Text Santa’s Alesha Dixon: ‘I’m having a rap battle with Paddy McGuinness’

Alesha Dixon is joining the presenting line-up for Friday’s Text Santa on ITV. Here, she gives us some hints about what we can expect from the festive fundraiser…

Why were you keen to get involved with this year’s Text Santa?
“As we all get on with our day-to-day lives, it’s worth remembering that life can be tough for a lot of people for many different reasons. It’s about raising money for six worthy charities and if we can all come together and do something collectively, I think that’s important and I just had to be involved. For me it was a no-brainer.”

Text Santa is always full of festive fun and games. Can you give us any hints about what surprises we can expect?
“This is an incredible year for Text Santa – there will lots of performances, lots of surprise guests and lots of things that viewers won’t expect. Plus, we’ve got a massive star like George Clooney involved – and it doesn’t get much bigger than that!”

You’re hosting your hour of the show with Paddy McGuinness. Do you worry about him getting up to mischief?
“No, I don’t worry, I encourage it! I want him to be spontaneous and outrageous and I want our hour to be the party hour! We want viewers to join in the fun and donate lots of money, so we can make a real difference to people’s lives.”

We know you’re both taking on The Cube for Text Santa. What can you tell us about how you got on?
“I didn’t know how I’d handle it, but I’m very competitive, so I knew I’d do whatever it takes. Once you’re in there it’s quite an intense situation and when you know what you’re playing for and how much money’s at stake, it changes the dynamic completely.”

And is it true the two of you will be going head-to-head in a rap battle?
“Ha, ha! Yes, I can confirm that something is occurring and everything you see will be live on the night. Give me a microphone and I’m away, but Paddy’s stepping right outside his comfort zone, so watch this space!”

Have you been touched by any of Text Santa’s featured charities?
“My friend’s granddad recently passed away from dementia, so the Alzheimer’s charity is really important. I wasn’t aware until recently just how many people the disease affects and I think it’s important that we’re all a bit more compassionate and understanding towards people living with dementia. But, of course, whether it’s children, animals, cancer or dementia, all of our charities are worthy and special in their own right.”

Why is Christmas an even more important time for people to donate?
“For me, the most important things about Christmas are family and love, and it’s just about extending that love out to everyone, not just limiting it to your own family. Even if everybody donated the small change in their pocket, we could raise serious amounts of money. Giving a little makes a big, big difference.”