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Strictly judge labels dancing celeb a ‘hippo’ as he compares them to Ann Widdecombe

The backbiting has started early this time

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The new series of Strictly Come Dancing may still be in rehearsal mode but that hasn’t stopped the bitching from beginning.

It is usually the domain of Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood to provide the underhand, barbed comments but it seems that Bruno Tonioli has got in early.

The excitable Italian has dismissed the chances of former shadow chancellor, Ed Balls.

Strictly

Comparing him to Ann Widdecombe, another ex-politician that has graced the Strictly dancefloor, he said that Ed has the moves of a “hippopotamus”.

Speaking at Bafta LA’s pre-Emmy Awards party in Los Angeles, Bruno told the Press Association: “The danger is (he’s) going to be the next Ann Widdecombe.

“I don’t think the nation is ready for another one. I still haven’t recovered from the first one.

“I think I called her the Dalek in drag. He has to top that. Ed – you have to top the Dalek in drag.

“I want you to be like a hippopotamus in Fantasia.”

Asked what chance Ed had of winning the show, Bruno replied: “As much as being elected prime minister.

Ed Balls and Katya Jones
Ed Balls and his dance partner Katya Jones (Guy Levy/BBC)

“I think he’s going to bring a lot of entertainment value. He’s actually a great sport.

“He knows obviously physically he’s not the fittest. But I think he’s going to apply himself to it.

“I don’t know if he’s going to win it. But he’s definitely going to play his balls.”

Bruno is returning to the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel with Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell and Len Goodman, who is appearing on his last series as head judge.

This year’s contestants include singer Will Young, Olympic athlete Greg Rutherford and model Daisy Lowe.

The new series of Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One on Friday.