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Anneka Rice reveals ‘anxiety dream’ ahead of Strictly live launch

Anneka Rice said she had an anxiety dream (Ian West/PA)
Anneka Rice said she had an anxiety dream (Ian West/PA)

Anneka Rice has said she has experienced an “anxiety dream” ahead of her first live appearance on Strictly Come Dancing.

The veteran broadcaster, 60, and the 14 other celebrity contestants will take to the dancefloor with their partners for the first time on Saturday night.

They will have to face the judges for the first time, but no competitors will be subjected to a public vote or elimination this weekend.

Rice, who is partnered with last year’s champion Kevin Clifton, said that she has never been one to even dance at home, and that she is nervous about her TV dancing debut.

She told the PA news agency: “I had a real nightmare this week, an anxiety dream.

“The one thing I slightly regret is that the producers first contacted me in January, so basically I could have learnt to dance this year, but I didn’t because the producers said, ‘No, we want you as you are’.

“I took them at their word, and so obviously that’s a deep anxiety, that I’m unprepared.

Strictly Come Dancing 2019
Anneka Rice with her dance partner Kevin Clifton (Ray Burmiston/BBC)

“My dream was that we turned up for today and Shirley Ballas had asked to create a MasterChef standard meal and I didn’t know, I hadn’t bought any ingredients. That is how my anxiety is transpiring.”

She has also insisted she will not be undergoing one of the programme’s famous spray tans before her live debut.

“I’m not planning on it,” she said.

“I’m not intending any one bit of my body to be on display, so I can’t see the point. I can’t see the point of my trousers enjoying my spray tan.”

The former Challenge Anneka host is not the only star contestant to be feeling anxious, as former Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell has also said that he has “more nerves than excitement”.

Strictly Come Dancing 2019
James Cracknell with his dance partner Luba Mushtuk (Ray Burmiston/BBC)

But the athlete, who is partnered with Luba Mushtuk, added: “Having done stuff before, I’d be worried if I wasn’t nervous.”

Cracknell, 47, said his biggest issues are his posture and looking too far ahead in a routine, which could potentially scupper his efforts.

“I need to think about the things I need to think about rather than going, ‘OK, we’ve got this complicated bit coming up’ and then mucking up the other stuff before then.”

Comedian Chris Ramsey, 33, said that watching his competitors in the studio before the live show was “terrifying” and made it all real for him.

The stand-up star, whose partner is Karen Hauer, joked: “Especially when I watched Karim (Zeroual), he was so good I wanted to smash his face in.

“I wanted to run on and double foot tackle him like some kind of disgusting football player.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2019
Chris Ramsey and Karen Hauer (Kieron McCarron/BBC)

Former Coronation Street star Catherine Tyldesley, who is partnered with Johannes Radebe, said that she will meditate before the live show to calm her nerves.

“Whenever I do a live performance, I do tend to go into my own little bubble and I’ve already warned Johannes, and this time it’ll be like a duo bubble, I’ll drag him into my bubble,” the actress, 36, said.

“I go very quiet, I just go on lockdown because I need to focus and keep running through whatever it is I’m about to do.”

YouTube star Saffron Barker has said “the nerves are big time” for her.

Despite receiving praise from her dance partner AJ Pritchard, who said she has been consistent in training, Barker said: “I really hope so. I think I’ve had days that have been a lot better than others.”

The social media star, 19, added: “I’m nervous but excited. I do kind of want to get it done now. I hope we’re not last.

Strictly Come Dancing 2019
Saffron Barker with her dance partner AJ Pritchard (Ray Burmiston/BBC)

“I want to get on stage, I want to perform, I want to have our moment.”

The other stars competing for the Glitterball Trophy this year are EastEnders star Emma Barton, who is partnered with Anton Du Beke, former footballer Alex Scott, partnered with Neil Jones, ex-England goalkeeper David James, partnered with Nadiya Bychkova, and Radio 1 DJ Dev Griffin, who will dance with Dianne Buswell.

There are also BBC Breakfast sports presenter Mike Bushell, who is partnered with Katya Jones, Paralympian Will Bayley, who will dance with Janette Manrara, children’s TV presenter Karim Zeroual, with Amy Dowden, RuPaul’s Drag Race star Michelle Visage, whose partner is Giovanni Pernice, and Viscountess Emma Weymouth, who will dance with Aljaz Skorjanec.

The line-up is completed by ex-Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher, who filled in for Made In Chelsea’s Jamie Laing, as he was forced to pull out of the competition after injuring himself.

Fletcher will dance with Oti Mabuse, whose sister Motsi is new on the judging panel this year alongside Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel-Horwood and Bruno Tonioli.

– Strictly Come Dancing airs at 7pm on BBC One.