From TV screen to Arena for Strictly

Strictly Come Dancing.  (C) BBC.
Strictly Come Dancing. (C) BBC.

After three enjoyable but gruelling months on the TV show, the seven stars of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing have signed up to go through it all again as part of the Strictly Live Tour.

The tour, which comes to the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield for two performances on Tuesday and Wednesday, will be hosted by 2012 Strictly star Lisa Riley and promises to be the most glittering yet.

Current Strictly Come Dancing champion Abbey Clancy is desperate not to hang up her dance shoes.

The 27-year-old TV presenter, who is married to former England and Stoke striker Peter Crouch, said: “For me Strictly has been the most incredible experience and I wanted to carry on forever. So the tour is a brilliant opportunity to keep dancing.

“Peter loves dancing and so does our daughter Sophia. When I was on Strictly she wouldn’t watch the show unless she was wearing a tutu and little dance shoes.

“The costumes on the show are beautiful and I love the fact the tour means I can carry on getting made up, getting a fake tan, tons of glitter and millions of hair extensions. It’s every girl’s dream.”

Abbey’s not the only one who’s itching to get back into her costume.

Waterloo Road star Mark Benton, 48, was knocked out in week nine.

He was a firm favourite with fans for his off-the-wall routines and outlandish outfits with partner Iveta Lukosiute. One highlight was their version of MC Hammer’s You Can’t Touch This, complete with rap-star style gold costume.

“I think we’re going to do You Can’t Touch This on the tour.” Mark said, “So many people come up to me and say they love it, it would be rude not to do it.

“But I think we’d love to put more content into the dance on the live show.”

Mark, who lost three stone during his time on the show, added: “We want to really surprise people on the tour.

“Ben Cohen kept taking his top off to win over the ladies, so maybe I will take my trousers off?”

Rugby player Ben’s topless paso doble with partner Kristina Rihanoff was one of the great moments of the series.

The 35-year-old, who helped England win the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, said: “We put up a vote on Twitter asking fans which dance they wanted to see again on the tour and it was the paso doble that kept coming up.

“When you sign up for something like Strictly, you think afterwards: ‘Why on earth did I do that’?

“But then you start training and see how hard it is and how hard the professionals work. And you get used to going out in front of a nation and you overcome challenges and it becomes a highlight.”

Ben added: “Although Strictly is a competition, the real competition is with yourself, and how far you can push yourself and shed your inhibitions about dancing.”

Runner-up and BBC Breakfast star Susanna Reid also built up a loyal following.

The 42-year-old was dubbed ‘Superwoman’ for her ability to fit in a demanding career on breakfast television, being a mum to three children and her training for the show.

So performing in front of a crowd of 10,000 excited fans should be a doddle, right?

“I work on TV so am used to performing in front of cameras and not seeing the whites of people’s eyes looking up at you and hoping to be entertained,” she said.

“But performing to such a big crowd, you get the instant feedback that you don’t get with TV.

“I got a taste of it during Strictly in front of the studio audience and more so at Blackpool and I am looking forward to it again on the tour.”

She added with a laugh: “I think I have proved that as a woman over 40 with three children you can learn to dance with a gorgeous young teacher!

“I might not get every step right but I do it with a smile on my face. And after the tour is over I will still be dancing in my local clubs every Friday night.”

But it’s not only this year’s crop of celebrities limbering up for a return to the Strictly dance floor.