'Strictly' judge Motsi Mabuse claims she was 'young and innocent' when she called Blackpool 'ugly'

Tom Beasley
Contributor
Motsi Mabuse attends the "Strictly Come Dancing" launch show red carpet at Television Centre on August 26, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Lia Toby/Getty Images)

Motsi Mabuse is the newest addition to the Strictly Come Dancing judging panel, but she is already facing controversy over a line in her autobiography in which she called Blackpool the “ugliest” town she had ever seen.

Blackpool plays host to one of the most important weeks of the Strictly schedule and is considered a major milestone that only the best celebrities on the show are able to reach.

Mabuse, however, did not have glowing words for the seaside resort when she recalled her 1998 visit.

The 38-year-old — sister of professional Strictly dancer Oti Mabuse — wrote in her 2014 autobiography that “every dancer knows the town, which is the ugliest that I had ever seen”.

Read more: The history of sports stars on Strictly

The dancer, however, is apologetic about her words as she prepares to replace Dame Darcey Bussell on the panel.

“Give a girl a break,” she told The Sun. “It was 20 years ago, I was young and innocent.”

Craig Revel Horwood (left), Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli (right) arriving at the red carpet launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2019. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)

She added: “Blackpool is absolutely huge in Strictly but when you come from South Africa and you have your first impressions and you arrive in Blackpool, well it’s different.”

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Mabuse described the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, used on Strictly, as “absolutely spectacular” and said she has no worries about getting a negative reception in the town.

She said: “I’m looking forward to going back to Blackpool because there are such strong memories in my head.

“It was the first place I got to here and it was a place for me emotionally because Blackpool was where I was being seen for my talent and because how it was in South Africa.

“It’s very important to me so that makes it quite special.”

Motsi Mabuse during the Belvedere X Janelle Monae event at Hotel Zoo on July 8, 2019 in Berlin. (Photo by Franziska Krug/Getty Images for Belvedere)

Mabuse is set to commute between the UK and Germany for the duration of her Strictly Come Dancing job as she remains a judge on Let’s Dance — the German version of the show.

The 17th series of Strictly Come Dancing is set to begin in September on BBC One.

This year’s line-up boasts a variety of famous faces, including broadcasting veteran Anneka Rice, Olympian James Cracknell and RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage.

Read more: Strictly celeb studied dance at university

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will return as presenters, with Zoe Ball and Ryaln Clark-Neal fronting daily spin-off show It Takes Two.