10 Strictly Come Dancing secrets from behind the scenes

Brownies, bamalams and fake tan on tap. Here's the inside word on what's going on in Strictly series 12...

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Strictly Come Dancing is foxtrotting its way back onto our TV screens this Sunday. As the celebrities prepare to meet their professional partners and perform their very first group dance, we met them backstage at Strictly HQ. And they let quite a few secrets slip. Like, for instance, did you know… 

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1. Claudia Winkleman brings brownies in. And they are really good. 

Strictly’s new co-host, who will replace Sir Bruce Forsyth in Sunday’s episode, has been making efforts to ensure her transition to Saturday night regular is smooth by making brownies. And it seems to be working…

“She makes the best brownies. I love chocolate brownies,” Mark Wright told us. “They were the best things I have ever eaten and I told her. Got the recipe off her. They were great. Bruce is great, but brownies … she wins it for me.”

2. Gregg Wallace reckons all the contestants are pretty impressive on the dance floor

They might have only had two days of training, but MasterChef judge Wallace is feeling faaaairly confident. “In training we look good,” he told us at the launch earlier this week. “We look good. I’m happy to say that. I can’t believe you take 15 disparate people of different ages and just go, ‘Right’. We are actually knocking out a routine at the moment.”

3. EastEnder Jake Wood has been practising his moves for ages 

With fellow Ender and Strictly alumni Scott Maslen, who came fourth in the eighth series of Strictly Come Dancing, no less. “When we started talking about it I went to see Scott Maslen,” Wood told us. “We had lunch and he was incredibly positive about the whole experience. We did a waltz around his kitchen and by the end of that I was hooked.”

4. And Judy Murray’s been dancing in steam rooms

She’s one dedicated lady. “I was actually in the steam room doing the routine by myself until I got far too hot and had to get out. So it does take over!”

5. Scott Mills is first in line for the fake tan

If you’d asked us to bet glitterballs on it, we’d have said Caroline Flack, Frankie Bridge and Mark Wright would be front of the queue, but no. It’s Scott Mills. “I love [fake tan]. I’m all about it,” the Radio 1 DJ told us. “I’ve already called to ask when the first one was. And it’s next week.” 

6. Talking of fake tan, it’s literally on tap at Strictly Come Dancing HQ…

There’s a reason every Strictly contestant slowly turns a rich shade of mahogany… “It’s actually on tap here,” said Pixie Lott. “You can just have it whenever you want, can’t you? For free. People are going to be taking advantage of that…”

7. Alison Hammond is most worried about holding in her “bamalams” 

Yep, her bamalams. Asked what scared her the most about Strictly, the This Morning presenter said: “The clothing. That it holds in what I’ve got underneath, if you know what I mean. Basically I want to hold in these bamalams. I’m really nervous about [having a wardrobe malfunction] because there’s a lot to hold in here.” 

8. The Saturdays are competing for tickets to the live shows 

“Tickets are limited,” Frankie Bridge told us. “There’s so many of us – they all really want to come. They’ll have to fight it out who comes first.”

9. Simon Webbe isn’t ruling out getting emotional 

Those Blue boys have always worn their heart on their sleeves, what with singles like Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word, Breathe Easy and Hurt Lovers. So, is Simon going to showcase his soft side on Strictly and have a little cry? “Never say never,” he told us. 

10. And neither is Bargain Hunt star Tim Wonnacott…

“I’m not that thick skinned,” he told us. “I think I might cry actually if someone’s really nasty to me… If you get a really barbed comment, you know, you’ve worked like stink for maybe, if you’re lucky, six weeks and you’ve really honed your dancing skills and then you have someone who is so beastly to you and so cutting… I could burst into tears.”

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Strictly Come Dancing starts on Sunday at 8:00pm on BBC1