Jacqui Smith, 57, is known to the nation as the former Labour Home Secretary (2007-2009), as well as serving as MP to Redditch from 1997 to 2010. She lost her seat in 2010 to Conservative candidate Karen Lumley.
“We’re in proper training now for the first live dance, which is going to be happening a week on Saturday.
“So we’ve actually recorded the show that is going out tomorrow and all that I can say is my dancing is already better than it will be on the show tomorrow.”
But she is finding it physically tiring, and said: “The main use of alcohol as far as I’m concerned at the moment is rubbing it into my aching feet because my poor old body is taking a battering.
“But I have to say, even the youngsters on the show are also physically suffering, so it’s not just us oldies who are under the cosh.
Jacqui joins 11 other celebrity hopefuls on Strictly Come Dancing this year.
Eastenders actress Maisie Smith, boxer Nicola Adams, radio presenter Clara Amfo, singer HRVY, reality TV star Jamie Laing, The Wanted singer Max George, NFL player Jason Bell, GMB presenter Ranvir Singh, actress Caroline Quentin, comedian Bill Bailey and Invictus Games medalist JJ Chalmers make up the rest of the group.
Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman continue as hosts, with Zoe Ball presenting It Takes Two.
Judges this year are Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, and Craig Revel Horwood, with Bruno Tonioli joining remotely for Sunday’s shows.