The Strictly star talks ru­moured rifts and flaunt­ing his physique

Heat (UK) - - Contents -

He has abs to grate the tough­est Parme­san, and he’s not shy in show­ing them off. Yes, Charles Venn is on fire both on and off the dance floor, and to­gether with pro part­ner Karen Clifton, he’s bring­ing the heat to this year’s Strictly. Un­sur­pris­ingly, fans have been quick to high­light “Team 12 pack’s” killer chem­istry, but ac­cord­ing to the ac­tor, all the drama’s saved for the danc­ing. Speak­ing to heat, Charles, 45, talks Strictly curses, flash­ing his abs, and tells us that – de­spite the ru­mours – Karen and es­tranged hus­band Kevin Clifton are friendly exes...

What’s the tough­est part about Strictly?

Mainly mem­o­ris­ing steps. We have a thing called “Ter­ri­ble Tues­days”. On Mon­day, you map out the rou­tine, and on Tues­day, you think you’ve got it, but it doesn’t work. So, you start pan­ick­ing, think­ing you’re never go­ing to get it. It’s very scary.

And by Satur­day, are you to­tally own­ing it?

It’s a funny one. When you’re in dress re­hearsals, it’s all fine, and you can still work on one or two mishaps. Then, you rest, chill and mess around with your col­leagues. But when it starts, the nerves sud­denly kick in. Also, the au­di­ence aren’t in­ter­ested in the char­ac­ters I’ve played. I’m pre­sent­ing my­self and hav­ing to bare my soul for the first time – that vul­ner­a­bil­ity is scary.

It’s not just your soul you are bar­ing - those are some im­pres­sive abs…

Ha! You know what? For me, at 45 years old, it’s not bad. I can live with that. You’ve got to flaunt it while you’ve still got it. My kids’ friends have been telling them, “Your dad is dench!”

Are you giv­ing Karen a run for her money?

Ex­actly that. I was al­ways told that Karen was the Lara Croft of Strictly – she’s very mus­cu­lar and sup­ple. So, I thought, “OK, I’ll show her that I can mea­sure up.” She’s GI Jane, and I’m GI Joe. But she knows when to push me, when to use fi­nesse and when to be a bit more force­ful. I don’t moan or com­plain. She’s my sen­sei, and I’m her will­ing stu­dent.

What do you think about the no­to­ri­ous Strictly curse?

It’s a load of non­sense – ho­cus po­cus, mumbo jumbo. If some­thing’s not meant to hap­pen, then it’s not meant to hap­pen. My fam­ily are lov­ing me be­ing on the show, and I’ve got my wife do­ing rou­tines with me in the kitchen. It’s lovely.

How about Karen and Kevin – have you felt any ten­sion be­tween them?

No, not at all. From what I’ve seen, they’re good friends, and are on good terms.

‘I’m hav­ing to bare my soul for the first time’

The exes got close at the Strictly launch Com­par­ing their #gains

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