Who is Ainsley Harriott? Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special contestant guide

Will the TV chef have honed his dancing skills by taking part in the Strictly live tour?

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TV chef Ainsley Harriott was a big hit in 2015 with his infectious enthusiasm, but only came twelfth. Hopefully his festive comeback will be a cracker rather than a turkey (groan – you can use that one, Len). 

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Who was his original Strictly partner?

At 6’3″, Harriott could hardly have been partnered with anyone other than Natalie Lowe. The two seemed to strike up a genuine rapport and Lowe was gutted to say goodbye.

Is he a contender?

Not really, unless he’s been taking secret dance lessons for the past year. Harriott scored just 20 in his first week with a tango to Voulez-Vous by ABBA.

His high point was a Salsa to Josephine Baker’s Don’t Touch My Tomatoes, before a disappointing show at Movie Week saw him voted off. Never one to sulk, he went on the Strictly live tour anyway.

What has he been doing since Strictly?

Harriott will be hoping head judge Len Goodman cuts him some slack after all the time they spent together filming TV show Len and Ainsley’s Big Food Adventure. He’s also been judging the British Takeaway Awards.

Who will Ainsley Harriott be dancing with in the Christmas special?

Harriott will this time pair up with Karen Clifton, who has been at an unexpected loose end since this year’s celebrity partner Will Young quit in week four. 

They will perform a jive to Rock Around the Christmas tree in homage to Home Alone, in keeping with the movie night theme.

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This year’s Christmas special will air on Christmas Day at 6.45pm on BBC1