EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Strictly star Nadiya Bychkova hits back at BBC insiders’ claims she was dropped because of her lack of chemistry with the show’s contestants
BBC insiders suggested that the Ukrainian dancer had been snubbed because of her lack of chemistry with any of the show’s contestants.
Now, Bychkova, 34, has hit back, telling me: ‘It wasn’t the case that there was no chemistry between me and the dancers.
‘It’s just, obviously, the bosses’ decision. Unfortunately, this year it was me who wasn’t picked.’
Walker has said the BBC’s decision ‘feels a bit like putting Messi on the bench for the World Cup final’, adding: ‘She is so talented, the best teacher anyone could hope for.’
Her boyfriend, fellow Strictly pro Kai Widdrington, 28, has been picked to be the partner of TV presenter Angela Rippon, 78, for this series.
Looking on the bright side, Nadiya says she will have more time to spend with her daughter from a previous relationship with Slovenian footballer Matija Skarabot.
‘I’ll be taking her to school,’ she tells me at the Atelier Zuhra show at London Fashion Week, held at Somerset House. ‘Career-wise, I’m disappointed, but I get to spend more time with my daughter, which is beautiful. I’m taking all the positives out of it.’
She is grateful for the support she has received since it was revealed that she had not been selected.
‘There is so much love out there, and the public has been keeping me up,’ she says. ‘I have received so many kind words, and they have lifted my spirits.’
Soho heiress’s bare-faced courage
What’s going on away from the catwalk at London Fashion Week is often more interesting than what’s on it.
I hear that Soho heiress India Rose James turned up to watch a show with what she described as a ‘red, blotchy, puffy face’, wearing no make-up, as she wanted to inspire other people who suffer from eczema and dermatitis.
‘I am going to feel insecure, but I am making a stand,’ she said. ‘I have a skin condition and I shouldn’t have to hide it.’
Known as the ‘Princess of Soho’, James, 31, became richer than the late Queen when she inherited £329 million of her grandfather Paul Raymond’s £1 billion Soho Estates empire in 2008.
Fred Sirieix, the frontman on Channel 4’s matchmaking show First Dates, appears to have moved to the UK from his native France because he enjoyed kissing girls in the Potteries as a young lad.
‘I’d come to England on an exchange trip,’ says the 51-year-old maitre d’.
‘I went to Stoke-on-Trent, I think. I had a pen-pal there. You go to school and the girls were dressed in uniform, which I thought was sexy.
‘I remember kissing ten girls in 15 days. It was brilliant, and I think it was one of the reasons why I wanted to come to the UK.’ Ooh la la!
Flower power for Bowie’s girls
Some daughters object to being compared to their mothers, but David Bowie’s girl, Alexandria Zahra Jones, has no complaints. Then again, her mother is supermodel Iman.
Alexandria, 23, who is known as Lexi, says she ‘accidentally twinned’ with Iman, 68, when they both wore floral dresses on a night out.
Lexi, who launched an art and clothing label last month, which sells quirky prints and clothing, said: ‘I have struggled with mental health issues for most of my life. Art has always been a coping mechanism of mine to get out of dark places.’
Officials were so worried about Boris Johnson’s chance of survival, when he was in hospital with Covid in 2020, that his deputy was primed to take over, former Downing Street Chief-of-Staff Lord Lister has revealed.
‘There was a formal letter drafted for the Queen to sign, because she would have to transfer power to Dominic Raab,’ Edward Lister says in Ben Riley-Smith’s new book, The Right To Rule. ‘Boris might have been incapacitated or indeed died.’
Lister recalls Johnson ‘coughing and spluttering’ during a video call, adding: ‘He muttered: ‘God, this is awful,’ the remark sticking because Boris rarely complained about illness’.
Richard E. Grant has described the pain of selling the holiday home in Provence where he and his wife, Joan Washington, would spend their summers swimming, dancing and partying.
‘I’ve spent the past two days packing up everything in preparation for the removal company,’ says Withnail And I star Grant, 66.
‘This holiday house my late wife and our daughter and I have had in the South of France for the past 33 years, memory crammed . . . now sounds so echoey. It feels like a second bereavement.’
Aberdeen-born Washington, a voice coach, died in 2021 just eight months after being diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.
Will romcom king Curtis finally marry?
They may have been together for decades and have four children, but Four Weddings And A Funeral writer Richard Curtis and his partner Emma Freud have never married. Has Curtis, 66, now popped the question at last?
In a newspaper article published at the weekend, the film writer and director referred to Freud, 61, as his fiancee, prompting speculation that they may be due to exchange vows.
The great-granddaughter of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud does not deny the claim.
‘We’ve been together for 35 years — that’s how you refer to someone,’ she tells me. ‘Girlfriend’ and ‘boyfriend’ has always been such an odd thing to say when we’ve spent the majority of our lives together. I think it was just the word he used that day.’