Debbie McGee has hit back at her critics who say she has an unfair advantage on 'Strictly Come Dancing' because she trained in ballet when she was younger.

Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice

Debbie McGee and Giovanni Pernice

The 59-year-old star - who has been wowing both the judges and the public with her energetic routines with Giovanni Pernice on the show - finds it so frustrating when people say her dancing background gives her the edge.

She said: "People say that really have no understanding of dance. When I did ballet, I stopped as a dancer when I was about 23. That training in a way is a disadvantage because the muscles were trained differently. I haven't done that for over 30 years. It's a bit like a footballer who gives up in his twenties, then asking him when he's in his sixties to go and be in a football match. Or an athlete to go and run a marathon - you can't. The technique is so different.

"People keep saying to me I make it look so easy on a Saturday. They don't realise the training that I put in during the week, and how awful I am on Monday - and the progress I make between a Monday and a Saturday. You need to ask Giovanni. I feel exasperated for him. I'm sure every Monday he thinks, 'She's never going to get this' and 'She's never going to get the techniques'. But I work at it until I've got it."

And Debbie has also poured cold water on the rumours she is anything more than friends with Giovanni.

She told the Sunday Mirror newspaper: "For a woman of my age, it was very flattering people think that there might be more. I do have a little chuckle to myself. We have the greatest working partnership. We do have chemistry, we're great mates and I think that's more special than if there was anything else going on. People want me to be in a relationship with him, and I'm really sorry to disappoint them."