to take part in Strictly and that it has been a change for her to do the show away from her hard-hitting documentaries, for which she has visited places including Mosul, Iraq.

She also said that she was surprised at how seriously she now takes the competition.

“It’s mad, at the start you’re like, ‘what’s meant to be will be, I just want to have the best time’, and then halfway through, ‘you think, oh my God, I’m loving it so much, I don’t want to leave’,” she said.

“When you’re doing the results show, and you’re stood there, you’re all grown adults, and you’re like, ‘this is the most important thing in the world, nothing else matters’.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues on November 17 at 6.45pm, where the remaining couples will take to the floor in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

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