Debbie-McGee

Debbie McGee hits back at breaking '10-second rule' on Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly star Debbie has been partnered up with Giovanni Pernice

by Sharnaz Shahid

Debbie McGee was given a stern warning on Strictly Come Dancing last week, after she performed the Quickstep with dance partner Giovanni Pernice. The 58-year-old was accused of breaking the "ten-second rule", which saw her out of hold, and dancing solo, for more than ten seconds. But the widow of Paul Daniels, who will take on the Cha Cha on Saturday, has responded to the criticism, claiming that the pair - as well as other professional dancers were unaware of the rule. "We've taken note of what head judge Shirley [Ballas] said about spending too much time setting up the story," she wrote in her column for Daily Telegraph. "We also got pulled up last week by Craig for being out of hold and breaking the 'ten-second rule'. Even the professional dancers didn't know where that had come from."

Debbie and Giovanni danced the Quickstep last week

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Following the performance, head judge Shirley Ballas told the pair: "So, six or seven sets of eight before we start… I'm not going to deduct any points. I'm just pointing out. But you are a dancer so you could get on with it." Fellow judge Craig Revel Horwood reiterated: "You broke the 10 second rule. You're only allowed to have 10 seconds in the middle of the routine out of hold. And that seemed a lot longer. So I have to mark you down for that I’m afraid. But you danced very, very well. But rules are rules." Their dance was given 29 points, their lowest score yet.

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Looking ahead to her next routine, Debbie revealed that Cha Cha Cha has been the "hardest" dance so far. She shared: "I've had the giggles all week. Giovanni has discovered that I'm ticklish - he just has to poke me in the ribs and I'm gone. But it's also because this week's routine is hilarious: Giovanni is playing a delivery man and I'm a sexy secretary."

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