Chris Evans let the Pussycat out of the bag earlier than expected on Friday morning during his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show.
“People are texting saying, ‘can’t you tell us who the Strictly contestant is because we’re not going to be here when she comes on,'” he said, around 35 minutes before the planned reveal. “Well I could, I guess, it’s not like anybody’s going to mind: it’s Ashley Roberts.There you go! Just don’t tell anyone I told you. Because, no – our loyalty is to our listeners.”
“You can’t get too much publicity, can you!” he added.
Later on in the program, Evans interviewed the star, who says she is “nervous-excited” to join up with the other Strictly celebs next week.
“They reached out kind of last minute to be honest,” she said, “and when I got the call I was super excited. I miss performing and I’m excited to learn a new style of dance. The Latin and ballroom world is foreign to me. Every day I’m getting more and more butterflies in the belly.”
She continued: “I shot my first VT a couple of days ago and then group rehearsals start next week, so it really is kicking off right away. I’m nervous-excited. I’m anxious to learn something new and get out there and perform it, and put on the costumes and become the character.”
“I’m just going to throw my heart and soul into this and hopefully it goes well. It really is down to the audience to keep me in there,” she added.
Roberts first found fame in The Pussycat Dolls alongside Nicole Scherzinger, before leaving in 2010 to pursue her own solo career in music. In 2012, she competed in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, and came in second place behind Charlie Brooks (who has also appeared on both Strictly and I’m A Celeb).
She then took up a position on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway in 2014, replacing the departing Kirsty Gallacher, handing over to Scarlett Moffatt for the 2017 series. Of her departure, she said: “It’s been a great run. I did four seasons with the boys and it’s been awesome, I love them to pieces. I’ve known for a little while. Everybody reached out to me and we all had a nice discussion and it was handled well.”