‘We’re not there to judge private lives’

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Strictly Come Dancing’s head judge has broken the panel’s silence on the scandal surrounding contestant Seann Walsh and his dance partner Katya Jones.

Shirley Ballas said the experts are on the show to judge the dancing and not “anybody’s private life”.

Her comments come after pictures of the pair kissing on a night out were published by The Sun on Sunday – despite them both being in relationships at the time.

Walsh’s now ex-girlfriend Rebecca Humphries responded by dumping him on Twitter, saying the pictures were taken on her birthday and that she had received no personal apology from the comedian.

In an interview with ITV’s This Morning, Ballas tried to sidestep questions about the furore, but was called up on the “nice dodge” by presenter Phillip Schofield.

She said it was not down to the Strictly judges to take into account what happens outside the show, and that they were there to pass comment on “the dancing only”.

After much speculation about whether the pair would quit or be kicked off the show, it was confirmed yesterday that they will dance on Saturday.

When asked about her reaction to seeing the pictures, Ballas said: “I’m not a newspaper reader, so I’m probably always the last to know any information that’s going on, but I just think people get on with their job.”

Rebecca Humphries has accused Sean Walsh of repeated 'aggresive' and 'controlling' behaviour
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Walsh has since been publicly dumped by now ex-girlfriend Rebecca Humphries

She continued: “I’m there to judge a competition which is about dancing, I’m not there to judge anybody’s private life. And I just get out there, everybody comes, they do their best, so that’s what everybody will be looking forward to on Saturday.”

Asked if there was ever talk of Walsh and Jones leaving the series, Ballas said: “That’s not my job.”

Ballas was not the only Strictly star to comment on the scandal today, with former judge Arlene Phillips backing the decision to keep the pair in the show.

“I absolutely think they should be allowed to dance,” she told ITV’s Lorraine show. “They are consenting adults.

“I’m not condoning what they did at all but it’s a dance competition…”

She also spoke about the intensity of competing in Strictly, saying: “They are thrown together for hour upon hour, physically close… There is constant touching and feeling.”

Both Walsh and Jones, who is married to fellow Strictly dancer Neil Jones, apologised on social media after the pictures emerged.

Humphries’s statement said the comedian’s “actions over the last three weeks had led [me] to believe something inappropriate was going on” but that he denied it, repeatedly calling her “psycho/nuts/mental”.

She received scores of messages of support on social media, with celebrities including Myleene Klass, Carol Vorderman and Stacey Solomon all praising the way she has handled the scandal.

More from Strictly Come Dancing

Walsh and Jones will dance the Charleston to hip-hop track Bills by LunchMoney Lewis on Saturday.

After apologising initially, he has not commented since Ms Humphries’s statement was posted on Twitter.



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