THIS time last year, Debbie McGee was set to have two cancerous tumours removed from her left breast.
Twelve months on, she has beaten the disease and won the 2019 Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special.
Debbie said: "How wonderful that a year which started with an operation in January has finished with winning Strictly's Christmas show.
"It means even more to me after my cancer scare because it gives me my confidence back."
Debbie believes the stress of losing Paul, aged 77, to a brain tumour in 2016 caused her cancer. Now she will keep her star-shaped Christmas trophy alongside his Bafta gongs.
She said: "It's on my mantelpiece and it's sitting next to Paul's awards. He would love it that I've won. He would get more joy out of it than him winning. He always loved it when I did well."
The show was full of festive frolics, with judge Craig Revel Horwood appearing as a snowflake and Good Morning Britain showbiz presenter Richard Arnold dancing as The Grinch.
There was also a performance from Liam Payne and a duet from pros Nadiya Bychkova and Johannes Radebe.
Victorious Debbie now wants to keep living her best life. She revealed: "I went through a few months of talking myself into being positive and people saying to me, 'Aren't you worried it's going to come back?'
"Now I say, 'No, I don't even think about that'. I worry when I've got to worry.
"All the time, I'm hoping I can help women going through it. It's one of the advantages of being in showbusiness."
Congratulations, Debbie. You're an inspiration to us all.
LOOSE Women panellist Stacey Solomon got her actor fella Joe Swash a charming Christmas gift: A state-of-the-art mop. Maybe it will help him wipe the floor with his rivals when Joe joins Dancing On Ice next month.
HIS Netflix epic The Irishman has been lauded but director Martin Sorsese was needled by his own daughter Francesca. After he took a swipe at Marvel, she wrapped his Christmas presents in Marvel-themed paper.
Couples getting Sirieix
IT might be time for telly fans to start talking about Fred Sirieix in the same breath as the legendary Cilla Black.
The First Dates maitre d 'is now responsible for as many weddings as our Cilla was through Blind Date – and is about to overtake her.
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In last night's show, Fran and Will – who got together on the Channel 4 series in April 2017 – became the sixth couple from the programme to get engaged. Three of those couples have since tied the knot – the same number Cilla and co managed. In 2021, Fran and Will should make it four.
Fran said: "Never, ever did I think I would meet my future husband on First Dates. They really want to make something happen, to develop and for you to click when you first see each other. For Will and I, we have met our soulmate. "
I hope Fred gets an invite to the wedding.
WHAT? Big Fat Quiz Of The Year, Channel 4, 9pm.
WHY? Jimmy Carr asks the big questions about what happened in 2019, with hilarious answers from celebrities including Dara O Brian and Noel Fielding.
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