Rachel and Natalie are early Strictly co-favourites

Rachel Riley has clocked up some impressive figures of her own after bookies named her as favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing when the line-up was confirmed.

The Countdown maths boffin will take on the likes of Hairy Biker Dave Myers, fashion designer Julien Macdonald and singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor in the new series which has its launch at the weekend.
Rachel, a 27-year-old Oxford graduate, has been placed as the early co-favourite at 5-1 by bookmaker William Hill, equal with former Coronation Street actress Natalie Gumede, while model Abbey Clancy – wife of soccer star Peter Crouch – is close behind at 6-1.

The 15-strong Strictly line-up will feature in the launch show on Saturday and will be hoping to remain in the contest until December as they battle for the all-important glitterball trophy.

Others who were unveiled are Coronation Street’s Natalie Gumede, Dragons’ Den panellist Deborah Meaden and retired rugby player Ben Cohen, who now runs an anti-bullying charity foundation.

Former Bond girl Fiona Fullerton, who featured in A View To A Kill, Ashley Taylor Dawson from Hollyoaks, radio presenter Vanessa Feltz, Patrick Robinson from Casualty and Waterloo Road’s Mark Benton are also among the stars hoping to dazzle on the dancefloor.

Another competitor, BBC Breakfast host Susanna Reid, revealed how she is ‘aching in places I’ve never ached before’, after beginning her training for Strictly. but added she was ‘not in it to win it, just to enjoy it’.

Hairy Biker Dave said he was looking forward to a new image: “I want to enjoy it and I am going to be enthusiastic. I am going to wear as much fake tan and glitter as possible. I’ve never fake tanned before – I’ll do anything.”

Dave is already a friend of fellow contestant Mark, who said Dave had once played his stunt double in Catherine Cookson adaptation The Girl.

He said: “There was a scene we had to film with a big ox that was going mad and I was too scared to do it, so they dressed Dave up as me and made him do the scene instead. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him, but he is still the same lovely guy he was before.”


Latest TV News