Ballroom or bushtucker? Strictly Come Dancing and I’m A Celebrity in battle to sign up Olympic hero Tom Daley
- Gold medalist Tom has Britain’s two biggest celeb talent shows to choose from
- Strictly bosses ‘expect Tom to make final’, but he would also be ‘great’ in jungle
- Source said Daley is ‘very popular’ with 16-24-year-olds coveted by BBC and ITV
- I’m A Celeb ‘more lucrative’ but Strictly seen as ‘very prestigious’, they added
- Daley finally won Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020 after bronzes in 2012 and 2016
- Latest Strictly Come Dancing 2021 news on Series 30 judges, dancers and contestants here
Olympic diving champion Tom Daley is at the centre of a battle between Strictly Come Dancing and I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! to sign him up as a contestant.
The BBC dance show is desperate for him to be in this year’s line-up.
Sources on the programme say he ‘ticks all the boxes’ to become one of their most popular participants.
Tom Daley, 27, won Olympic gold in 2020 at the third time of asking. He also has three bronzes
Daley is thought to be the broadcasters’ dream candidate for their flagship celeb contests
On Strictly Come Dancing, celebrities’ ballroom bravado is judged by (from right to left) Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood, Anton Du Beke and Shirley Ballas. Daley may enter this year
But ITV also wants Daley for I’m A Celebrity and would pay a six-figure sum to get him to the Australian jungle, if the show returns there this year.
A source close to Daley, who won a gold medal in the men’s synchronised 10-metre platform event with Matty Lee at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, said: ‘There is a race to secure Tom – both broadcasters know he will be loved by viewers.
‘Strictly bosses feel sure that he will stay in the competition until very near to the end, if not the final – while ITV feels he would be perfect fit to join other celebrities in the jungle.
‘Tom has a broad fanbase but is very popular with the 16 to 24 age bracket, which both the BBC and ITV are keen to keep watching their shows.’
Dates for the shows have not been announced by Strictly is usually in September and I’m A Celebrity in November.
Plymouth-born Daley, 27, is reportedly worth £2 million, but taking part in I’m A Celebrity would mean a substantial boost to his bank balance.
While lesser-known stars receive about £30,000, ITV paid £500,000 for ex-football manager Harry Redknapp to take part in the 2018 series.
Well-placed sources suggest Daley would be one of the higher-paid celebrities if he signed up.
Strictly can’t offer such lucrative contracts. Each contestant gets £25,000 when they join, but their pay increases the longer they stay in the competition.
Sports stars have a good track record at winning the show, with Olympic gymnast Louis Smith taking the glitterball in 2016 and former England cricketer Mark Ramprakash crowned winner in 2006.
The source added: ‘It’s a difficult toss-up, I’m A Celebrity would be more lucrative for Tom, but there is something so prestigious about being part of Strictly. Plus, you don’t have to eat disgusting animal parts in the bushtucker trials.’
Daley has become a social-media star and has 1.9 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, where he talks to fans about his day-to-day life.
He also has 3.4 million followers on Instagram, which is appealing to television networks – particularly because of his younger fanbase.
It is understood that Daley, who is married to American actor Dustin Black, 47, was in the frame to take part in I’m A Celebrity last year when it was based in Wales due to Covid restrictions in Australia.
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