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Strictly's Debbie McGee opens up on being held hostage in Iran

debbie mcgee
Debbie McGee on being held hostage in IranKen McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Strictly Come Dancing finalist and TV personality Debbie McGee has opened up about being held hostage in Iran.

McGee was a member of the Iranian National Ballet Company when she was 19 years old, but the outbreak of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 meant that she and other dancers were holed up in a building to avoid the violence going on around them.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain to talk about her one-woman show, McGee mentioned the situation (which she's talked about before) in passing, and hosts Richard Madeley and Kate Garraway asked her about it, since they had never heard the story before.

"I'm not that great about talking about myself 'cause you feel like you're showing off, but I have led a fairytale life but I've also dealt with a lot of stuff," she said about her show.

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Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

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"And they all said, 'We didn't know you were a hostage in Iran and escaped,' and that's how I met Paul (Daniels), because I came back to England and needed a job."

She explained: "[It lasted] about three months. I worked for a ballet company, we were all sort of herded into a block of flats, but the boys had to go out at six in the morning and literally the only food we could get was from the bakers on the streets, which were like flat pizzas, no butter or anything, and maybe some cans of things, and maybe a few eggs.

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"I escaped because I've always been a bit of a squirrel with money, and I'd gone there, I had a business plan, I had lots of money, we were being paid three times what I could earn in Europe... I had all these savings, so I paid 10 times what it would normally be, I got a flight back to Switzerland, but the airport was closing that day."

"If anyone's seen the film Argo, that's my story," she added. "Even being stopped at the airport by gunmen and they wouldn't let me through because somebody changed my visa, and I ran in the end."

Good Morning Britain airs at 6.30am on ITV1.

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