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Strictly Christmas Special: Rickie Haywood-Williams almost quit

Rickie Haywood-Williams almost quit the upcoming Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special after just one rehearsal.

The radio DJ, 42, was left so ‘terrified’ at the prospect of successfully learning a routine in time for the show after watching his first practice run that he considered walking out of the competition before it even started.

BBC Radio 1 host Rickie’s professional dance partner Luba Mushtuk, 33, said that while Rickie would describe himself as ‘not a good dancer’, he ‘does have a natural rhythm’, but her encouraging words failed to win Rickie over at first.

Panicked: Rickie Haywood-Williams, 42, almost quit the upcoming Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special after just one rehearsal (pictured with his professional partner Luba Mushtuk)

She explained: ‘In the beginning, he was terrified. Then his confidence grew but still wasn’t 100% sure. 

‘We watched a video from our first rehearsals to what we achieved now it’s a massive progress.’

Rickie chimed in: ‘Which blows my mind because after I watched back our first rehearsal, I was like “how can I get out of this?! Is it too late to quit?” but like Luba says that progression has really made a difference. 

End of the road: The radio DJ was left so 'terrified' at the prospect of successfully learning a routine in time for the show that he considered walking out of the competition before it started

End of the road: The radio DJ was left so ‘terrified’ at the prospect of successfully learning a routine in time for the show that he considered walking out of the competition before it started

‘She’s a great teacher, very patient and she’s really funny. She makes me laugh because I can tell when she’s getting frustrated with me, but it just makes me laugh. I understand, because it takes me forever to learn really simple steps.’

Luba added: ‘It’s so funny because the hard steps are fine, but the simple steps we’ll spend one hour on one step. 

‘I had the best time during rehearsals because we truly loved it so much and just to meet such a beautiful human as you are, has been wonderful.’  

Encouraging words: Rickie's professional dance partner Luba Mushtuk, 33, says that while Rickie would describe himself as 'not a good dancer', he 'does have a natural rhythm'

Encouraging words: Rickie’s professional dance partner Luba Mushtuk, 33, says that while Rickie would describe himself as ‘not a good dancer’, he ‘does have a natural rhythm’

The pair will perform alongside stars singer Nicola Roberts, Chris Ramsey’s podcaster wife Rosie Ramsey, actor Larry Lamb, actress Alexandra Mardell and actor George Webster in the one-off special, which will air on Christmas Day.

And Rickie spoke very honestly about his wooden movements when he first started rehearsing. 

He said: ‘I’ve never done Salsa before, Luba can confirm that and when we were first doing it when she was first showing me the Salsa steps, I was like a robot that needed oil, and now I know there’s a bit more movement!’

Hopeful: Of the four judges - Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse - Rickie is hoping to impress Anton the most after they previously worked together

Hopeful: Of the four judges – Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse – Rickie is hoping to impress Anton the most after they previously worked together

Luba said: ‘The progress from beginning to now is massive. I love that he always gives himself notes as well because it makes him an incredible student, he’s always hungry to learn. So I’m extremely pleased, I couldn’t have a better partner.’

The four regular judges from the main show – Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse – will he sitting on the panel of the Christmas Special this year and there is one person in particular Rickie is hoping to impress. 

He said: ‘As long as Luba’s happy, I’m happy. But on the judging panel, I want to impress Anton, only because I’ve worked with him before on a TV show called House of Games and we kind of teamed up and worked together and I ended up winning the show.’

Born to perform: The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Christmas Day at 5.10pm

Born to perform: The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Christmas Day at 5.10pm

Luba added: ‘I mean, all of them. They are there to help you become better. Luckily on Christmas, they are always much nicer. All of them. They are like joyous. I think it’s a Christmas spirit or something. 

‘So I love doing Christmas special because they always super kind and super nice and make you know our partners feel great about it.’  

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

The Strictly 2022 series finished last week 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.

STRICTLY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 2022: WHO ARE THE STARS?

ROSIE RAMSEY

ROSIE RAMSEY

AGE: 35

PROFESSION: Podcast host 

ROSIE SAYS: ‘After watching my husband Chris compete a few years ago, I’ve been desperate to get on that dance floor myself.’

ALEXANDRA MARDELL

ALEXANDRA MARDELL

AGE: 29

PROFESSION: Actress 

ALEXANDRA SAYS: ‘I can’t wait to get into the training room and see what festive moves I can bring to the table!’

NICOLA ROBERTS

NICOLA ROBERTS 

AGE: 37

PROFESSION: Singer

NICOLA SAYS: ‘They’ve promised me extra glitter, sparkle and frosting all wrapped up together with a big bow on top!’

RICKIE HAYWOOD-WILLIAMS

RICKIE HAYWOOD-WILLIAMS

AGE: 42

PROFESSION: Radio DJ

RICKIE SAYS: ‘I always said I’d be too scared to do it. But here I am ready to go for it, sequins n’ all’

LARRY LAMB

LARRY LAMB

AGE: 75

PROFESSION: Actor 

LARRY SAYS: ‘Christmas has come early! I can’t wait to get on the dance floor and learn a brand new skill ready for all those festive parties.’ 

GEORGE WEBSTER

GEORGE WEBSTER

 AGE: 22

PROFESSION: CBeebies presenter

GEORGE SAYS:  ‘I love Strictly and have watched it every year. I’ve always dreamed of being on the show one year and I’m so excited to be on this year’s Christmas Special!

 

 

 

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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