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Page last updated at 14:05 GMT, Monday, 20 September 2010 15:05 UK
Ann Widdecombe in training for Strictly Come Dancing
By Laura Joint
BBC Devon

Ann and Anton in training
Ann and Anton in training, where the former MP shows her flexibility

Ann Widdecombe says she is under no illusions, as she prepares to take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2010.

"I think the chances of me winning are very remote," said the former politician who lives on Dartmoor.

"Just on one training's experience I know that everybody else is vastly better than I am."

The celebrities and their dance partners are currently in training ahead of the series which starts on BBC One on 1 October.

Ms Widdecombe, who is partnered with professional dancer Anton du Beke, is up against 13 other celebrities.

Among the 2010 dancers are TV magician Paul Daniels, actress Felicity Kendal, TV presenter Matt Baker, former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, Wales rugby star Gavin Henson, and singer Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child.

As a teenager, Ms Widdecombe had dance lessons, which she describes as "a total disaster".

"I think I gave up after about six lessons," she said. "I haven't danced for so long, I can't remember when it was."

So what tempted her to take part? "I'm just looking for a completely new experience," she says on video on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing website.

Ann Widdecombe
Ann Widdecombe admits she does not expect to win Strictly 2010

"And learning something that is not remotely within my repertoire at the moment.

"The slowest of slow ballroom dances will be my favourite."

Speaking to BBC Radio Devon's Matt Woodley, Ms Widdecombe, 63, said she was inspired by John Sergeant, who progressed in the 2008 contest despite his shortcomings: "You can do it at your own pace," she said.

"I am enjoying it," she added. "It is very hard work. But I am fit - I haven't found it physically draining.

"But technically, it's absolute murder. I mean, I'm the pantomime act."

The former Conservative MP bought a house on Dartmoor in 2008 and, after a life in politics, she did not stand for re-election as MP for Maidstone and the Weald at this year's General Election.

She is currently writing her fifth novel and has forged a career in media and broadcasting.

The 2009 Strictly champions were BBC TV presenter Chris Hollins and dance partner Ola Jordan.

BBC Radio Devon's Matt Woodley spoke to Ann Widdecombe when it was announced she was taking part - listen to his interview using the audio link.




SEE ALSO
Anne does the Widdecombe waltz
28 Sep 10 |  People & Places
In pictures: Ann Widdecombe on Strictly
22 Sep 10 |  People & Places

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