Casualty star Charles Venn on his Strictly Come Dancing pre-show rituals and embracing the sparkle!
Charles Venn is one busy bee on Saturday nights. As well as tripping the light fantastic on Strictly Come Dancing with professional partner Karen Clifton, he’s also playing nurse Jacob Masters in BBC1’s hit medical drama Casualty.
“Mr Saturday Night? I’ll take that moniker!” laughs Charles, 45, when we playfully suggest he’s taking over our screens on that evening.
“I’m still filming Casualty while doing Strictly but luckily not doing as many days, they’ve been kind to me. I’m living the dream!”
We’ve had three week’s of Strictly and Charles has already impressed the Strictly judges and viewers with a red-hot cha-cha-cha, a very cool quickstep and American smooth in movie week.
Here Charles Venn – who’ll perform a Salsa this weekend on Strictly Come Dancing with his pro partner Karen to “Use It Up and Wear It Out” by Odyssey – tells us about his journey so far…
1. My driving force
CV: “After signing up, I was really fearful of looking like a fool. I had so much pressure from my friends and my kids, who don’t believe I can dance. Even my wife asked if I was sure about it. They all made me more driven to prove I could shake a leg, or two, at 45!”
2. Back to basics
CV: “Dance steps are definitely trickier to learn than the medical jargon I need for Casualty. I’m a Nigerian boy and in our household moving your hips was essential when it came to parties. Ballroom is the polar opposite. It’s almost like learning to walk again. Karen always tells me about my frame and being economical with foot placement.”
3. Pre-show rituals
CV: “I do 50 push-ups to warm-up the old muscles and say a little prayer to the man upstairs. That calms me to a degree although my heart is still beating like a jackhammer and blood pressure is rising. Once the music starts, that’s it, you do your routine. It goes by in a flash and the suddenly you’re speaking to the judges.”
4. Listen to the judges
CV: “The judges’ scores are essential. Not only for myself but I don’t want to let Karen down. She’s invested so much time and hard work to bring the best out of me. We put our heart and soul into it. And, of course, I want the scores to go higher! I don’t want to go beneath the previous score.”
5. Brave ‘Terrible Tuesdays’
CV: “We have a saying of ‘Terrible Tuesday’, which is the second day after you’ve mapped out the next routine and are determined to get it on its feet. But you have hiccups and stumbling blocks. It’s so frustrating and the voice of doubt comes in. But you find your way; it figures itself out. As Bob Marley said, ‘You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.’”
6. Go bright, or go home!
CV: “I insisted on the red suit I wore for week one. Honestly I really wanted that red suit. You’ve got to stand out. I felt confident enough with the dance moves, I said, so long as I get them out, the red suit would be justified. It’s the old saying, when you do something like that you better having something in your locker if you’re going to wear something that loud! I’m embracing all of it 100% – Strictly is one of those once in a lifetime opportunities.”
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday.