“I’m still buzzing!” says a clearly elated Peter Andre. TV Times catches up with Peter just a couple of days after he topped the Strictly leader board with his sensational Charleston.



There are still a few weeks to go and anything can happen before the final, but here, Peter, 42, tells us about his and pro partner Janette Manrara’s hopes for glory, and what it has been like to be part of the Strictly phenomenon…



So has Strictly been what you expected, Peter?

“It’s a lot harder than I thought. People told me it would be a rollercoaster ride and I didn’t believe them, but it really is. Some weeks when you haven’t done so well you get down and you think, ‘I don’t know whether I can do this,’ but then you get an incredible week and you think, ‘This is amazing.’



“I will take away some aches and bruise,s but it has been the most incredibly rewarding experience, and one that I will never forget.”



You’ve said that you get very nervous each week; have your nerves surprised you?

“Oh, it is the most nerve-wracking thing I have ever done, more than any of the stage performances I do, so yes, I was really surprised.”



The training must be exhausting, how does Janette keep you motivated?

“Well, Janette, unfortunately, comes second place to my espresso machine, that really keeps me going! But she is a fantastic teacher and more so, a good friend. She is very strict, but if she doesn’t believe you can do it, she is not going to push you. But if she knows you are capable, she will, and that means a lot to me.”



How do you rate your chances of making the final?

“Well Janette said, ‘If I get you to the final, will you sing at my wedding [to fellow pro dancer Aljaz]?’ and I said, ‘Yes!’ But getting to the final is really difficult and if this competition ends up being based on technical dancing I definitely won’t win, but I am hoping the performance side could get me far.”



Topping the leader board the other week must have given you a huge boost though…

“Well, I didn’t expect to go back to the top again [Peter was the frontrunner in week one] and I said to Janette, ‘This may never happen again, so I am going to cherish this moment.’



“I’m not going to rest on my laurels though, I just want to do my best and I am content that I have had a really good run. There are some incredible dancers on the show and everyone is getting better so I am happy for anyone to take the crown.”



You’ve become famous on the show for your dad jokes. Do your kids [Junior, 10, Princess, 8, and Amelia, 1] get embarrassed?

“I think it has depressed them slightly! Junior goes, ‘Oh, Dad!’ but I’ve heard him repeating my jokes to his mates so I tell him, ‘You’re trying to act like you’re embarrassed, but secretly you’re using my jokes, which means that you’re a chip off the old block, young man!”



Claudia Winkleman keeps a very stony face during your gags though; will you get her to smile before the end of the series?

“Claudia gave me a hug last week and that is a first because she told me she doesn’t hug people so I am absolutely honoured and if I can get her to hug, I can get her to smile!”



Is your wife, Emily, a good dancer?

“I reckon she would be, but she has never let on that she can dance so I think we should take up some ballroom, it would be really good for us to do. It’s like a sport because you keep fit as well.”



Will you take your new dance moves on your Come Swing With Me tour early next year?

“Yes! All my tours before were sort of average and now I want to make my show excellent so whatever the judges tell me, I think, ‘Right, I’m keeping that tip.’ Now, if people want to come and see me in concert hopefully they will say, ‘I know he can dance.’”



Are you going to eat, drink and be merry like never before this Christmas, once Strictly finishes?

“I am pigging out now, let me tell you! You have to exercise too though, and I’m going to keep training because I am 42, not 22, so I have got to be careful.



“Christmas will definitely be a big family day though, I’m not quite sure whether Emily is working because she’s a doctor and sometimes she is doing shift work, but whatever happens we will still make it special.”