Daniel O'Donnell's Strictly Diary; Week 4

TVBy Daniel O'Donnell
Daniel and Kristina in action on the show
Daniel and Kristina in action on the show

After 35 years in showbusiness I can’t believe how nervous I was stepping out on to the floor at the Strictly Come Dancing live shows.

There was a moment when I actually couldn’t catch my breath. It was a very strange sensation.

To be honest, I still find it a bit surreal that I’m on Strictly. But now that I’m here, there’s no going back. Well, at least until I’m kicked out.


After another week of intensive training with Kristina, I treat myself to a night out at the Jersey Boys show in London. It’s just the tonic.


I take a train to Luton to attend a charity coffee morning. Later in the evening my stepson Michael and his girlfriend Sarah join me for dinner.


It’s the final week of rehearsals in the build-up to Friday night’s show. The beautiful voice of Belfast singing legend, the late Ruby Murray, fills the room and I dance to When Irish Eyes are Smiling. 


I’m in rehearsals all day with Kristina, repeating my dance over and over. Kristina tells me my biggest problem is that I keep dropping my shoulders.


Who said waltzing is easy? As Kristina told me, the waltz is very, very technical. I hope I don’t make a bags of it.


I wake up feeling like I’ve been through a war. I’m aching all over. You might laugh, but this style of dancing requires a lot of stamina and physical strength. My shoulder is sore, my arms are paining me. When I hear that Jeremy Vine said his ears are even sore, I wonder what kind of a dance he’s doing!


Majella has arrived back from Tenerife to give me moral support. I think she’s more nervous about the show than I am because she has no control over what’s going to happen. And I think I have! But I have a great start to the day when I wake up with my little granddaughter Olivia beside me on the pillow. She’s a wee dote who never stops smiling.

When I arrive at the studio and see the Irish-themed production for my dance I become emotional. There are amazing scenes of picturesque Ireland all around the studio, with shamrocks and a river down the floor through the magic of technology.

As I rehearse, I feel that I’m floating across the floor. Kristina has taught me well. I’m ready for the live performance.

Then I look at the others doing cha-chas and tangos and my heart stops. I have some big challenges coming down the line if I stay in the competition. 

When my dance ends, I’m both relieved and delighted to get a respectable 24 out of 40 from the judges.

And for all Daniel's Strictly Diary entries so far, just click here...