Rylan Clark-Neal feared he would replace Zoe Ball on Strictly spin-off
The TV star was offered the job of It Takes Two co-host after Ball decided to cut back on her hours.
New It Takes Two host Rylan Clark-Neal worried that he might be putting Zoe Ball out of a job.
The TV star, who found fame after being a contestant on The X Factor in 2012, has landed the job of co-hosting the Strictly Come Dancing spin-off alongside Ball this year.
However, he said that when BBC bosses first told him the news, he had to ring the radio DJ to check he was not taking her role.
The 30-year-old has had a bumper year, representing the UK as spokesman at the Eurovision Song Contest before announcing he would be fronting reboots of Ready Steady Cook and Supermarket Sweep.
Clark-Neal, from Essex, said his Strictly news had come “completely out of the blue”.
He said: “Originally I thought they were asking me to be a contestant – I thought ‘No, I’m not doing it. I can’t go back into a competition.’
“But when they said it was presenting I had to ring Zoe to make sure I wasn’t taking her job.
“She said ‘No, I’m cutting my time back a bit – I want you to do it’.
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) September 11, 2019
NEWS: It Takes Two comes to @BBCOne at 5.15pm for two weeks on the 23rd September with @ZoeTheBall and @Rylan! Before returning to its home on @BBCTwo 6.30pm Monday to Thursday and 6pm Fridays. pic.twitter.com/7rZKKyZ3ti
“I’ve watched Strictly every single year. I think the only year I didn’t watch it was when I was on the X Factor. I was a bit busy in 2012.
“But apart from that, I’ve always watched it. When my telly mum Ruth was on the show, I came down to support her.
“Strictly is a machine, it’s a beast. It’s the biggest show on television, I was thrilled I was allowed to come to watch the show – let alone work on it. It’s a massive honour.”
Clark-Neal will host the show on Mondays and Tuesdays while Ball will take Wednesday and Thursday, before they host Friday together.
He said he was most excited to see children’s presenter Anneka Rice debut on the dance floor, alongside her professional partner Kevin Clifton.
“Oh my God, that is hard,” he said when asked to choose who he had his eye on.
“I know that Anneka is ultra-nervous. Hello, you are Challenge Anneka.
“I think she might be the sort to really put her head down and work. Because she is nervous she might train really hard. But I really don’t know. It’s way too early to call.
“I’m genuinely looking forward to watching all of them – what I love about Strictly is that you see how people start and you see how they change.
“People turn from absolute novice dancers into ballroom professionals. I love it.”
It Takes Two begins on BBC One on Monday September 23.