Strictly speaking we're too tired for ballroom talk

TALKING about dancing at home is strictly off limits for South Yorkshire couple Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova as the pair compete against each other in Strictly Come Dancing.

Tuesday, 9th October 2007, 2:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th October 2007, 9:20 am

Ranked as Britain's top Latin America dancers, the husband and wife team say that after training seven days a week the last thing they want to do at their Rotherham home is talk about their routines and how their partners area coping with the choreography.

Lilia said: "Training for the show is seven days a week, it's a lot of effort, so when Darren and I say goodbye at 7am and come back at 10pm, the last thing we want to do is talk about dancing , so unless we talk in our sleep we don't bring the competition home with us. It would be too tiring."

The couple began their battle for the title of the fifth series of the popular BBC show on Saturday night, where Lilia was partnered with TV presenter Dom Littlewood and Darren with former Eastenders star Letitia Dean.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Russian-born Lilia won the third series with cricketer Darren Gough, from Barnsley, and was runner-up with rugby player Matt Dawson last year.

Darren won series two of the show with another ex-Eastender Jill Halfpenny and came third with Spice Girl Emma Bunton last year.

But Lilia, who performed a Cha Cha Cha with Dom on Saturday, said it was too early to predict this year's winner.

She described her partner, a former car salesman turned TV presenter, as "a cheeky chappy" whose personality she plans to inject into each of their dances.

"I don't think I have ever experienced anyone who is so happy - all the time," she said.

"He jumped on me when he saw me, he was so excited.

"He is fun and energetic, so there is never a dull moment when he is around. He gives me a lot of positive energy."

She joked that his personality was his "best asset, admitting he is "not a natural dancer".

"It did not come easy to him in the first few weeks of training but he has improved so much and he loved doing the first live show, he has certainly got the bug for dance now," she said.

Lilia and Dom came second in the judges' scores on Saturday - just one point behind former England and Liverpool footballer John Barnes.

Head judge Len Goodman told Dom: "You've got something everyone has got only yours is bigger - personality."

And fellow judge Craig Revill-Horwood told the pair: "That performance was camper than this show!"

Darren, born in Deepcar, brought up in Todwick, whose parents Tony and Judith own City Limits dance school on Penistone Road, Sheffield, will be competing on Saturday when his partner Letitia showcases her newfound dancing skills along with the other female celebrities.

Brian Capron, who played psychopath Richard Hillman in Coronation Street, and his professional dance partner Karen Hardy were the first casualties of this year's new series.