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.
What’s the reaction been like since you were announced?
It’s been an amazing reaction. Some of my friends were really surprised and my family are buzzing because they love the show. Fans of The Wanted are all buzzing because it brings that nice little connection back with Jay and The Wanted so that’s been really nice.
What do you think about the rest of the line-up?
It’s really cool, a really nice mix which ties into everyone’s taste. And there’s the same-sex pairing this year as well for the first time, which is awesome.
Whose you’re biggest competition in the show?
Probably the 11 other contestants that are in it.
Why did you want to take part in Strictly?
It’s the show that my family all love and have watched for years. As this year has been a terrible one for a lot of people, I wanted to do something that would be fun and hopefully put a smile on people’s faces on a Saturday night. I know its going to be a massive challenge for me because I’m not a dancer and its something that I never really thought I’d do. Now I’m actually doing it, I’m just really excited. I can’t wait to meet my dance partner.
Speaking of your dance partner, what are you looking for from your professional partner?
Someone that makes me look pretty good. Someone that’s full of energy, up for having fun but can keep me in line as well.
What do you think’s going to be your biggest challenge?
I don’t really know anything about different dances. From what people have told me apparently the cha cha can be a bit of a pain. I have no idea what that is by the way, I might love it.
Are you in it to win it?
Do I think I can win it? If I was to bet on myself, I wouldn’t and that’s the truth. I’m in it so I’m going to do the best I can. I would be slightly surprised if there wasn’t somebody else a lot better. If I can get past week one, then I’ll try and do as well as I can to get past week two. You just never know.
How do you feel about the Strictly make-over?
Great, let’s go for it!It’s all part of the show in it, you might as well embrace it.
Who was the first person you told that you’re on the show this year?
My girlfriend Stacey who laughed and then laughed a bit more. I think she thought I was joking at first and I told her I was serious and she thinks it’s great I’m doing it and can’t wait to watch. She gets a break from me for a few weeks so she’s probably delighted about that.
Out of your friends and family, whose the most excited about you being on the show?
My nan, she loves the show. My nan used to love dancing so she’ll take a lot of pride in watching me perform.
What do your friends and family think of your dancing ability?
Well again that’s why they were quite shocked that I’m doing the show. One of my mates rang me the other day and said unless 30 years have gone by and I’ve missed a trick here, you’re second favourite at the bookies to win Strictly. I said you haven’t missed anything, they just haven’t seen anything yet and maybe the expectation because I was in a boyband might have blurred the vision slightly.
As your former bandmate Jay McGuiness won, do you feel added pressure?
Not really no, Jay is an amazing dancer he always has been. When I perform on Saturdays I’ll be contacting Jay to ask his thoughts. If he says that was pretty good then I’ll be happy. Jay has already texted me a couple of times out of the blue asking how it’s going so I’ll be asking him for a few tips.
Do you have a favourite competitor or dance from previous years?
Apart from Jay, probably Harry Judd. I thought he was great, he really embraced it and is a lovely lad as well.