Strictly Come Dancing 2022: 15 things we found out about this year’s stars

By Emma Saunders
entertainment reporter

image source, PA Media

It’s that time again… there’s an autumn chill in the air, the kids are FINALLY back to school, and sequins are frantically sewn onto dozens of fabulous costumes. Strictly is back!

Anton Du Beke returns to the jury, but this time on a permanent basis as he officially takes over from Bruno Tonioli.

Despite being a bundle of energy, the Italian has clearly decided that the jet lag of bombing back and forth between LA (where he films Dancing with the Stars) and London is too much even for him.

Anton is once again joined by Chief Judge Shirley Ballas plus Motsi Mabuse and the fantastic Craig Revel Horwood.

The launch show is on Friday, which has been postponed due to the Queen’s passing earlier this month. To whet your appetite, here’s what the famous contestants revealed just as they started rehearsals.

1. Kym Marsh had to borrow some underwear on the first day of training

image source, Kym Marsh

The actress’s husband was supposed to bring her suitcase to the hotel, but he was late and she finished her first sweaty dance practice earlier than planned.

“I had no clothes, no change of underwear, nothing!” she says. “Jayde” [Adams] have something for me to borrow, and a Deliveroo.”

Kym, who used to deal with Nasty Nigel on Popstars, can’t be worried about Craig, can he?

“Nothing could be worse than that, being called fat on television. How beautiful! But I think” [Craig] will be horrible,” she jokes.

2. Matt Goss could go full John Travolta or James Bond. Or both.

image source, PA Media

The singer says that Strictly training is very different from preparing for performances as a solo artist.

“The biggest hindrance… is that we weren’t told” [as solo performers] “You have to put your foot there, leave it there. You have to move this way. You have to do this.’ The reason we didn’t want good jobs is because we don’t like being told what to do on stage. And when you do it that long, it’s a tough habit to break. So you try to move a certain way [in training] But you’re strictly regulated with that choreography.”

Matt is back home in the UK after 11 years as a Las Vegas headliner, but says he “wasn’t happy at the end. I didn’t feel connected”.

“I’ve made up my mind after the success of my last record, I’m coming back to the UK. Called Strictly and I was like, ‘If I don’t do this, I’m going back to my comfort zone of just working,'” says the former Bros star , who says the first person he told was his twin brother Luke.

3. Hamza Yassin Got Lycra Advice From Reverend Richard Coles

image source, PA Media

The nature presenter and cameraman made a documentary with the man of the cloth, who participated in Strictly in 2017.

“He’s a great guy,” Hamza says. “He said, ‘Enjoy every moment. If you don’t normally wear lycra — and they’re going to ask you to wear lycra — then do it, because you’re going to look sexy!'”

Hamza says participating in the show is already a win.

“I’m severely dyslexic. So to know that someone with dyslexia who is as severe as I am is successful on TV, it’s amazing.”

4. Can Brad Pitt perform special for Ellie Taylor?

image source, PA Media

The A-list movie star is a fan of The Great Pottery Showdown, which comedian and actress Ellie co-hosts. So is she hoping for a video message from the man himself?

“I’m sure Brad Pitt will just slip into my DMs and say ‘I loved you!'” she laughs.

Ellie adds that after doing a Strictly sketch on The Mash Report, it feels surreal to now appear in real life.

“You walk into the ballroom and think, ‘My god, I’m here and it’s Shirley Ballas!’

“It’s crazy. It feels like you just jumped into the television.’

5. Jayde Adams wants to be Bristol’s answer to Bette Midler

image source, PA Media

The star of Alma’s Not Normal isn’t worried about being dismissed as a novelty for being a cartoonist.

“Well, I hope so! I sing, I dance, I act, I do funny things. I’ve always wanted to be a bit of a Bristolian Bette Midler.”

Jayde is collaborating with a woman on this series and is looking forward to experimenting.

“If you have partnerships where you have a plus-sized man [with a female professional],,It’s easy for him because he can always lift the girl but when you have it the other way around, you have that imbalance. The [professional] guys are great they are not rugby players. So I thought I would be able to get into all the acrobatics.”

As for who will lead and who will follow, she says, “I think we might be getting it mixed up a bit.”

6. Richie Anderson has a special Strictly cocktail

image source, PA Media

The Radio 2 travel presenter will miss one big Strict tradition this year.

“Every year I have a big cocktail party at my house on launch night,” he explains. “So my mom is smoking [that there won’t be one this year]! I make a Charleston cocktail, it’s like a blackcurrant liqueur. I’ll give you the recipe!”

The Strictly superfan dances with a male partner.

“It was a no-brainer [choosing to dance with a same sex partner]. I wish as a gay teen I could have turned on prime-time television on a Saturday night and watched two men dance together.”

7. Ellie Simmonds wants to prove that dancing is for everyone

image source, PA Media

“Of [having] dwarfism, I was able to go to the studio to make sure things can work for me, even something simple like they’ve given me lower rails so I can put on my outfits. We also receive physio and psychological support.

She says she and her [yet to be announced] dance partner will learn together.

“He’s never danced with anyone with dwarfism. And I’ve never danced in my life. We’re just going to… adjust. If I have to hold him differently, I’ll hold him differently… but I think if I can do it… people watching from home can realize they can adapt. Dancing is for everyone.”

8. Will Mellor Could Be Craig’s Private Dancer

image source, PA Media

The actor was handpicked by the judge last month during an interview on BBC’s The One Show, with Craig saying of Will: “I think he has a real charm about him and I think he’ll be able to convey that on the dance floor. “

Will jokingly refers to a famous Tina Turner track: “I was Craig’s private dancer for years, his dancer for money.”

Before going “Strictly-fied”, Will tells us that the most outrageous outfit he’s worn (so far) was one for “a Mamma Mia revamp on ITV…with knee-high platform boots. I looked at it and thought. : ‘That may have been a mistake!'”

9. Tony Adams is looking forward to demonstrating his silky smooth skills

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The former Arsenal and England captain is under no illusions about the challenge ahead.

“This isn’t the football field. It’s a little different! I’m kinda on my toes. The only thing mean is the hind leg!”

Several ex-pro football players have previously participated in the show, including Peter Schmeichel, Peter Shilton and Robbie Savage.

“They all said don’t do it, don’t be stupid,” Tony jokes.

“I’m at a stage in my life where I can do anything. I’m free from addiction, I haven’t taken alcohol or drugs for 26 years and can just go in, nuts and bolts.”

10. Molly Rainford thinks she can handle Craig after Simon Cowell

image source, PA Media

CBBC star and singer Molly first rose to fame on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent as a child, reaching the final 10 years ago. But this time she’s a little more anxious.

“When I was 11, I don’t think I knew what I was getting into,” she says. “While I kind of do that now. I’m definitely a little bit more nervous than when I was little.

“Because I’ve Had Simon” [Cowell as a judge], am I afraid of Craig? I know Simon was a little gentle and at the end he was a really big teddy bear. So hopefully Craig is the same!”

11. Fleur East will ‘surrender to the sequins’

image source, PA Media

The singer and presenter is friends with AJ Odudu, who participated in Strictly last year.

“I would love to dance to my own music, that would be great. My mother is from Ghana and I grew up with high life music and afrobeats. It would be really nice to do something like that.”

Fleur is already feeling the tension – she was two hours late for her radio breakfast show after the first day of filming.

“I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I was wobbling and shaking until the wee hours and it knocked me out!” she told her listeners on Hits Radio. You’ll get used to it, Fleur.

12. Tyler West is a little scared of the elevators

image source, PA Media

“I was nervous about the lifts because even though I go to the gym and… I feel pretty strong physically, this is very different,” he says. “To do that [a lift] running around on the dance floor for a whole minute is crazy!”

He says he loves people getting to know him.

“It gives you a chance to just show who we really are. And I feel like I was the kid that went to a show like Strictly with my family and [could] saying, ‘Wait, I look like them or I sound like him or I have dreadlocks or whatever’ is motivation. The representation is there.”

image source, PA Media

James Bye, who plays Martin Fowler in EastEnders, says he doesn’t feel any pressure after his opponent Rose Ayling-Ellis won Strictly last year.

“I’m not very competitive. So as long as I beat Rose it won’t bother me!” he smiles.

James is one of a long line of EastEnders actors to take part, so who else would he want to see try?

“I’d love it if Lacey (Turner) did it. I don’t know if she would, but I think she’d be fantastic. Or Steve McFadden. I think Phil Mitchell in sequins would be the ultimate!”

14. Helen Skelton enjoys being able to talk a lot

image source, PA Media

“I think the fun thing about this is for me… normally I’m alone, it’s just the nature of my job,” says the former Blue Peter presenter.

“I went to Antarctica [for Sport Relief], they purposely got a non-English speaking sound guy because they wanted me to be alone, like a real explorer. While this is nice to be in and around people, to share something in a team. That’s why I talk a lot!”

Her family is getting ready to see Helen walking around with her things later this month.

“My mom is excited, my dad is excited, even my brother, and I love him as I say this, he’s the most serious man in the world – and he’s excited!”

15. Kaye Adams put in hours already

image source, PA Media

The anchor of Loose Women has been practicing her Charleston swivel.

“Why did I do this? It took me six weeks [to be able to do it]! I’m going to sign up for 2023!” she jokes.

But don’t worry, Kaye got some great advice from the Loose Women who have already taken part in the show.

“They basically said to me, ‘Don’t screw it up!'”

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