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Strictly Come Dancing

The judges from Strictly Come Dancing

     Coming soon to BBC ONE

Dust off your sequins and put on your dancing shoes, Strictly Come Dancing is coming soon to our TV Screens.

Presented by Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly with our favourite judges, Len Goodman, Darcy Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli, there is guaranteed to be plenty of high kicks and drama.

Len Goodman

    Len Goodman leads the team of
      Strictly Come Dancing judges

Stars confirmed for the show include Frankie Bridge, singer with The Saturdays; Judy Murray, tennis coach; Alison Hammond, TV presenter; Thom Evans, rugby player;
Simon Webbe from boy band Blue;. Mark Wright, TV and radio presenter; Sunetra Sarker from Casualty; Jake Wood, Eastenders star; Steve Backshall, naturalist, author and television presenter; Scott Mills, TV and radio presenter; Pixie Lott; singer; Caroline Flack, TV presenter; Gregg Wallace, MasterChef judge; Tim Wonnacott, Bargain Hunt Presenter; and Jennifer Gibney, Mrs Brown's Boys actress.

Some of the stars talk about what they might expect from the show.

Frankie Bridge

                    Frankie Bridge

Frankie Bridge from The Saturdays was the first celebrity to announce her appearance on the show, while she was on BBC Breakfast with her fellow bandmates.

“I’m such a huge fan of Strictly! I’ve always wanted to be a part of the show - it looks like so much fun and the costumes are just gorgeous,” says Frankie.

“Like so many little girls, I used to take dance lessons when I was in primary school and I really love dancing but this is going to be so different from anything I have done with The Saturdays. I just can’t wait to get started!”

The 25 year-old is no stranger to the spotlight, having shot to fame at the age of 12 with the young pop group S Club Juniors. By the age of 16, she had amassed six top-10 singles with the group.

In 2007, Frankie successfully auditioned for a new girl-band, The Saturdays. As part of the five-piece girl group she has had four top-10 albums and 13 top-10 singles, including hits such as Ego, Issues, Missing You and their first number one single, What About Us.

Frankie was born in Upminster. She is married to footballer Wayne Bridge and has a baby son called Parker.

Steve Backshall

                Steve Backshall

Steve is a BAFTA Award-winning British naturalist, author and television presenter, best known for CBBC’s popular flagship wildlife programme, Deadly 60, in which he tracks down 60 of the world’s deadliest animals.

Throughout his career, Steve has undertaken death-defying confrontations with some of nature’s fiercest creatures; he’s been diving with great white sharks, caught a king cobra, handled a red back spider and been bitten by crocodiles. Steve also presents the spin off series, Deadly Pole To Pole, in which he explores some of the most extreme environments our planet has to offer.

“My day job filming wildlife in jungles and swamps is nothing like as scary as what is ahead." says Steve. "I think Strictly Come Dancing is going to be my wildest challenge by far!”

Pixie Lott

                       Pixie Lott

The 23-year-old singer-songwriter, model and actress’s first two singles went straight to number one and her debut album sold over 1.5 million copies. Pixie has gone on to make a total of three albums and has had a string of best-selling singles.

“I'm so excited to be doing Strictly, it's going to be a lot of fun. I always want to push myself as a performer so can't wait to learn the routines,” says Pixie.

As a young actress she appeared in the West End production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium and as Louisa von Trapp in BBC One’s Celebrate The Sound Of Music, before embarking on her music career.

Simon Webbe from Blue

                    Simon Webbe

Best known as a member of boy band Blue, Simon shot to fame in 2001 with the release of their debut single 'All Rise'. The band went on to achieve 40 number ones worldwide and sold 16 million records, including hits such as 'One Love' and 'Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word', featuring Elton John.

The band separated in 2004 but reformed once again in 2009. They represented the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest in Germany in 2011, finishing in 11th place and have also recently taken part in ITV's Big Reunion documentary and arena tour.

"I am so happy to be joining the team and I cannot wait to get started," says Simon.

"I'm hopeful that Strictly Come Dancing will help me to improve on my daddy dancing skills. I want to make my daughter proud and no doubt she will be teaching me a pirouette or two along the way." .

Simon previously tested his dancing skills on the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special in 2011, when he danced the cha-cha with professional partner Katya Virshilas.

He lives in London and has a 17-year-old daughter, Alanah.

Sunetra Sarker from Casualty

                    Sunetra Sarker

Sunetra is best known for her role as Dr Zoe Hanna in BBC One’s popular medical drama Casualty.

Prior to joining the series, Sunetra has starred in a host of well-loved programmes including Doctor Who, Brookside and No Angels, before joining Casualty in 2007.

“I don't quite know what I've let myself in for... I'm in total denial!" says Sunetra.

"But the chance to swap my stethoscope for sequins was just too tempting. I am very excited to be part of the Strictly team!”

Mark Wright

                      Mark Wright

Mark rose to fame as part of the reality show The Only Way Is Essex in 2010 and since leaving the show has gone on to host a number of popular TV and radio programmes.

Mark currently presents the popular Club Classics show on Heart as well as regularly appearing as presenter of The Hub on ITV’s This Morning. In the past, Mark fronted his own series for ITV2 called Party Wright Around The World and hosts ITV2 series Take Me Out: The Gossip.

"Doing Strictly is going to be so completely different from anything I've done before," says Mark. I'm the sort of guy who loves to bust out some moves at a party but I'm certainly not a natural dancer. Any of my friends would tell you that - they call me 'Markey no-moves'!

"I'm genuinely petrified about dancing on national telly but Strictly is such an amazing show to be a part of and I can't wait to get stuck in and give it my all!”

Judy Murray

                       Judy Murray

Judy Murray will be swapping her tennis racquet for dancing shoes when she takes part in the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.

“I'm a huge Strictly Come Dancing fan but a total armchair dancer," says Judy.

"It's going to be a big challenge for me and for whoever has to dance with me but I absolutely can't wait to get started!"

Tennis coach Judy is a self-confessed Strictly fan and is best known for being mother and coach to two very high achieving tennis players: 2013 Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and Wimbledon Mixed Doubles champion Jamie Murray.

Born in Bridge of Allan, Scotland, Judy qualified as a tennis coach aged 17 and went on to become the eighth best female player in the UK. Judy is passionate about encouraging the next generation of youngsters and has supported both her professional tennis playing sons throughout their careers.

Alison Hammond

                Alison Hammond

Alison made her name as a contestant on the third series of Big Brother back in 2002. Before that she was a child actress, holiday rep and cinema usherette.

Alison is now best known as This Morning’s showbiz reporter and has interviewed the world’s biggest stars including Hugh Jackman, Will Smith, George Clooney and Daniel Craig.

Alison says, “I am absolutely overjoyed to be joining the Strictly team. I am ready to immerse myself in glitter and hard work, with a dash of fun along the way!”

Birmingham-born Alison has also appeared on a number of other high profile television shows during her career including All Star Family Fortunes, Celebrity Coach Trip and the 2010 series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.


Sixtyplusurfers Interview

Su Pollard

Su Pollard

By Jenny Itzcovitz

Su Pollard is starring in Ha Ha Hood! and the Prince of Leaves with Cannon and Ball
. This irreverent and hilarious twisted take on the tale of Robin Hood rides into a theatre near you this autumn. We caught up with Su to find out more about the show and her role as Maid Marion.

What appealed to you about this production?

"I knew that the Ha Ha! productions had a fantastic cult following and that the creator Ben Langley had a good reputation in the industry. Then my friend Joe Pasquale, who starred in Ha Ha Holmes! last year, said to me, “It’s great fun. You’ll have a fabulous time!” so I thought, “Give it a go!”

"I also really like the way the Ha Ha! brand takes a familiar story or set of characters and puts its own unique stamp on it.

How would you describe your Maid Marian?

"My Marian is really independent, ballsy and brave. She’s very to the point and strong willed. I far prefer playing a character like that to a poor princess who whimpers and simpers all the time.

"I can't wait to get hold of this character!"

How does your Marian differ from previous portrayals of the character?

"My Marian is very different. She’s gutsy. After her divorce from Robin 10 years ago she thought “Get a proper job. I don’t want to be with a bloke who wants to live in the forest up a tree!”.

"So she is currently working as an NHS nurse at the Nottingham Infirmary. Also, I’ll be talking in a proper Nottinghamshire accent.

Do you have a favourite previous Marian?

"Yes, my favourite was Patricia Driscoll who played opposite Richard Greene’s Robin. I particularly liked Patricia's Marian because she clearly had steel in her soul - otherwise why would you be living with this nomadic robber and maverick?"

What can you tell us about the plot?

"The  Sheriff  of  Nottingham has been in prison for 10 years for committing dastardly deeds. When he comes out he wants to get even with Robin by marrying his once true love Marian.

"Guy of Gisborne gets wind of this plan and tells Marian that the Sheriff is coming to do them all in and so the drama unfolds!"

Ten years after their messy divorce, is there still something between Robin and Marian?

"Yes. Marian still has a spark glowing for Robin. They never resolved things between them - you know those terrible divorces where the couples don’t talk things through?

"There was no marriage guidance back then. But when she learns of the Sheriff’s plot they are thrown back together again as they team up to save the citizens of Nottingham."

Cannon and Ball

Have you worked with Cannon and Ball before? Did you know them already?

"I love working with Tommy and Bobby. I’d worked with them a couple of times before on variety shows. I think it’s an excellent bit of casting because they have a lot of stage experience and will bring a real strength to the show because they’re such great double act. Bobby teases Tommy all the time!"

Why do we keep returning to the legend of Robin Hood?

"It’s a huge favourite because it's an eternal myth. The characters have been portrayed in so many different ways throughout the centuries.

"Audiences know exactly what the story should be, but they don’t know how it will be interpreted. I think it’s enduringly popular because of that."

What makes Ben Langley’s writing so strong?

Ben Langley

"He’s a great writer. He did 20 years as a street performer in Covent Garden, and all his dialogue succeeds because he had to learn and adapt to how to relate to audiences on the streets.

"He’s taken all that experience and put it directly into his writing. That's why it's so strong and so believable."

Tell us more

"Ha Ha! shows are so successful because even though they are parodies the subjects are still treated with respect. This particular script has been slaved over for months because Ben wants it watertight.

"As we rehearse, he says, “If that doesn’t work, we’ll replace it," which is a great creative formula. Now the Ha Ha! productions have become shows that everyone wants to be involved with and which audiences return to see time and time again."

What do you enjoy most about live theatre?

"The buzz. I love it. The audience are right there with you, and you're taking them on a journey. You're doing it for them at that very moment in time. That's a special feeling. You give your all every night and get so much back. You can't beat live theatre."

Andy Pickering

Does it bring you a thrill that TV can never match?

"Definitely. Live theatre gives you the most marvellous feeling in the world - it's very gratifying.

"With TV, you've done the performance six months earlier but on stage it's there and then. It's where you really learn your craft. You can't top it!"

You've been a stalwart in pantos over the years. Why are you so committed to them?

"I love panto. It's very immediate. Audiences know what they're coming to see. They know they'll get a familiar story with lots of modern twists. Also, they're in on all the slipups!"

Does panto also bring a new audience to the theatre?

"Yes. It's not posh theatre. For a lot of people, it's their first ever visit to the theatre and it's an easy way to get them back. They might not come and see Othello. It sounds like a washing-up liquid - "pour Othello on your saucepans."

"You can't get people in initially with something too heavy but they'll come to panto where they're actively encouraged to boo and shout. When I'm playing a baddie and I hear children screaming I know I've done my job.

"I love the audience participation of panto, and I love taking people away from their day to day problems for a couple of hours."

Are you doing panto this winter?

"Yes, I'm playing the Wicked Queen in Snow White in Sunderland. I absolutely love the script, which has been honed to within an inch of its life.

"I get to be really mean towards Snow White and have a rapport with the Prince. When we're in the dungeon together, I sing, "Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me?"

Did you always want to be an actress?

Su Pollard

"Yes. I knew from the age of six that there was something special about showbiz. People often say, "I was born to do this" and I genuinely was. I wasn't just doing it for the applause; I wanted to learn the craft of acting.

"Whether you're an actor, a car mechanic or an ice cream salesman, you have to have passion for your job and want to learn more about it."

Can you expand on that?

"I knew acting would be my career - I didn't have to look any further. When I told the school careers officer I wanted to be an actress, she said, "don't be ridiculous, train to be a chef instead."

"But I was not cut out for that. At least the catering industry was spared my culinary disasters!"

What first gave you the acting bug?

"When I was 11, my headmistress said to me, "Su, dear, I realise you have a flair for performing because every day you come in wearing your school coat like an opera cape. You need an outlet."

"So she sent me along to the Coop Arts Theatre in Nottingham. I had an audition and the director told me, "Oh yes, you'll be an asset. Welcome." I immediately thought, "This is what I want to do forever."

What was special about that theatre?

"Coop Arts Theatre also trained people like Peter Bowles, Michael Jayston and Sherrie Hewson. The only local performers who didn't come along were Torvill and Dean, as there was no skating allowed!

"It’s a lovely theatre still going strong today. We were only amateurs but we had brilliant people teaching us, like the great actor John Neville. I was thrilled to bits to go there. It's the best thing I ever did."

What was your first ever production?

"It was a play about a school called Peaches and Cream. I loved it. I thought then, "This is what I want to do for the rest of my life."

What would you say was your big break?

"I was very lucky to get Hi Di Hi. It was my springboard and passport to loads of other things as it raised my career to another level. It was a fantastic show and I look back on it very fondly.

"Even today, people are always coming up to me and saying, "Hi Di Hi, Su!"

ou have been in many other great sitcoms down the years, such as You Rang, My Lord. Were the 1970s and 80s a golden age for the British sitcom?

"Absolutely. The 1970s and 80s were a mine of sitcom talent. Sadly I think the sitcom is fading now due to a lack of good writing.

"I often think when I’m sent a TV script, "You're joking! That was done better 40 years ago."!

Have we lost the art of producing great TV?

"Yes. Nowadays we only seem to make Reality TV, which everyone is glued to. Everybody just wants to go straight onto The X Factor. We've most definitely been dumbed down and it fills me with total dissatisfaction."

Do you look back on your career with pleasure?

"Absolutely. I can't grumble at all. I've been very, very lucky that people have enjoyed what I've done.

"I never want to retire. I want to keep going forever!"

Su Pollard stars with Cannon and Ball in Ha Ha Hood! And The Prince of Leaves

Su Pollard stars with Cannon and Ball in Ha Ha Hood! And The Prince of Leaves in theatres around the UK.

For more information about
Ha Ha Hood! and the Prince of Leaves with Cannon and Ball visit the website at

Sixtyplusurfers Competition

Win Tickets to See Crazy for Gershwin

Win tickets to see Crazy for Gershwin

has teamed up with Raymond Gubbay to offer nine lucky readers the chance to win a pair of tickets to see Crazy for Gershwin at a venue of your choice.

Add some sparkle and glamour to the Autumn with Crazy for Gershwin. The concert brings together Broadway glamour and toe-tapping tunes in an all-Gershwin extravaganza featuring the very best music, song and dance.

Meeta Raval

  Featuring vocalist Meeta Raval

George and Ira Gershwin wrote some of the most loved music in the American songbook and Crazy for Gershwin is packed with some of their very best work including Someone to Watch Over Me, excerpts from Porgy and Bess, A Foggy Day in London Town and much more, performed by the London Concert Orchestra and special guest vocalists, the highly acclaimed Meeta Raval and Rodney Earl Clarke.

Rodney Earl Clarke

        With Rodney Earl Clarke

However, that is not all! Bringing some heart stoppingly fast paced and highly skilled dance to the proceedings will be a glamorous ballroom duo as well as two West End tap dancing sensations. The line up will be completed by talented pianist Jonathan Scott performing Rhapsody in Blue, arguably one of the most important musical pieces of the twentieth century.

Broadway glamour and toe-tapping tunes in an all-Gershwin extravaganza.

Classic songs include:

Rhapsody In Blue 'S Wonderful

Porgy And Bess Excerpts

I've Got A Crush On You

A Foggy Day In London Town

Someone To Watch Over Me

Strike Up The Band

Fascinatin' Rhythm

Lady Be Good

Performers include:

Meeta Raval Soprano

Rodney Earl Clarke Baritone

Jonathan Scott Piano

Richard Balcombe Conductor

London Concert Orchestra

Plus a glamorous ballroom duo and two sensational tap dancers.

Crazy for Gershwin Dates:

Thursday 2nd October 7.30pm READING The Hexagon

Telephone: 0118 960 6060

Sunday 5th October 3.00pm NOTTINGHAM Royal Concert Hall
Telephone: 0115 989 5555

Tuesday 7th October 7.30pm LEICESTER De Montfort Hall
Telephone:  0116 233 3111

Wednesday 8th October 8.00pm SOUTHEND Cliffs Pavilion

Telephone: 01702 351135

Thursday 9th October 7.30pm BOURNEMOUTH Pavilion
Telephone: 0844 576 3000

Sunday 12th October 3.00pm NORTHAMPTON Royal & Derngate
Telephone: 01604 624811

Wednesday 15th October 7.30pm CARDIFF St David’s Hall

Telephone: 029 2087 8444

Sunday 19th October 3.00pm GLASGOW Royal Concert Hall
Telephone: 0141 353 8000

Sunday 16th November 3.00pm BASINGSTOKE
The Anvil
Telephone: 01256 844244

For information and ticket prices contact your local venue or visit their website.

Or visit the Raymond Gubbay website at

  For Your Chance to Win

 Tell us the name of the
  lovely female vocalist
  who will be starring in
    Crazy for Gershwin?

 a) Meeta Raval
 b) Lesley Garrett
 c) Kathryn Jenkins
 d) Sarah Brightman

  To Enter the Competition

  Tell us which female vocalist will be starring in Crazy for Gershwin? Then
   send in your answer together with 
preferred venue (see above
) your full name, address and
     telephone number to the special
brown email address shown below:

* Please label your entry Crazy
     for Gershwin Competition

 Competition Terms & Conditions

Crazy for Gershwin

1. The prize is for nine readers to win a pair of tickets to see Crazy for Gershwin at a venue of your choice.

2. Please include your preferred venue with your competition entry.

3. Please let us know if you do not wish to receive further correspondence from Raymond Gubbay.

4. All entrants must be aged 18 or over.

5. We do not accept automated entries.

6. Closing date for entries is 29th September 2014.


New Tricks

Tamzin Outhwaite

Tamzin Outhwaite joins cast in
new 10-part series on BBC ONE


BBC The new 10-part series sees cast members Tamzin Outhwaite (Sasha Miller) and Nicholas Lyndhurst (Dan Griffin), who were introduced at the end of the last series, established alongside Denis Lawson (Steve McAndrew) and Dennis Waterman (Gerry Standing) as the team of retired ex-coppers reinvestigating the Met’s unsolved crimes.

Richard Burrell, Executive Producer says, “The end of the last series was very much about Tamzin’s character, Sasha Miller, getting her feet under the table as the new boss of UCOS. The starting point for this series is, its six months later, they know each other, they know how to rib each other, they know how to wind each other up and they’re up and running to have new adventures.

"The other point about the new series is with the new team in place we go back to 10 separate stories, with a variety of character issues weaved throughout each episode for one, or all, of the main cast. It’s also an opportunity for the audience to get to know and fall in love with each of the characters.”

 Nicholas Lyndhurst

                  Nicholas Lyndhurst

Producer, Tom Mullens says, “There’s definitely a new dynamic within the team, the format is still the same with three unruly boys running rings around their boss. Tamzin’s character brings something slightly different to the dynamic and so do the guys and there are different relationships to explore between them all.”

Richard Burrell adds, “Along with the team dynamic, humour continues to play a big part in New Tricks and is potentially one of the things that sets it apart from other cop shows, and it doesn’t need to come out of banana skin jokes, here it comes out of a relationship or situation.

“In episode one we concentrate on Gerry Standing’s character and his upbringing in Bermondsey, the people he used to know, and at the heart of that episode there is still a meaty case to be solved. He’s asked to find out what happened to the grandson of one of his friends.

"Every episode is different, strong crime stories throughout. We meet Steve McAndrew’s wife, played by Julie Graham who has to deal with his son who turns up unexpectedly, Sasha Miller has to deal with her ex-husband, who is also a cop and Dan is dealing with empty nest syndrome when his daughter leaves for university, so we play those character stories throughout.”

In terms of what Tamzin’s character of Sasha brings to New Tricks Richard explains, “Amanda Redman’s character of Pullman, worked and operated in a different Metropolitan Police and we were aware she was tough, she ruled with a rod of iron, because in that era, as a woman, you had to be like that in the police force, you had to be tougher than the men to be taken seriously. With Sasha Miller you can be your own woman, the methodology of policing is more inclusive as reflected in many work places and I think that’s what we’ve bought to the character of Sasha.”

Guest artists are Phil Davis, Nicola Stephenson, Sophie Thompson, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Claire Goose, David Hayman, Niamh Cusack, Louis Emerick, Amy Nutall and Tom Georgeson.

Tamzin Outhwaite

Tamzin describes her character as, "Quite no nonsense and quite straight forward, also much more vulnerable than you’d expect and quite comfortable in male company. She’s been leading high-level teams in a much more intense and dangerous environment, but what she’s found in this team of people is a very comfortable unit, which personally she finds a lot more stable."

She particularly likes the character's relationship with the team. "I like the fact she has got a great connection with the team, she has a respect for all three characters and the amount of hours they put in. I love that she has that respect for them and she doesn’t undermine them.

"She feels everyone has a place in the team and I like the fact she’s had a lot of heartache and now she’s getting her mojo back and is going to have some fun again.

New Tricks

"I like the realism of New Tricks, the idea that all of this is really possible. I have quite an inquisitive nature, so I’d be interested in doing a job like this in real life. I’m quite passionate about finding out about things and I’m really direct and nosy. I thought I could do this and it would suit me."

New Tricks is made by Wall To Wall Television (a Warner Bros Television Production) executive produced by Richard Burrell for Wall To Wall and Polly Hill for BBC One, and produced by Tom Mullens.