Who is Rev Richard Coles? Meet the vicar, Radio 4 presenter, former pop star and Strictly contestant

The Saturday Live presenter is a regular on BBC Radio 4 and panel shows

Strictly Come Dancing Richard Coles Dianne Buswell

Strictly Come Dancing 2017 celebrities: Rev Richard Coles

Age: 55


Strictly Come Dancing code name: Zeus. “I think it’s because I’m so old,” said Richard. Or because you’re the King of the Gods, Richard

Twitter: @RevRichardColes

Which Strictly professional has Richard been paired with? Dianne Buswell

Richard Coles and Dianne Buswell on Strictly Come Dancing

Week 3 – Richard was eliminated from Strictly this week

Score on the leaderboard: 14 (including a 2 from Craig!)

Dance: Paso Doble to Flash’s Theme

The judges’ verdict: “It was strangely powerful,” said Darcey. “Your conviction was extraordinary.” Well, that’s one word for it… Shirley also said that she “can’t fault” Richard’s commitment throughout the dance, and that although it wasn’t his best dance it was a “good try”. Bruno thought it was “out of this world” and Craig said Richard was “stamping around like a three year old having a tantrum.” The word “disaster” also came out. Oh dear. Well Richard ended up in the bottom two celebrities alongside Simon Rimmer, and was sent home from the competition.

Week 2

Score on the leaderboard: 17 (34 combined with week 1)

Dance: American Smooth to Love Really Hurts Without You by Billy Ocean

Judges’ Verdict: The best zinger came from Craig after Richard was showered in flowers: “The falling petals had more grace.” Bruno tried to compete with his line: “More Australian bender than American smooth”. But while the dance was branded “lumpy” and unglamorous with a lack of technique, Richard at least received some praise for his decent musical timing and his entertainment value. “The focus was divine, I’ll never bore of watching you,” said Darcey.

Week 1

Score on the leaderboard: 17

Dance: Cha Cha to There Must Be An Angel by Annie Lennox

The judges’ verdict: Richard’s performance was a “fantastic surprise” according to Shirley, who also said that everything was loveable about the Reverend and that she enjoyed the entertainment value. Bruno thought it was a performance full of “heavenly delights” and “diabolical technique” – but that he enjoyed it very much. Craig, on the other hand, said that all the problems began when the cloud actually landed…and there wasn’t actually enough time to go into more detail. Oh dear! In his new Radio Times column, the Reverend has also revealed his “collywobbles” as he prepared for his dramatic entrance.

Radio Times spoke exclusively to Rev. Richard Coles:

How are you finding Strictly Come Dancing so far?

“There’s so much to enjoy in the Strictly experience, but for a nosey person like me, being backstage is par- ticularly delicious. I’ve watched the show for years, and while I enjoy the world it conjures from glitter and dreams, I’ve always been curious about how they actually do it.”

Hear more from Rev. Richard and Dianne in our exclusive interview below:

Best known for: A broadcaster, panelist, former musician and vicar

He says: “It was an easy decision to make because I think it’s obvious to anyone who knows me that a major dance talent is waiting to be discovered… Cometh the hour, cometh the overweight Vicar with arthritis in his knees.”

Everything you need to know about Rev Richard Coles:

The Reverend Richard Coles is a writer, broadcaster and Church of England priest. If that’s not enough, he’s also the only vicar in Britain to have had a number one hit as one half of pop duo The Communards in the 1980s.

Who is taking part in Strictly Come Dancing 2017? See the full list of celebrities here

He also went on to have three UK top ten hits with the band including the biggest-selling single of 1986, Don’t Leave Me This Way.

Richard also admits that Bruno Tonioli choreographed one of the band’s videos, so he has form in dance already (although we’re not sure how much dancing he actually did).

Strictly Come Dancing Richard Coles

Richard’s voice will be familiar to Radio 4 listeners as he co-hosts Saturday Live, and is a contributor to Pause for Thought on the Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show, where his Strictly destiny was announced.

His face is also recognisable from plenty of panel shows like Have I Got News For You and QI, and as the co-host of BBC1’s The Big Painting Challenge with Mariella Frostrup. In other reality TV news, he finished fifth on Celebrity MasterChef last year.

And he was apparently an inspiration for BBC1 comedy Rev and served as consultant to the series.

Oh, and in his day jobs Rev Coles is Vicar of St Mary’s Church in Finedon, Northamptonshire and Chancellor of the University of Northampton.

What dance experience does Rev Richard Coles have?

“I love dancing. But God does not always endow with gifts equally and I was near the back of the queue,” he says.

Strictly Come Dancing 2017 full contestant line-up

Alexandra Burke


Jonnie Peacock


Debbie McGee


Chizzy Akudolu

Charlotte Hawkins

charlotte hawkins

Brian Conley

Susan Calman

Aston Merrygold

Simon Rimmer


Joe McFadden

Rev Richard Coles

Gemma Atkinson


Ruth Langsford

Davood Ghadami

Mollie King


Last updated 22nd September 2017