Firsts with Shirley Ballas: My first album, my first world championship title, and my first time on Strictly Come Dancing

Virgin Radio

14 Oct 2023, 10:29

Shirley Ballas in a pink jumper with a Virgin Radio microphone in her hand, sat on a grey sofa.

Credit: Virgin Radio

The ballroom dancer popped in to reminisce on Virgin Radio Firsts.

In an exclusive interview with, Shirley Ballas revealed some memorable moments from her life.

The 63-year-old, best known for being a judge on Strictly Come Dancing, has just released her first crime novel, Murder on the Dancefloor.

Watch Shirley share some of her life stories in her Firsts interview here:

First album?

“My first album that I bought was The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. My mum and I would listen to [it] on vinyl and we had a record player. And we just loved The Sound of Silence and that was played in our house over and over and over until the vinyl actually broke.”

First world championship title?

“My first world championship title was the British Open To The World Latin American Championship in 1983 when I was 22 years old. The youngest lady to ever win it. I then went on to win it again in 1995 and 1996 with a second partner.”

First concert?

“[The] first concert I ever went to was in Birmingham and it was Diana Ross. I believe it was Climb Every Mountain or something with a mountain, something like that. Anyway, she was amazing.” 

First appearance on Strictly Come Dancing?

“My first appearance on Strictly Come Dancing was the 9th September 2017 on the launch show where I actually got to dance with all of the professionals and did some samba.”

First TV show she loved watching?

“The first TV show[s] I loved watching while growing up were Opportunity Knocks, Coronation Street and The Price is Right. I couldn’t make a decision between the three, they were fabulous.”

First poster she put up on her wall?

“The first poster I ever put up on my wall was [of] Donny Osmond and years later I actually got to teach Donny Osmond and went to Donny Osmond’s concerts and we are good friends to this day.”

First paid job?

“My first paid job was in [a] hairdressers washing people’s hair for £2 a day.”

First karaoke choice?

“The karaoke song I always choose to sing is I Will Survive. It’s for all women who’ve had two marriages, an engagement, and then failed relationships, so that’s the song I go to at karaoke.”

First friend at school?

“The first friend I made at [school] was a young lady called Christine Hughes whose mum worked for the NHS. We had lots of fun and I love her dearly.”

Ballas also joined The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch to talk about her raunchy debut novel, Murder on the Dancefloor.

She said: "I wanted to shed some light behind the scenes and write this mystery of sex, lies, intrigue, backstabbing, bed hopping [and] ballroom dancing.

"I talked to my mum [about the stories] and she was like, ‘Well, how about you write it in fiction?

"And then the audience has to guess, you know, ‘Did I really do that? Did I witness it? Or is it fiction?’"

Murder on the Dancefloor by Shirley Ballas is available to buy in bookstores now.

Strictly Come Dancing continues tonight (14th October) at 6.30pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.