Strictly Come Dancing delight

Harpenden violinst Izzy Johnston celebrates boyfriend Harry Judd’s victory in hit TV show.

McFLY drummer Harry Judd’s victory in the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday night enthralled the nation – and no-one more so than his girlfriend Izzy Johnston who was in the audience.

And this week Izzy, 27, who is the daughter of Gill and David Johnston, the founders of Harpenden Musicale, was getting used to being one half of the latest celebrity couple.

The couple met six years ago when violinist Izzy was booked to play in the McFly backing band at the height of the band’s popularity. Although the backing performers were not allowed to talk to the boys, Izzy said this week: “It was all a bit love at first sight and very romantic.”

They finally got together at the after-show party and have been an item ever since, moving into their first home together recently in London.

It was Izzy, a former St George’s School pupil for whom Harpenden will always be home, who persuaded Harry to take part in Strictly Come Dancing when he was approached after appearing in Comic Relief.

And she is so proud of his success and the nerves of steel he had to display to dance his way to victory as well as dealing with the media spotlight.

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She said: “Harry is very good at coping and he was very aware that if he did Strictly his profile would rise but I think it has been in the most positive way.”

It has also risen for Izzy, a member of the all-girl electric string quartet Escala who were such a hit on Britain’s Got Talent a few years ago. When she was told that a picture of the two of them with Harry’s dance partner Aliona Vilani was on the front of a popular tabloid newspaper on Tuesday, she found it “a bit surreal.”

She described Harry as “fiercely competitive” and added: “He never does anything for the sake of it but to be the best. He worked so hard and wanted to achieve the best level he could.

“Although he is amazingly talented, you never know what can happen with a show like Strictly.”

She said that taking part in the high-profile show was overwhelming but Harry dealt with it very well despite being exhausted from four months of solid rehearsal.

Overwhelmed

Izzy was in the audience for every show bar two when she was working and admitted that she got cross when Harry was criticised by judge Craig Revel Horwood although her boyfriend took it in his stride.

And she resisted running on stage with band members of McFly when he won even though she couldn’t wait to congratulate him.

When the dust settled the following day, the couple went out Christmas shopping and were overwhelmed by the lovely reactions they received from people who stopped and congratulated him.

But despite national newspaper speculation, Izzy said they had not yet got engaged “last time I looked”.

Her mum Gill, who watched the final with David and friends and admitted jumping up in delight and opening the bubbly in celebration when Harry won, commented: “ I hope he doesn’t feel pressurised. He has done some very honest interviews with the press and made some statements about marriage and children.”

Clearly a huge fan of Harry, she said that when McFly bandmate Dougie Poynter won I’m a Celebrity, he knew he had to win.

She described Izzy and Harry as a very low key couple who did not seek attention and added: “Harry has been lovely to her because it has been wall to wall Strictly. But she has coped admirably and was there in the audience at the final with his parents.”

The next few months promise to be busy for the couple with Harry on the Strictly tour and then touring with McFly and Escala busy with work but Izzy is very pragmatic about the impact of reality shows and believes life will soon get back to normal. “With all reality shows, there is a huge hype but it very quickly fades. It is just a tiny window of time,” she said.

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