Strictly insiders say BBC is ‘pulling out all the stops’ to get Maisie Smith into the final

Strictly stars are muttering about the level of publicity being lavished on Maisie Smith by the BBC, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Some of those competing for the Glitterball trophy suspect the Corporation of a desperate bid to keep the young actress – who has already twice been in the dance off – on the show and are ‘pulling out all the stops’.

In recent days, the 19-year-old, who has played Bianca Butcher’s daughter Tiffany in the BBC’s EastEnders since she was six, has given a number of newspaper interviews, made the front cover of OK! magazine and appeared on ITV’s This Morning.

Strictly stars are privately complaining about the amount of publicity being generated by Maisie Smith - who many feel is being pushed forward to win the competition

Strictly stars are privately complaining about the amount of publicity being generated by Maisie Smith - who many feel is being pushed forward to win the competition

Strictly stars are privately complaining about the amount of publicity being generated by Maisie Smith – who many feel is being pushed forward to win the competition 

While Miss Smith, who was given the sought-after final dance last weekend, has scored comparatively highly with the judges, the public appear to be less convinced. 

‘There are a lot of people involved with Strictly who felt that there was some preferential treatment going on,’ said a show insider.

‘Maisie is the BBC’s girl. She has grown up on EastEnders and as the daughter of Bianca, one of their most iconic characters, is very important to them. They view her as a star.’

The teenager, who has been partnered with the popular Gorka Marquez, has been the subject of cruel jibes from some viewers, prompting her mother Julia to recently speak out in defence of her ‘vulnerable and nervous’ daughter.

Meanwhile Good Morning Britain bosses fear that they could lose Ranvir Singh after her successful stint on Strictly Come Dancing

Meanwhile Good Morning Britain bosses fear that they could lose Ranvir Singh after her successful stint on Strictly Come Dancing

Meanwhile Good Morning Britain bosses fear that they could lose Ranvir Singh after her successful stint on Strictly Come Dancing

Referring to her previous dance experience, one Twitter user wrote: ‘Really hoping stage school Maisie doesn’t win. It’s so boring when they’re basically perfect already.’

GMB’s fear of losing Ranvir Singh 

Good Morning Britain bosses fear that they could lose Ranvir Singh after her successful stint on Strictly Come Dancing.

With her current contract ending in the New Year, Ms Singh, who is political editor for the popular ITV programme, is due to begin contract negotiations.

Sources on the show fear her heightened popularity will result in her being inundated with other, more lucrative offers. ‘Ranvir is bigger than standing on Downing Street in the rain in the early hours of the morning now,’ said one insider. ‘She has shown her true self on Strictly and is now quite the star.’ Ms Singh, 43, regularly stands in for Good Morning Britain’s main presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid.

Her chemistry with dance partner Giovanni Pernice has fuelled talk of a romance. It intensified following a clip of their performance last week in which he was heard saying: ‘I love you.’ Ms Singh has insisted that romance between the pair is ‘fantasy’.

Friends of Mr Pernice also deny they are in a relationship, adding: ‘It’s just for TV.’

Last night Craig Revel Horwood described Ms Singh’s Viennese waltz to She Used To Be Mine from musical Waitress as ‘beautiful’, awarding her nine out of ten.

Fellow judges Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse matched his score, giving her 27 out of 30.

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Another wrote: ‘Not surprised Maisie is bottom 2. As a dancer she is fabulous, but personality-wise I get nothing. Stage school robot.’

Asked by the Mail on Sunday if she felt that she had gained an advantage by performing the final dance last Saturday, Miss Smith said: ‘Absolutely not. It was terrifying. There was a lot of pressure to close the show and I was even more nervous than I have been the past six weeks.’

While all the celebrities on the show have media opportunities, Miss Smith has been a particularly high profile contestant due, in part, to rumours of sparks flying between her and fellow dancer HRVY.

Last night she jived to Little Shop Of Horrors from the show of the same name for musicals week. 

The judges were impressed again, with Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse both giving her nine while head judge Shirley Ballas gave her top marks. 

In an interview before last weekend’s show, mother Julia said: ‘As a parent, it’s not about her winning, it’s not about her being at the top of the leaderboard… It’s seeing my daughter upset and vulnerable. I want to grab her… I feel her vulnerability.’

Last night, a BBC spokesman said: ‘The suggestion that any of the couples receive preferential treatment is completely untrue and unfounded.

‘Maisie has performed her dance in the first half of all couples each week bar one, where she happened to perform last. Maisie has taken part in no more media opportunities than any other celebrity.’

Meanwhile, HRVY’s mother Nicky Cantwell has given Maisie her blessing, as the pair continue to deny rumours of a blossoming romance.

Nicky revealed her fondness for Maisie to The Sun On Sunday, saying: ‘Do I think there may be a chance of romance in the future? Maybe.

‘We love Maisie and can see why they both get on well. The show might. help him find love. It will be what it will be… but everybody loves a love story, don’t they?’

Last month, the singer, 21, dismissed rumours that he is dating his ballroom rival, but said they will ‘definitely’ go out for a meal after the series.

Approval: HRVY's mother Nicky Cantwell has given his Strictly co-star Maisie her blessing

Approval: HRVY's mother Nicky Cantwell has given his Strictly co-star Maisie her blessing

Approval: HRVY’s mother Nicky Cantwell has given his Strictly co-star Maisie her blessing

Addressing speculation, he said: ‘Do you know what, there has been no dates yet. I’m not sure where they got the love and fun from but when this show is done I think we will definitely go out for some food somewhere, when we are allowed to.

‘But for now we are really just focusing on the dances to be fair. We haven’t really seen each other for the last couple of weeks or really any of the other contestants. Maybe possibly when the show is done.’

The pair reportedly ‘cooled down their romance’ so that Maisie could concentrate on getting to the final of the show.

Soap sar Maisie previously confessed to OK! Magazine that she enjoys flirting with HRVY, but said she is cautious about pursuing a romance with him, insisting she doesn’t want to ‘ruin’ their close friendship.

Dismissing rumours: Last month, singer HRVY, 21, dismissed rumours that he is dating his ballroom rival, 19, but said they will 'definitely' go out for a meal after the series

Dismissing rumours: Last month, singer HRVY, 21, dismissed rumours that he is dating his ballroom rival, 19, but said they will 'definitely' go out for a meal after the series

Dismissing rumours: Last month, singer HRVY, 21, dismissed rumours that he is dating his ballroom rival, 19, but said they will ‘definitely’ go out for a meal after the series

She said: ‘We get along so well – there was an instant connection between us – and I knew straight away that we would be friends. Yes, there’s been ‘flanter’ [flirty banter], but I think it’s platonic.

‘We have such a laugh and, of course, there has been a bit of flirting… but it’s been harmless! I’ve not been thinking about boys at the moment. I haven’t had time. I’ve been liking getting to know him.’ 

When quizzed on if she sees a romance between the pair, Maisie explained: ‘I think it would depend on how we did it.

‘Right now… I think it’d be a ‘no’ as I love the friendship we have and I don’t want to ruin that.’ 

Cooling down: The pair reportedly 'cooled down their romance' so that Maisie could concentrate on getting to the final of the show

Cooling down: The pair reportedly 'cooled down their romance' so that Maisie could concentrate on getting to the final of the show

Cooling down: The pair reportedly ‘cooled down their romance’ so that Maisie could concentrate on getting to the final of the show

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