Exclusive – Karim Zeroual reveals “little things” the Strictly 2020 contestants missed out on due to COVID

The Celebs Go Dating star has opened up about the differences between the last Strictly Come Dancing series and his time on the show in 2019.

Karim Strictly (BBC)

Celebs Go Dating star Karim Zeroual has said that, while he was glad Strictly Come Dancing went ahead last year, there are “little things” that the 2020 contestants will have missed out on due to COVID-19.

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The TV presenter, who currently stars in E4’s Celebs Go Dating: The Mansion, took part in Strictly 2019 alongside professional Amy Dowden, with the pair placing second.

When asked whether he would have signed up for the recent series of Strictly in light of COVID-19, Zeroual told RadioTimes.com in an exclusive interview that he “definitely” would have, although it wouldn’t have been the same.

“I know for a fact it was very different from when I did it,” he said. “I’ve spoken to [2020 contestant Maisie Smith] and stuff and I said, ‘Ah you have no idea…’ Obviously it’s incredible, she’s so happy – but there are little things that they have missed out on.”

Karim Strictly
Karim Zeroual on Strictly Come Dancing in 2019

“Strictly is such a big bubble journey where you become a family and it’s so nice to see each other in rehearsals and hug one another and practice with different partners. It all becomes very close contact because you become a family and in, like, the Star Bar when you’re watching each other [on the show]…”

He added that attending some of the biggest events of the year with the Strictly cast was also a huge part of his experience.

“They didn’t get to go to awards, they didn’t get to go to the Pride of Britain – just things that, for me, were a massive part of my life.

“I never had a chance to do red carpet stuff back in the day and then doing that show, you’ve become part of a family that’s so massive and become part of the Strictly bubble. I got to do so many amazing things that I’ve wanted to do with my career.

“Getting papped on the red carpet, little stuff like that, that as a kid you look up to and then you get to do it. So I do feel sorry for the contestants in the year just gone having to miss out on stuff like that.

“But all I know is that, either way, the main thing of the show is creating a beautiful dance and performing on Saturday, which they did get to do,” he added. “I think everyone needed Strictly to happen this year so big up Strictly for actually making that happen, but it was very different to when I did it.”

Zeroual recently revealed that his fellow Celebs Go Dating star Curtis Pritchard gave him Love Island-inspired advice whilst in the mansion.

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Celebs Go Dating: The Mansion continues tonight at 9pm on E4. You can also check out what else is on with our TV Guide