20 years after The Full Monty was first released in cinemas, ITV brings us The Real Full Monty – a 90-minute documentary to not only mark the anniversary of the classic movie, but also to raise awareness of men’s cancers.
How? By stripping. Resident choreographer Ashley Banjo has joined forces with Alexander Armstrong to convince a game bunch of celebrities to remove every last scrap of clothing at the London Palladium in homage to the classic film.
But who’s going to be taking part?
Mainly known for his broad knowledge of, well, everything presenting Pointless, Alexander Armstrong has been in the public eye for 20 years. First starting out as was one half of comedy double-act Armstrong and Miller, alongside Ben Miller, he has gone on to appear on Doctor Who and took over from David Jason to become the voice of Danger Mouse.
He said on his involvement with the show: “When this opportunity to revisit and celebrate The Full Monty came up, on that level alone I was completely won over.”
Lead dancer of Britain’s Got Talent winners Diversity, Ashley Banjo has done his fair share of TV work in the last few years, judging Sky1’s talent show Got to Dance and more recently ITV’s Dance Dance Dance, as well as co-hosting BBC’s Can’t Touch This with Zoe Ball.
In The Real Full Monty, he’s in charge of whipping the celebrity dancers into shape: “The difficulty was more getting the guys to do it, coaching them through that personal experience, making it happen really because I’ve never had to take a group from nothing to being ready to perform whilst getting over so many personal hurdles, so that was quite tough. The guys are all such different ages and come from such different backgrounds, I didn’t quite know what to expect.”
Wayne Sleep joined the Royal Ballet Company in 1966, going on to become a senior principal before filming his own dance company DASH. But even if you don’t know your ballet, you’ve probably heard of him – Wayne has appeared on I’m a Celebrity, Celebrity Come Dine with Me and The Real Marigold Hotel, as well as judging ITV’s dance show Stepping Out.
He’s also an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK after his own brush with the disease back in 2015. “Fortunately I caught it in time because of regular blood tests,” he says. “If it wasn’t for just going for a medical I wouldn’t have known about it and I wouldn’t be here today. Since that, I’ve become the ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK so I’m spreading the word and what better way to do it than this. It’s great to be with all the other guys, they are marvellous.”
Ex-Olympic swimmer Mark Foster is no stranger to taking his shirt off. At just 15 he was selected for the UK’s swimming team and at the time was deemed the fastest swimmer in the country. He’s also had some past dancing experience – back in 2008 he took part in Strictly Come Dancing, paired with Hayley Holt and voted out in week six.
On taking part in The Real Full Monty, Mark said, “It was a bit like being back part of a team again and not wanting to let anyone else down.”