Daniel O'Donnell

September 21st 2015, Daniel’s Strictly Diary Week 3

LAST Saturday night I glided across the dance floor with grace and effortless ease. I didn’t have to think for a split second about the steps I was taking with my partner.

If Len Goodman was there on the night, I’m sure he would have given me “a 10 from Len.”

Sadly, my footsteps around the ballroom had nothing to do with Strictly Come Dancing.


I have the weekend off in London, so on Saturday night I went to see one of my friends, the singer John McNicholl, performing in St Joseph’s Club, Highgate.

John and his band were brilliant, and I got up and sang with them. Then I took to the floor to dance in the old style that I’m used to.

All of the people I met on the night promised to vote for me when Strictly goes live on the telly. I get that kind of support from people wherever I go, so if all those votes come in I’ll be doing well on the show.


I wake up feeling exhausted. My tiredness had nothing to do with the previous night’s dance. It was my body reacting to the stress of the week trying to master my Strictly performance.

Before I joined Strictly I would have said I can dance. Now I realise that social dancing doesn’t require much skill at all. I have a lot to learn.




I was up early as my coaching with Kristina began at 9am and we worked right through to 3pm. At the end of the day, I felt for the first time that I had improved immensely. I’ve never put so much into anything I’ve done before in my life, and I’ve always given everything 100 per cent in my career.

On Monday night I went to a ball in the Mansion House, London, for the Dot Com Children’s Foundation, as Kristina is a Trustee of the charity. I was so impressed hearing Kristina speak about the charity and how it helps young children in difficult situations. This is a side to Kristina that the media don’t focus on. She is a genuinely good person. The ball raised £80,000 that night for the charity.



I had a day off, so I went for a round of golf with friends at the Muswell Hill Golf Club. I was with my brother-in-law, Michael, and a friend called Oliver Foye, who celebrated his 80th birthday. The club pro joined us and it was an enjoyable afternoon where I cleared my head.



Back in the studio I can see my first dance getting better and better.

“You should be feeling proud of yourself,” Kristina told me.

“Well,” I said, “it’s you that has got me to where I am.”

Kristina has a wonderful ability to teach and a fantastic way of teaching. She doesn’t give you a mountain to climb. She strips the dance back until you understand it, and then she builds it up to where it needs to be. Kristina never gets frustrated with me and I’d say I push her as far out to the limit as she’s ever been.



I do a bit of shopping to cook for myself. Now that I’m on my own in the London flat I have to fend for myself. I’ll do some fruit juice and porridge for breakfast. Lunch is in a café with Kristina. Then I’ll do dinner when I get home. Okay, it might be a shepherd’s pie from the supermarket.



Over lunch with Kristina I realise she’s so easy to be around. We spend all day, every day together dancing. Then we go to lunch together in one of the many lovely local cafes. People don’t bother us when we’re out. Sometimes they’ll stop and wish us good luck, or tell us they’ll be voting for us.

Everytime I think about the live show, I feel the nerves. I mention this to Kristina. “The most important thing on the night is to enjoy the moment, Daniel,” she said. Good advice, I’ll never have this chance again.