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Rickie Haywood-Williams says Strictly Christmas special stint is for daughter


adio DJ Rickie Haywood-Williams has said he has taken on the challenge of Strictly Come Dancing’s Christmas special as his daughter is a “massive fan of the show”.

The presenter, 42, will be partnered with professional dancer Luba Mushtuk as he seeks to claim victory in the festive version of the BBC One show.

Speaking ahead of the special, which will air on Christmas Day, he admitted he never thought he would agree to go on the dance competition.

He said: “A friend of mine, Melvin Odoom, did it a few years ago and even though he loved it, he said it was so hard when he did the main show.

“He went on to win the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, and Melvin is a really good dancer and I’m not as good a dancer as him so (I thought) maybe it’s not for me.

“But then, when they asked me I was like, because it’s such a big show, I had to go for it, you can’t turn it down!

“And then I found out I was with Luba and I was like ok, this might be okay!”

Haywood-Williams, who hosts BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge show with Odoom and Charlie Hedges, said his daughter’s excitement about the offer was what sealed the deal for him.

“My daughter is a massive fan of the show, absolutely huge, and when I mentioned it to her before I had confirmed she was like ‘Oh my God dad, you have to do it, please, please, please!’”, he recalled.

“And then we found that was Christmas special and she lost her mind even more because she wanted to see everyone in character outfits!”

The presenter will perform the salsa while dressed as a toy Nutcracker when he takes to the dancefloor.

Russian dancer Mushtuk said: “The theme of the dance is, we are in a shop and I’m selling Christmas presents and he’s one of the presents who is a beautiful Nutcracker, the most expensive present in my shop.

“And then the music starts and he just can’t stop himself, he comes alive. He starts dancing salsa then he calls me and I of course go down to dance Salsa with him.”

Haywood-Williams admitted that even though he feels he is a “terrible dancer” he would still like to win the festive episode.

This year’s Strictly festive special will also see Girls Aloud’s Nicola Roberts partnered with Giovanni Pernice and CBeebies presenter George Webster dancing with professional Amy Dowden.

Coronation Street star Alexandra Mardell will also dance with Kai Widdrington, actor Larry Lamb with Nadiya Bychkova and podcaster Rosie Ramsey will be partnered with Neil Jones.

Last year saw singer Anne-Marie and professional dancer Graziano Di Prima crowned the winner of the 2021 Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special.

The Strictly 2022 series finished on Saturday with Hamza Yassin and his partner Jowita Przystal lifting the glitterball trophy following the public vote.

– The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Christmas Day at 5.10pm.

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