Ac­tor in­sists stay­ing on show will be the best gift as fel­low Scot stuns with su­per­heroic moves

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bill Gibb BGIBB@SUNDAYPOST.COM

Strictly star Joe McFad­den is hop­ing for a birth­day bonus to­mor­row – still be­ing in Strictly.

If he sur­vives tonight’s re­sults show, the ac­tor will be shun­ning cel­e­bra­tions for an­other pun­ish­ing

re­hearsal with pro part­ner Katya Jones. Joe said: “I’m go­ing to be 42 on Mon­day and I’m re­ally hop­ing I’ll have some­thing to cel­e­brate.

“The best present would be to get to keep danc­ing on Mon­day morn­ing. I love be­ing in­volved.

“It’s great to be able to learn to dance and at my age it wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen any other way.”

Mean­while, the Holby City star says tips from last year’s win­ner Ore Oduba and for­mer shadow chan­cel­lor Ed Balls are boost­ing his chances on the hit BBC show.

Glas­gow-born Joe has had train­ing-room vis­its from both as he tries to per­fect his dance­floor moves. Ed was paired with Katya last year, while champ Ore

reprised his win­ning rou­tine on the open­ing show.

“Katya in­vited Ed along and it was use­ful to have him there and get his in­sight,” said Joe. “He told me about us­ing the en­ergy of the au­di­ence.

“He warned me not to get thrown by it all be­cause it is over­whelm­ing with the lights, cam­eras and mu­sic.

“He did so well by re­ally throw­ing him­self into it. You have to dive in with both feet and not be ret­i­cent.

“Ore said that it’s over be­fore you know it and you don’t want to get to the end and find you for­got to en­joy it be­cause you’re so wor­ried about the steps.

“It’s a trap to freak out and worry too much about be­ing per­fect. I don’t think peo­ple want it to be per­fect, they want a bit of jeop­ardy and that’s what I’m try­ing to sup­ply.”

Last night was Movie Week on the show with Joe and Katya danc­ing a Vi­en­nese Waltz to Some­where My Love – Lara’s Theme from Doc­tor Zhivago.

Glas­gow co­me­dian Susan Cal­man was one of the fun high­lights as she did a Samba to the theme from the Won­der Woman TV show, dressed in the su­per­hero cos­tume. And Joe ad­mit­ted he was thrilled at how Susan had won over fans.

“She’s a re­ally cool girl. I’ve en­joyed her com­edy for years and see­ing her on panel shows like Have I Got News For You? so it’s been great to meet her.

“It’s nice to have a fel­low Scot in the mix.” Joe stormed up the leader­board in week one with his jive get­ting huge praise. But he dropped back last week with the judges say­ing he could do much bet­ter.

Joe has no com­plaints about the crit­i­cism, ad­mit­ting the tango re­ally wasn’t his dance.

But he’s been so des­per­ate to do well that he’s been fit­ting in ex­tra prac­tice ses­sions on the set of Holby. It’s also filmed at the home of Strictly, El­stree Stu­dios, mak­ing it easy for Katya to cram in ev­ery last minute of re­hearsals.

“We’ve been run­ning through the rou­tine be­tween scenes,” said Joe, who dis­missed any talk of there be­ing a ro­man­tic ‘Strictly curse’. “When­ever there’s been a break we’ve been danc­ing around the wards in my med­i­cal scrubs.”

Joe’s been danc­ing for up to nine hours a day and, mi­nor hip and shoul­der in­juries aside, it has left him fit­ter than ever be­fore.

He’s been burn­ing so many calo­ries, though, he’s been cram­ming in food as much as dances. “I’ve tried to be healthy with pro­tein shakes but I do like a roll and sausage.”

The first elim­i­na­tion last week of for­mer Holby pal, Chizzy Aku­dolu, hit Joe hard.

“It’s been a dif­fer­ent place with­out her. She was so up­set, bless her,” added Joe. “Hope­fully it’ll get eas­ier to lose peo­ple as the weeks go on.”

Joe McFad­den

Dy­namic duo? Won­der Woman Susan Cal­man and pro part­ner Kevin Clifton on last night’s show

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