Q&A with the Strictly 2014 boys

The boys and their partners tell us their Strictly predictions, dancing fears and spray tan secrets


Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, 40, & Joanne Clifton 


Have you had a spray tan yet?

Yes. I went to a “salon”, but it turned out to be a machine. I was like Ross in Friends. Are you competitive? I don’t think I am…

Joanne: I am! My brother Kevin is dancing with Frankie Bridge and while it will be a loving rivalry, I want to beat him! Are you self-conscious? Massively. I can’t work my hips. Joanne We’re going to sort that out, don’t worry. But you have to help me pronounce my words. Me mam — sorry, my mum — is making me have elocution classes. 

Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace, 49, & Aliona Vilani

Any signature moves? You just wiggle your butt, don’t you? Seriously, dancing at a party and Strictly are as different as paddling and swimming the Channel!

Is your partner jealous you’re doing Strictly?

No, John Torode isn’t at all jealous! My girlfriend is, though, a little bit. 

EastEnders Star Jake Wood, 42, & Janette Manrara

Why are you doing Strictly? It’s the best show on TV… apart from EastEnders! I’ve got two children, Amber, nine, and Buster, six, and I’m pleased to be doing something that they can watch.

Is there a prison sentence for Max on the horizon to give you time off?

I wish there was! Not at the moment. I’ll be dancing around four days of filming. Any dance experience? Scott Maslen [who did Strictly in 2010] and I did a bit of a waltz around his kitchen, but that’s it. Listen, I can move a little or I would never have committed to this.

Janette’s prediction: We’ve already nicknamed him snake hips! I want the glitter ball. My boyfriend Aljaz won last year — we need one on each nightstand… 

Sports star/ model Thom Evans, 29, & Iveta Lukosiute

Any dance experience? I’m the weird guy who doesn’t require alcohol to get on the dance floor. Maybe growing up in Portugal with its Latin feeling made me less British about the whole thing!

Any handicaps? I broke my neck four years ago playing rugby for Scotland at the Six Nations. I’ve now got metal holding it together. I was forced to retire. It doesn’t hold me back, but if I do badly, I’ll use it as an excuse!

Had a spray tan yet? No — I will, but I’ll try to keep my shirt on for the first few weeks. I want the dancing to do the talking. 

Boyband singer Simon Webbe, 36, & Kristina Rihanoff

Have you prepared at all? I always keep fit, but I’ve been filming with the Blue boys in Ibiza, trying to turn around the fortunes of a struggling bar. Takings are up, but my fitness is definitely down! Now it’s 100 per cent concentration.

Are the other Blue boys jealous? They keep bringing it up: “Strictly speaking, Simon…” It’s all Strictly, Strictly, Strictly. It’s only because they’re jealous. Lee would love to be here! 

Reality TV star Mark Wright, 27, & Karen Hauer

Can you handle the nerves? I used to box, and the nerves before you get into that ring… I was sick about three times. But as soon as I threw one punch, I was absolutely fine. Karen So I need a bucket and to learn how to duck!

Any dance experience? If I have a few bevvies I’ll start dancing. I can do the caterpillar. My family used to call me “Marky No Moves”’ so I’ve always believed I was born with no rhythm.

Karen: Well, I’m going to turn you into Marky Right Moves! 

Bargain hunt presenter Tim Wonnacott, 61, & Natalie Lowe

Why did you say yes to Strictly? What other chance would one in his seventh decade have to meet a beautiful dancer, snuggle down and really learn how to dance?  

What does your wife make of all this? She is a frustrated ballroom dancer because I have never been able to dance with her. So the principal reason for joining Strictly is so that, on our upcoming 30th wedding anniversary, I can finally spin her round the dance floor. The only downside being that every error I make will be in the public eye. 

What’s your prediction?Many of the others have youth and fitness on their side (think of the silky sinews of Thom Evans and Mark Wright), but these qualities may not be all that are required. One of the strange things about performing successfully in public is one’s ability to control one’s nerves. Put on a bet straight away because I have no intention of going anywhere!  

Wildlife TV presenter Steve Backshall, 41, and Ola Jordan

Why are you doing Strictly? I take every opportunity. I’ve caught crocodiles, swum with sharks, but this is the scariest thing I’ve done! Ola: Now you’re dancing with me! Be afraid…

Have you had a spray tan yet? Oooh, easy! I’m a bit worried I’d end up looking like a side of bacon.


Any handicaps? Six years ago, I had a rock-climbing accident and broke my back in two places. So I’m used to doing things through pain.