What's the reaction been like since you were announced?
Every reaction has been brilliant, overwhelmingly positive. In fact, they've said they're thrilled. There's a friend of ours who lives in a very rural, remote farmhouse. She's the last person that would watch Strictly or know anything about it. Shortly after I was revealed on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show I got a text from her which goes to show the huge reach this shows has, everyone watches it.
Is there anyone you think is your biggest competition?
That's difficult, it's hard to say, I think probably everyone.
Why did you want to take part in the show?
I've always been interested in dancing, I've always loved dance. When I was a kid, my mum was very keen for me to learn to dance. There was a dance academy across the road from my house. I went and had some lessons. As I was young I didn't pursue it and I've always regretted that because it's a lovely thing to do.
Whenever there's a situation that requires a formal dance, I was quite envious of everyone that can waltz around the floor with great aplomb. So hopefully that will be my take home from the whole show, a skill I'll have for life.
With that in mind, what are you looking for in your dance partner?
Someone who's very patient, very patient indeed. And doesn't mind the odd misstep. I'm a very quick learner but I might make a few mistakes along the way. So as long as someone is gonna be very patient with me, then that will be fine.
So what do you think your biggest challenge is going to be?
This is a world I don't know much about at all. I've been reading about ballroom dancing generally but it's all new to me. For me, learning the basics and then being able to pull off a coherent dance in the time we've got is a huge challenge which is why I've been reading about it. I want to know exactly what I'm getting into and I want to take it seriously and do as well as I possibly can for my dance partner too as they are being judged as well. They have got a tough job in turning around someone clumsy like me into something that can look like a dancer.
It sounds like you're doing your homework and learning about dancing.
Well, anything that I want to learn about I immerse myself in. Even the history of the dances and where the dances come from. And particularly for me as well, the technical aspects of it. One of my strengths is my knowledge of music and hopefully that'll help me in terms of rhythm by understanding how music works and then translate it into muscle memory, where you have to be on the dance floor at a certain time. I've been going through a lot of music and picking out tracks that may be a bit different to the usual music that's heard on Strictly.
How do you feel about all the glam costumes and being Strictly-fied?
Over the years, I've worn all manner of costumes, either for stage, theatre or on TV shows. I've dressed up as wizards, put spangly suits on, worn all manner of stuff, it's all part of the process.
Who was the first person you told you were taking part in Strictly?
My nieces and nephews. They were really excited about it.
Out of your friends and family, who is most excited about you being on the show?
Probably my nieces. Because they're all of an age where they have grown up with it.
Do you have a favourite dance or competitor from previous series?
I tell you who I thought did very well was the chap who won last year, Kelvin. He was incredible and seemed to be a natural.
Published: Monday 12th October 2020