Strictly Come Dancing: Rachel Riley reveals her time on the show was ‘traumatic’

Countdown star, Rachel Riley took part in Strictly Come Dancing back in 2013. Over ten years later, the math genius has opened up about her traumatic experience.

Strictly Come Dancing Rachel Riley traumatic
© Dave Benett / Getty Images
Strictly Come Dancing Rachel Riley traumatic

Strictly Come Dancing has been on television for years now. Every year, celebrities take a shot at ballroom dancing with a professional in the hope of not being voted out by the public and lifting the glitter ball trophy at the end.

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As fun as the show is to watch, it seems that for the celebrities taking part, it isn’t as fun as it seems. Indeed, several celebrities have complained about their experience on Strictly. In fact, professional dancing Giovanni Pernice has had some problems recently.

The latest celebrity to speak out about their experience with the hit BBC show is Rachel Riley, who took part in 2013.

Rachel Riley reveals she cannot watch Strictly anymore

As reported by Express, Rachel Riley recently revealed that she can no longer watch Strictly Come Dancing after competing in 2013. Speaking to Mirror, the Countdown star explained that she had been diagnosed with PTSD, like Amanda Abbington, after the show and needed therapy. She added that hearing the theme tune causes flashbacks.

I needed cognitive behavioural therapy after competing in 2013 and developed post-traumatic stress disorder.
If I heard the theme music, I’d start reliving the experience. It was scary and unnerving, so my way of dealing with it is to avoid watching.

Riley told The Tiimes that she tells her friends to not take part in Strictly as there isn’t ‘enough awareness’ concerning the ‘psychological effects’ it can have on people.

Due to her rather traumatic experience on the show, Rachel Riley is calling for all those who take part to be offered therapy to help deal with the ‘mental pressures’, as per Express. The math genius said at the Inspiration Awards For Women:

I don’t think even production is aware of quite what it does to people.
I know from my time on it, 11 years ago, even the most sane, solid, grounded people, it can do something to you.

A BBC spokesperson has responded to recent claims

According to Mirror a spokesperson for the BBC reached out and explained that they have ‘editorial guidelines to help protect’ anyone taking part in their show. They also added that they provide support through meetings with psychologists and Mental Health First Aiders, both on set and individually.

Depending on the production we offer support such as meetings with psychologists, Mental Health First Aiders on set and individually, as well as advice on social media use and working with the press.

The spokesperson also explained that the network continues to work on developing ‘best practice’ when it comes to mental health and protecting those who take part.

One good thing came from Rachel Riley’s Strictly experience

Despite her traumatic experience, one good thing came from Rachel Riley’s time on Strictly Come Dancing. Indeed, if Rachel hadn’t taken part in 2013, she wouldn’t have met her now husband, Pasha Kovalev.

Mind you, if I hadn’t competed I wouldn’t have met Pasha! He’s just brilliant.

When Riley took part, she was paired with Pasha Kovalev and a romance came from the pairing. Rachel and Pasha began dating in 2014, a year after Strcitly and tied the not in 2019 in a secret Las Vegas ceremony, as per Express. 11 years after dancing together, the two are now have two children together, Maven Aria and Noa.

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Sources used:

Express: ‘Rachel Riley calls for support from Strictly bosses after claiming show left her with PTSD’

Mirror: ‘Rachel Riley reveals BBC Strictly Come Dancing left her with PTSD and calls for show therapy’

The Times: ‘Countdown’s Rachel Riley: ‘Anyone can be a maths person if they try’

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