The Strictly champion: Caroline Flack
Strictly champion Caroline Flack said that achieving her dream of winning the glitterball trophy still doesn’t seem real to her.
The bubbly TV presenter said: “It’s been really weird, it hasn’t even sunk in yet properly. It’s been a bit of a letdown since the show, I fell in love with it so much.
“On the Monday after it finished I woke up in bed under my covers and felt like I’d been in a cool film. It felt like I couldn’t get out of bed!”
After the months of intense training and weekly TV appearances, she decided to take a break in the sun.
“I went on a nice holiday to Jamaica and did absolutely nothing and slept and ate and danced a lot to reggae music.”
What was most important to her about winning? “I made my family proud, which was one of the nicest feelings.
“My sister has texted me every day and said, ‘you won Strictly’!
“I didn’t even know that the camera team had gone to speak to my dad. I was so proud when I heard what he said about being proud of me.”
There’s no doubt that Caroline has made a lot of new fans along the way.
She said: “The show has opened up things to a whole new audience. I’d be sitting in a restaurant or walking down the street and say I’ve really enjoyed watching you. It’s been really strange.
“Everyone is really nice, they just come up and say these things, they tell you they voted for you.”
Taking part in the show fulfilled a long-held ambition for Caroline. “I’d always wanted to do it but never got asked, then it came at a really nice time for me.
“I’ve found something that makes me really happy and really a good way to express myself.”
Caroline said that she never felt confident that she and partner Pasha Kovalev had done well enough to stay the course.
“Me and Pasha every week we took it week by week and concentrated on how that week would go until we were through to the next week.
“Every week I still wasn’t expecting my name to be called out and it still came as a shock.”
Caroline is thrilled to be part of the Strictly tour and is being partnered this time with Tristan MacManus.
Pasha hasn’t signed up for the tour as he says it clashes with other work commitments.
She said: “I still talk to Pasha every day. You do build up a bond. It’s going to be rough but this is what dancers do.
She said of her new partner, who danced with Mrs Brown star Jennifer Gibney on the TV series, “Tristan is really fun and we’ve got to know each other. It will be fun to do the dances with him.
“I will miss Pasha as a person. It was strange after the show came to an end and not seeing each other every day.”
Caroline said she is looking forward to performing her comic Charleston to Istanbul and her chic American smooth, danced to Mack the Knife.
“Definitely the best thing will be there’s not that pressure. We’ll probably enjoy it more and the tour is a big celebration of the show.
“I didn’t want it to end! so the tour is a nice way to end it.
“I’m also looking forward to doing the show dance as it shows everything I’d ever wanted to do in dancing. Pasha choreographed especially for me. It’s a lovely dance to perform.”
Caroline said that she found ballroom much tougher than the latin dances: “I found it really difficult to get the top line right on my arms.
“I never perfected it ever. The judges never gave me a 10 for ballroom. I’m more of a latin dancer.”
She loved all the other celebrities but got really close to tennis coach Judy Murray. “Me and Frankie went all the way through the whole thing to get all the way to the end. We spent a lot of time talking about how we felt.
Pixie, Simon and Mark had their ups and downs but “suddenly became these incredible dancers,” said Caroline.
She added: “Everyone had their own story and their own thing to achieve.”
Caroline also said she’s looking forward to returning to Sheffield, where she worked on TV show The Games at Don Valley early in her career.