Who will be the Ed Balls of Strictly 2017? The Reverend Richard Coles is certainly setting himself up to follow in his footsteps – even arranging a briefing with the former Shadow Chancellor to get a “detailed training programme”.
Balls was an unexpectedly popular celebrity contestant on Strictly Come Dancing last year. Now he seems to have inspired Coles, who is the first vicar ever to compete on the show.
“I had a very, very helpful and detailed briefing with the former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer which was very helpful indeed,” he said. “Ed gave very good advice and a detailed training programme.”
And what level of skill can we expect? After all, this is a man who hit the big time with pop band The Communards. Surely he’s a born performer.
“I have extensive dance experience from the nightclubs of Ibiza in 1989 but unfortunately I don’t remember any of it at all,” he admitted. “I did do ‘Alternative Miss World’ in around 1994 where I played the maracas for Miss Midlands South East.”
But don’t underestimate this man of the cloth: viewers can also expect the vicar’s diva side to make an appearance.
“I am a competitive person, although I’m embarrassed of being competitive – so I try and mask it,” he explained.
“But obviously everything will be revealed on this show, so probably a hideously ambitious diva will emerge!”
Strictly Come Dancing – The Launch airs on Saturday 9th September at 7pm on BBC1