Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Looking Strictly stunning: Fern Britton reveals an even slimmer figure as stars film Christmas special

By Ben Todd

Showstopper: A slender and glamorous Fern Britton is filmed for the Christmas Day special

She famously had her head ­digitally imposed on to a skinnier woman’s body for a Ryvita advert.

But this time, the svelte figure on display really did belong to Fern ­Britton as she donned a sparkling ­turquoise mini-dress for a Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.

A year after stepping down from ITV1 show This Morning, Miss Britton, who has faced a very public battle with her weight in the past, looked glamorous and confident on the dancefloor.

Having the time of her life: Fern couldn't stop grinning as she danced with Matthew Cutler

Passion: Fern cuts a particularly sexy image as she reveals some very shapely legs

The star, 53, has clearly overcome the embarrassment of admitting to having a gastric band fitted in order to help her shed the pounds.

In 2008, Miss Britton – who has said Strictly is her ‘family’s favourite programme’ - was forced to reveal that two years before she had secretly had the operation to reduce the size of her stomach.

It had helped her lose five stone and drop from a size 16 to a 12.

The admission caused great embarrassment for her because she had been advocating natural weight loss and become the face and body of Ryvita in a £200,000-a-year deal.

Miss Britton was joined on the special by Lib Dem MP and current Coalition Cabinet member Vince Cable, the Business Secretary.

Glamour girl: Fern wows the audience with her pulse-racing routine

Strictly business: Vince Cable and Erin Boag show John Barrowman and Kristina Rihanoff how it's done

Surprise: EastEnders' June Brown (Dot Cotton) was incredibly nimble for an 82-year-old

Despite the economic crisis the country is in the midst of, Mr Cable managed to spare the time to appear on the BBC1 show.

Mr Cable, a keen ballroom dancer who has been paired with Erin Boag for the one-off show, became a fan of ballroom dancing more than 20 years ago when his late wife Olympia introduced him to the hobby.

The 67-yerar-old carried on dancing after his wife's death in 2001 and he credited it with helping him to endure the pain of losing her.

He has said: ‘We [Mr Cable and his wife] had always been close but the dancing brought us closer and the closeness made the last, awful years easier to bear.’

Perfromers: (Back row) Erin Boag and The Rt. Hon Vince Cable MP . (Rest of cast left to right) Anton Du Beke, Ronni Ancona , John Barrowman, Kristina Rihanoff, Fern Britton, June Brown, Matthew Cutler, Vincent Simone

Top marks: Judges (from left)Craig Revel Horwood, Len Goodman, Alesha Dixon and Bruno Tonioli

Indeed, Mr Cable has managed to pass on the bug to his second wife Rachel, who he wed in 2004, and he now regularly partners.

He said: ‘Strictly has always been a secret, or not so secret, passion of mine. I hope that by taking part in the show I can inspire others to get up and do something they have always wanted to have a go at."

The other celebrities appearing in the Christmas special are comedienne Ronni Ancona, 42, actor, singer and presenter John Barrowman, 43, as well as veteran EastEnders actress June Brown.

Miss Brown will become the programme's oldest ever performer, by dancing at the age of 83.

Meanwhile, of this year's contestants, Pamela Stephenson – who has made it through to the final this weekend – showed she was very much in the spirit in a revealing festive outfit as she thrilled the audience in a group dance.


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