Dance: Aregntine Tango to The Phantom of the Opera
The judges’ verdict: As the first male celebrity to take on the Argentine Tango, the pressure was on for Davood. Shirley liked his character and she thought he had some “spectacular lifts”. However, she did pull him up on his “stumbling problems” and “balance issues” and that she wanted to see him a bit more in control. Bruno agreed, saying that it was a “good effort” but uneven – and said it wasn’t “slick enough”. Craig agreed saying that he didn’t feel as though Davood was leading the dance, although he loved the concept and enjoyed the routine. Darcey commented that he started off “so immaculately” but as the routine got faster, there were balance problems. Sadly, it was to be Davood’s last dance.
The judges’ verdict: “I do believe he’s delivered again today, I do,” said Shirley after Davood’s performance. “You’ve taken me back in time, you’re a breath of fresh air,” she said as Bruno added that he was “definitely” a quarter-finalist. “t was simple but so effective,” he said of their Waltz.
“I was totally charmed.” Craig thought that the only thing his performance needed was more swing and sway, but that it had “elegance, grace, taste, gentility, simplicity…beautiful!” Darcey thought that his performance was “effortless” and praised the “air of romance” around their Waltz.
The judges’ verdict: Bruno said that Davood had the “licence to thrill” with his 007 moves this week. Darcey thought the whole thing was “superb drama” and Craig enjoyed his “powerful performance”. Shirley, too, was extremely impressed with his masculinity and “great twist turns”.
Dance: Charleston to The Lambeth Walk by The Pasadena Roof Orchestra
The judges’ verdict: “You are on the way up!” said Darcey after Davood’s performance. “It was quirky, it was cheeky and you held on to that all the way through…brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!”
Shirley thought that Davood could be a genuine contender for the Glitterball trophy and she said it was “flawless”. Meanwhile Bruno thought his “star was rising high” and that the EastEnders actor was getting “better and better, week by week”. Craig, simply, had this to say: “A-ma-zing!” So there you have it!
Dance: American Smooth to This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole
The judges’ verdict: “You two were like movie stars out there!” exclaimed Bruno. “You really swept all of us off our feet.” Craig, on the other hand, said “It needs a little bit more swing and sway, actually, but we know that to be true because it would look absolutely amazing if you had that. But it’s so difficult for the celeb men to do that.” He also “absolutely loved” the routine, while Darcey Bussell said it was most impressive that Davood led Nadiya around the dance floor. “Fabulous!” Shirley Ballas thought he was “totally awesome” and that “everything seemed to be in the right place and you seemed to move well today”.
The judges’ verdict: Darcey said that while Davood had “expressive arms” she did not see enough basic rumba. Shirley was not impressed, saying it was “difficult on the eye” and had “too many lunges”. Bruno wanted Davood to drag his feet more on this dance and Craig concluded: “As a dance I loved it, as a rumba it wasn’t enough – feeling, emotion, you presented the lady well and personally, I could sit and watch that every day, darling.”
The judges’ verdict: After last week’s dance-off scare, Davood pleased judges with his upbeat performance that Darcey described as “carefree, light and energised”. However, it didn’t please every judge. Yup, Craig had a few quibbles, saying he had to watch out for his free arm and that it was “heavy-footed and lacked retraction. But it was bright, lively and you sold it well”.
Dance: Viennese Waltz to Say You Love Me by Jessie Ware
The judges’ verdict: Davood and Nadiya’s best dance yet! Darcey said it had “unusual intensity and focus”, which may have had something to do with him focusing very hard on not vomiting (the Viennese Waltz gave him motion sickness). “You’ve tamed the beast within you and controlled your energy,” she added, while Shirley said: “You’ve gone from grinding in my face to pure sophistication, you executed the footwork outstandingly”.
Sure, Craig criticised him for being out of hold too long and doing an illegal lift, but the judges were still extremely surprised to see him in the dance off. They all voted to save him and send Charlotte Hawkins home.
The judges’ verdict: “It looked like you had a ferret in your pants!” exclaimed Bruno, fresh from Davood having thrust left, right and centre right in the middle of the judges’ desk. Craig wanted him to sort out his hands, although he loved the energy. “You definitely don’t hold back,” said Darcey, who wanted him to contain his enthusiasm a little and control the performance a little. Shirley said Davood was much better than last week and she loved all the Samba content but said that his posture was a bit “collapsed liked a filleted fish”.
The judges’ verdict: There was an illegal lift! A big NO in Shirley and Craig’s books. But the judges noted Davood’s “passion” and “incredible energy”, with Bruno calling it a “fast and furious race straight to the bedroom.” Shirley reckoned he could be a frontrunner with the right choreography.
Dance: Cha Cha to Dedications to my Ex by Lloyd ft. Andre 3000
The judges’ verdict: Craig said he was “slightly” charmed by Davood’s Cha Cha, but that he had a “desperate lack” of hip action. Darcey praised the EastEnders actor’s attack and energy, and Shirley said that “any woman would feel safe in your arms” and that she really enjoyed his performance. Bruno said the chemistry between the pair just “sizzled” and that it was “extremely hot”. Phew!
Radio Times spoke exclusively to Davood Ghadami:
Why are you doing Strictly?
“I’m not sure really, because I don’t dance. I’ve never got up at a party — except at my own wedding, and only because I had to. I held on to my wife [Isobel] for dear life.”
Have your EastEnders co-stars who’ve done Strictly given you any advice?
“Not yet, but there are a lot to ask! Tamika Empson, Kellie Bright, Jake Wood, Scott Maslen… That’s probably the only reason I’m here – I was the only cast member left!”
Hear more from Davood and Nadiya in our exclusive interview below:
What is Davood Ghadami famous for?
Before joining EastEnders in 2014, David’s TV CV included roles in Doctor Who, The Omid Djalili Show, Taggart, Silent Witness, Life’s Too Short, Law & Order and Top Boy.
Despite appearing as a character name Jim in just one episode of Doctor Who, Let’s Kill Hitler, in 2011, in an interview a few years ago he explained that it was the thing he gets most recognised for aside from EastEnders.
“There are mega fans of something like that and they find you very quickly,” he said. “When you are filming, you know that lots of people are going to be watching, it’s going to be well written and it’s going to look great. Plus I got to go inside the TARDIS and have a look around!”
He also starred in the movie John Carter in 2012 before arriving on Albert Square. “It’s all acting in front of green screen,” he said of shooting the Disney movie. “But it was a job where I got to meet some amazing people. I didn’t have a huge role in it but I was kept in a trailer for weeks. There was lots of waiting around in a disused military tank factory in Surrey.”
But Davood is best-known to soap fans as Kush, and has been nominated at the British Soap Awards for Best Newcomer and Best Actor for the role.
It looks like Davood could be the heart-throb of Strictly 2017. He’s a regular at the gym and is quite strict about his diet. “I know that to get the best out of the training I need to eat right,” he’s said in the past.
He also rather infamously stripped off in Walford to walk through the market…
Of starring in Strictly, Davood says: “Having the opportunity to take part in this year’s Strictly is such an honour. It’s going to be exciting, challenging and terrifying all at once and I am so looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and learning to dance. See you under the Glitterball!”