Strictly Come Dancing Stacey Dooley says Dirty Dancing gave her daughter 'dancing gene' amid Ashley Roberts controversy

Stacey, 31, is favourite to win this year's series of Strictly Come Dancing at the weekend – which comes as no surprise to proud mum, Diane.

Although the BBC presenter has had no official dance training, Diane has revealed that Stacey has enjoyed dancing since she was a toddler after she was inspired by 1987 Patrick Swayze film Dirty Dancing.

Speaking to The Mirror, Diane said: "She was dancing and sashaying around to the music of Dirty Dancing when she was two, and carried on dancing to it as she grew up.

"Seven years ago she got tickets to Strictly and took me along to watch it. We were in the audience – we especially liked Robbie Savage."

She added that Stacey has the "dancing gene" and that she couldn't be happier that Stacey is taking part in the BBC One dance show.

Speaking before the series launched, Diane confessed that she was relieved that her daughter will be taking a break from making hard-hitting documentaries for the Beeb.

She explained at the time: "I’m glad she’s going into Strictly because at least it means she’ll be in this country where she’s going to be safe, not in some far-flung country interviewing a lunatic.

"She doesn’t normally tell me about the dangerous places she’s going to – and she’s done some really scary things.

"She was airlifted from the Democratic Republic of Congo with malaria after investigating child soldiers, she interviewed the Mexican mafia, and has sat just feet away from an Isis member.

"I don’t know how she can be so brave. She believes these stories need to be told. She’s been offered counselling after witnessing these situations but she hasn’t needed to take it up.

"Being with her family is the only therapy she needs. She’s pretty tough and is a real believer in fighting for what’s right."

Stacey's growing popularity comes amid 37-year-old Ashley Roberts' struggle to win over viewers, with the former Pussycat Dolls star landing in the bottom two for the past three weeks.

Ashley has survived the dance-offs but earlier this week she was named the series' least popular contestant – with 23% of analysed tweets about Strictly said to be negative about Ashley.

Fans of the show are said to be unimpressed with the amount of dance experience that Ashley has, and the contestants with no dance experience – such as Stacey and vlogger Joe Sugg – are far more popular with the audience.

An insider previously revealed that Ashley was upset by the viewer backlash, saying at the time: "Ashley feels she is not wanted on the show and it is terribly sad for her.

"She is particularly upset because she wasn’t the one who went to the BBC, begging to be signed up for Strictly.

"They approached her, knowing full well what she had done in the past. This has been so sad for Ashley. Imagine going to work when people don’t want you there."

The Strictly Come Dancing final airs on Saturday, December 15 at 6.30pm on BBC One.

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