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Natasha Kaplinsky backs ‘older’ contestant Debbie McGee to win Strictly

Strictly Come Dancing’s first ever champion Natasha Kaplinsky has said she thinks it would be “wonderful” if Debbie McGee wins the BBC show this year.

The veteran newsreader, who lifted the glitterball trophy in 2004, shared her Strictly thoughts after receiving an OBE from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace during an investiture ceremony.

Kaplinsky told the Press Association: “I’m watching Strictly and loving it with our little daughter so it’s a very different experience watching it to being on it, let me tell you.

“Actually in the palace and curtseying in front of Prince Charles, I had done a lot of curtsies in the past, so I kind of knew what I was doing.”

Asked about her favourite contestant in the current series, Kaplinsky said: “I think it would be wonderful if Debbie McGee won, being an older woman.”

Kaplinsky received her OBE for services to Holocaust commemoration

The broadcaster, known for reading the news on the BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 5, was given her honour at the palace for services to Holocaust commemoration.

She interviewed and recorded the testimonies of more than 100 Holocaust survivors as part of an 18-month project.

Kaplinsky said she spent time collating the stories of the Nazi death camp survivors so that “children like mine will be able to understand what actually happened at one of the darkest moments of our history”.

She added: “One of the questions that I asked all of the survivors was whether they felt like anything had changed, and for them they said no, they felt that actually we hadn’t learnt any lessons from the past, and that is an extremely upsetting thing to hear after the suffering and trauma they had experienced.”