• Wednesday, March 29, 2023


Naga Munchetty on her Strictly Come Dancing experience

Naga Munchetty was voted off Strictly Come Dancing after failing to impress viewers

By: Eastern Eye Staff

Newsreader Naga Munchetty was voted off Strictly Come Dancing after swapping her golf shoes for a pair of Cuban heels on the hit dance show.

The golf-loving BBC Breakfast presenter from south London was the third competitor in this year’s Strictly to be booted off the programme after failing to impress the voting public.

Dressed as a mermaid, Munchetty donned a cropped blue wig and sequined dress during her Charleston with partner Pasha Kovalev, but faced a dance-off with American singer Anastasia.

The disappointed presenter said her highlight of the hit show was her final water-themed dance and thanked Kovalev for being the best teacher she had ever had.

Eastern Eye caught up with Munchetty last week before her elimination, when she spoke about her experience on Strictly.

The journalist said one of the challenges she faced was getting into character for each performance.

“It’s a completely different ballgame performing for Strictly and that (being a performer) is something I struggle with as I’m not trained in that. But I am learning every week and coming out of my skin a bit more and learning different techniques.

“The biggest challenge is actually learning to dance. It’s something I’m getting better at. It was completely flummoxing me at the beginning.”

The 41-year-old described her partner as “mega enthusiastic and very intuitive as a teacher” and added “he never shouts or gets angry and is always very encouraging”.

Munchetty, who studied English at Leeds University, began her journalism career at the London Evening Standard newspaper.

She describes herself as “real tomboy” so her Strictly make-up and wardrobe, laden with glitter and sequins, was quite a departure from her usual getup.

The newshound, who takes to the golf course upto six times a week, underwent a series of dramatic transformations in hair and make-up, which included channelling Tina Turner in a long curly black wig and spangly gold dress.

“Who wouldn’t love the costumes I’ve worn? I’ve had a real variety – (for) the cha cha, I had a very sassy dress. We were dancing to Tina Turner and it needed lots of movement,” she revealed.

“The wardrobe department got that bang on. There was lots of gold and more flesh than I’ve ever shown on television but it was fine – I was very securely sewn into that and had a wig. I had long curly hair about 11 years ago, so it was quite funny when my husband saw it. He said, ‘That’s what you looked like when we first met.’

“I said, ‘yeah, don’t get any ideas, my hair’s not growing any longer.’

“The most uncomfortable part was taking the wig off. There was screaming involved.

“The catsuit for the tango was my absolute favourite. It was great to get into the role of a spy when we were doing Mission Impossible.”

Over a four-week period, fans of the show saw Munchetty perform the waltz, cha cha cha and tango, before her final dance last weekend.

The BBC programme, which has a cult following, this year features stars including former Labour MP Ed Balls, veteran actress Lesley Joseph and model Daisy Lowe among others competing for the glitter ball.

Munchetty told Eastern Eye the contestants had been supportive of each other and set up a Whatsapp group which enabled them to share stories about training and injuries.

She became the third non-white participant to exit the competition in three weeks, which prompted some viewers to accuse others of being racist on social media for the second week in a row.

When asked about the controversy before her departure from the show, Munchetty responded by saying that “papers will always need something to write about”.

Her parents will be sad to see her departure from Strictly after they cheered her on as members of the studio audience in the first live broadcast.

“They absolutely loved it. They watch each week, they cheer me on. Mum gets suitably upset when the judges aren’t particularly kind, and they are very proud,” she said.

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