Who is Joe McFadden? Meet the Strictly Come Dancing contestant and Holby City actor

The Scottish actor says he's equally "thrilled and terrified" about taking to the Strictly ballroom

Strictly Come Dancing Joe McFadden Katya Jones

Strictly Come Dancing 2017 celebrities: Joe McFadden

Age: 41


Strictly Come Dancing code name: Morpheus, who was the god of dreams. Perhaps because he’s so…dreamy?

Twitter: @mrjoemcfadden

Which Strictly professional has Joe been paired with? Katya Jones

Strictly Come Dancing Joe McFadden Katya Jones

Week 9

Score on the leaderboard: 34

Dance: Salsa to Ride on Time by Black Box

The judges’ verdict: Darcey praised Joe’s “phenomenal lifts” and Shirley said he “recovered from the wobbles like a gymnast”. Bruno, however, found it a bit “delirious” and Craig said it “lacked fluidity and hip rotation” and “lost balance”. Mixed reviews there.

“Week 8

Score on the leaderboard: 33

Dance: Rumba to One by U2 and Mary J. Blige

The judges’ verdict: “That was a smouldering Latin lover with a caring and tender touch,” enthused Bruno, who also praised Joe’s “great lines” but did notice that Joe would break his hands a few times during the routine. Craig said that for him it was “a little bit jolty” and that his footwork was a bit pigeon-toed.

“But you know what, we haven’t seen very many celeb men do this well and your hip action was really lovely,” he added. Darcey was full of praise and said she really did enjoy the performance, while Shirley still thought he was the dark horse of the competition and that he did an “exquisite job” of leading the Rumba.

Week 7

Score on the leaderboard: 36

Dance: Charleston to Alexander’s Ragtime Band by Ella Fitzgerald

The judges’ verdict: “It put a smile on more than my face, darling!” said Craig, rather cheekily, adding that he thought it was brilliant and praised their co-ordination. The only thing he criticised the pair on was a slight lack of swivel. “You gave us all the charm of the silent movies,” added Darcey. “That was a great Charleston”. Shirley had a new name for him – DJ, which could mean either “Detailed Joe” or “Darkhorse Joe” (it’s one word according to Shirley), as she said he was the one “coming from behind”. Ooh-er. Bruno, meanwhile, said that “the choreography was incredibly demanding…great job!”

Week 6

Score on the leaderboard: 32

Dance: Foxtrot to Trouble by Coldplay

The judges’ verdict: Shirley “loved the creative concept” and thought it had a good flow and frame but was nevertheless “a bit flat-footed”. Bruno concluded that it was “well-executed”. Craig “loved the energy and drive” while Darcey said it was a “difficult foxtrot, moments when you looked uncomfortable but managed it well”.

Week 5

Score on the leaderboard: 26

Dance: Paso Doble to Diablo Rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriela

The judges’ verdict: Who knew this was going to happen? After Alexandra Burke scored the first 10s of the series, the safe money would have been on either Debbie McGee or Aston Merrygold following not far behind her. But the second outing for the paddle with the perfect score actually went to Joe!

Shirley gave him that elusive 10 and said it was “the best male Paso Doble so far”, although sadly Craig wasn’t such a fan. He only awarded Joe a seven, while Darcey gave him a 9 and simply added: “Spanish style, loved it”.

Week 4

Score on the leaderboard: 24

Dance: Cha Cha to You Keep Me Hangin’ On by Human Nature

The judges’ verdict: A disappointing follow-up to last week’s impressive Viennese Waltz. Joe’s Cha Cha was too frantic, with Craig criticising him for his leg and hip action. Shirley asked him to focus on the fundamentals of technique, and Bruno called it “frantic, like someone chasing a wildcat, legs were so wide apart I could drive a train through them”. Only Darcey gave him upbeat feedback, saying: “challenging amount of content but you didn’t do too badly, nice attitude and connection.”

Week 3

Score on the leaderboard32

Dance: Viennese Waltz to Somewhere My Love

The judges’ verdict: Joe got a thumbs up from Craig, and Darcey enjoyed the traditional performance and routine that Katya Jones gave him. Shirley was equally impressed, and Bruno said he was “swept away by a romantic blizzard” and that the story through their dance was close to the book and close to the story. “Superb,” he said. We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!

Week 2 

Score on the leaderboard: 22 (51 combined with week 1)

Dance: Tango to Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran

Judges’ verdict: Joe is not living up to his potential. Shirley said it took too long to get started (bizarrely he spent quite a while in a wardrobe before launching into the tango) and pointed out issues with his hold and rise and fall. Craig was fed up with his splayed hand (“your thumb was up, which is my pet hate”) and Bruno said it was “all impetus and no control”.

Week 1

Score on the leaderboard: 29

Dance: Rockin’ Robin by Michael Jackson

The judges’ verdict: The Holby City actor got a standing ovation for his Jive, and Darcey thought Joe had “the energy, the style, the choreography” and that she loved the details and focus of the dance. Shirley thought it was entertaining and also congratulated Katya on her choreography, while Bruno said that it was a “lot to live up to” and that he did “extremely well”. Craig, on the other hand, just had three words. “I like you,” he said. Hanging out with Ed Balls has clearly paid off.

Radio Times spoke exclusively to Joe McFadden:

Why are you doing Strictly?

“I’ve been asked on other celebrity shows, but never been in the mix for Strictly, and while others never tempted me, this one I couldn’t resist. I was actually brought in to do a little test dance with Katya — who could say no after that?”

How many hours can you train?

“Holby City have assured me they’ll lighten my schedule a bit, so hopefully a few. Who needs to sleep anyway? And friends and family can go on the back burner until Christmas!”

Hear more from Joe and Katya in our exclusive interview below:

What is Joe McFadden famous for?

Best-known for Holby City and Heartbeat, Joe was born in Glasgow and had a small part in Taggart before he got his first big break acting in Scottish soap Take the High Road in which he played Gary McDonald.

From this, he went on to star in TV mini-series The Glass as well as three episodes of Cranford, but he became a familiar face to millions as PC Joe Mason in Heartbeat.

Strictly Come Dancing Joe McFadden

After a small role in Casualty, Joe then landed the part of Raffaello ‘Raf’ di Lucca in Holby City – a role he’s played for three years.

Away from the small screen, Joe has also performed in the West End, appearing in productions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Rent. 

Who is taking part in Strictly Come Dancing 2017? See the full list of celebrities here


Of taking part in the show this year, Joe said: “Strictly is one of the biggest, most entertaining shows on TV and being asked to be part of it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’m thrilled and terrified about in equal measures!”

Strictly Come Dancing 2017 full contestant line-up

Alexandra Burke


Jonnie Peacock


Debbie McGee


Chizzy Akudolu

chizzy akudolu holby

Charlotte Hawkins

charlotte hawkins

Brian Conley

Brian Conley GettyImages-105204047

Susan Calman


Aston Merrygold


Simon Rimmer


Joe McFadden


Rev Richard Coles


Gemma Atkinson


Ruth Langsford


Davood Ghadami


Mollie King



Last updated 22nd September 2017