Strictly Come Dancing Discuss the BBC's dancing show here.

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Old 01-12-2007, 10:50 AM #1
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Default Strictly Come Dancing: \'Gabby\'s still furious...just don\'t tell her our friends voted for me,\' says Kenny Logan

'Gabby's still furious...just don't tell her our friends voted for me,' says Kenny Logan
He has 'the grace of a vacuum cleaner'. So why does Kenny Logan think he out-danced his wife on this year's Strictly Come Dancing?

Shame on you, friends of Gabby Logan.

Where were you in her hour of need?

The tragic heroine of this year's Strictly Come Dancing - voted off in the early stages, even though she was actually rather good - might be taking the red pen to her Christmas card list this year.

Her husband Kenny - the former Scottish rugby international who has defied all the odds to stay in the cult dance show, despite having all the grace of a tipsy polar bear - reveals that Gabby was woefully let down when she was booted off after the public vote.

"Some of her friends voted for me that week," he admits sheepishly.

"Afterwards, they said: 'But Kenny, we thought you needed all the help you could get.'

"Some even admitted that they had voted for Kate Garraway - because they felt sorry for her."

Today, of course, while her husband continues to train - this week it is the rumba, God help us - Mrs Logan, a former Commonwealth-standard gymnast, is at home still nursing her disappointment and looking after the couple's two-year-old twins Lois and Reuben.

It's fair to say that his wife's shock exit from the contest stunned Kenny more than anyone - except, perhaps, Gabby herself.

"I couldn't believe it," he admits.

"In the early stages, I thought she was so good that she could go all the way.

"She should still be in it, and if she was, I think she'd be in with a shot of winning the whole thing. It really was unfair."

So there has been much weeping and wailing in the Logan household of late?

"She's been upset, yes, no denying it.

"It's a case of unfinished business. I mean, if I go out this week, I'll feel that I've reached the end of the line and that I'm not good enough to go any further.

"Gabby was cheated, so there will always be that 'what if?' thing going on."

Worse, having been turfed out, she has to face the weekly ordeal of coming back to sit in the audience to watch the likes of her own husband - famously described by one of the judges as having all the dance skills of Conan the Barbarian.

It's fair to say Kenny has thrown himself into the contest like, well, a square-jawed rugby player into a ruck. Since Kate Garraway's demise, he has given it his all, shamelessly courting the Scottish vote and (he thinks) the female vote.

We've had Kenny in a kilt - complete with thong underneath after BBC bosses vetoed his “real Scotsman” plan; Kenny in a sleeveless ensemble, showing off his rippling muscles; Kenny inexplicably performing a Viennese waltz to the strains of Flower Of Scotland; and Kenny trying to smoulder.

The judges have been mostly appalled.

Bruno Tonioli told him: "You have all the grace of a vacuum cleaner," which seems a little insulting to those slick little Dysons. Len Goodman summed up his samba as 'a sea of bloody horrible'.

But Arlene Phillips was clearly struck dumb (and daft?) by those rippling thighs - "Masculinity comes pouring out of you like molten lava," she gushed.

Steady on, love.

Not that all his countrymen appreciated the effort.

One man vented his considerable spleen on the letters page of a Scottish tabloid, to hilarious effect.

"Why didn't Kenny Logan go the whole hog on Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday night and wear one of wife Gabby's dresses?" he fumed.

"William Wallace must be spinning in his grave when a Scotsman is seen prancing about in a sparkly kilt.

"Maybe this week Kenny will turn out in something by designer Stella McCartney, wearing matching shoes and a dinky wee bag. Rugby player? If Kenny is anything to go by, no wonder our national team played like big Jessies during the World Cup."

Kenny, though, doesn't care.

He went into the contest refusing to "come out there like a fairy", but now seems to delight in the fact that most of Britain has forgotten he was ever a rugby player in the first place.

"The women coming up to me - young women and grans and everyone.

"I can't believe it! Most of them don't even know about the rugby. Or they don't care.

"I took part in a talk at a school the other day and I heard that one kid, when asked who was coming, replied: 'Gregor Townsend, who played for Scotland. And Kenny Logan. He's a dancer, isn't he?'"

Meeting Kenny in the flesh, it's hard not to know that you are in the presence of a man who has made a living expecting to have his ears ripped off.

He lumbers in for our meeting, laden down with bags, exhausted because the twins had kept him up half the night. A neatly pressed pink shirt, fresh from the dry cleaners, is unceremoniously tossed in the corner, and he rubs his eyes.

Training has not been going well this week, he tells me.

The petite Ola - his professional partner - joins us for a coffee and rolls her eyes. Kenny's rumba has yet again been "too aggressive".

"Kenny, you look at me as if you want to kill me," she moans.

Kenny is bewilderment personified.

"Ola, that's me trying to love you."

So why on Earth is he here, facing this humiliation before the nation?

Rumour has it that Gabby bullied him into it, but he won't have any of that.

"I wanted to do something that challenged me, where I learned something. What would I have learned in the jungle, for example? That if I don't eat, I lose weight?

"Yes, Gabby was the one who was completely up for it, but I thought, why not? What's the worst that could happen?"

Well, what did happen is what makes Kenny Logan's story quite fascinating.

In short, ten minutes into his first day he was struck with a real, and unexpected, terror.

Ola, teaching him some basic ("And I mean basic," he says) steps, asked him to clap to the beat.

He didn't have a clue what she meant.

Suddenly, he tells me, he was transported back to being a ten-year-old dyslexic kid, floundering at school because not only did the words on the page not mean anything, but he couldn't even recognise them as words.

"It was horrible," he recalls.

"I hadn't felt that sort of thing for years and years. I knew I couldn't do what was being asked of me, and I wanted to walk out of there rather than make an idiot of myself trying."

His instinct was to do exactly as he had done all the way through school - run, hide, bluster, pretend - but such things are difficult to do when nine million viewers are waiting to see your cha-cha-cha.

At school, though, he had excelled at hiding the fact that he was struggling with the basics. He left the education system at 16, astonishingly unable to read or write.

Even more staggeringly, he managed to keep his "problem" a secret - even from those closest to him.

He was approaching 30 years of age, representing his country at rugby and seeing Gabby before he actually admitted that anything was wrong.

One day when she asked him what he thought about a certain newspaper article, he stalled, left the room and said he would read it later. But she would not let the matter drop.

Eventually she asked him: "Kenny, can you not read?"

"I was 27 and I couldn't even talk about it without crying," he recalls.

"People said to me later: 'How could no one have known?'

"But I'd spent my whole life making sure they didn't.

"If someone asked me to write something, I'd make an excuse, or casually say: 'Can you just jot this down for me - I'll be back in a mo.'

"I used to carry my address with me so that, if pushed, I could copy it out."

Gabby forced him to get help - and to his credit, he did, completing a course specially designed for people with dyslexia.

He never expected to have to use those principles during training for Strictly, but that's exactly what has happened.

"A lot of it is about self-confidence, recognising why you are panicking and standing your ground instead of running away from the problem.

"When I was learning to read and write, you're told to take it slow, working on one word at a time. I did the same with the dance steps.

"As the weeks went on, I started to get it. I really did. And I can tell you, it is the most wonderful feeling in the world.

"After one of my dances, even Gabby came up to me and said: 'You know, darling, I actually think you can dance'."

He has, indeed, been dubbed the "most improved" in the contest, although perhaps we should have been more worried if he had not.

"I can hear the beat here now," he says, pointing to his head.

"Next step is to feel it here."

He taps his chest, a la Dirty Dancing. It should be cheesy as hell, but somehow it isn't.

Maybe Kenny Logan's not quite the rugby thug we all assumed he was. I ask if he misses the game.

He says - beams, actually - not a jot.

"If I go out of Strictly this week, I think I will miss it more than I have missed rugby. I was ready to get out when I did."

Moreover, he tells me that he never did see rugby as the be-all-and-end-all.

"I loved playing rugby, but I never wanted to be known for being a rugby player."

Eh? He looks shocked himself.

"God, I can't believe I said that.

"Don't get me wrong, they were brilliant days, but I always wanted to do something else.

"Even now, I don't want to look back and say that the best days of my career were when I played rugby. There is more to do."

One of the things that attracted Gabby Logan to her husband was the fact that he was a straight-forward, what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of guy.

"Up until then I hadn't been having much luck finding a straight-forward man," she admits.

They met in a London bar and married in 2001, and from the outside it seemed like a match made in Hello! heaven. She was as blonde, glossy and groomed as he was dark and brooding.

But there was more depth to the union than that.

Both had known tragedy. Gabby's brother Daniel died in 1992, at the age of just 15, of a rare heart condition. Kenny lost a cousin, whom he regarded as a brother, at the age of 19.

And although their married life appeared incessantly sunny, it patently wasn't.

When the couple decided to try for a family, they were stunned to discover that it was not that easy. For two years they struggled with unexplained infertility before embarking on IVF. Kenny insists that the journey brought them closer together.

"It's one of those things that you have to get through, supporting each other," he says.

"Like anyone, we just expected it to happen. I mean, 90 per cent of couples have babies, don't they? You don't think that you'll be one of those who can't.

"Every month, we'd say: 'This is our time.'

"But it just didn't happen, and there was no explanation why.

"Eventually, after three years, Gabby said: 'I think we should try IVF.'

"I know some men can have problems with it, but I wasn't going to say: 'I want to keep trying to have one on our own.'

"I wanted to be a dad first and foremost. Sometimes you have to take off your 'man hat' to be a proper man."

They were lucky. Gabby became pregnant after the first round of IVF, and with twins, of whom they are both the biological parents.

"She was just incredible," he says of Gabby.

"We didn't tell a soul - not even our families.

"We didn't want all that 'How's it going?' stuff.

"I don't know what we would have done if it hadn't worked. Adopted, maybe. Or perhaps we'd have had to accept that we couldn't have kids. But I know Gabby would have wanted them so much.

"We're so thankful that it worked for us, and we've told everyone from the start that they were IVF. Some people tell me: 'I'd keep it a secret.' Why? We're proud of it."

The birth, however, was deeply traumatic.

Gabby suffered a massive haemorrhage during the delivery and needed an emergency blood transfusion. Kenny genuinely thought that he was going to experience both the happiest moment of his life and the saddest in the one day.

"Gabby was there, the babies were there. One minute it was pure joy, the next it was horrible.

"Gabby was white - the colour of milk. Her ears were white, the blood drained down her face, down her neck, right down her body.

"It's as if it was happening in slow motion and it was the most awful thing.

"In the middle of it all, I remember thinking: 'Dear God, this is bad.'

"I remember saying: 'Is Gabby going to die?'

"The doctor said no, but I thought: 'Is he just saying that so I don't panic?'

"You hear about mothers dying after giving birth.

"The whole thing must only have lasted for ten minutes, but it was ten minutes of panic. Weird panic. I've never felt anything like it before and never want to again."

Now he talks like a dad who still can't quite believe his luck. The twins were unwell recently and he got just seven hours' sleep in three days - falling asleep in the Strictly training room.

But he also confides that he sneaks in to touch them when they are sleeping "just to check they are still there".

His time on the show has convinced him of one thing - he could never do a job where he had to be away from them all day long.

"I'm doing the sort of hours some people in the City do year in year out - 8am till 11pm sometimes.

"It's killing me not seeing them."

Ah, but Gabby - his famously competitive wife - is seeing lots of them.

Has she played a blinder by snatching the Favourite Parent crown from him, in retaliation?

It seems so.

"Yesterday, I went to hug Lois and she said she didn't want me, she wanted her mummy," he admits, looking forlorn.

"I think Gabby's won that one."

Could Kenny, against all the odds, now go on to win the dancing competition he entered with such trepidation?

Well, he always had an eye for an opening on the pitch.
Source: Daily Mail
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