Daniel O'Donnell's Strictly Diary; Week 5

TVBy Daniel O'Donnell
Daniel, Majella and Kristina enjoy a well earned break
Daniel, Majella and Kristina enjoy a well earned break

If you thought I looked a bit dazed after my first Strictly dance last weekend, you were right.

For a brief moment, which felt like an hour to me, I had a mental breakdown as I waltzed around the floor with Kristina live on telly.

I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t know who Kristina was and I didn’t know what I was doing there.

Kristina spotted my face glazing over during the dance and she thought there was something wrong. I quickly recovered, having missed a small bit of the routine, but, as I waited for the judges to give their verdict, it was on my mind.

I kept thinking about the mess I’d made of it. I shouldn’t have given it a thought because it wasn’t a mess at all. I never heard a word the judges said because I was still in a daze. I couldn’t even speak.

By the time you read this, I’ll have danced the Charleston last night. And tonight I’ll know what the public think of my performance when the votes come in. We’re all on tenterhooks.


I’m back in the studio with Kristina for the Charleston. As I glance in the mirror I realise I look like a Connemara pony. Let’s hope it gets better.

That night, we all attend the Pride of Britain awards. Majella accompanies me. She never gets starstuck, but there are major celebrities at every turn. I bump into David Beckham, and have a chat with Michael Flatley and his wife Niamh.


We take a trip to Royal Windsor Racecourse to shoot a scene for Strictly. Then Majella, Kristina and myself enjoy some afternoon tea at the famous racecourse.


I’m really struggling with the dance, it’s not easy when you’re 53. Kristina keeps reminding me to stay in the moment. I think that’s what happened me with the waltz, I lost focus.


I’m getting more comfortable with the Charleston, but it’s really fast and I’m meeting myself coming back. When it’s finished, I’m still going! All the contestants have a WhatsApp group and we’re sharing our experiences. I laugh out loud when I read them.


Kristina tells me my dance is looking good and I have nothing to worry about. I’m certainly feeling a lot more comfortable this week. 

Whatever happens this weekend, I’ve already made 14 great new friends. There’ll be a lot of sadness when the first person leaves.

This article first appeared in the Sunday World on October 4. For the latest installment of Daniel's Strictly Diary check out Sunday's paper and for all his previous reports from behind the scenes at Strictly, just click here