Craig Revel-Horwood and the rest of the Strictly Come Dancing judges will be returning to our screens on Saturday as a new series of the ballroom show gets underway on BBC1.

We caught up with him to talk this year’s contestants, being kissed by Mark Wright and dancing in the launch show…

Are you looking forward to watching Peter Andre’s first dance?


The good thing about Peter is that he isn’t shy! He also has good reason to want to do well because I think he’ll be doing it for his kids. I think he’ll want to win it, he won’t want to be runner up. I think he’ll be quite powerful, particularly in the tangos. Also, he’s a bit of a looker!”

How about Carol Kirkwood?


“I love Carol Kirkwood! How can I be nasty to her? She’s such a lovely person. I’ve been on BBC Breakfast and met her so I’m so pleased that she’s doing it. I hope she’ll be great, but who knows? I don’t want to upset her, but I’m going to have to tell her the truth. I’ll probably be hated for it.”

Many people have also tipped former Coronation Street star Georgia May Foote to do well

“The soap stars often do. As an actress she has the ability to act through the dance. So what she lacks technically, she can make up for in the acting department. It goes hand in hand. However, she does have the disadvantage that actors are generally quite sensitive. Unlike say, Anthony Ogogo, who might be used to taking criticism, Georgia May not be! She’s also stunning so I hope she gets paired with someone really good.”

Do you think she can overcome EastEnders’ Kellie Bright in the battle of the soaps?


“I love Kellie and she’s very topical at the moment. I think it’s great that everyone will get to know her real name! That’s what’s great about actors, particularly in soaps, they get called by their soap name in the street. It’s nice that she’s doing it and, like Georgia, her acting will help her.”

What about Ainsley Harriott?


“I love his personality and that’s going to come out on the dance floor. He’s not afraid to show it which I think is fantastic. He may struggle with the ballroom, but time will tell…”

What do you make of the line-up?


“I think it’s really, really good. I love the fact that there’s an enormous cross section of types of people – all types of celebrities. From Jeremy Vine all the way through to Anthony Ogogo – you couldn’t get two more different people. It’s really exciting.”

Did you enjoy last year’s series?


“I thought Caroline Flack was a worthy winner although it was a hot competition with some really fantastic dancers up there. So it was really down to the audience at the end. As judges, we were pretty much all on the same page. It’s brilliant that Caroline has gone over to X Factor. She’ll be on at the same time as us!”

Did you expect her to do as well as she did?


“I did pick her out because she had really good rhythm and she seemed to be able to do anything that was given to her, which I thought was really great. She had lovely finishes, beautiful hands and really worked hard on all of that.”

The kiss you got from Mark Wright was one of the highlights of last year’s Strictly…


“I loved that. Let’s see if that happens again. Maybe Peter Andre? We’ll keep our fingers crossed!”

Do you still enjoy working on the show as much as when you first started?


“I still love doing it because what makes it different every year is the line up. They’ve thrown a lot of money at it since the first time we ever did it in May 2004. When you go back and have a look at the early shows it was very basic!”

Are you looking forward to seeing Claudia and Tess again?


“I also love Claudia and Tess because they’re chalk and cheese, which I think is good. In every comedy duo you need a straight one and the funny one – that’s what we’ve got here. It’s so lovely to have a girl/girl combination.”

Are you going to be less nasty?


“No 10s this year, darling. I got too carried away last year so I’m going to be harder this time.” 

Are you looking forward to dancing at the launch show?


“The launch show is great fun because they do lots of exciting things. As judges, we’ve had to learn a dance so that should be interesting! I’m fully recovered from my operation last year and I’m currently dancing on stage in Annie as Miss Hannigan so it’s great. I’m raring to go.” 

The celebs pair up with the dancers on the Strictly Come Dancing launch show on Saturday, September 5 at 7.15pm on BBC1