Belfast Telegraph

Anneka Rice confirmed as final celebrity for Strictly Come Dancing

It will be a case of Challenge Anneka as she takes to the dance floor for the BBC One series.

Anneka Rice confirmed as final celebrity for Strictly Come Dancing (Ian West/PA)
Anneka Rice confirmed as final celebrity for Strictly Come Dancing (Ian West/PA)

Anneka Rice is the 15th and final celebrity contestant to be confirmed to have signed up for Strictly Come Dancing.

The veteran broadcaster, 60, joked that she has not “got a shimmy in me” and that she is this year’s “Ann Widdecombe figure” as she was unveiled on Steve Wright In The Afternoon on BBC Radio 2.

Rice said: “Oh the stress of being the last person. Even though it’s been in the papers for weeks, because I haven’t told anyone, not even my family.

“It was very easy to deflect people because nobody ever thought I would do it.”

She added: “I have never danced in front of one member of my family or anyone who knows me.

“I haven’t danced since I was seven, since I was sacked from ballet because I looked like a big pudding, a rice pudding, that was my nickname.

“She sent me home because I was plain and podgy, so I haven’t danced since because I’ve had a complete thing about it.

“My sons said it’s a joke but this is the year for me, my last son has just left university.

“I’m feeling reckless, I’ve done two reckless things this year, I did stand-up for the first time and I took part in the Sky Arts portrait artist of the year competition, having never drawn a head before.”

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(PA Graphics)

Rice said she attempted a Zumba class in 2011, but it was a “disaster” and that she could not follow it at all.

The TV stalwart, known for flitting across the country in colourful jumpsuits on Channel 4 gameshow Treasure Hunt and then her own series Challenge Anneka in the 1980s and 1990s, said she is not a “girly girl” and is concerned about wearing “flouncy” dresses on the dance floor.

Rice followed double Olympic gold medal-winning rower James Cracknell, who was confirmed as the 14th star on the Strictly line-up earlier on Wednesday.

The sports star, who was unveiled on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, said that his ex-wife Beverley Turner had previously banned him from taking part in the show because of the so-called Strictly curse.

The former rowing world champion said of his family’s response to him joining this year: “They’re really embarrassed for me!

“Bev was supportive and the kids went ‘No’.”

“My 15-year-old said ‘You’ve got to do some dad dancing’. That is my dancing!”

This year’s Strictly line-up is also comprised of former football stars Alex Scott and David James, Made In Chelsea’s Jamie Laing, RuPaul’s Drag Race star Michelle Visage, Paralympic champion Will Bayley, ex-Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley, EastEnders star Emma Barton, comedian Chris Ramsey, YouTube personality Saffron Barker, Radio 1 DJ Dev Griffin, chef and socialite Emma, Viscountess Weymouth, BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell and children’s TV host Karim Zeroual.

PA

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