We reveal all you need to know about the new Strictly Come Dancing contestant, Fern Britton!
1) After 12 years of marriage, Fern still fancies husband Phil Vickery, ‘I trust and respect Phil completely,’ she says. ‘Plus, I still really fancy him, which is vital too.’
2) Fern lives in Buckinghamshire with Phil and daughters Grace, 15, and Winnie, 11. Her twin sons, Jack and Harry, 18, have recently left to go to university.
3) Fern stands firm on her decision to have a gastric band fitted. ‘I’m not going to get Botox or liposuction. I’m not going to get my slack jaw tightened and tits lifted. I’ve never done anything I’m ashamed of in my life.”
4) This isn’t Fern’s first appearance on Strictly as she competed on the show’s Christmas special in 2010. She said at the time, ‘Who doesn’t love Strictly? Doing the show is amazing. It makes you feel life is wonderful. When people say they feel sad after getting kicked out, it’s so true.’
5) Fern was married to TV executive Clive Jones for 10 years. She says ‘We weren’t right for each other but my biggest regret is that we divorced. The ripples of that go across the pool for years.’
6) Fern’s first novel, New Beginnings, was based on her own experiences in TV. ‘Working in telly, you toughen up or you die,’ she says. ‘I’m much less tender than I used to be. I’ve thickened up.’
7) Don’t be surprised when Fern gets flexible in her dance routines on the show. She famously did the splits live on her Channel 4 show, Fern, in 2011.
8) Her father, Tony Britton, was a famous film actor in his youth, while her mother, Ruth, was born in Malaysia and is still better known as Adek, Malay for ‘baby’.
9) Fern has suffered with depression for most of her adult life. ‘If I feel any depression coming, I take a very deep breath,’ she says. ‘The last time I felt it, I decided, “There’s no point in running because it will get me so I have to turn round and look it in the eye and let it run through me”.’
10) Fern’s no sci-fi fan. ‘I think Doctor Who is the most dreary thing,’ she says. ‘And I tried to watch Star Wars three times but I’ve never got past the first 12 minutes as I’ve always fallen asleep. I hate sci-fi as it’s not real.’