Isabel Webster issues stern defence of Shirley Ballas as Strictly judge 'fears leaving home' amid trolling

Isabel Webster issues stern defence of Shirley Ballas as Strictly judge 'fears leaving home' amid trolling

WATCH: GB News panel address Shirley Ballas trolling ordeal

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 03/10/2023

- 09:56

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has recently opened up about the online trolling she's received

GB News presenter Isabel Webster threw her support behind Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas on Tuesday morning after the 63-year-old opened up about the effect online trolling has taken on her.

The Strictly star has spoken publicly about her fears of just setting foot out of her front door in a new show for ITV about trolling fronted by Love Island star Olivia Attwood.

Ballas has come under fire in recent days by some fans who accused her of "sexism" due to the differences in her scoring of male and female Strictly contestants.

The criticism and Ballas' subsequent admission about the effect trolling has had on her mental health were the topics of discussion on Tuesday's Breakfast with Eamonn and Isabel.

The conversation began when guest Derek Laud brought up a recent report which suggested Les Dennis' departure could make the series "boring".

"We usually like to be entertained by people on this programme who couldn't dance, you know," he claimed. "That was almost like the point of it."

Derek Laud and Isabel Webster

Derek Laud, Eamonn Holmes and Isabel Webster discussed Shirley


"It was the premise, yeah," Eamonn agreed as Laud continued: "But now we've become so serious and want everyone to be professional, polished dancers in week one.

"I used to switch on not to look at wonderful dancers but to look at Ann Widdecombe doing a lift, it was hysterical. Les going out in the first week, where is the entertainment now?"

Isabel then weighed in as she said: "They've been having a few bad headlines, haven't they?

"I think it's the front of The Sun today has Shirley Ballas saying she's afraid to leave her home because she's been criticised or trolled for the way she's differentiated her judging for female contestants versus male contestants.

"I don't know if you follow it either of you, I'm a big Strictly fan, it's box office appointment viewing for me on a Saturday night," Isabel went on before she turned her attention to Ballas.

Defending the star in the wake of the online abuse, Isabel said: "I think Shirley's great! And I think people are looking for problems, personally."

Laud weighed in to suggest she just "isn't as popular" as other members of the Strictly cast but did also praise: "I think she's a good judge, she does it very well. I find her fair and balanced and reasonable."

While Isabel is clearly fond of Ballas, she did admit: "I have to say this after Ruthie's [Langsford] time on Strictly, I do genuinely mean it... Anton's [Du Beke] my favourite, he just is."

Eamonn revealed his wife still remains good pals with Du Beke and even went to see his latest show in London this past weekend.

"She can't beat me, I shared a bedroom with Les Dennis in Torquay," Eamonn quipped. "That's a whole other story."

Ballas' comments about trolling came during a new episode of Olivia Attwood vs The Trolls in which the Strictly star explained: "I’ve had people draw coffins with me in it with somebody with a spade that said, 'Die you b***h'."

Shirley Ballas (second from right)

Shirley Ballas (second from right) alongside her fellow Strictly judges


She admitted that when the abuse is "personal about myself and my family and it affects my mental health" and it's led her to fear being out in public.

Ballas told Attwood: "I am talking about being in public. You worry about those same strange people that write these kinds of messages. Are they lurking in dark corners? Are they hiding behind walls when you go somewhere?"

The former pro dancer went on to admit that she often ponders why trolls target her in such a way, and even hinted she has an element of sympathy for those hiding behind their keyboard.

She added that the trolling has made her "much more vigilant" and that she doesn't "leave my front door unless I am on point".

"I never relax," she added. "It has changed my life completely I would say."

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