Celebs clamour to be on Strictly Come Dancing special

The producers of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing are being inundated by calls from showbiz agents. After witnessing the success of the latest series, celebrities are desperate to be involved in the Christmas special.

Executive producer Glenn Coomber is too discreet to name any names just yet, but says he has been amazed by the interest. "We are now preparing for the Christmas show and the celebrities we are lining up are fantastic," he told the Independent. "We have had a lot of interest and I could not be happier."

The reason is that Strictly is seen as a cut above the herd of TV talent and reality shows. Its current series is consistently scoring a million more viewers than ITV’s X Factor, as viewers tune in to follow the progress of stars like Kimberley Walsh, Victoria Pendleton and Michael Vaughan. Coomber says the ethos of the show sets it apart.

"Strictly is not seen in the same way as Dancing On Ice or I'm A Celebrity," he said. "It's not a reality show. It's a magical thing where people work hard but they have such genuine fun. Strictly has to be fun as otherwise there is no point in doing it."

In the past, viewers have enjoyed laughing at, and voting for, contestants who were terrible dancers, such as John Sergeant and Anne Widdecombe. Coomber said that has changed. "We did not go into this thinking who is the next Ann Widdecombe or Nancy Dell'Olio. We looked at who was relevant. When I met Lisa Riley for the first time, she was such a lovely, warm person. She told me 'I may be a fat person but I can do the splits'. I felt we had someone very special with her and the combination of Lisa and Robin Windsor is working like a dream."

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