Belfast Telegraph

Stevens takes on Strictly again

Rachel Stevens has said she had just one day to prepare herself for a return to Strictly Come Dancing when Frankie Bridge dropped out of the tour.

The former runner-up of the BBC dancing contest has been drafted in to replace this year's runner-up Frankie, who has had to drop out of the live tour because she is pregnant with her second child.

Professional dancer Kevin Clifton will now be partnered by Rachel, who said at the tour's launch: "They can't keep me away, I just keep coming back. I got a call last Thursday, Friday was in rehearsals and thrown in at the deep end with a look of, 'Oh my god, where am I supposed to be?'."

Kevin added: "This time last week I didn't even know if I was going to be on the tour, but then when I heard it was Rachel I was really happy because Rachel is obviously really good.

"She's come in and had to learn seven dances in a week, whereas usually you only have to do one."

Rachel said: "Muscle memory, thank God, kicked in. This is much less pressure than the TV shows for Strictly - I find it really hard going out on live TV.

"I always love live performing anyway, it's that real interaction you get with the audience."

A slightly more nervous Kevin replied: "I'll be looking to Rachel to help me out with the nerves for this, then."

Rachel admitted: "We both get so nervous with everything we do anyway. It's good to have those nerves."

Strictly Come Dancing's tour begins in Birmingham on January 16.

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