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Judi Love talks about being part of Strictly and her “excitement” to learn Rumba

The multi-award-winning Strictly Come Dancing returned this September to BBC One and BBC iPlayer, as the nation’s favourite dance show once again brings glitter, glamour and glorious dancing to Saturday and Sunday nights.

Strictly Come Dancing launched on Saturday 18 September, with hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman welcoming celebrity contestants onto the Strictly dancefloor as they make their dancing debut. Straight-talking powerhouse Judi Love is one of the UK’s most in demand entertainers. A firm favourite on the stand-up circuit, Judi is also known for producing a host of viral online comedy sketches, amassing a huge following on social media. As well as being a regular panellist on Loose Women, Judi has made appearances on The Jonathan Ross Show, The Graham Norton show, 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Celebrity Juice, This Morning, Good Morning Britain, The Stand Up Sketch Show, The Big Narstie Show and Celebrity Masterchef. Judi Love talks about being part of Strictly this year,

What made you want to take part in Strictly this year?

It’s such a fantastic opportunity, especially after the last 18 months. Also, to have something to really look forward to and have the chance to develop a new skill is most people’s dream. I’m just excited to take part in a show that has such a phenomenal reputation of seeing people push themselves in something new.

What do you think will the biggest challenge that you’ll face?

I think the biggest challenge will be learning the moves and retraining my body. The challenge of getting rid of old habits and pushing yourself physically.

Are any dances in particular you’re excited to learn and perform?

The Rumba, Salsa and the Jive. All of them!

How do you feel about being ‘Strictly-fied’?

Oh I’m up for that! Come on, who wants to turn down a bit of glitz and glam?!

Do you have any contestants from previous series that were particular favourites of yours?

I’ll definitely say Alesha Dixon because she just looked like a professional. The way she just flowed with the music… it was great.

What has the reaction been like from friends and family to you taking part in Strictly this year?

It’s been fantastic! People are telling me they’re going to start a campaign for me! They’re just so excited. It’s completely out of the box of what I would usually do so they’re happy.

Do you have any previous dance experience?

Only dancing in the clubs and partying in the house!

What are you looking for in a dance partner?

Someone who’s really determined to bring out the dancer in me. Someone who’s not going to be too fluffy. I want someone who’s going to push me but be compassionate – compassionate but tough!

Have you had any advice before taking part in the show? Have you spoken to anyone who has done it before?

Everyone’s advice has just been enjoy, enjoy, enjoy and don’t worry about anything. And to really put myself into different characters every time I go onto the dancefloor. Also, not to read anything on social media and not to see it as just a competition but to see it as I’m experiencing something that is a whole moment – from putting on the outfit to going out on the stage. That’s what I lot of people have been saying to me.

And what do you think of your fellow contestants? Did you know them previously and who’s your biggest competition?

I knew AJ before this but at this moment I’m not thinking of it as a competition. I see myself as my biggest competition because I believe it’s your thoughts and your mind and what you think about yourself that gets you through it.

Would you say you’re a competitive person? Are you in it to win the Glitterball Trophy?

I’m in it to win it for myself. I definitely would love to win it but who wouldn’t?! It’s Strictly. But I think it’s more about battling my own challenges first.

The other celebrities waltzing onto our screens this year are Adam Peaty, AJ Odudu, Dan Walker, Greg Wise, John Whaite, Judi Love, Katie McGlynn, Nina Wadia, Rhys Stephenson, Robert Webb, Rose Ayling-Ellis, Sara Davies, Tilly Ramsey, Tom Fletcher and Ugo Monye.

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