Shirley Valentine will be competing in Got to Dance on Sky

Could this pensioner make it as a Dancing Queen on Got to Dance?

Could this pensioner make it as a Dancing Queen on Got to Dance?

First published in Interviews
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Features Writer

A pensioner from Woodford Green will be thrust into the limelight on Saturday, as she takes part in television programme Got to Dance. 

Shirley Valentine, 79,  will be among the contestants auditioning for the fifth series of the dance talent show, which will see the winning act scoop a £250,000 prize. 

“My father Jimmy wouldn’t let me go on the stage when I was younger, he ran nightclubs, so I suppose this is my way of realising my dancing dream,“ she explains. 

 “I saw an advert for the show and I thought, what with turning 80 next year, if I don’t go for it now I never will.  There’s lots of people who make idiots of themselves on Britain’s Got Talent, but I’ve never seen any fools on Got to Dance, so I thought, now’s my chance. 

“Plus, I needed the exercise,“ she says. 

Viewers will see Shirley perform a dance inspired by Isadora Duncan, who was known for her penchant for performing with scarves.  

Shirley, who has made her own costume for the performance, is quick to admit that she’s had no professional dance training. 
East London and West Essex Guardian Series:
“Well Isadora died in 1920-odd, so it wasn’t like anyone was about to show me how to do the moves,“ she laughs. “But I’ve always been able to dance. I can’t do handstands and cartwheels, so it was the easiest dance to do, prance about and look foolish. “I took it easy, thankfully I didn’t fall over, or I wouldn’t have been able to get up.“

Shirley is remaining tight-lipped as to whether she’s made it through the audition process, but says she’s not concerned with winning the competition. 

“Winning was far from my mind, I just wanted my few seconds of fame. It was a wonderful day out mixing with everyone, particularly the kids, they were asking me about World War One and I made up a load of old nonsense about it, as if I’d know!“

 “And I got to flirt with the judges, which I love to do. 

“Most people think that when you get to my age that’s it, but it’s not. I play bridge, I travel, I’ve got a gay Jewish parrot called Bastard, and I collect miniature shoes. And now I can say I’ve been on telly. 

“Life’s too short to be boring, you’ve got to grab it with both hands.“

Got to Dance is on Sky1 HD, Saturday, August 16, 8pm                    

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