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 to you taking part in Strictly this year?
The reaction has been really lovely. My family have been super excited and my friends are literally beside themselves. It’s the one show that everyone goes, “I would love to do that, wouldn’t it be a joy?” and then you are the one that gets the chance to do it! Before the show is even on air it is spreading joy.
What do you think of the rest of the line up?
I am the least sporty person – I never played competitive sport in my life, not once! So it just makes me cry with laughter that I am now competing against an Olympic gold medal winning boxer. But on the other hand, the day after I was announced my niece literally spent about 25 minutes telling me how excited she was about Jamie Laing being in the show. I was like “Alright, I get you love him!” It did hurt a little bit so I’m not sure she will vote for me! It’s a fantastic line up.
Do you have any dance experience at all?
Dance experience is such a broad term isn’t it! I did very proudly do grade one ballet when I was about seven, but my dance career ended after my teacher put in my report card, “Ranvir is enthusiastic but sadly lands like an elephant.” I remember reading that and that was it. She said that I’d never be able to go en pointe, so there was no point carrying on. I mean this is a scar, so maybe I will heal my scar on Strictly. 36 years later I’m picking up my dance career!
What are you looking for in a dance partner?
I need somebody who can laugh really easily, to break the tension of not being able to get the steps straight away. I also need somebody who understands that I’ll be working on Good Morning Britain and the tiredness element that will bring. Strictly is the thing where you have to physically push yourself beyond tiredness, beyond discomfort. So I think I need somebody who is upbeat, who can laugh and make me laugh, to keep my energy levels going I think.
Are you competitive person and in it to win it?
No, I’m literally the least competitive person you’ve ever met, it’s embarrassing! If I play Scrabble I’m like, “Show me your letter and I’ll help you get a really good word.” I literally want everyone to do really well for themselves. I think I’m starting to realise that I may not be the perfect candidate for Strictly!
How do you feel about being Strictly-fied?
I just hope they’ve got really, really, really strong support underwear – that’s all I’m concerned about. As long as they can hold it all in and make me look as streamlined as is magically possible – and Strictly is all about the magic – then I’ll be happy. I’m not even sure I need to breathe. As long as I can hold my breath for three minutes or however long the dance is – have St John Ambulance on the sidelines for fainting through lack of oxygen!
How would your family and friends rate your dance ability?
I think my family who have seen me do Bhangra are quite confident that I might have a sense of rhythm which is hopefully a good thing. But the whole Ballroom thing is such a different language and a far cry from bopping around a wedding.
Is there a particular competitor that has stood out to you over the years?
As soon as I saw Michelle Visage on Strictly I fell in love with her. For me, her and Giovanni were the standout couple for me. I thought she was an amazing character who had a big source of energy and I think as a woman I really gravitated towards her as a contestant. She was so powerful, had such amazing presence and you just couldn’t take your eyes off her. I just thought an element of that would be amazing if I could capture it in some way.
What was the main reason you wanted to take part in Strictly?
I think the reason is that it’s the most joyous programme and you know that it’s a real privilege to be asked to be on it. It’s a real milestone, it’s a career high – it’s everything isn’t it? Strictly is about actually learning a skill. I haven’t learned anything from scratch for years. I just have my head down and worked really hard and now all of a sudden, there’s this beautiful chance to learn something completely different from scratch. I hope my brain works, my body works and I’m up for a challenge.
Have you gotten any advice from your Good Morning Britain colleagues?
I think Susanna Reid’s immediate advice was at all costs to try and avoid the Cha Cha and the Samba. But I don’t know if I can avoid them! Kate Garraway said, “You realise a few weeks in how serious the training is, so don’t miss the opportunity to really hit the ground running and take it seriously right at the beginning.”