MATCH­MAKER MOUN­TAIN 13 9

FIND LOVE WITH SHIRLEY TUES­DAYS DUR­ING JAN ON THIS MORN­ING, 10.30AM, ITV T 5 MIN­UTES WITH... Strictly Come Danc­ing’s head judge Shirley Bal­las, 58, who’s swap­ping the dance floor for the moun­tains of Morocco for a new dat­ing show

Closer (UK) - - Puzzle time -

Strictly’s head judge Shirley Bal­las at­tempts to find love for a group of over-50s on this en­ter­tain­ing new slot for Jan­uary on ITV’S This Morn­ing. Shirley will take the sin­gle­tons – three men and three women, who got in touch through watch­ing TM – to the moun­tains of Morocco, where she hopes they’ll fall for each other… She’ll also share some of her own dat­ing tips.

Did ell us about Match­maker Moun­tain…

Aside from Strictly, this is ab­so­lutely the best thing that I’ve ever done. I think view­ers are go­ing to be en­thralled by the fact that peo­ple over 50 are look­ing for love. I was a lit­tle bit scep­ti­cal at first be­cause I’ve been sin­gle a long time, but ac­tu­ally it re­newed my faith that there are lots of men and women out there like my­self – and there was no need to be ner­vous.

You send the con­tes­tants on dates?

I will re­main friends with the three amaz­ing men and women for­ever! We just all gelled and clicked. The three dates they went on were all dif­fer­ent… Some rode a camel, some went on a cook­ing class, and oth­ers had a spa day. There were lots of sur­prises, heartache, love, pain, shar­ing… Ev­ery pos­si­ble emo­tion is in this show!

any­one find love?

Maybe I’m the one who did – you’ll have to watch and find out!

Aside from danc­ing, what are your other pas­sions in life?

My pas­sion has al­ways been about danc­ing, and I’ve loved ev­ery minute of that. But I also have a huge pas­sion for my fam­ily. Hap­pi­ness for me is see­ing my son [Amer­i­can dancer, mu­si­cian and ac­tor Mark Bal­las] on Broad­way and shar­ing time with him, his wife and my mum. I also re­ally en­joy pre­sent­ing. My idols are Ea­monn [Holmes] and Ruth [Langs­ford]! I’m in awe of them; I lit­er­ally fol­low ev­ery­thing they do!

Who would you like to swap places with for 24 hours?

Ruth Langs­ford! I first met Ruth on Strictly. It was when I first started do­ing it and I was still a lit­tle ter­ri­fied and ner­vous. I will never for­get Ea­monn in­tro­duc­ing him­self and say­ing, “I’m a pre­sen­ter, I just want you to know you’re do­ing an amaz­ing job.” I cried – and he gave me a big hug.

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