Belfast Telegraph

Strictly Come Dancing: How the contestants fare before the first live show

All the celebrities will take to the floor this weekend.

This year’s Strictly Come Dancing contestants (Ray Burmiston/BBC)
This year’s Strictly Come Dancing contestants (Ray Burmiston/BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing contestants are preparing for the first live show of the series.

As some battle nerves and others face complaints of previous dance experience, here is a glimpse of what could be in store in week one.

Danny John-Jules

At 58, the Red Dwarf and Death In Paradise star is the oldest contestant this year.

“People say, ‘You look so fit’,” John-Jules, who will be dancing the Foxtrot with Amy Dowden, said.

But he told Good Morning Britain: “My legs are just like lead.”

Susannah Constantine

Bookies make the former What Not To Wear star, partnered with Anton Du Beke, favourite to get the axe first on the TV show – although everyone will be safe until week two.

She has already injured herself while training for her Samba, telling Radio Times magazine she “pulled a muscle in my ribs”.

Constantine has pledged to stand up to judge Craig Revel Horwood but is suffering from nerves, saying the prospect of dancing live in front of the judges and audience “liquefies my bowels”.

Dr Ranj 

Dr Ranj, partnered with Janette Manrara, is “terrified” of the Strictly judges.

But he told the Press Association that rehearsing for the Cha Cha Cha had given him a confidence boost.

“I’m not necessarily the most physically confident person and this really has forced me to get my body to do what I need it to do,” he said.

Katie Piper

Piper has been struggling to remember her steps, saying that Strictly has made her realise her short term memory is “dreadful”.

Injuries suffered from an acid attack, including being blind in her left eye, will make dancing more difficult but “won’t hold me back”, she said.

After it emerged recently that the man who threw acid over the TV presenter is to be released from prison, Piper, who will be dancing the Waltz with Gorka Marquez, has described Strictly as a “positive distraction”.

Graeme Swann

There is one thing the former England cricketer says he will not do on Strictly.

He has promised a “fight to the death” if anyone suggests waxing his chest.

“That’s not happening,” Swann, who will be dancing the Samba with Oti Mabuse, said.

So, no shirt slashed to the navel, then.

Lauren Steadman

Aged 25, the Paralympic athlete is the youngest contestant on this year’s series.

She has revealed her trepidation at taking on the Waltz, saying it was the dance she least wanted to attempt first.

Steadman, partnered with AJ Pritchard, has said: “Obviously, being an athlete, muscles are sore. I think with the waltz it’s the position, it’s the head and the slowness of it.”

Faye Tozer

Steps star Tozer, who will be performing the Cha Cha Cha with Giovanni Pernice, has been “knocking on Strictly’s door for years” and is thrilled to finally get on the BBC show.

Her bandmate Claire Richards has defended Tozer’s dance experience, telling the Press Association: “Just because she’s a dancer and she’s got experience, it doesn’t mean she’s gonna be amazing at doing the tango or the salsa. It’s a very different type of dancing.”

Lee Ryan

The Blue singer and ex-EastEnders star will be battling to put the focus on his steps in his first dance, a waltz, instead of speculation about chemistry with Nadiya Bychkova.

Asked whether any of Blue’s dance moves could help him in Strictly, he joked to What’s On TV: “Have you seen Blue perform? We’re like a ‘dad dance’ band!”

He has praised his dance partner, saying: “She’s kicking my derriere right in shape,” and added: “The hardest thing for me might be not singing along.”

Charles Venn

The Casualty actor, who boasts an impressive six-pack, has been paired with Karen Clifton and the couple are dancing the Cha Cha Cha on Saturday.

He said that there are “parts that are struggling to stick” while his dance partner has told him: “Don’t be Beyonce!”

Seann Walsh

The stand-up comic, performing the Tango, is partnered up with Katya Jones.

He told the Daily Star: “I’ve not actually seen any whips just yet, but boy she’s tough. ”

Kate Silverton

Unlike some of the names in this year’s line-up, Silverton, who has been partnered with Aljaz Skorjanek, will benefit in the early weeks from being a famous face.

She will be performing the Cha Cha Cha as her first dance and has joked that being on the show could reverse the Strictly curse.

Her husband has sent her texts saying: “You looked really hot today babe” with Silverton writing in the Daily Mail: “I’m all for it! I reckon we’ll reverse the Strictly curse. It may even end up Strictly marriage magic!”

Ashley Roberts

Like Tozer, Roberts has enjoyed dance experience as one of the Pussycat Dolls.

But she has defended her inclusion on the BBC1 show, telling Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans: “The Latin and ballroom world is foreign to me.”

Ashley Roberts with her dance partner Pasha Kovalev (Ray Burmiston/PA)

Roberts, who could have also picked up a few tips as a judge on rival show Dancing On Ice, will be performing the Viennese Waltz with Pasha Kovalev.

Stacey Dooley

Stacey Dooley has one powerful motivation – she really does not want to be first to get the boot.

“If I go out first, I’ll be so beside myself I’ll have to emigrate,” she told Radio Times.

A well-known face with younger viewers for her BBC Three documentaries, Dooley will be performing the Quickstep with dance partner Kevin Clifton.

Vick Hope

Despite being a lesser-known name when it was revealed she had joined the show, Hope is now a favourite to win.

The Capital FM DJ has been teamed up with one of the new dancers, heartthrob Graziano Di Prima, and the couple will be performing a Jive on the first week.

Vick Hope with her dance partner Graziano Di Prima (Ray Burmiston/PA)

She has had some contemporary dance experience although not of the kind usually seen on Strictly – “pretending to be a rock”.

Joe Sugg

A YouTube star, Sugg is an unknown to many Strictly viewers, sparking more complaints about a lack of big names on the series.

But show bosses hope the 27-year-old will pull in a young audience.

Sugg, who will be dancing a Jive with Dianne Buswell, previously told Radio 1 he will be wearing a Cuban heel.

“I’m not the tallest. So I’m going to really embrace that,” he said.

Press Association


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