Strictly’s Shirley Ballas issued stern warning just hours before first live show

Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas has been given a warning ahead of the first live show of the glitzy BBC one series.

The TV favourite, 63, will be back in her judging seat on Saturday night (September 23) for the show’s 21st series. Shirley took over as head judge in 2017, replacing long-serving panellist Len Goodman – and has become a firm favourite with viewers since.

However last year, Shirley faced relentless abuse from online trolls. So much so, that she said the online comments were getting so bad she was considering quitting Strictly.

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She revealed: “Last year I was struggling. It wasn’t just a little bit, it was a lot.” Shirley added: “I felt that the abuse snowballed out of control and impacted me in such a negative way.” And now, ahead of the programme’s first live show on Saturday night (September 23) Shirley has been issued a warning.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Star, Dom Aldworth, Head of Brand Marketing at Slingo revealed how despite Strictly being a good career move for Shirley, there’s “evidence” that the trolling can get to her.

“Career-wise this is a great decision for Ballas. From magazine covers to book deals, there is no doubt Ballas benefits from the exposure and opportunities the show gives her,” the expert said. He added: “However, it is evident that trolling negatively impacts the former professional dancer.”

Dom went on: “Unfortunately, online hate is not rare for TV stars especially those starring on shows as popular as Strictly which draw in millions of viewers each week. As head judge, everything Ballas says will be hyper-analysed by Strictly fans and Ballas has already received some criticism for revealing she has a soft spot for contestant, Angela Rippon.”

The expert then added: “Ballas needs to remember that whilst it is easy to fixate on negative comments, there is huge amounts of positivity online too. Taking time away from social media and reaching out for support when trolling gets too much will help Ballas throughout the series.”

Shirley was welcomed onto the The One Show last week by Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas to give her verdict on her first impressions of the Strictly line up. However when asked by Alex if she spots any particular journeys, the star did not shy away from giving her special pick.

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She explained: "I do have a needy little bitty soft spot for Angela Rippon. "So I have a history there because she used to be the announcer on Come Dancing and the United Kingdom championships.

"And I admired her from a distance and she was talked so elegantly and she holds it, her poise was just absolutely immaculate when she walked down the stairs. So I believe she's almost 80 So I'm hoping that she really shows us all the things that she can do."

Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturday at 6.15pm on BBC One

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