JIVE talk­ing!

Mum Roberta made her first foray into com­pet­i­tive ball­room dancing a real fam­ily af­fair…

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When nurs­ery teacher Roberta Wood­house took up ball­room dancing lessons a few years ago, she didn’t have to look too far for a dance partner – her 18-year-old son, Harry.

‘I used to bribe him ev­ery week with £5 to come and dance with me,’ says Roberta, from Brighton, who can be seen in The Se­cret Life of the Ball­room start­ing on W this week. ‘I knew this would be our last ad­ven­ture to­gether be­fore Harry flies the nest. So he did it for me – al­beit some­times un­der duress!’

The six-part doc­u­men­tary fol­lows five cou­ples as they pre­pare to com­pete on the tough ball­room and Latin dancing cir­cuit for the first time. The se­ries fol­lows each pair over three months as they try to master six rou­tines, in­clud­ing the samba, jive and, first up this week, the quick­step.

Dance the night away

With their very first com­pe­ti­tion looming, Roberta and Harry started train­ing for the quick­step straight away, though in se­cret.

‘Harry didn’t tell any­one he was dancing with me, he was too em­bar­rassed,’ says Roberta. ‘But I to­tally un­der­stood – I knew he wouldn’t want to be seen re­hears­ing with his mum!’

Tak­ing part in W’s se­ries led to Roberta be­ing bit­ten by the dancing bug.

‘After our last com­pet­i­tive dance, Harry hung up his dancing shoes and hasn’t danced since,’ says Roberta. ‘How­ever, I’ve started com­pet­ing with a new partner and I’m dancing at Black­pool’s Win­ter Gar­dens in Novem­ber. But I do miss dancing with Harry – it’s a lovely feel­ing to be waltzed around by your son!’

Dou­ble act… Roberta and Harry Com­pet­i­tive… Mother and son

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