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GBBO’s John Whaite’s Strictly debut marks his BBC returns

Great British Bake Off star John Whaite is set to take to the dancefloor on Strictly, two years after criticising the BBC’s after-care for contestants. 

It was announced on Thursday morning that the TV chef, 33, would be one of the stars of this year’s show, nine years on from his triumph on Great British Bake Off, which sadly led to a host of mental health battles. 

In 2019, John penned a piece for The Telegraph, in which he called for ‘serious reform’ into how stars of shows are prepared for life after TV, as he himself fell into financial woes, ‘dried-up’ work and began drinking excessively. 

He referenced the suicides of ITV’s Love Island stars Caroline Flack, Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon, whose deaths sparked concerns over how stars are prepared for post-show life – and insisted BBC needed to do more to improve their own care. 

Back: Great British Bake Off star John Whaite is set to take to the dancefloor on Strictly, two years after criticising the BBC’s after-care for contestants 

On Thursday, the fourth Strictly Come Dancing star was revealed as John, who will be one-half of the show’s first all-male partnership. 

After much controversy during the show’s 17 year run over the prospect of a same-sex pairing, Strictly is finally addressing the call for change with John delightedly praising the ‘great step forward in representation and inclusion’. 

He said: ‘What’s exciting for me, is that I’m going to be one half of the first all-male partnership, which is a great step forward in representation and inclusion.’

His history-making turn on the show comes two years after he lifted the lid on how he struggled with post Bake Off-life.

Tough: In 2019, John penned a piece for The Telegraph, in which he called for 'serious reform' into how stars of shows are prepared for life after TV, as he himself fell into financial woes, 'dried-up' work and began drinking excessively (John pictured in 2012)

Tough: In 2019, John penned a piece for The Telegraph, in which he called for ‘serious reform’ into how stars of shows are prepared for life after TV, as he himself fell into financial woes, ‘dried-up’ work and began drinking excessively (John pictured in 2012)

John confessed that he felt he was beyond help, however he did note that the BBC’s aftercare was inadequate given how life changes after TV appearances.  

In a piece written for The Telegraph, he penned: ‘Some days I’d wish I had never been on the show, because in reality, it totally derailed me from a steady lifepath. I could blame the production company or the BBC.

‘It would be simple to point the finger and say they gave me no advice on how to manage the transience of the industry, or how to comprehend the temporariness of my appeal.

‘They didn’t, and perhaps in the wake of reality TV star meltdowns and suicides, there should be a serious reform of the way contributors are prepared for, and guided through, their post-show life.

Help: John confessed that he felt he was beyond help, however he did note that the BBC's aftercare was inadequate given how life changes after TV appearances

 Help: John confessed that he felt he was beyond help, however he did note that the BBC’s aftercare was inadequate given how life changes after TV appearances

‘But I don’t think it would have made an ounce of difference even if they had. Addiction to the razzle dazzle came naturally to the youthful me… 

‘What I failed to remember though, was that age-old mantra: be careful what you wish for. Because as the next batch of Bake Off stars emerged, my appeal shrank. Year on year, the working days became fewer and financial offers were smaller.

‘The life to which I had become accustomed slowly dissolved. With more days alone at home, waiting by the phone like an anxious 1980s teenager urging their crush to call, my already depressed state of mind worsened…

Tough: Speaking to the Irish Times in the same year, she said: 'I've just come off anti-depressants and I actually feel quite stable. I think they've knocked things about in my brain and I hope it lasts forever'

Tough: Speaking to the Irish Times in the same year, she said: ‘I’ve just come off anti-depressants and I actually feel quite stable. I think they’ve knocked things about in my brain and I hope it lasts forever’ 

‘I drank more than I should have and posted unwisely on Instagram and Twitter. If I knew then what I knew now, would I do it all again? Absolutely. But I’d approach it so differently.’ 

Speaking to the Irish Times in the same year, she said: ‘I’ve just come off anti-depressants and I actually feel quite stable. I think they’ve knocked things about in my brain and I hope it lasts forever…

‘It just happens. At first, I don’t feel it, I just feel very tired and flat and then, more and more, over the past couple of years, it’s become suicidal tendencies and thoughts’. 

MailOnline has contacted representatives for BBC for comment.  

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit samaritans.org 

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