Stacey Dooley has said that Strictly Come Dancing offered a welcome escape from the pressures of her job.
The documentary maker and winner of last year’s Strictly has reported from locations from Iraq to Japan on issues surrounding Islamism, child sexual exploitation and domestic violence.
Dooley, 31, has revealed that the joy and sheer escapism of Strictly was a welcome relief from the responsibilities of reporting and her duties to the vulnerable.
Speaking ahead of the Strictly live tour, her dance partner Aljaz Skorjanec said that the intensity of the popular BBC show shields celebrities from the media attention that follows Strictly.
Dooley revealed she enjoyed the feel-good atmosphere of the show, and the support of fans at home.
She told the Press Association: “It’s certainly different to what I do day to day. My work is a bit more serious and straighter. The documentaries need to have a certain tone.
“That’s one of the main reasons I said ‘yes’ to Strictly. Work is very intense, very serious, you’re working with really vulnerable people so there’s responsibility, that duty of care. Strictly is like total escapism.
“It’s such a celebration, it’s the classiest show on television, millions are watching you and the nation gets behind you. It’s feel-good. No one is trying to trip you up or manipulate it. It’s a really lovely feeling.
“It was wicked, I’m so pleased I said ‘yes’.”
Dooley triumphed in the series alongside dance partner Kevin Clifton but has been paired with Skorjanec for the annual tour.
Her new partner said he believes the famous faces who agree to do Strictly are protected from the media glare by the hard work required on the show.
Skorjanec said: “To be honest when you do the show you have so much to work on, so much to rehearse for, so all the couples, whoever they are, never really open the paper and read what is said about Strictly.
“You want to be the next week’s best story, not be something that people talk about that you don’t want to be talked about. You are so all-consumed with the rehearsal, so there’s no time to read anything.”
The Strictly tour begins on Friday.