Tumble: Get to know the contestants

10 celebrities turn their hand to gymnastics in BBC1's brand new Saturday night reality show. Here's how they're feeling...

Tonight, the Strictly Come Dancing studio plays host to ten famous faces turning their hand to gymnastics in brand new Saturday night competition, Tumble. The One Show’s Alex Jones is presenting as stars including Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding, Loose Women’s Andrea McLean and EastEnders’ John Partridge try to wow the judges with their acrobatics.


The judges are a tough crowd, too. Olympic and Commonwealth medallist Louis Smith sits alongside world-renowned Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci, Commonwealth champion-turned-broadcaster Craig Heap and cirque artist/aerial performer Sebastien Stella.

Here’s how they’re feeling about their upcoming challenge…

Carl Froch

Age: 37

Day job: Professional boxer

Why did you sign up for the show?

I’m not particularly bothered about being a celebrity. If somebody asked me to go into the Big Brother house I’d say no but gymnastics set a light off in my head. If I can do a handstand for longer than two minutes at the end of this then I’ll be happy.

How do you fancy your chances of winning?

I’d say I’ve got a good chance because I’m an active professional athlete but there are pros and cons. Core strength is easy because it’s part of my boxing training but flexibility is a problem for me and a lot of the moves require you to be very bendy.

Lucy Mecklenburgh

Age: 22

Day job: Reality TV star (The Only Way is Essex)

Have you got any previous gymnastic experience?

None. I didn’t like gymnastics at school and I could barely do a forward roll when I started the show. I feel like a little bit of an underdog because a lot of the other contestants have got theatre or dance training.

What’s been the toughest part of your training?

Everything’s really explosive because there’s lots of jumping. I went in thinking, “I’m quite fit, this will be fine,” and then I could hardly get out of bed on day two.

Bobby Lockwood

Age: 21

Day Job: Actor on CBBC’s Wolfblood

Have you got any previous gymnastic experience?

I used to dance and we did a bit of gymnastics with that but it wasn’t until I started training properly that I realised how hard it is as a sport. I have nothing but respect for guys like Louis Smith.

Who’s your biggest rival?

I’m pretty sure that Carl Froch is fitter than me. I went to his big fight with George Groves at Wembley a couple of months ago and now I’m competing against him. It’s mad.

Amelle Berrabah

Age: 30

Day Job: Singer with The Sugababes

How fit were you before starting the show?

I went to the gym a couple of times a week and before that I did kick boxing for six years but it was nothing compared to the pain of training for Tumble. My coach calls me Sharapova because I make all these weird noises.

Have you been able to draw on your Sugababes dance routines for inspiration?

They’ve actually gone against me because I’m trained to always face the audience but in gymnastics you have to forget there are people watching. I’m trying to break little habits.

Emma Samms

Age: 53

Day Job: Actress (best known for General Hospital and Dynasty)

Why did you sign up for the show?

Because they never asked me to do Strictly! I would have loved to do it but I used to be a ballet dancer so I think that would have got me into trouble.

What was your fitness regime like before the show?

I’m not a regular gym-goer but I like gardening. The thing is, because I danced so much as a youngster I’ve got archeological layers of muscle but generally I’d say that I look much fitter than I am. 

John Partridge

Age: 43

Day job: Actor (best known as Christian Clarke in Eastenders)

Why did you sign up for the show?

It’s great to have the physical challenge at my age. I get to hang upside down in the gym and do back flips. It’s fun – there’s no game plan for me in terms of profile.

Will your family be in the audience for the live shows?

My mum’s not very well – she’s got Alzheimers – but she knows I’m doing the show. She won’t be in the audience but it gives me great pleasure to know that she can switch her TV on and see me every Saturday night.

Andrea McLean

Age: 44

Day job: TV presenter

How fit were you before the show?

I had shingles last year but when I recovered, I decided to take myself in hand. I got to the point where I was fit but I wanted to take it to the next level. Then Tumble came along.

What’s been the hardest part of your training?

We were given a pull-up bar for strength and at the start I couldn’t even do one. The only way I can describe what we’ve been doing is pilates meets circuit training. A lot of the footage is going to look like One Born Every Minute because there’s a lot of heavy breathing involved!

Ian “H” Watkins

Age: 38

Day Job: Singer with Steps

What’s the best part of being involved in the show?

You get to learn a new skill and wear bright colours. We have a designer on the show who makes sure our outfits tie in with the vision for the set. My costumes look a lot like what I used to wear in Steps.

How seriously have you been taking your training?

I’ve got Olympic rings hanging from a tree in my garden and I’ve been swinging from them much to my neighbours’ amusement. It’s been tough. I wake up every morning feeling like I’m eighty. Everything from my chin to my toes aches. 

Sarah Harding

Age: 32

Day job: Singer with Girls Aloud

How did you feel when you were asked to do the show?

I’m really excited but a bit nervous about what it is going to be like doing Tumble! I’m really looking forward, but also a little bit scared, about all the training I’ll be doing … but at least it beats going to the gym!

Peter Duncan

Age: 60

Day Job: Former Blue Peter presenter

Duncan has been drafted into the show as a last minute replacement for fitness guru Mr Motivator who was forced to withdraw after dislocating his knee while performing a straddle vault.

Given his Blue Peter past, perhaps we can say, here’s a contestant they made earlier…


Tumble starts Saturday at 6:30pm on BBC1