Belfast Telegraph

Strictly contestants learn partners

Strictly Come Dancing presenter Tess Daly thought contestant Ashley Taylor Dawson had fainted after he playfully slumped to the floor on learning he was to partner Ola Jordan.

The Hollyoaks actor dropped to the floor for several seconds during the launch show, briefly alarming the show's co-host and some members of the audience that he had been taken ill.

But he bounced back up to show he was fine during the programme in which the 15 contestants were introduced to their professional partners.

Ashley, 31, later told of his delight at being teamed with Polish professional Ola who has already won the contest once in 2009 when she was paired with Chris Hollins.

He said: "I couldn't have a better teacher and I know she wants to be the first one to win it twice."

Ola's husband James Jordan - also a dancer on the show - has been teamed up with broadcaster Vanessa Feltz and she too was pleased with the choice.

Tess and Sir Bruce Forsyth introduced each of the stars to their new partners who will coach them and choreograph their dances over the coming weeks. Anton du Beke, who has been known for his rather comic pairings after dancing with Jerry Hall, Nancy Dell'Olio and Ann Widdecombe in the past three series, is with actress and former Bond girl Fiona Fullerton this time.

She said: "I wanted him. I've said it about eight times in interviews."

Singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor is paired with Brendan Cole and Countdown maths whizz Rachel Riley will be dancing with Pasha Kovalev who has made it to the finals on each of the two series in which he has appeared.

Dragons' Den star Deborah Meaden is being partnered by Robin Windsor, model Abbey Clancy will strut her stuff with newcomer Aljaz Skorjanec and BBC Breakfast presenter Susanna Reid is with Kevin Clifton. Coronation Street actress Natalie Gumede is with tough taskmaster Artem Chigvintsev and realises he will expect a lot of her.


From Belfast Telegraph