Stacey Dooley recalls 'awkward' moments filming new series

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The BBC journalist returns to screens tonight with DNA Family Secrets. She rose to fame through her documentary series, Stacey Dooley Investigates, and won Strictly Come Dancing three years ago. The 34-year-old has never shied away from political issues but once landed herself in hot water after a comment she made about Mr Farage.

Dooley caused a stir when she called the former Ukip leader “attractive” on live TV.

The star was discussing Brexit and the European Parliament elections when her words were supposedly misunderstood by viewers of the Andrew Marr Show.

Mr Farage, who announced his retirement from politics earlier this month, was described by Marr as someone who “says what he wants to say”.

During the 2019 episode of the BBC show, he argued that the politician’s blunt frankness was “one of the things he’s got” going for him.

Marr felt Mr Farage had an upper hand because “lots” of other politicians were constantly “looking over their shoulders”.

He believed they were handicapped by “wondering about their colleagues” and “the party line”.

After Marr’s praise, Dooley piped up to explain: “That’s exactly why people find him so attractive!”

Many interpreted her remark as a sign of endorsement for Mr Farage and his politics.

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She explained that being “very concise”, “very clear” and “very transparent” made him attractive to voters.

Dooley continued: “Whether you agree with him or fundamentally disagree, you know where he stands.”

Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell was among many who were stunned by the star’s comments.

He tweeted: “Did @StaceyDooley just say on Marr [sic] that @Nigel_Farage is ‘transparent’ (unchallenged)…?

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“As for NF [Nigel Farage], transparency might suggest you would say how your operations are funded and maybe have a manifesto?”

One user joked Dooley could be looking for a position in the Cabinet of a future Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage coalition. 

Later the BBC star clarified that it was not her intention to sound in support of the politician and tried to clarify what she meant.

In response to the joke about a partnership between Dooley and Mr Farage she tweeted: “Not in a million years…”

She claimed neither the Prime Minister nor Mr Farage “speak to me”, before clarifying her earlier point.

Dooley said: “I was simply stating SOME people find him clear, concise and honest about what he wants.”

The TV star was keen to point out that she was not endorsing Mr Farage.

She said: “I couldn’t be any clearer that Farage is not for me.”

But Dooley explained there was no way to “ignore that others are drawn to him”.

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She added: “He’s gathering momentum again and we are allowed to speculate as to why that may be.”

One Twitter user, who defended Dooley, reiterated she was talking about others, not herself. 

They wrote: “He [Nigel Farage] is transparent on his Brexit message.

“That is how it should be taken and not manipulated into her showing support for Farage.”

Dooley thanked her fan for the support and thought the summary was “exactly right”.

She continued: “This is why people swerve engaging in important conversations.

“Because there are always people trying to find sound bites and take them out of context.”

Stacey Dooley stars in DNA Family Secrets, which airs at 9pm tonight on BBC Two.

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