Who’s joining the Strictly Come Dancing Mothership for 2013 ?


 Strictly Logo 2013

Tonight the Strictly Come Dancing 2013 line up was officially revealed on The One Show, ending months of speculation.

Taking part in the show this year will be:

Abbey Clancy

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can’t buy this experience, and to hopefully come out of it with a new skill would be great.”    

Queen of the runway and TV presenter Abbey Clancy, 27, will be used to competition after featuring as one of 13 finalists in the 2006 Living TV series Britain’s Next Top Model. After coming runner up her career continued to rise, modelling for numerous magazines and once ranking in FHM magazine’s annual 100 Sexiest Women in the World. The wife of Premier League footballer Peter Crouch also has a regular slot on ITV’s This Morning as their fashion expert. Can she be an expert on the dance floor to see her make the final?

What are you looking forward to the most?

Well my fitness levels are horrendous. I’m strong but I’ve got no stamina. I get out of breath so easy. That’s one of the things I’m looking forward to the most, because I don’t train or go to the gym, so just getting my fitness up, toning, and feeling good.

What are you looking for in your dance partner?

I’d like someone who’s an amazing dancer who can disguise how bad I’ll be. Someone who can whisk me round the dance floor, keep me safe, and a good teacher. Personality is a major part, I think if you get on well with your coach you’ll grow better as a dancer. I always work better if I get praise than if someone shouts at me, because I tend to shut down. I need encouragement, not to be shouted at.

Would you say you’re competitive?

No. I’m the least competitive person there is. I’m the eldest of four, so I’ve grown up letting the babies win every game. Obviously I’d like to do well for myself and I’d like my daughter and family to be proud, but I wouldn’t say I’m going to kick everyone’s behind!

Ashley Taylor Dawson

“I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be part of Strictly Come Dancing. It’s an amazing discipline to learn, the whole experience is just going to be fantastic.”

Hollyoaks hunk Ashley Taylor Dawson, 31, is best known as bad lad Darren Osborne in the Channel 4 soap, and is one of the longest serving cast members on the show. He got his first acting break with the National Youth Theatre when he was 17, before becoming a member of former pop band allSTARS* in 2001. Ashley loves sport and plays football, tennis and basketball. When time allows he can be seen playing charity football matches with the Hollyoaks All-Stars around the country. Let’s hope he hasn’t got two left feet then!

What are you looking for in your dance partner?

I’m looking for someone who can teach me how to dance! I’m a bit of a work horse, when I get my mind on something I want to do it right, and I think I’ll be a bit of a perfectionist. So just someone who’s going to push me as hard as they can, and not be scared of pushing and pushing me.

Have you done any special preparation for your debut on the dance floor?

I had a go at doing some gymnastics funnily enough, because I can’t even touch my toes and I had a go at doing hot yoga, and I was terrible at both. I’m about a foot away from touching my toes, I’m so un-supple. I thought I’d try and do something to encourage my body to move, so that’s what I’ve been having a go at and failing miserably!

Who’s your Strictly hero or heroine from previous series and why?

Louis Smith was a solid performer, and obviously being a gymnast, the strength he has helped a lot – so I’m just hoping there are no Olympians on the cast this year. They’ve got an advantage with their body strength and the way they use their body. Obviously Ricky Whittle was fantastic when he did it. He has real rhythm, and that’s something hopefully I can learn, because you’re sort of born with it aren’t you? I think they’re the guys to look up to for me. They’re the ones who led the field.

Ben Cohen

“For me it’s all about the mental side of it. The physical side is going to be tough but I don’t think that’s really going to be my biggest problem. The psychological side for me is what will win or lose me that dance, and that’s leaving everything at the door.”

Rugby World Cup champion Ben Cohen MBE is a sporting hero having being part of the England team who took the tournament title in Australia in 2003. As the 10th-highest point scorer in England rugby history, Ben, 34, began his professional career at the age of 17 and went on to play for Northampton Saints, French side Brive, and Sale Sharks. In 2011 he retired from his successful rugby career to concentrate on running his charitable foundation, combatting bullying and homophobia. Can Ben bring his rugby skills into play and tackle his opponents when it comes to dancing?

What made you decide to sign up for Strictly this year?

When I’ve seen other people on the show before, I’ve always been in awe and thought fair play because that really takes some guts. I’ve always watched from a distance, and never ever in a million years thought I’d be in this position now.

Being a sportsman do you see yourself as being competitive?

No I don’t. I’m not in competition with other people in my eyes, I just want to do the best I can. If someone’s better than me on the day then fine, I’ve given it 100% and that’s all I can give. I don’t have any preconceived ideas of where I want to come in the show. For me it’s going to be week by week. You won’t know the dance, and you’ll only be as good as your last week and your last dance. If you’re here the next week you’ll learn something else. It’s like a cup competition.

What are you looking for from your professional dance partner?

Someone who is a good teacher and is easy to learn from. It’s a crash course, and crash courses are intense. I haven’t come into this saying ‘I’m going to learn a dance, we’ll do a couple of hours here and there and everything will be great’. I know it’s going to take time and a lot of hours and I’m prepared for that. I’m not a workshy person, I never was when I played. I enjoy a challenge.

Dave Myers

“I’m looking for someone that will be able to teach me to dance! I am going to give it 100%, but I’ll still need someone that is patient and that has feet of steel.”

One half of the Hairy Bikers Dave Myers, 55, has fronted many popular TV series, based around travel in pursuit of great recipes, and cooking. He has written a number of books off the back of his TV success, making the Hairy Bikers the third most popular cookery book writers in the UK. Dave’s versatile skills have taken him to some unusual places – working as a furnaceman in a steelworks to finance his Master’s degree in fine arts, before joining the BBC as a make-up artist to specialise in prosthetics. Dave is hoping that his recent three stone weight loss, spurred on from his BBC Two series – The Hairy Dieters will help him in the competition.

How would you rate your dancing skills out of 10?

At the moment it would have to be a 2 to 3. It’s funny, I can go to a party and strut my stuff and fling myself around and not get too knackered, but I went on a cruise a couple of years ago and went to a few of the ballroom dancing nights and felt really inadequate. Some of those people really could move and danced beautifully. I just want to learn to dance like that, really.

Do you have a target of how far you want to get in the competition?

For me I want to get to Blackpool. I live in Barrow-in-Furness, which is just across the bay. I can remember going to Blackpool Tower Ballroom with my mum and dad when I was a child and have such great memories so it would be fantastic to go back there with Strictly Come Dancing – that’s my personal ambition for the series.

Do you have any tactics up your sleeves?

I want to enjoy it and I am going to be enthusiastic. I am going to wear as much fake tan and glitter as possible. I’ve never fake tanned before – I’ll do anything! This isn’t the type of thing you can blag; it’s going to take solid hard work. I’ll be terrified but if I can do enough preparation so that I can do things automatically then I will start to enjoy it. It’s a bit like when we are doing our live shows where we cook in front of 3,000 people. We will work out the choreography beforehand between us so we know the recipes. Doing that helps to give us the flexibility to lark about a bit and that’s when it gets a bit magical. I am hoping to recreate that approach on the dance floor.

Deborah Meaden

“It’s an amazing opportunity and I would not be able to live with myself if I didn’t do it. I thought I would absolutely regret this more than anything if I didn’t take part.”

British multi-millionairess Deborah Meaden, 54, became a household name in 2003 when she joined BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den to become one of the show’s five investors. She has been a successful business woman from a young age, launching her own glass and ceramics export company before setting up one of the first Stefanel fashion franchises in the UK. With several successful businesses in the leisure and retail sector under her belt, Deborah now devotes time to finding good investment opportunities. Let’s hope that Deborah finds the time to invest in training for the dance floor.

What made you decide to take part in Strictly this year?

I love Strictly Come Dancing. I thought I’d gone past the days of taking part. There was a time when I thought I could win it, but I’ve gone past that stage so thought it wouldn’t happen – and then they asked me! It’s an amazing opportunity and I would not be able to live with myself if I didn’t do it. I thought I would absolutely regret this more than anything if I didn’t take part.

What comments do you aspire to get from the judges?

The comments from the judges must be constructive – that is very important. I can take criticism as long as it is constructive. I don’t mind being told that I did something wrong, but I will also need to be told that this is what you need to do to get it right. That is all absolutely fine. What I don’t like is comment that has no content. I hope I am told that I am working hard, that I have what it takes and that this is what is needed to get it out of you.

Have you ever danced before?

I did ballroom dancing at school, but I was atrocious! I was distracted, I didn’t like it – in honesty I was looking at the boys more than anything else as that’s what you do as a teenage girl! Then I did Let’s Dance for Comic Relief and I loved it. I think that’s what helped make my mind up as, I loved it so much. I was doing something that was so unfamiliar to me and learning something that I didn’t know anything about.

Fiona Fullerton

“I was looking for a challenge and an adventure, and swapping my wellington boots from living in the country for a whole load of sequins is very appealing.”

Nigerian born Fiona Fullerton, 56, is one of Britain’s most versatile actresses, having appeared in movies, TV shows and West End theatre productions. She is perhaps best known for her starring role alongside Roger Moore – as KGB spy Pola Ivanova in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill. With a career spanning over 30 years, she has a number of other impressive credits to her name, including playing Guinevere in Camelot and Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Multi-talented Fiona is now a writer and property investment guru, but will she also be talented on the dance floor?

What made you decide to take part in Strictly this year?

I was looking for a challenge and an adventure, and swapping my wellington boots from living in the country for a whole load of sequins is very appealing. I fancied the challenge and the adventure. It is every girl’s dream really, to be dressed up and pampered and to learn how to dance.”

What are you looking for in your dance partner?

Somebody strong, gorgeous and patient, because I can be extremely trying sometimes. I don’t know who I am going to get, but I think they are all lovely.

Who is your Strictly hero / heroine from a previous series and why?

I absolutely loved Kara Tointon. I thought she was wonderful. She had such grace and was really the epitome of Strictly. I think she was probably one of the loveliest contestants.

Julien Macdonald

“You’ve only got one life. It’s an amazing opportunity – the journey, the people you will meet, the fact viewers will get to see my personality and the funny side of me. I will be able to dance hopefully by the end of it – and that’s why I’ve ended up doing Strictly.”

As Strictly’s very first Fashion Designer, Julien Macdonald OBE is a genuine exclusive. He started his career working for Karl Lagerfeld, and in 2001 was named British Fashion Designer of the Year. He is famed for his show-stopping, high glamour dresses, and boasts a star-studded international client list. Julien, 42, has been a judge on the television series Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model, and for the last two years has made appearances on It Takes Two as a resident fashion expert. Now it’s his turn to don the diamantes and dazzle on the dance floor.

Have you thought about what sort of dance partner you would like?

I’m going to need somebody who’s able to stand up to me and put me in my place, because I’m used to telling other people what to do, and what to wear. So for me it will be an interesting challenge. I want somebody who is glamorous, funny, and has a great personality.

Being the first fashion designer on the show, are you looking forward to the costumes?

That is one of the reasons why really I want to do it. I’ve spent my entire life dressing a variety of different people from all different backgrounds, shapes, sizes and ages. For once in my life, somebody gets to dress me. For me, I like the fact I can have the sparkles and the crystals, and the glamour that I’ve spent my life putting on other people. For me it’s the fun part of it. It’s camp and funny. That’s my personality anyway so I don’t want to wear a boring old black suit, because I wear that anyway. I’m loving the rhinestones and lace, and the crystals. I just want more and more. I’ll probably look like a Christmas tree by the end of it!

What feedback would you like to hear from the judges?

Whatever they give me I’m going to give them back. If there’s one thing I never understand when I watch the show is when the dancers and celebrities take beatings from the judges and don’t say anything. If it’s constructive feedback then fair enough. I’m going to give it my best shot and work hard, but I’m definitely not going to stand there and let Craig lay into me. I’m not afraid of the Revel Horwood.

Mark Benton

I just thought it would be fun. I’ve never thought about doing one of these types of shows before, but out of all of them this is the one to do.”

Mark Benton, 47, is best known for his roles in ITV’s Northern Lights, BBC One’s drama Land Girls and more recently as playing maths teacher Daniel Chalk in Waterloo Road. After participating in a number of productions with the Middlesbrough Youth Theatre, Mark’s initial acting experience was on stage, featuring in As You Like It and Invisible Friends. The stage and screen actor graduated from RADA (The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and got his first film break in 1997 in Mike Leigh’s Career Girls. He is currently touring the country playing the iconic role of Edna Turnblad in the multi-award-winning musical Hairspray.

What made you decide to take part in Strictly this year?

I just thought that it would be fun. I’ve never thought about doing one of these types of shows before, but out of all of them this is the one to do. I like to start a job thinking ‘I’m not sure if I can do this’ and I really love a challenge. It’s very easy to get comfortable when you are an actor, so I like to look at taking part in Strictly as an adventure. I must also remain positive and keep my fear under wraps. It’s nice to try and learn a skill and maybe get a bit fitter too, which is another great reason to take part.

Have you done any special preparation for your debut on the dance floor?

I’d love to say that I have been waking up at 6am and doing yoga each morning, but the truth is I have been waking up at 6am in cold sweats! Seriously though, I have been doing Hairspray where I dance every night, so I suppose that has been my preparation. Aside from that I am a blank canvas.

Do you know any of your fellow celebrity contestants?

I know Dave (Myers). We actually worked together years ago on a Catherine Cookson programme called The Girl, he was my stunt double! There was a scene we had to film with a big ox that was going mad and I was too scared to do it, so they dressed Dave up as me and made him do the scene instead. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him but he is still the same lovely guy he was before.

Natalie Gumede

“I have been a huge fan since the series started really, and to be a part of it this year is such a dream for me. It’s the next step in a journey that I’m really enjoying and I never thought I would get chances like this, so I feel really lucky.”

Former Coronation Street baddie Natalie Gumede is best known for playing Kirsty Soames in the ITV soap. For 18 months Natalie, 29, was at the centre of one of the show’s most gripping and shocking storylines, playing a role that landed her the award for Best Newcomer at the British Soap Awards in 2012 and Villain of the Year in 2013. The actress and self-proclaimed Strictly fan graduated from the prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in 2003.

What are you looking for in your dance partner?

I’m just looking for someone with a sense of fun, and someone who is really passionate about what they do because whenever I apply myself, to acting or to something like this I want to get the best out of it. I know that all of the dancers are passionate about what they do so I’m really looking forward to meeting the new personalities.

Who is your Strictly hero or heroine from a previous series and why?

I think Jill Halfpenny from series two was the first time we really saw somebody who had that passion and style in them, and it was wonderful to see. It was joyous. I think Cherie Lunghi was very elegant and Russell Grant just completely captured the fun and the joy of everything that Strictly is. In the last series Kimberley Walsh was a beautiful dancer to me, and Lisa Riley made the series.

Do you have any tactics up your sleeves?

No, I’m far too terrified for that, I just want to enjoy it. I want to try as hard as I can, do as many weeks as I can and just enjoy every minute. I want to soak up every aspect of it, because I really feel like I’m living a dream and I feel like I’m getting the opportunity to express something in me that hasn’t yet been expressed.

Patrick Robinson

“When I was very young I would say my dancing skills were like a 7 or 8.5, not bad – I could try my hand at everything. Now you are looking at a 4 or 5, so if I get anything above a 6 I will be very chuffed.”

Patrick Robinson, 49, is best known for playing Martin “Ash” Ashford in BBC One’s longstanding medical drama series Casualty. Patrick joined the cast in 1990, taking on the role of the popular charge nurse for the next six and a half years. In 2013, 17 years after leaving the show, he made his return to the series as a doctor. Patrick was classically trained at LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) and worked for several years with the Royal Shakespeare Company – becoming the first ever black actor to play Romeo in Romeo and Juliet.

Have you done any special preparation for your debut on the dance floor?

The only extra stuff I have done, other than my usual work out and bike rides is some more stretching, flexibility exercises. I have done a little bit of yoga, but that’s about it.

Who is your Strictly hero / heroine from a previous series and why?

I just have to say Mark Ramprakash, because he was so fabulous, and I played football with him for the Arsenal ex-professional and celebrity team. One of the things about Mark is that he is lovely, and he was brilliant, so he is the hero to try and emulate.

Will you be roping your Casualty colleagues in to help rehearse?

I always like to keep my energy up on set, so I have always been one to be messing around physically, trying to do old dances, time steps and stuff like that. I’m always pulling people in to do little bits and pieces. No doubt, here and there, I’ll be rehearsing with them, but I think I will have plenty on my plate being a consultant when I have to be on set, and when I have to train with my partner, whoever that is.

Rachel Riley

“I really like positivity, I will try hard and I will put the effort in, so if something’s going wrong, it’s not because I’m not trying. I want someone who is patient, supportive and encouraging.”

Numbers queen and television presenter Rachel Riley, 27, is best known for co-presenting Countdown and The Gadget Show. The Oxford graduate was an unknown star when she joined Countdown in January 2009, becoming the face and brains behind the letters and mathematics solutions on the show. Chosen from more than a thousand applicants, despite having no television experience, Rachel has since filmed over 1000 episodes of the show. In June 2013, Rachel became a presenter on the Channel 5 programme The Gadget Show, co-hosting alongside Jason Bradbury.

What made you decide to take part in Strictly this year?

It is the opportunity that you just don’t turn down. I have never danced before, I have only had one hour of dancing lessons before my wedding and to get the chance to be taught by professionals – how to be graceful, elegant and move. It really appeals. As my friends know, I’m really clumsy and I have never been graceful in my life so maybe now is the time to start.

How would you rate your dancing skills out of 10?

There is dancing and then there is dancing. I’ve done Top Gear and when you’re with The Stig, you think ‘I can’t drive, I can’t drive, tell me what to do.’ Or if you’re on a cookery show and you’re with a chef you think ‘I can’t cook, I can’t cook anything.’ It’s the same again, if I’m on the dance floor when I’ve had a drink, I go for it with the girls and it’s fine. But with this kind of dancing, I will stick with a healthy 4 out of 10.

Who is your Strictly hero or heroine from a previous series and why?

There have been loads. I mean Denise Van Outen and Kara Tointon are both amazing. They grew up close to where I am from in Essex and they were both just fantastic dancers. They put so much effort in and training. Kara’s Argentine Tango was just insane. Watching back clips of them just terrifies me at this stage.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor

“I’m a big believer in serendipity. At this point in my life I feel like I can really enjoy this and I don’t have any fear about looking daft, so I’ll just go for it!”

Multi-platinum selling singer/songwriter, model and DJ Sophie Ellis-Bextor, 34, is certainly top of the pops. She achieved widespread success in the early 2000s with her disco inspired pop music, and is best known for the number one smash hit Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) by Spiller, as well as Take Me Home and Murder on the Dancefloor. With a song title to her name like Sophie has, let’s hope there’s no bloodshed on this dance floor.

What qualities are you looking for in your dance partner?

Well I’m quite competitive with myself – I’m not a competitive person with other people. I’m actually quite a good little pupil really, a goody goody. So I will work as hard as I can. I respond better to people that recognise that, rather than saying ‘that wasn’t it’, because I promise whatever I do I will be trying my hardest. There’s no point doing it if you don’t, so I want someone who is supportive of that. I think it can be worse for someone’s motivation if you’re too hard on them.

How would you rate your dancing skills out of 10?

Are we talking freestyle dancing with my mates? I’d probably put myself at 6 or 7. I’m not a bad person to be dancing with, I go for it. I keep changing my moves every few beats. I’m certainly enthusiastic, and always smiling. In terms of choreographed dancing – I’m probably closer to a 2 or a 3…

Do you have any tactics up your sleeve for going out on the dance floor?

The only thing for me is to think of it as almost like getting into character. Use the costume and the make-up and the whole experience. If I thought of me as ‘the me at home’ doing the dancing, it would be so scary and ridiculous. I’d probably be stuck in my tracks. If I imagine it more like I’m playing the part, then I think it will help me get through the nerves a little bit more. We’ll find out!

Susanna Reid

“I have always loved Strictly. BBC Breakfast presenters have done so well so when the opportunity came up I grabbed it with both hands.”

Journalist and presenter Susanna Reid, 42, is a face many will be used to waking up with having regularly presented BBC Breakfast since 2003. She has broken many major news stories, interviewed the Prime Minister and presented the BBC’s coverage of the Oscars live from Hollywood. Since 2008 Susanna has been part of Children In Need, and in 2011 performed in a Strictly competition with three other newsreaders, which she won with dance partner Robin Windsor. Now she’s had a taste, is Susanna looking to take the Strictly title once more?

Who is your Strictly hero / heroine from a previous series and why?

Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan’s Charleston, I could just watch over and over again. That was one of those priceless Strictly moments that makes you realise it is the most terrific fun. Natasha Kaplinsky was absolute perfection on the dance floor too. However of course Bill Turnbull will always be my absolute hero, he was brilliant.

What are you looking for in your dance partner?

I’m looking for someone who is very patient and who can just murmur in my ear when I forget the moves. The thing I am most scared about is forgetting the moves. I don’t want to train and train and then forget everything! I need someone who is going to gently encourage me. I hope I don’t make anyone angry. I definitely need patience and understanding in a partner.

How would you rate your dancing skills out of 10?

I wouldn’t rate myself as a dancer. I have danced and I enjoy dancing, but I’ll leave it to the judges to decide. Dancing gives you a thrill and a shot of adrenalin. I love it, but am I am good at it? I’ll leave that for others to decide.

Tony Jacklin

“I’m at the time of my life when I thought why not! I love music and I do think I’ve got a sense of rhythm. Now it’s very close I just want to get stuck into it.”

Sporting legend Tony Jacklin CBE, 69, is the most successful British golfer of all time. He has won a multitude of tournaments including the PGA Tour, European Tour and Senior PGA Tour, and his name hangs in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Tony has an extraordinary track record and has been the Ryder Cup Captain an incredible four times.  He is universally recognized as the man who changed the Ryder Cup, taking the European team to its first victory in 28 years in 1985. Since retiring from golf, Tony’s passion for the sport has continued and he now designs courses around the world. Let’s hope his swing is as good off the golf course as it is on!

What made you decide to sign up for Strictly this year?

I thought why wouldn’t I? I suppose one aspect of it, not having lived in the UK for a while, is there’s a generation probably who don’t know who I am or what I did. So there’s a bit of a challenge there. Maybe they will remember that actually I was quite good at what I used to do. So this is an opportunity to reintroduce myself.

How do you think you will fare on the Strictly dance floor?

Until the training starts and you have your disciplines it’s very difficult to get your head into it, but I shall endeavour to take in all the instruction and take it to heart. I want to do as well as I possibly can and I’m sure I’m bound to be worn out once the training starts but if that’s what it takes that’s what it takes. I’m here to do as well as I can and I don’t want to let my partner down in particular. She’ll be a professional and it’ll mean a lot to her. I just want her to know it means a lot to me too.

Being a golfer and having to master your techniques might make dancing a little easier for you?

Well maybe. I love music and I do think I’ve got a sense of rhythm. Music has been a big part of my life, all my life, and maybe that’ll work in a positive way. I hope so. I love lyrics so if they play songs that I know, that may be an inspiration too. But first you’ve got to know the steps. It’ll all be new territory, I need guidance. I know posture is important and how I present my dance partner. I’m assuming those issues are an important aspect to the overall judging.

Vanessa Feltz

“I am about to be a grandmother for the very first time and thought it would be wonderful to acquire a new skill at this advanced age, and it would be lovely to dance with a new baby.”

TV presenter, broadcaster and journalist Vanessa Feltz, 51, is known for having a sharp brain and a strong opinion. Since graduating from Cambridge University with a First Class Honours degree, Vanessa went on to write for the Daily Mirror, present Jewish radio show BBC GLR, and have a regular item on The Big Breakfast. Named Speech Radio Personality of the Year at the Sony Radio Academy Awards, she now writes a weekly column in the Daily Express and presents BBC Radio 2’s Early Breakfast Show. Vanessa has already shown she can steal the show when she took part in the BBC’s Let’s Dance for Comic Relief early this year, with her performance of Cher’s If I Could Turn Back Time.

How would you rate your dancing skills out of 10?

I don’t know how to dance. I can’t do any formal dances whatsoever. I can’t jive, I can’t salsa, I can’t cha cha cha, I can’t waltz – I just can’t dance at all really so I’d have to say a one. Although from a one the only way is up…unless I fall over then the only way is down!

Who is your Strictly hero / heroine from a previous series and why?

I liked Felicity Kendal. I loved it when her dance partner Vincent Simone said “Felicity you are so bendy” and then she kept on doing the splits because she could! It was lovely to see her, she was terrific. My Radio 2 colleague Zoe Ball was beautiful also – so willowy and elegant. When Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan did the charleston I burst into tears, it was beautiful. I am a big fan – I really love the show.

What comments do you aspire to get from the judges?

I’d like them to say that I tried hard and that I mastered the dance and that I don’t look like a fool, I don’t want them to say that they are affronted or disgusted or appalled, that I don’t look like a tugboat in full sail, that I don’t look like a bull in a china shop. I want them to say that I look like a dancer dancing. If they say that, I will be thrilled to pieces.

The Strictly Come Dancing 2013 Premiere will broadcast on Saturday September 7th at 6:50pm on BBC One and will feature a glittering Hollywood inspired red carpet event. On the show celebrities will be paired with their professional partners and then perform the first group number of the series, as well as performance from reigning champions Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace. Jessie J and Rod Stewart will also perform their latest singles.

Glitter balls are at the ready and the dance floor is set to dazzle as Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One this autumn with another bejewelled line up of celebrities ready to compete for the coveted glitter ball trophy. With more sparkle, sizzle and glitz, the eleventh series shimmies back onto screens with an exclusive Strictly Come Dancing 2013 Premiere on BBC One, Saturday 7th September 2013 at 6.50pm, hosted by none other than Sir Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly.

This year 15 celebrities will take on the challenge of perfecting the art of ballroom and Latin dancing under the tutelage of phenomenally talented professional dancers at the top of their game. This series five new professional dancers will be joining the ranks, Anya Garnis, Iveta Lukosiute, Janette Manrara, Kevin Clifton and Aljaz Skorjanec join Strictly’s renowned dancers Ola and James Jordan, Brendan Cole, Anton du Beke, Kristina Rihanoff, Robin Windsor, Karen Hauer and Aliona Vilani.

To kick off the series, events get underway with a burst of old school Hollywood glamour, as the 15 hopefuls face the flashbulbs and adoring fans before heading to the prestigious dance floor where their professional partners will be revealed. Viewers are given front row seats from their living rooms for those first impressions of the pairings, before getting a taste of what is to come as the celebrities take to the floor and perform a group routine for the very first time.

The next time we see our celebrities will be on the live shows starting in just a few weeks, when they must overcome their nerves, don their sequins and dance live to the nation in a bid impress judges Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and Darcey Bussell.

Online voting new for this year

But ultimately the public will decide who shall be victorious in their journey to the final. In a first for Strictly, this year as well as voting for their favourites by phone, viewers will be able to vote online for free.

Once again Claudia Winkleman joins Tess on Sunday evenings to present the Results Show where each couple with the lowest combined scores, from the judges and public vote, will face each other in the all-important dance off, with one couple leaving the competition for good. Strictly fans can catch all the latest backstage gossip, news and drama with presenter Zoe Ball in the weekday sister show It Takes Two over on BBC Two.

Strictly returns to Blackpool Tower Ballroom

And if all that wasn’t enough, this year Strictly Come Dancing returns to the world famous Blackpool Tower Ballroom as the celebrities compete to get their chance to perform at the illustrious home of ballroom dancing during the series.

It all starts here in the battle of the ballroom to see who will be crowned champion and lift the glitter ball trophy in 2013.

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