Introduction

Dust off your dancing shoes, Strictly Come Dancing is waltzing back onto BBC One for its 18th series. The NTA and BAFTA award-winning entertainment show produced by BBC Studios returns with more sparkle, glitz and glamour than ever.

The celebrities strutting their stuff on the dance floor this series are Bill Bailey, Caroline Quentin, Clara Amfo, HRVY, Jacqui Smith, Jamie Laing, Jason Bell, JJ Chalmers, Maisie Smith, Max George, Nicola Adams and Ranvir Singh.

On Saturday 17th October, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman host an exclusive premiere to welcome the celebrity class of 2020 as they prepare to begin their Strictly adventure. 

How has the reaction been?

The reaction has been pretty mad actually. Obviously I knew it was huge – the biggest show in the UK – but I just didn’t realise how many of my friends, especially younger friends, watch the show. They were like “There’s no way you’re doing it, me and my family love watching it, I can’t wait to watch you!” And they were friends that I never knew were into it. My nan’s over the moon and my mum’s received loads of texts from all of her friends.

Have you had a chance to speak to any of the other celebs?

I messaged Maisie saying “I guess you’re my competition this year then?” Obviously everyone’s my competition but I saw her on the Children in Need special and she’s really good. I DM’d her and said it was very average just so she wasn’t too big headed about it!

What do you think and the rest of the line up?

I went to The Wanted’s last concert when I was younger – I was a big fan, so it’s really cool that Max is doing it. I think it’s nice that there’s such a mix of different people, when I saw the line up I was really happy and they all seem like lovely people.

Why did you want to take part in the show?

There are loads of different reasons why I wanted to do it. I love the challenge, I love dancing, – I would say I can move my hips a bit! I just love the idea of the challenge and I’m so competitive.

Are you in it to win it then?

Oh 100% I really want to win it. Obviously it’s the taking part that counts but I think everyone wants to go for gold! I’m going to put my heart into it and that’s why I want to win it.

What’s the main thing you’re looking for in a dance partner?

I’m actually quite hardworking when it comes to things like this so I feel I just need someone as passionate and driven as I am to keep up with me a little bit! Also someone quite patient,  I am driven but my attention can go to different things quite a lot so someone who can keep my focus! I need someone with a bit of banter as well.

What will your biggest challenge be?

It’s more myself that’s the biggest fear, of just getting in my own head and overthinking everything. So yeah, the biggest fear is just psyching myself out about everything when I don’t need to.

You mentioned your nan earlier, is she the person most excited about you being on the show?

My nan is buzzing, she left me countless voicemails just saying how excited she is. She’s always been such a big fan of the show so I feel like this is going to be a big proud moment to watch me on TV every week. She’s going to love it!

Do you have a favourite dance that you’re most looking forward to?

I am into the quicker, up-tempo, energetic dancing. The slower more composed dances can be harder because sometimes they’re more technical and the more precise you need to be because it’s easier for the eye to see mistakes.

How do you feel about being Strictly-fied?

I might stay away from the fake tan but apparently all the boys say that and then by week four are like “I think I might need to be a bit bronzer!” I think for now I don’t mind, put me in anything, I’m there for all the diamonds and dazzle! I’m not scared.

Have you had any advice from previous contestants?

I know Saffron (Barker) really well who was on the show last year and she said that I’m going to love it. She said that I have to obviously work hard but enjoy it. She was just like “Just work hard but don’t overthink anything and just have fun.”