Belfast Telegraph

Rugby's Evans joins Strictly fray

Former rugby star Thom Evans has become the latest name to tackle the challenge of ballroom dancing after signing up for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Thom, a cousin of Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans and former boyfriend of Kelly Brook, quit the game aged 24 after suffering a serious neck injury during a game in 2010.

He said: "I'm so happy to be doing the show, I cannot wait to get started. I'm really looking forward to my Strictly makeover - bring on Strictly and bring on the Spandex."

Thom, who played 10 times for Scotland and had stints with London Wasps and Glasgow Warriors before his career ended, is the fourth celebrity contestant announced for the new series joining This Morning presenter Alison Hammond, Judy Murray and The Saturdays singer Frankie Bridge in the hit BBC ballroom show.

It has also been reported that EastEnders actor Jake Wood will be swapping the grit of Albert Square for the glitz of the ballroom.

Best known for playing shady, troubled Max Branning in the BBC soap, he will be following in the footsteps of fellow castmates including Scott Maslen, who played his on-screen brother Jack, Ricky Groves, who played Gary Hobbs and Natalie Cassidy, who is Sonia Fowler in the soap, according to The Sun.

A show insider told the newspaper: "EastEnders stars have traditionally done well on Strictly and Jake hopes he can do the same. Bosses hope he'll be a favourite among female viewers, particularly since his soap character is such a hit with the ladies."

The new series, featuring 15 celebrities and their professional partners competing for the glitter ball trophy, returns to BBC One in the autumn and will be the first one without veteran host Sir Bruce Forsyth, with Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman sharing the presenting job.

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