Dust down your glitterball and prepare to hit the floor as Strictly Come Dancing returns.
Summer is strictly over with the return of the BBC dance show and, this year, one of the youngest contestants is 19-year-old Tilly Ramsay, a social media star and daughter of TV chef Gordon Ramsay. Father and daughter went viral when a video of them dancing together racked up 54 million views on TikTok.
Though cautiously optimistic about her chances of success in the competition, Ramsay remembers a time when she followed in her dad’s former footballing footsteps instead of sticking it out in dance class.
She said: “I tried dancing when I was much younger, but that wasn’t for me. Mum put us in ballet school but I wasn’t very good so I ended up at football camp with my brother.
“My family have been very excited. The same with friends, except my brother who said ‘you cannot dance’, so I’ll have to prove him wrong.
“I’m really excited to have a challenge, and to learn how to dance and push myself out of my comfort zone. The biggest challenge will be having to wear high heels and having to remember the steps.”
When asked who she thought was her biggest competition, she said: “They’re all my biggest competitors. I have no idea about their dancing abilities. They’ll be glad to know that I think mine is pretty low, so I probably won’t be their biggest competition.”
The launch show is on Saturday night, with hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, and viewers will discover which professional dancers the celebrity contestants will be paired with.
The other celebs are actor Greg Wise, Hollyoaks actress Katie McGlynn, BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker, The Big Breakfast presenter AJ Odudu, CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson, musician Tom Fletcher, comedian Judi Love, Olympian Adam Peaty, EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, Peep Show actor Robert Webb, musician John Waite, former EastEnders actress Nina Wadia, sports pundit Ugo Monye and Dragons’ Den star Sara Davies. Strictly’s first deaf contestant, Ayling-Ellis said she was hoping to be paired with a dancer with whom she could build a strong connection. She said: “I’m looking for someone that can communicate very well because in sign language we speak very literally.
“I feel like it’s so important for somebody like me to be on the show. I want to break down the stereotype that deaf people can’t dance and can’t enjoy music.”
A few of the celebrities taking part said they were inspired to sign up to impress their children. Former rugby star Monye said: “I had both of my girls, Phoenix and Ruby, after I retired and I would have loved them to watch me play rugby but both my girls, especially my eldest Phoenix, love dance and she does ballet every single week. She’s obsessed by it and now she’s of an age where she can watch the show over a weekend and watch her daddy on TV. So I’m really excited about that.”
McFly singer Tom Fletcher said he decided to take part because his son Buzz was a huge fan of the show.
“Staying up on a Saturday night for it has become our thing and he’s at an age where that’s really exciting for him,” he said. “So when the call came through he was at the forefront of my mind.”
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