21/09/2017 15:43 BST

Strictly Come Dancing's Debbie McGee Says Show Is Helping Her Through Her Grief

'Everyone makes you feel so good and so wanted.'

Debbie McGee has opened up about how taking part in ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ has helped her through her grief, following the loss of her husband Paul Daniels.

Last year, following Paul’s death at the age of 77, Debbie said that she hoped she could one day take part in ‘Strictly’ in his memory, as he previously took part in the show back in 2010.

Ahead of her live shows debut on Saturday (23 September), the former magician’s assistant and TV personality has said that the joy of doing ‘Strictly’ has helped her through a difficult time in her life.

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Debbie McGee

Speaking on ‘Lorraine’, she told guest presenter Christine Lampard: “It really is the first time since I lost Paul that I feel genuinely happy. I’m always giggling and having a good time, but until now, there was still this knot in my stomach and… the fact I’ve lost him [was there].

“But these last three weeks on ‘Strictly’, everyone is so lovely, at every level, I love all the other contestants, everybody I’m working with… they all make you feel so good and so wanted. They make you feel like they really want you on the programme.”

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Debbie McGee and the late Paul Daniels

Debbie was also full of praise for her dancing partner, Giovanni Pernice, adding: “We laugh a lot, but we both have the same work ethic, so we’re totally focussed.

“We did a radio interview together yesterday, and he said to the interviewer, ‘the thing is with Debbie, is that I look at her and she knows what I mean’.

“And I think that kind of explains how well we get on. We’ve already melded together.”

BBC/Ray Burminston
Debbie and Giovanni strike a pose

She and her 14 competitors will be taking to the dance floor with their partners for the first time in Saturday’s live show, kicking off at 7.25pm on BBC One.

Click here to see what songs and dancers the contestants will be performing.

‘Lorraine’ airs every weekday from 8.30am on ITV.

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