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 since it was revealed you’re taking part in Strictly?

It’s been unbelievable actually! It’s one of those things that you always wanted to do but you don’t expect it to actually happen. So in my house there was a lot of shock. I hadn’t told a great deal of people because I had to keep it so private so I could only tell a couple of my friends. We had been so excited holding it in so after the official announcement every single person was so excited for me. It’s been a really happy vibe.

Have you had any advice from any of the EastEnders cast that have taken part in previous years?

I have actually, a lot of them have said to enjoy it, that it’s going to be hard and will take a lot out of you but remember to have the best time and be yourself – which is the perfect advice.

Is there anyone from the line up you think is your big competition?

I’ve spoken to HRVY actually, and he said he feels like he’s got a bit of competition and I said “Ditto!” So I feel he’s my biggest rival! I haven’t spoken to anyone yet but I’m looking forward to seeing them all soon.

What was the biggest reason you wanted to be part of Strictly?

It’s a family favourite and I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t seen the show. There’s usually someone from EastEnders on the show so there’s always someone I can support, and now that I’m that person it’s just surreal.

What is the main thing you’ll be looking for in a dance partner?

I think someone who is strict enough to put me in my place! Also I hope we can have a laugh together because obviously we’re going to be spending so much time together. I think they need to be able to put up with my craziness – so someone that can handle me!

Is there a particular dance that you’re really looking forward to?

The one that I’m most looking forward to is probably Street because that’s the only one that I know that I’ll be able to do! But if I had to choose one I’m not comfortable with I’d say I’m looking forward to doing the Cha Cha. Obviously I did that with Kevin (Clifton) for the Children in Need special and it was so challenging but a lot of fun so I’m looking forward to doing that one. 

How would your family rate your dance ability?

Me, my mum and my sister are like a trio to watch out for on the dancefloor! Well that’s how we see each other anyway. In lockdown me and my mum have been learning a hell of a lot of dancing on social media. We’re a pretty dancey family and all love a bit of musical theatre. My mum will be helping me practice the routines!

Who was the first person you told?

I told my mum as soon as I got the phone call – it had to be her, she was the first person I thought of. She has wanted me to do it forever and she had her fingers crossed since I did the Children in Need special so she was over the moon!

Is she the most excited person to see you on the show?

Yeah. We’ve been obviously watching it since forever and it’s a dream of ours. I’m banking on her going on it next year!

Is that something you’re looking forward to then, the sequins and all the glitter?

That is genuinely what I think I’m most excited about – being glammed up every single week! I remember when Emma (Barton) did it last year; I barely do scenes with her so when I do see her I just saw her as her character Honey. So watching her every week she just looked incredible and I can’t wait for them to work that magic on me!