It’s that time again… there’s a fall chill in the air, the kids are FINALLY back to school, and they’re sewing big sequins into tons of great costumes. It’s back in earnest!
Anton Du Beke is back on the jury, but this time on a permanent basis, as he officially takes over from Bruno Tonioli.
Despite his bundle of energy, the Italian has clearly decided that the jetlag of the bombings between LA (where Dancing with the Stars is filmed) and London is too much for even him.
Anton will once again have head judge Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse wonderful Craig Revel Horwood.
The launch show is on Friday, having been postponed due to the Queen’s death earlier this month. To whet your appetite, here’s what the celebrity contestants revealed as rehearsals began.
1. Kym Marsh had to borrow underwear on the first day of training
The actress’ husband was supposed to drop off her suitcase at the hotel, but he was late and ended his sweaty first dance practice earlier than planned.
“I had no clothes, no underwear to change, nothing!” she says. “Jayde [Adams] I borrowed something, and a Deliveroo.”
After confronting Nasty Nigel on Popstars that time, Kym can’t worry about Craig, surely?
“Nothing can be worse than that, to be called fat on TV. How nice! But I think so [Craig] it’s going to be scary,” he joked.
2. Matt Goss could go full John Travolta or James Bond. Or both.
The singer says Strictly training is very different to preparing for solo shows.
“The biggest obstacle… is that they don’t tell us [as solo performers] “You have to put your foot there, leave it there. You have to move in this way. You have to do this.’ The reason we didn’t want a proper job is because we don’t like being told what to do on stage. And when you do it for so long, it’s a hard habit to break. So you’re trying to move in a certain way [in training] but with that choreography you are strictly regulated.”
Matt is back in the UK after 11 years at the helm in Las Vegas, but “he wasn’t happy at the end. I felt disconnected”.
“After the success of my last album I made a decision, I’m going back to the UK. I seriously called and thought, if I don’t do this I’ll go back to my comfort zone to work.” ” says the former Bros star, who says the first person he told was his twin brother Luke.
“I want to go disco-tastic, Staying Alive! And I want to do James Bond,” he added. Strictly, in your hands!
3. Hamza Yassin takes Lycra tips from Reverend Richard Coles
The wildlife presenter and camera operator made a documentary with the man of the cloth who took part in Strictly in 2017.
“He’s an amazing guy,” says Hamza. “He said, ‘Enjoy every moment. If you don’t normally wear Lycra – and you’re going to be asked to wear Lycra – do it, because you’re going to look sexy!'”
Hamza says that being on the show is already a victory.
“I’m severely dyslexic. So to know that someone with as severe dyslexia as me is being successful on TV, it’s amazing.”
4. Could Brad Pitt make a special appearance for Ellie Taylor?
The A-list movie star is a fan of The Great Pottery Showdown, which is presented by comedian and actress Ellie. So is she expecting a video message from the man himself?
“I’m sure Brad Pitt will get into my DMs and say ‘I love you!’ he will say,” he laughs.
Ellie added that, after doing a Strictly sketch on The Mash Report, it feels surreal to now be appearing in the real thing.
“You walk into the ball and think, ‘Oh my god, here I am and it’s Shirley Ballas!’
“It’s crazy. It looks like you just jumped into the TV series.”
5. Jayde Adams wants to be Bristol’s answer to Bette Midler
The Alma’s Not Normal star has no qualms about being dismissed as a novelty act because it’s a comic.
“Well, I hope so! I sing, I dance, I act, I’m funny. I’ve always wanted to be a Bette Midler from Bristol.”
Jayde will be dating a woman in this series and is eager to experiment.
“Whenever you have partnerships with a plus-size guy [with a female professional], it’s easy for him because he can always lift the girl but when you have the other way around you have that imbalance. The [professional] the boys are great, they are not rugby players. So I thought I’d be able to get into all the acrobatics.’
As to who will lead and who will follow, he says, “I think we could mix it up a little bit.”
6. Richie Anderson has a special Strictly cocktail
The Radio 2 travel presenter will be missing a big Strictly tradition this year.
“Every year I throw a big cocktail party at my house on launch night,” he explains. “So my mom is on fire [that there won’t be one this year]! I make a Charleston cocktail, it’s like a blackcurrant liqueur. I’ll give you the recipe!”
The Strictly super fan is dancing with a male partner.
“It was an accident [choosing to dance with a same sex partner]. I wish as a gay teenager … I could turn on prime time TV on a Saturday night and see two men dancing together.”
7. Ellie Simmonds wants to prove that dance is for everyone
The Paralympic swimming star has been finding her feet both on set and behind the scenes.
“Go ahead [having] Dwarfism, I was able to go down to the studio to make sure things will work for me, even if it’s something simple like giving me the bottom rails so I can wear the clothes. We also receive physical and psychological support.
It says him and her [yet to be announced] the dance couple will learn together.
“He’s never danced with anybody who’s hypothesized. And I’ve never danced in my life. We’ll just… we’ll get along. Like if I had to hold it back, I’ll hold it back… but I guess… I can do it… from home People watching can realize that they can adapt. Dance is for everyone.”
8. Will Mellor could be Craig’s private dancer
The actor was chosen by the judges in an interview on BBC’s The One Show last month, with Craig saying of Will: “I think he has a real charm about him and I think he’ll be able to bring that to the dance floor.”
Will jokingly references a famous Tina Turner song: “For many years I was Craig’s private dancer, his dancer for money.”
Before being ‘Strictly-fied’, Will tells us the most outrageous outfit he’s worn (so far) was “for a renewal of Mamma Mia on ITV… wearing over-the-knee platform boots. Then I saw it and thought, ‘That might have been a mistake. !'”.
9. Tony Adams is eager to show off his silk skills
The former Arsenal and England captain is not excited about the challenge ahead.
“This isn’t a football pitch. It’s a bit different! I’m quite a bit on my feet. The only thing we have in common is my back leg!”
A number of professional footballers have previously appeared on the show, including Peter Schmeichel, Peter Shilton and Robbie Savage.
“Everybody said don’t do it, don’t be stupid,” says Tony.
“I’m at a stage in my life where I can do anything. I’m addiction free, I haven’t had a drink or a drug in 26 years and I can get into it, nuts and bolts.”
10. Molly Rainford thinks she can handle Craig after Simon Cowell
CBBC star and singer Molly found fame as a child on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, reaching the final 10 years ago. But he’s a little more nervous this time.
“I think when I was 11 I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” he says. “Now again, so to speak. I’m definitely a little more nervous than when I was little.
“Because I had Simon [Cowell as a judge], Am I Afraid of Craig? I know Simon had a soft side and ended up being a very big bear. So hopefully Craig will be the same!”
11. Fleur East ‘gives up to lenses’
The singer and presenter is friends with last year’s Strictly contestant AJ Odudu.
“He just said, ‘Surrender to the sequins! This is going to be really hard but the best thing you’ll ever do.’
“I would love to dance to my music, it would be amazing. My mother is from Ghana and I grew up with highlife music and Afrobeats. It would be really fun to do something like that.”
Fleur is already feeling the strain: she arrived two hours late for the radio breakfast show after the first day of filming.
“I’m sorry I failed you, but I was shaking and shaking into the wee hours and he hit me!” he told listeners on Hits Radio. You’ll get used to it, Fleur.
12. Tyler West is a little afraid of elevators
“I was nervous about the lifts, even though I go to the gym and … feel pretty strong physically, this is completely different,” she says. “Doing that [a lift] Walking on the dance floor after a whole minute is crazy!”
He says people are excited to meet him.
“It gives you a chance to introduce who we really are. And I feel like I’m a kid watching a show like Strictly with my family. [could] say, ‘Wait, I look like them or I look like him or I have dreadlocks or whatever,’ that’s the motivation. The representation is there.”
James Bye, who plays Martin Fowler in EastEnders, says he feels no pressure after his co-star Rose Ayling-Ellis won Strictly last year.
“I’m not a very competitive person. So as long as I beat Rose, I’m not bothered!” he laughs
James is one of a long line of EastEnders cast members to take part, so who else would you like to see?
“I wish Lacey (Turner) would do it. I don’t know if she would, but I think she’d be fantastic. Or Steve McFadden. I think Phil Mitchell would be the best in sequins!”
14. Helen Skelton is really enjoying being able to talk
“The cool thing for me is… I’m usually on my own, it’s just the nature of my job,” says the former Blue Peter presenter.
“I went to Antarctica [for Sport Relief], they purposely got a non-English sounding man because they wanted me to be on my own, like a real explorer. This, on the other hand, is nice to be in and around people, to share something in the group. That’s why I talk a lot!
Her family is gearing up to see Helen strut her stuff this month.
“My mom is excited, my dad is excited, so is my brother, and I love him as I say this, he’s the most serious man in the world, and he’s excited!”
15. Kaye Adams has been putting in the hours already
The Loose Women anchor has been practicing her spinning Charleston.
“Why did I do this? It took me six weeks [to be able to do it]! I’ll sign up for 2023!”, he joked.
Don’t worry though, Kaye has had some great advice from Loose Women who have already appeared on the show.
“They basically told me, ‘Don’t screw it up!'”