Shirley Ballas has told 'Strictly Come Dancing' contestants they don't always have to be the most "gifted" and "experienced" to have the best journey on the show.

Shirley Ballas recalls her most memorable Strictly Come Dancing contestants

Shirley Ballas recalls her most memorable Strictly Come Dancing contestants

The Latin and ballroom series returns on Friday (23.09.22) - after the launch show was delayed following Queen Elizabeth's death - before the first live show airs on Saturday (24.09.22), and head judge Shirley has recalled some of her favourite-ever contestants were politicians Ann Widdecombe and Ed Balls, because they gave "100 per cent" even when they were "scoring low scores".

Asked if she has a stand out celebrity dancer from a previous series, she said: "Ann Widdecombe with her Samba, it was just iconic.

"I also loved Ed Balls when he did 'Gangnam Style'.

"I want people to understand that it’s not always the best dancer that delivers the entertainment factor, which is extremely important in this show. Yes, it’s great to have talent and be coordinated, but I love the journey for those who cannot dance.

"I loved Ann and Ed for their banter, and they gave it their full one hundred percent even when they were scoring low scores.

"Sometimes the journey can be found in the not so gifted and not so experienced."

Shirley's fellow judge, Craig Revel Horwood, has also recalled some memorable "banter" he had with politician Ann, who finished sixth on the show's eighth series in 2010.

Quizzed on whether there are any remarks he has made to contestants that have stayed with him over the years, he said: "Ann Widdecombe springs to mind, because we had banter, which I absolutely loved.

"There was also Quentin Wilson who I branded as Britain's worst dancer."