James and Ola star in The Nutcracker

For­mer Strictly pros James and Ola Jor­dan talk about their fes­tive plans, their love of The Nutcracker and the se­crets of their happy mar­riage...

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James Jor­dan, 40, and his gor­geous Pol­ish wife Ola, 36, were two of the most pop­u­lar pro­fes­sional dancers on Strictly Come

Danc­ing. James left the pro­gramme four years ago, Ola the fol­low­ing year. Since then, they’ve been tour­ing with their own show and Ola went into the I’m A Celebrity… jun­gle, af­ter an ill-fated turn on The Jump when she suf­fered a se­ri­ous lig­a­ment in­jury to her leg.

But just be­fore James pre­pares for a re­turn to our screens on Danc­ing

On Ice this Jan­uary, we’ve waved our Christ­mas wands, added a sprin­kling of glit­ter and in­vited the charis­matic cou­ple to recre­ate one the most iconic fes­tive bal­lets – The Nutcracker…

You look gor­geous, you two! Is The Nutcracker your favourite bal­let?

O: Oh, yes! For a dancer es­pe­cially, the bal­let is in­cred­i­ble. They’re amaz­ing ath­letes – bal­let takes such en­durance and strength, and The Nutcracker is mag­i­cal, def­i­nitely one of my favourites. It’s beau­ti­ful, and the cos­tumes are stun­ning! I haven’t seen the new film yet [ The Nutcracker And The Four Realms], but I’m lov­ing my new look – it def­i­nitely chan­nels Keira Knight­ley!

J: There’s also some­thing so Christ­massy about go­ing to the bal­let – it makes you feel all… warm and jolly!

The bal­let is also very ro­man­tic – are you two?

O: James is a lot more ro­man­tic than me, be­lieve it or not! He loves a cud­dle, he’ll come home with flow­ers, sur­prises…

J: I’m quite thoughtful, even though I say so my­self. I like to sweep Ola off her feet. On spe­cial oc­ca­sions, I go the ex­tra mile. I put a lot of thought into things.

O: It’s true. Last Valen­tine’s Day

he booked us a sur­prise city break away. And he’ll fly my par­ents here from Poland and sur­prise me, things like that!

J: It’s not al­ways ro­man­tic. We’ve been to­gether com­ing on for 19 years now, and we’ve been mar­ried for 15. We do have a lot of ban­ter, though!

Is hu­mour one of the rea­sons you’re still go­ing strong?

J: Def­i­nitely. And also, nei­ther of us rules the roost, which is im­por­tant. Peo­ple of­ten say, ‘Oh, we bet James wears the trousers in that re­la­tion­ship’ – but I can as­sure you, I don’t!

O: So can I, haha! But it’s not that I do ei­ther – it’s about give and take. We work at it.

J: It’s not al­ways smooth sail­ing – no long-term re­la­tion­ship is. But most times, it’s great. We work with each other, too, and it’s al­ways worked well – I know a lot of cou­ples couldn’t!

O: We even go to the gym to­gether. We push each other fur­ther. We do most things to­gether, come to think of it! We take it you’re watch­ing Strictly Come Danc­ing?! J: Of course, wouldn’t miss it. If I was a bet­ting man, my money would be on Stacey Doo­ley win­ning. Though Ash­ley Roberts

‘The Nutcracker is mag­i­cal… There is some­thing so Christ­massy about bal­let’

is great and tech­ni­cally the best dancer out of all the celebri­ties.

O: Oh, Ash­ley’s amaz­ing, I just love watch­ing her dance. But I think the con­tes­tant the pub­lic re­ally loves is Stacey. We shall see!

It’s al­most Christ­mas! What are your plans?

O: We’ll be stay­ing in the UK this Christ­mas. My mum and dad will prob­a­bly come over from Poland, and I have my sis­ter here. It should be good.

J: We nor­mally take turns, and have one Christ­mas at my par­ents’, one at Ola’s. A typ­i­cal Christ­mas for me usu­ally in­volves a few drinks too many, watch­ing Home Alone, which we love, and fall­ing asleep on the sofa!

O: I’ll also in­tro­duce some Pol­ish tra­di­tions. ‘ Wig­ilia’, on Christ­mas Eve, is al­most big­ger than Christ­mas Day for us – we have this big fish din­ner. On Christ­mas Day, though, I’ll cook an English Christ­mas meal.

J: Well, she’ll try… jok­ing! The first time Ola did the din­ner on Christ­mas Day, she for­got to turn on the oven prop­erly. We checked the tur­key three hours later and it was still stone cold. We didn’t ac­tu­ally eat un­til about 10pm at night!

O: That was a dis­as­ter. By the time the food was ready, we were both starv­ing... What do you wish for this Christ­mas? O: Just ev­ery­one to­gether, healthy and hap­pily get­ting a lit­tle bit drunk! We had a ter­ri­ble Christ­mas last year. James’s lovely grandma died on Christ­mas Day.

J: It was hor­ri­ble. She died in my mum’s house, while we were all there to­gether. That’s why my side of the fam­ily are all go­ing to a ho­tel this year. Mum just doesn’t want to be in her house, bless her.

Will the day be rather bit­ter­sweet for you all, then? J: A lit­tle. I know for my mum it will, par­tic­u­larly as she was an only child. She was very, very close to her mum. But look, it’s part of life, un­for­tu­nately, los­ing peo­ple you love. You’ve got to move on, while re­mem­ber­ing the good times.

O: Yeah. It was a tough year. We were also in and out of hos­pi­tal last year as James’s dad had a heart at­tack in March, when we were all meant to be go­ing on hol­i­day to­gether.

J: It was a bit of a rub­bish year. But it re­minds you about what’s im­por­tant. For us, health and fam­ily is what we’re all about. It sounds cheesy, but I’m not about the gifts, ei­ther. If ev­ery­one’s happy and healthy, that’s my per­fect Christ­mas and New Year.

‘My Christ­mas wish? Health and hap­pi­ness,’ James

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