Meet the women of Strictly Come Dancing 2015

Why did the new crop of celebrities choose to strut their stuff - and what do they think their chances are?

Anita Rani

TV and radio presenter, 37, partnered with Gleb Savchenko 

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Will viewers see a different side to you?
Yes, I’m a woman, I want to be girly!

How was your first dress fitting?
I was like, “There is no way I’m wearing that.” But now I don’t want to take it off.

Have you prepared at all?
GLEB Look at her! Look at those abs…

ANITA What abs? It’s like flubberjubber. But I’m very hyperactive and I like to keep fit.

Gleb, what’s your background?
I’ve done Strictly in Russia, the States and Australia, I’m married to a Strictly judge in Russia and we have a four-year-old daughter.

ANITA But we can all keep looking!

Gleb’s prediction
All the way!


Jamelia

Singer and Loose Women panellist, 34, partnered with Tristan MacManus

Why are you on Strictly?
My daughters and I always watch, but I’ve never had the confidence and worried I’d look stupid, so turned it down. But this year they said, “Mummy, you have to do it.”

Have you prepared at all?
I’ve eaten less cake! But I want to show people that if you’re just a normal mum in your tracksuit, you can learn to do something great.

Have you got a secret weapon?
Before the group dance I was scared, then — lights, camera, action and the performer in me ignites. Then afterwards I’m embarrassed.

Tristan’s prediction
Jamelia is a strong, amazing woman — we can go anywhere! Our goal is to get as high up the leaderboard as possible each week and hope the rest looks after itself.


Katie Derham

BBC Proms presenter, 45, partnered with Anton Du Beke

Why are you on Strictly?
Who wouldn’t be? I’ve been asked before but it just wasn’t possible because of other commitments. And who did I get paired with? The legend that is Du Beke.

Are you a Strictly superfan?
Absolutely. I’ve got two dancing daughters, 15 and ten. They’re over the moon.

Any dance experience?
I did ballet until I was 12 — that’s it. Subsequently I’ve taken to the stage for charity. We did Newsroom’s Got Talent a few years ago — I think Anton even judged it!

Anton’s prediction
Well, I ask her to do something, and she does it, first time. Normally, that’s about three days’ work! And Katie looks amazing in a nice frock.


Kellie Bright

EastEnders actress, 39, partnered with Kevin Clifton

Why are you on Strictly?
Because they asked me! I did have to think about it, because I know how full on it was for Jake Wood last year. We film the Christmas and New Year episodes October to mid-November… But I can practise my steps behind the bar of the Vic.

Had a spray tan yet?
The EastEnders producers told me I couldn’t, but Danny Dyer puts fake tan on every day! Sometimes he goes too far, so I’ll just match his mahogany head.

Kevin’s prediction
I’m going to say… let’s go for the final — why not!


Helen George

Call the Midwife star, 31, partnered with Aljaz Skorjanec

Why are you on Strictly?
I ran the London Marathon this year and wanted another physical challenge. And I’d like an amazing dancer’s body and a toned six-pack!

Any dance experience?
Ballet when I was younger, but I fell over all the time. Then I did a bit of musical theatre. But I can only turn to my right, not to the left. I’m like Zoolander!

How was your Strictly makeover?
It’s weird, having long blonde hair — I feel like a Barbie doll! I’m filming Midwife at the same time, so the extensions have to come out and I’m not allowed a spray tan…

Aljaz’s prediction?
I can’t do ballet or run a marathon, so she’s better than me. By the end, she’ll probably be a better dancer, too!


Kirsty Gallacher

TV sports presenter, 39, partnered with Brendan Cole

Why are you on Strictly?
I felt the time was right. I’ve always been too worried to do it, but I’m divorced now, I’m stronger and feel I can really give it a go.

Are you comfortable in the costumes?
I’m not sure about the revealing outfits… But if I ever feel too exposed I’ll say something. I’m not showy. But I’m a very girly girl. I love looking in the mirror and going, “Oh, my God — is that me?”

Are you competitive?
I’m naturally competitive. I don’t expect to win — sorry, Brendan — but I’ll try. I just don’t want to embarrass my children.

Brendan’s prediction
We already gel, which is a good start! We can do great things.


Carol Kirkwood

Weather presenter, 53, partnered with Pasha Kovalev

Why are you on Strictly?
It’s got everything — glamour, pizzazz, dancing, music — and, of course, it’s got Pasha!

Are you embracing the glitter?
I can’t get enough bling, frankly!

Any dance experience?
Only some country dancing at weddings where someone is shouting: “Two on the left, two on the right!” Pack your bags, Pasha, we’re going to Scotland! Are you OK wearing a kilt?

PASHA What if it’s windy?

CAROL Happy days!

Pasha’s prediction
Carol is a smooth mover. When we’re in the final, I’ll be happy!


Georgia May Foote

Former Coronation Street actress, 24, partnered with Giovanni Pernice

Any dance experience?
I used to go to a weekly dance class, but it was more street dance and hip-hop. And I used to do dance shows for kids, but it was very cheesy. It wasn’t technical at all.

Any handicaps?
I thought being small would be a problem, but Giovanni says that’s a good thing! Have you had your first spray tan yet? I’ve been on holiday so I’m browner than Giovanni, the new Italian Stallion!

Giovanni’s prediction
I’m better than Vincent Simone [Strictly’s Italian former pro]. He’s old and I’m more beautiful! We’re young and full of energy and can beat the old ones!

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Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC1 tonight (Friday 25th September) at 9.00pm


Strictly’s Robin Windsor, Alex Jones and Sir Bruce Forsyth will be at the Radio Times Festival this week. Tickets are available here.