Tess Daly is the first to admit her marriage to former All Star Family Fortunes presenter Vernon Kay, 45, is a ‘work in progress’, and they 
have definitely had their fair share of ups and downs.

In our exclusive interview with the Strictly Come Dancing host, 50, she tells us her dream of leaving the UK and moving to New Zealand with daughters Phoebe, 14, 
and Amber, nine…

‘Every time we visit my sister Karen 
in New Zealand I spend the next two months Googling properties and dreaming of escaping the British winter. It’s summer over there and it’s gorgeous. 
I love the laid-back way of life, the people are friendly, the food’s incredible, the climate’s great, the landscape is beautiful. But it’s not really feasible. I work on Strictly for five months of the year, and the kids 
are in school. You can’t take them to one place or the next because then they spend the whole time catching up. So it’s not really a plausible solution, but never say never. I do miss my sister terribly because we’re so close.’

‘My youngest is forever saying to me, “Mummy, can we please move to New Zealand because I just want to be near my cousins?” and it does break my heart because I grew up with my cousins so close by. We were like brothers and sisters, we played out together, so I’m 
well aware she misses that time.’

‘I co-hosted Strictly with Bruce Forsyth for so many years. Now, outside my dressing room, there’s a photograph of myself and Brucie taken about four years ago just before we started our last series together. The photographer did this lovely thing where he took pictures of high-profile people and asked them to close their eyes for a collection he was doing. So Brucie and I closed our eyes. I got the photo blown up and it’s in a frame just outside my dressing room in Elstree Studios, so I see it whenever I go on to the studio floor. And it’s so gorgeous because we were having fun.’

‘Brucie had fun in every moment and that was what was so joyful about him, he was always looking to find joy and make people laugh and have fun. And it was just amazing being around that, he had such a positive spirit and I’m sure that kept him young. I have 
so many very precious memories of him and I think about him all the time, and every week when I’m standing at the top of the stairs. He 
was a huge part of the show for me. 
I miss him terribly.’

Claudia [Winkleman, Tess’ co-host] 
is super superstitious. We have this secret signal we do at the top of the stairs before every show. I adore her and we have so much fun working together.’

‘The royal family are fans of Strictly. Whenever I’m lucky enough to see Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall she always wants to chat about the show and she says she enjoys it and doesn’t miss an episode, which is lovely to hear. It’s quite surreal really. But it would be great to have 
the royal seal of approval. I’d give anything to see her on the show, 
but I think she’s quite busy.’

Zara Tindall, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie watched the show. 
It would be really wonderful to get 
them involved.’

‘I also want Rob Brydon, Jimmy Carr and David Walliams to dance on Strictly! Imagine those three – they would be 
the dream team in Lycra and sequins. 
I’m sure David would embrace it wholeheartedly!’

‘My youngest daughter Amber is spending a lot of time at the weekend playing games against her cousin in New Zealand. It’s so sweet because it’s almost like they’re playing together and 
I can hear them chatting. It’s how they enjoy playing, so I’ve been quite surprised. For that reason I learnt how to play Minecraft with gaming guru Ali-A at a Vodafone #FamilySquad gaming bootcamp.’

‘Vernon loves gaming. Amber was given an Xbox for Christmas. Vernon has been in the garage for years and he sneaks in to use hers. I see him when no-one else is around – he picks up the controller and puts Call of Duty in and I’m not allowed anywhere near that! I won’t be playing against him – it’s way too violent!’