Strictly stars set to shine

Call the Midwife actress Helen George will be taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing live tour

Call the Midwife actress Helen George will be taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing live tour

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Everyone asks 2015 Strictly winner Jay McGuiness, who appears in Sheffield next week, the same question.

Why didn’t he and Aliona Vilani reprise their sensational jive for their show dance in the final?

“The answer,” said Jay, “is that we were worried we might not be able to recreate the magic. But we’ll be doing it on tour and I can’t wait. Our other dance is the rumba.

“I’m looking forward to dancing in front of a large audience which I’m used to, of course, from being a member of The Wanted.

“Funnily enough, dancing on TV with a studio audience of just 400 is far more intimidating.”

He’s really excited about the tour. “I didn’t want Christmas to come and never dance with Aliona again. So the tour was the natural way of extending the experience.

“Even so, when we’d finished our last dance on TV, I felt quite emotional. Looking back, the reason I didn’t break down was because I knew the tour was starting in January.”

Before the last series, Aliona had made up her mind that it would be her last – for a number of personal reasons.

Might that include starting a family?”‘We’ll see. But there were also professional considerations. I’ve won it twice now and it’s good as a dancer and choreographer to go out on a high.

“As it turned out, it was the best ending to my Strictly dance career.”

Will Jay and Aliona stay in touch? “Oh yes,” they chorus. “We’re friends for life.”

So, too, are Georgia May Foote and her Sicilian dance partner, Giovanni Pernice.

“When Strictly finished, it was like a massive bubble bursting,” said Georgia.

“After our final dance, I felt so deflated. I never wanted it to end so I needed no persuading to go on the live tour.

“We’ve been used to dancing in front of a studio audience but, in some of the tour venues like Wembley and the O2, we’ll be performing for thousands and thousands of people.

“We’ll feel like rock stars.”

They’ll dance the Charleston and the American Smooth.

Actress Helen George is having a great time with partner Aljaz Skorjanec.

“I’m really excited by the idea of the tour because the element of competition has been taken away and I really enjoy theatre. There’s been so much laughter in rehearsal. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun.”

Helen found it quite difficult some weeks if she also had a lot to do on Call The Midwife.

“I’d get a bit stressed if we didn’t have the amount of time we needed to learn a new dance.

“If you’ve been up at five in the morning for filming, your brain is so tired that it can’t process difficult dance routines. But mostly it was fine.”

Countryfile presenter Anita Rani is thrilled to be going on the tour.

“I’ve never done anything like this before. I haven’t stopped smiling since getting back into the routines, quite literally, with Gleb.

“It’s the perfect opportunity to extend the Strictly experience, to tie up the whole thing with a bow. The only question is: will I ever be able to return to real life afterwards?”

There are still tickets for the tour that calls at Sheffield Arena next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Box office: 0114 256 5656 or www.sheffieldarena.co.uk