Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Why Zoe Salmon will be dancing with delight when Northern Ireland score this summer

TV presenter Zoe Salmon tells Stephanie Bell how happy she is to be back living in Belfast after a surprise wedding and the part she played in choosing the anthem for Michael O'Neill's side ahead of the European Championships in June.

Published 16/05/2016

City girl: Zoe Salmon
City girl: Zoe Salmon
Happy times: Zoe’s big break came as a presenter on Blue Peter
Zoe and William Corrie when they got engaged
So cool: Zoe with Dancing On Ice partner Matt Evers
Bear Grylls
On the ball: Zoe helps pick the anthem for the Northern Ireland team
Peter Coleman

Glamorous newly-wed TV presenter Zoe Salmon has teamed up with three of Northern Ireland's top soccer stars to find a quirky "dance anthem" for local fans to copy during the European Championship celebrations.

And there is no slowing down for the Bangor beauty who has just got married, and is still something of an action girl, long after her Blue Peter days. Zoe rarely shies away from a challenge and has recently finished filming a celebrity version of the reality show The Island led by Donaghdee-born Bear Grylls. The series will air in October as part of Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK's Stand Up to Cancer campaign.

For contractual reasons, Zoe remains tight-lipped on how she got on in the survival show, but added it was one of the best experiences of her life.

For now, though, she was keen to get involved when it came to finding the perfect cheerleading anthem for the Northern Ireland football team when they compete at the European Championships next month - and a winner has been found.

Forget the Mexican wave, when our boys in green take to the pitch in Paris this summer local fans will be celebrating with a 'body percussion' - a unique set of moves which fans at home and in the stadiums are being urged to use to cheer on the local team.

In her first interview since she married Northern Irish fiance William Corrie in an intimate ceremony in Barbados earlier this month, Zoe revealed her joy at being asked to play such a big part in the build up to the local team's preparations for France in June.

She is thrilled to have been asked by Vauxhall Motors, which is the official sponsor of the Northern Ireland football team, to join local heroes Corry Evans, Stuart Dallas and Gareth McAuley in a campaign to find the ultimate #GetIN goal celebration.

The former Blue Peter presenter and Miss Northern Ireland joined the soccer stars to help kick off Vauxhall's campaign with a Britain's-Got-Talent-style audition of the public here.

In true talent show fashion, a bunch of weird and wonderful acts competed to impress the famous judges.

Zoe had the task of hosting while the three boys stood in as judges.

For Zoe, who is now based in Belfast but flies back and forward to London for work, it was the perfect job as it gave her a chance to join in the excitement of the build up to the tournament.

"I was so happy Vauxhall asked me to be part of it," she said.

"It's great to see our wee country taking part. We are such a wee super power when it comes to sport.

"It is an exciting time for all of us and I feel proud like everyone else. And this is our time now and it is very exciting to be part of it.

"Corry, Gareth and Stuart all made excellent judges but it was clear that Stuart was the hardest judge to impress.

"It took a lot to get a high score from him. I loved working on it with everyone and it was a lot of fun.

"There was a real variety of acts and a lot of banter making it a brilliant day's filming in Birmingham.

"Our winner performed a unusual move which I can only describe as 'body clapping'. And I am sure it is something that will catch on and which will be a bit of crack for fans and a way for everyone to join in and enjoy Northern Ireland being on the world stage. "

Local people applied in their dozens for the chance to have their special moves used by supporters during the Championships with eight finalists making it through to the final auditions. In a hilarious video, which can now be viewed by fans online, Belfast-born, Corry Evans was lost for words when 57-year-old Jill Buchanan tickled his chin after performing her cheekily named "Jill's jiggle". Meanwhile, Stuart Dallas scored the dancing hopeful a very harsh "one point".

Gareth McAuley's initial surprise turned into fits of laughter as one performer, Josh Macdowell, completed a full dance routine.

Giving Simon Cowell a run for his money, Dallas was lost for words at the performance, stating he "wasn't sure what to think of it to be honest".

Zoe welcomed and encouraged all the acts and kept a straight face even when confronted with some of the slightly more unusual goal celebrations - including Harley Fox, who dressed for the occasion head to toe in Northern Irish green - and impressively kept up four large round hoops during her hula-hoop performance.

Gymnast, Mike Corr, impressed players with his exciting front and sideways celebratory flips, but ultimately, all three judges were most impressed with Peter Coleman from Co Antrim, who beat off other competition by performing a body percussion routine.

Peter scored a perfect 30 out of 30 and his impressive celebration will now become the official #GetIN "moves" for Northern Ireland this summer.

A surprised but delighted winner,Peter (28), who is originally from Lisburn but now lives in London where he teaches public speaking, said he developed his 'body percussion' moves after breaking his back in an accident when he was in his teens.

He recalls: "I started doing it when I was about 13, but after years of annoying friends with just practising during lunch break I then went on to study dance at drama school in England.

"It was a move which I decided to make after I broke my back on a trampoline, realising I didn't want to spend my life doing nothing. The dance did nothing but fuel my sense of rhythm and, of course, my freedom to stop caring about whether it looked good or not.

"I was very surprised to win. This is the first time I've really showed many people outside of my friends that I even do 'body percussion' - so to win and have so many people potentially copy it, is quite a surprise."

The idea now is that Peter's moves become the celebratory reaction for Northern Ireland fans cheering on the players during the European Championships.

He can't quite believe that his moves could be copied by fans across the world: "To think that thousands of people will use my moves? It would be an honour and it would be funny. I'm over the moon, especially when it's good old Norn' Iron. I love my home country and anyone can celebrate a goal with me.

"I'll be watching to see how Corry, Stuart, Gareth and the rest of the team get on this year and now I've got an even better reason than usual to follow. It's incredible to have met some of the team and so much fun that people will be seeing my style of goal celebration."

As Zoe helped launch the campaign this week, she revealed that she has now settled back in Belfast with her new husband after 10 years living in London.

Her TV career took off after she landed a job presenting Blue Peter in 2004 and ever since she has appeared regularly on top shows such as Dancing on Ice and Celebrity Masterchef.

The 36-year-old from Bangor tied the knot with her boyfriend of five years, Newtownards butcher William Corrie, at the Sandy Lane beach resort in Barbados where the couple had got engaged six months ago.

Zoe met her new husband at a friend's wedding at Castle Leslie in April 2011 and on his birthday last November he asked Zoe to be his wife while they were on holiday.

Zoe looked stunning in a beaded gown with a long train from wedding designer Berta and William said of his bride: "When I saw Zoe arrive I thought: 'Wow'."

The couple had initially planned to marry in Northern Ireland and told no one, including family, of their change of heart.

It was obvious that being alone made the day very special. Zoe said: "What was so lovely was that every single conversation we had that day was with each other. It was really intimate and we had so much space to breathe and take in every special moment."

She and William are looking forward to celebrating their wedding with friends and family.

She says: "We haven't had a party at home yet but definitely plan to very soon."

Since returning from her wedding, Zoe has thrown herself back into work. She now commutes between her home in Belfast and London.

She says: "I'm flying back and forward to London every couple of weeks and I love it. I get the best of both worlds. I just love being home with my family and friends and also having had a decade of living in London I have a complete circle of friends there, too, so it is good to get back and see them.

"Northern Ireland is just so green and beautiful and it is quite nice to go to work in London and then come back home to chill out."

Zoe was known for her dare devil stunts during her years with Blue Peter and a recent stint on The Island with Bear Grylls showed that she is still as much of an action girl as ever.

While she can't yet disclose full details of the challenges that she faced on the island yet, she did reveal: "It was the best experiences of my life but it was tough.

"When my friends found out I had done it they just said 'Oh my goodness - are you crazy?' The response from friends has been amazing and has made me feel really cool.

"It was the hardest thing ever. There are no gimmicks. What you see is 100% real and it is 100% survival.

"When I was asked I didn't hesitate. I think there is this thing in me that says if you are going to live you might as well go for it and throw yourself into extreme situations. And there is nothing like being thrown on a desert island and left to cope."

The show is to be shown later this year as part of Channel Four's Stand Up to Cancer campaign.

To see Zoe host the new Northern Ireland "body percussion" talent show and start now to practice your own moves for France go to https://www.youtube.com/embed/jjT82pJb0-0.

You can also see the video and winning dance moves at vauxhallfootball.co.uk and search #GetIN for more behind-the-scenes content, competitions and exclusive access to the teams.

The Island with Bear Grylls will be on Channel 4 in October

Belfast Telegraph

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph