How does it feel to be putting smiles on everyone’s faces on Saturday nights?
“That means the world to me. I’ve been at the bottom of the leaderboard a few times now, but we’re still here which shows how supportive the public are being. It’s amazing. I’m so grateful people are rooting for me.”
How would you describe the Strictly experience?
“It’s like being invited to one of the best parties ever. It’s just a shame someone has to go home each week. You just hope it’s not you!”
Why did you want to take part in the show?
“I couldn’t miss the opportunity to be on the biggest show on TV. I remember watching Lisa Riley last year; she wasn’t the obvious winner, but crikey, could she dance, and had such a good time. It didn’t take me long to say yes when they asked me. I rang the wife, Lilli, and she just went, ‘Bloody hell!’, but she’s loving it. Lilli comes most Saturday nights to watch – she sees it as an opportunity for new shoes and a nice frock!”
What does your best mate, Si King, think of you taking part?
“Kingy doesn’t envy my sequins, but he might be jealous I get to dance with Karen every week. Strictly definitely isn’t Si’s thing – he doesn’t know what he’s missing! I love all the getting dressed up, and the buzz and camaraderie backstage.”
Has being on the show made you fitter, too?
“After 35 years slumped over a motorbike I had a dodgy back and aching knees when I started. I kept it to myself, but thought they’d cause me problems. Yet since doing anti-gravity yoga – which feels like flying – to improve my posture, I feel so much better.”
Is it aiding your weight loss?
“I lost three stone last year in the Bikers’ How To Love Food and Lose Weight show and my Latin trousers still keep being taken in each week. I can feel muscles in my arms I’ve never had before from lifting Karen – junior guns! Or should I say grandpa guns?”
What do you think about the judges’ comments? They haven’t been too good so far!
“Ahh, it doesn’t put me off. We’re breaking down Craig gradually. Karen and I can see the pulses chuckling in the back of his neck. He’ll warm to our charms eventually!”
What about people thinking of you as a comedy act on the show?
“I want to be more than that. I really am trying hard to dance well and don’t want to just scrape through. I’m not playing for laughs, but if it comes out like that then fantastic. It’s got to be fun.”
What’s your goal?
“Just trying to get through each week! I’d love to get as far as Blackpool. I grew up in Barrow, just across the bay, and used to go to the tower ballroom with my mum and watch Reginald Dixon and the mighty Wurlitzer. Blackpool would be personal for me, a big achievement. But you know, whenever I do go, it’ll be with a smile on my face. I’ve got this far and made some friends for life. I just don’t want the party to end!”