The Strictly star talks rumoured rifts and flaunting his physique
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