British gymnastics star Louis Smith: ‘I’ll be an honest judge on Tumble!’

Olympic silver medallist Louis Smith is delighted to be on the judging panel for Saturday night’s new Strictly-style gymnastics show Tumble. The world-class gymnast and Strictly winner tells What’s On TV what we can expect…

You won Strictly in 2012 and now you’re a judge for Tumble. So is it easier sitting on the panel?
“Yes we’ve definitely got the easy job! We just have to sit and enjoy what everyone else is doing! The celebrities taking part have got all the hard work – they’ve been training and they’re doing something different, whereas we’ve just been having a good laugh!”

You’ve got stars like EastEnders’ John Partridge, Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding and boxer Carl Froch taking part. Are you going to go easy on them?
“It would be silly if I was anything but honest. I’m going to be straight down the line – I’ll tell the contestants what they’re doing wrong and how they can improve it. I’ll be honest, but I won’t criticise someone for the sake of it.”

How are you getting on with the other judges, Olympic legend Nadia Comaneci, former Team GB captain Craig Heap and Cirque specialist Sebastien Stella?
“It’s all good. But Nadia’s the boss. She’s the one who cracks the whip when the rest of us get too giddy! And she’s a perfectionist!”

What can we expect from the show?
“It’s a good mix of theatre, performance, gymnastics and sport. So the celebrities will do floor routines to music and will do lifts like in a Strictly dance. There’s a bit of everything thrown in!”

So will we see a different side to you on this?
“Yes, I’m looking forward to showing a more relaxed side to myself. Gymnasts aren’t just robots. We can have a laugh and enjoy it, too! It’s also an opportunity to show another side of gymnastics.”

You’ve been instrumental in raising the profile of gymnastics. Do you hope Tumble will do the same?
“Gymnastics has definitely reached people in the UK a lot more in the last couple of years. I visit lots of schools and so many kids are now doing gymnastics. This show is only going to be even more positive for the sport, so I’m very excited.”

You’re known for your perfectly coiffured hair. Will it take you long to get it just right for the live shows?
“Actually I’m quite easy going, as long as someone’s there to sort my hair out. I can’t stand doing it myself because the straighteners make me all hot, flustered and sweaty!”

Tumble premieres on BBC1 on Saturday, August 9 at 6.30pm.