STRICTLY Come Dancing fans hot-footed it to a North-East shopping centre to meet one of the stars of the show.

Pasha Kovalev, who was paired with Countdown’s Rachel Riley in the last series, visited WHSmith at the Cornmill Shopping Centre in Darlington to sign copies of his new book Pasha – My Story.

The signing followed a successful show at Darlington Civic Theatre on Tuesday night in which Pasha performed with fellow Strictly star Katya Virshilas and a host of professional dancers.

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Pasha said that he had received warm welcomes from the fans he has been meeting throughout his book-signings and was pleased that being part of Strictly – one of the BBC’s top rated shows – had led to him publishing a book.

He said: “I think Strictly is a phenomenon; the main reason why it is so popular is because it is a very positive programme, there isn’t any real drama.

“Everyone can see the improvements and the enjoyment people get from dance.

“I think in general everybody loves music, everybody loves dance, but sometimes they forget about it and a programme like Strictly reminds them.”

Pasha’s book gives a glimpse behind the scenes of the glitzy world of ballroom and he speaks candidly about the impact his extensive world travel and showbiz life have had on his mindset.

Oliver Gregory, store manager at WHSmith in Darlington, said: “Strictly Come Dancing is one of the nation’s favourite TV shows, so we’re delighted to welcome one of its most popular stars to WHSmith in the Cornmill.”