They call it “the Curse of Strictly”, the shattering of relationships as celebs fall into the arms of their dancing partners.
However, sports broadcaster Mike Bushell has no fears for his new marriage and reveals his wife Emily is spending more time with his partner, Katya Jones, than he is.
Last year, Katya was embroiled in controversy after being photographed kissing comedian and dance partner Seann Walsh, whose girlfriend instantly dumped him.
But Mike says his wife is delighted that he is dancing with Katya on the show, which returned to BBC1 last night, and will be even more delighted if he keeps dancing off the pounds.
“Emily is absolutely delighted,” said Mike, 53, who married Emily in May this year after a one-year romance, and has three daughters from his first marriage.
“She is a big fan of the show and has watched it for years, so she’s always thought Katya was one of the best choreographers and absolutely fantastic with the drama and entertainment.
“She thought she would be brilliant for me because I need a lot of work, dedication and energy.
“After the live show, Katya and Emily had a long chat and I didn’t get a word in edgeways! We’ve been out for a couple of meals, and my girls absolutely adore her. It’s been wonderful.”
He added: “I’ve lost half a stone and I’m already looking a bit more trimmed on top. I think Emily is really pleased – the longer I stay, the happier she will be!”
Last night’s show saw Mike and Katya perform live for the first time, showing off their jive routine to The Contours’ Do You Love Me.
All 15 couples were given feedback and scores from the judges, but the first elimination won’t take place until after next weekend’s second dance, once the public vote is revealed a week today.
With another week of rehearsals ahead, Mike and Katya, 30, admit they will be focusing on honing their moves, rather than drumming up competition with the other celebs.
Katya said: “I’ve said to Mike there is no competition between couples – it’s only about your own performance and being better than yesterday or last week.
“You’ve got to take it one dance at a time – you might be great at this week’s dance, but next week you could be completely out of your comfort zone.”
Mike added: “I get really nervous when I’m watching the other dancers because I want them to smash it each time and do brilliantly.
“So, you really are just competing against yourself and trying to be better than the last time.
“It doesn’t feel like a competition.”
Last year, Katya and Seann were voted off in week six, after their Viennese Waltz failed to impress the judges or the public, but the professional dancer says she’s only focused on making sure her partner has the best experience possible.
She said: “I don’t compare my partners – they all have their strong sides and their weaker sides. I’m just there to teach them how to dance and have the best experience.
“Whether Mike goes in one week or 10 weeks, I want him to come out saying, ‘Oh my God that was the best time of my life and I enjoyed every second’.
“That’s my job done.
“Who knows, he might be the oldest winner!”
Who’s who on the dancefloor, and bookies’ odds:
CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual and pro partner Amy Dowden 7/2
EastEnders actress Emma Barton and Anton Du Beke 7/2
Alex Scott, former footballer and sports pundit, and partner Neil Jones 5/1
Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher and pro Oti Mabuse 11/2
Former Corrie star Catherine Tyldesley and Johannes Radebe 8/1
YouTube star Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard 10/1
Emma Weymouth, Strictly’s first Viscountess, and Aljaž Škorjanec 18/1
DJ Dev Griffin and Dianne Buswell 18/1
Comedian Chris Ramsey, dancing with Karen Hauer 22/1
Table tennis champion Will Bayley and Janette Manrara 22/1
RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice 50/1
James Cracknell, former rower and adventurer, and professional Luba Mushtuk 50/1
BBC Breakfast newsreader Mike Bushell and dancer Katya Jones 80/1
Goalkeeper David James, partnered with Nadiya Bychkova 80/1
Anneka Rice and partner Kevin Clifton 80/1
As the first member of the aristocracy to appear on Strictly, Viscountess Emma Weymouth brought an air of regal romance to her cha-cha-cha with dance partner Aljaž Škorjanec, 29, on the first live show.
But the mum of two admits she is far more likely to be found wearing trainers than tiaras, and the glamour of Strictly is a world away from her everyday life – despite living in the 16th-Century stately home, Longleat House.
“At home I’m mostly in leggings and wellies, just being a mum!” explained the 33-year-old.
Last night saw the couple dance to She’s A Lady by Tom Jones, which Emma says she originally thought was a gentle tease from Aljaž.
“We practised the steps of the cha-cha-cha, our first dance, [and] I thought Aljaž was joking when he told me the song choice,” she said in her column in The Telegraph.
“It’s a tricky dance to master. Aljaž is in his seventh year on Strictly and far better at dealing with things going wrong on the dance floor than I am. I find messing up the steps enraging, but he doesn’t flinch.”