Former Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle, runner up on Strictly Come Dancing 2009, is joining his former dance partner, Natalie Lowe, for the Strictly Come Dancing Tour 2011. Georgina Hague caught up with Ricky to talk about the show.
GH: How do you feel to be on the Strictly Come Dancing Tour this year and back with your partner Natalie?
RW: I’m so excited. It’s great to be back with my Natalie too.
GH: Are you jealous of her dancing with Scott?
RW: I was speaking to Zoe Ball and she was talking about her partner from her series dancing with other celebrities and even his own professional partner, and she said she hated it and got a real jealous streak. I can completely understand this, it’s like she’s cheating on me and I’ve hated having to watch her dance with Scott, she’s my Natalie (laughs).
GH: Have you been watching the show?
RW: I’ve not been watching it as much as I’ve liked to as I’ve just come back from the States but I’ve been watching the dances on You Tube.
GH: How does Scott weigh up as a partner for Natalie?
RW: I think he’s the perfect partner but I do feel for him as he’s in the same position that I was when I did Strictly and having to work and then train - whereas for those other celebrities who weren’t working they could just train in the day and go home. I was filming for Hollyoaks 7am–7pm and then having to train after filming up to midnight. Then after that I would have to film VTs having to sound all enthusiastic whereas I was completely drained.
With Scott you can see he’s had to work hard and you’ve seen him loose a lot of weight. This year is a tough year, what with Matt Baker who’s a trained gymnast and Cara, who’s absolutely wicked, I love her from our Dream Team days, she’s a very good friend so I’m really looking forward to working with her again. She’s been texting me to say she’s excited that she’s doing the tour and that she can’t wait for the programme to end so she can start rehearsing for it.
RW: Definitely, when you spend so much time together - I know this sounds really cheesy – and spend so much time dancing when you stop it’s like going cold turkey. This is like the icing on the cake.
GH: So if it came to a choice of dancing, football or acting what would you choose?
RW: So am I at the top of my game here? Say Premiership football player, professional dancer or Hollywood actor?
Naturally at the moment I’m pursuing my dream of acting and have been spending a lot of time in the States but I think if I was still acting in soaps I would have happily given that up to be a professional dancer as I just loved it.
But no one can prepare you for Strictly, I mean if you are in a club people just expect you to be great at dancing but ballroom, but salsa, ballroom it’s all completely different and you have to train so hard to get it right. When I was training I lost three inches round my waist, I lost a stone and a half in weight and I’m an athlete I play football and rugby.
I mean last week I tried on my pants from when I was in strictly, they were snug, I couldn’t believe it, I was shocked. I’m now worried about what I will be like for the tour as I was so fit after I finished Strictly Come Dancing and now I’m nowhere near that level of fitness. Still I know that Natalie will be whipping me into shape after she finishes the shows.
GH: Have you thought about which dances you would like to do?
RW: Craig is running the show and Natalie is choreographing so it’s down to them but fortunately I’m doing my favourites at the moment the Quick Step and the Argentine Tango
GH: I’m a big fan of the Argentine Tango
RW: The Argentine Tango is hot; I had the horn for the week when I did it on the show, everyone who does Strictly will tell you the same thing. It’s just eye contact and body contact the whole time, it’s just so intense. It’s great and it’s a really beautiful dance, I went to see an Argentine Tango show in London a while ago and it re-ignited my love for dancing again. But if I didn’t have Natalie as a partner again I wouldn’t have agreed to it, you have that bond, she just fits.
GH: What are your thoughts on who will win this year?
RW: Well the judges have been pushing for Pamela and she is the only one to have four tens so far.
GH: So what do you think about the judges votes, for example why does Craig vote low and then Len end up voting really high?
RW: It just levels things out, but it’s all pantomime isn’t it? If it wasn’t like that it would be boring, it’s reality TV isn’t it?
GH: So what do you think about meeting Ann Widecome?
RW: I can’t wait to meet her, it was amazing to see Anton dragging her around on the floor in that beautiful dress on the show, it was hilarious and now Craig is going to have to do that. I can’t wait to see him dance with her; it’s going to crack me up.
GH: Oh yes, Ann is partnered with Craig isn’t he, do you think he secretly likes her?
RW: (Laughs) Yes I think it could be love, yes you heard it here first, Craig and Anne sitting in the tree doing the Rhumba!
But honestly it’s going to be fun watching Anne and Craig dancing together after he’s slated her for the whole series, it’s going to be really amusing.
Strictly Come Dancing The Live Tour 2011 will be at the Manchester Evening News Arena on 8 and 9 February 2011. For more information please click here.