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“I think we all took theatre for granted”: Life according to Strictly star, Janette Manrara

© Colin ThomasJanette Manrara as Faye Dunnaway
Janette Manrara as Faye Dunnaway

The Strictly favourite talks about becoming a TV presenter, dancing
with loved ones and why it’s time for Oscars recognition.

Have you enjoyed making the transition from Strictly dancer to presenter?

I absolutely love it, this has been a dream come true for me. I always like to think about what’s next, even though I make sure to be present and enjoy the gifts and opportunities I am given at the time, like Strictly.

For many years I’ve thought that after dancing I would like to stay in entertainment and television, and presenting felt like the natural progression for me.

To present a show about dancing like It Takes Two doesn’t get any better. And there was Morning Live. I’ve always liked the daytime TV family – Lorraine, Loose Women, Morning Live – so to join that realm made me very excited.

Do you hope to be able to juggle dancing and presenting?

I’m really enjoying the balance of doing both. I can never see myself not dancing, so to still be performing on tour and to start transitioning over to presenting feels like I have the perfect life balance and it’s a lovely feeling.

Are you excited to finally take your new show, Remembering The Oscars, out on tour after it was postponed in 2020?

I feel like I need to pinch myself. It was the day before technical rehearsals began in 2020 that we realised it couldn’t happen. I always tried to be hopeful and to see light at the end of the tunnel.

It was postponed twice and I tried to give myself positive reassurance that it would happen no matter what, even if it was two, three or four years down the line. I’m excited about people coming back to the theatres – I think we all took theatre for granted before.

Is it fun to dance with your husband, Aljaz, again?

I missed dancing with my husband on Strictly. We met 11 years ago dancing on a show together, so it’s nice to go back to that normality of being on the road together and dancing together again. I have such a connection with so many of the cast, though. We also have Ash-Leigh Hunter, who we met on Burn the Floor 11 years ago, and Robbie Kmetoni, who I was dancing with when I met Aljaz.

What is the show about?

It’s all Oscar connected – movies, actors, actresses, scores – that have won or been nominated. We also have a segment where we suggest a choreography category be added to the Oscars, because Aljaz and I were baffled when we realised there is no recognition at the Academy Awards for movement in film that involves dancing, so this is a tiny campaign we’re starting.

Do you have a busy year ahead?

Remembering The Oscars takes us through to May, then we have another tour – Burn The Floor – in July, and then Strictly will be back around and hopefully I will have It Takes Two again.


Eden Court, Inverness, Wednesday then further Scottish dates.

For full list see rememberingtheoscars.com