Success of new telly show will bring a jig of delight for Daniel O'Donnell
Daniel O'Donnell could soon be laughing all the way to the bank - and not just because he's currently cutting a dash on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.
The Donegal crooner's new TV series, Daniel and Majella's B&B Road Trip, has yet to air but already television stations from the UK and other European countries - as well as the USA, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Canada - have shown interest in buying it.
The 53-year-old singer is, however, already feeling the heat on the dancefloor despite he and his professional partner Kristina Rihanoff impressing the judges during their debut live performance last week, scoring a respectable 24 out of 40 for his waltz to When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.
He recently admitted he can no longer sleep at night due to stress about remembering his moves. He has been getting up in the early hours to secretly practise and runs through moves when walking the streets near his rented accommodation in London.
"I am so consumed by the experience that I'm not sleeping well. I wake up at three or four in the morning, get out of bed and start practising my steps," he said.
"Some days as I walk down the street near my London apartment, I'll suddenly break into a dance move, with my hand in the air. I don't care who sees me." Modest Daniel admitted his awkward style - which he likened to a fictional puppet character from Sixties sci-fi TV series Thunderbirds - has tested his glamorous Russian dance partner to the limit.
In his fan club magazine he said: "Let me tell you, Kristina Rihanoff is a lady with an endless amount of patience. And just as well, because I've certainly been testing her good nature in the last week."
Daniel said he was initially reticent about appearing in Strictly - but Majella convinced him to commit to the show. In a radio interview the singer revealed BBC bosses have given him a "very tough" dance in next Friday's show, adding he also has a cold.
A successful run in Strictly would certainly boost the price of Daniel and his wife's new programme on UTV Ireland.
Head of channel at the station, Mary Curtis, said the company hoped the new show would be a big success. "There are no plans to air it in the UK at the moment but obviously it depends on the interest," she said. "There is already a healthy interest given Daniel's profile on Strictly.
"We know he has a large and loyal following in the likes of America, Australia and England, and we're obviously very keen to look at a second series."