Saturday 17 August 2019

Anneka Rice confirmed as final celebrity for Strictly Come Dancing

It will be a case of Challenge Anneka as she takes to the dance floor for the BBC One series.

Anneka Rice confirmed as final celebrity for Strictly Come Dancing (Ian West/PA)
Anneka Rice confirmed as final celebrity for Strictly Come Dancing (Ian West/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Anneka Rice is the 15th and final celebrity contestant to be confirmed to have signed up for Strictly Come Dancing.

The veteran broadcaster, 60, joked that she has not “got a shimmy in me” and that she is this year’s “Ann Widdecombe figure” as she was unveiled on Steve Wright In The Afternoon on BBC Radio 2.

Rice said: “Oh the stress of being the last person. Even though it’s been in the papers for weeks, because I haven’t told anyone, not even my family.

“It was very easy to deflect people because nobody ever thought I would do it.”

She added: “I have never danced in front of one member of my family or anyone who knows me.

“I haven’t danced since I was seven, since I was sacked from ballet because I looked like a big pudding, a rice pudding, that was my nickname.

“She sent me home because I was plain and podgy, so I haven’t danced since because I’ve had a complete thing about it.

“My sons said it’s a joke but this is the year for me, my last son has just left university.

“I’m feeling reckless, I’ve done two reckless things this year, I did stand-up for the first time and I took part in the Sky Arts portrait artist of the year competition, having never drawn a head before.”

(PA Graphics)

Rice said she attempted a Zumba class in 2011, but it was a “disaster” and that she could not follow it at all.

The TV stalwart, known for flitting across the country in colourful jumpsuits on Channel 4 gameshow Treasure Hunt and then her own series Challenge Anneka in the 1980s and 1990s, said she is not a “girly girl” and is concerned about wearing “flouncy” dresses on the dance floor.

Rice followed double Olympic gold medal-winning rower James Cracknell, who was confirmed as the 14th star on the Strictly line-up earlier on Wednesday.

The sports star, who was unveiled on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, said that his ex-wife Beverley Turner had previously banned him from taking part in the show because of the so-called Strictly curse.

The former rowing world champion said of his family’s response to him joining this year: “They’re really embarrassed for me!

“Bev was supportive and the kids went ‘No’.”

“My 15-year-old said ‘You’ve got to do some dad dancing’. That is my dancing!”

This year’s Strictly line-up is also comprised of former football stars Alex Scott and David James, Made In Chelsea’s Jamie Laing, RuPaul’s Drag Race star Michelle Visage, Paralympic champion Will Bayley, ex-Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley, EastEnders star Emma Barton, comedian Chris Ramsey, YouTube personality Saffron Barker, Radio 1 DJ Dev Griffin, chef and socialite Emma, Viscountess Weymouth, BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell and children’s TV host Karim Zeroual.

PA Media

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