Emma Weymouth’s Strictly Diary: ‘From Strictly to soft play in the blink of an eye’

Emma and Aljaž danced a slow Foxtrot to the Downton Abbey theme last week
Emma and Aljaž danced a slow Foxtrot to the Downton Abbey theme last week Credit: Guy Levy/BBC

The Viscountess on juggling dance and family and basing her next dance on her children’s energy

Thankfully, last week’s Downton dance went down a storm! Aljaž and I are so grateful for all the lovely messages and the all-important votes. Hours and hours of trying to master the slow Foxtrot’s tricky timing paid off with our highest score. As it was Movie Week, the characterisation was everything, and it was an emotional experience.

The beautiful Downton Abbey score, combined with the frustrating technicalities of the dance, provided some true emotional highs and lows. On Saturday at the Elstree studio, I visualised the dance over and over in my dressing room between reminders from runners to rush to band-call rehearsal, make-up, digital filming and so on before the big moment of dancing live. 

Aljaž always pretends to trip on the stairs on the way down to the dance floor, and even though I know it’s coming, it still makes me jump every time. It was such a joy to dance the beautiful choreography he dreamed up and hearing such lovely feedback was the icing on the cake. My frame still needs work so there’s room for improvement, but we are both working tremendously hard, and Aljaž is such a patient teacher. 

It was sad to lose Anneka Rice last Sunday. Gracious in defeat, she says Strictly has made her more of a “girlie girl” and she even bought some dresses at Zara before going on It Takes Two on Monday, after admitting that she’d never really worn them.

Emma with her husband Ceawlin, Viscount Weymouth, and their children Henry and John at their home, Longleat House Credit: John Lawrence

Arriving back from Elstree at 4am on Sunday and waking four hours later to spend the day with the children was a stark reality check – from Strictly to soft play in the blink of an eye! I love heading home to be with my husband Ceawlin and the boys John and Henry, and find myself echoing Aljaž’s training when instructing them to get ready to go out. As I implore them 25 times to put their coats on, I find myself sounding more and more like my teacher: “Go; move; not that foot – no, the other foot,” and so on. 

Our dance tomorrow is a Jive, so no time to rest on our laurels. It’s a dance so energetic that my inner thighs already hurt too much to get in and out of the car without groaning.  Aljaž and I are actually going to channel the children to capture the essence of our song, Kim Wilde’s naughty Kids in America (whoah-oh!) – the routine is jumpy, bouncy, kicky and flicky with our bravest tricks to date. I’m excited to show another side of my personality in this one. 

Hairstylist Lisa Davey sent me hair options today – Madonna in the Eighties – so I feel a wig is heading in my direction. I trust the process, so don’t interfere too much with styling and costume, but we don’t get to see what we are wearing until the day before and this week I think it’s going to be double denim. All I know so far is there’ll be an American flag wall, graffiti, and Ceawlin remembers the song being performed on Top of the Pops with blue police lights and that’s going in apparently since Aljaž loved the idea. 

Our Jive rehearsals are the sweatiest so far; they are like doing non-stop aerobics and I’m building more muscle by the day. I’ll need them for the two boldest moves of this routine. Not to give too much away, but it’s going to need nerves of steel to carry them off! 

 Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC One at 6.40pm on Saturday and 7.15pm on Sunday