South Shields' Chris Ramsey on 'enjoying the ride' as comedian heads into Strictly Come Dancing's quarter-finals
With just weeks to go until the grand final of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, you’d think comedian Chris Ramsey would be feeling just a bit of pressure about being in the show’s remaining stages. But you’d be wrong.
The South Shields dad has defied the expectations of his family, his friends, his management and (let’s be honest) the public by making it through to the quarter-finals of the dancing programme.
There have been some lows (the 13-point Cha Cha Cha) and some dizzying highs (the PJ & Duncan-inspired street commercial routine) for the comedian as he focused on each dance of his Strictly journey.
But as Chris and professional partner Karen Hauer prepare to face week 11 against fellow contestants CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual, ex-England footballer Alex Scott and actors Kelvin Fletcher and Emma Barton, he reveals that his pressure levels are at “zero” and that he’s just enjoying the ride.
“The pressure was on at the beginning,” Chris told the Gazette during a training tea break this week.
“I am feeling zero pressure because I am further than I, or Karen, or my management, or anyone in my family, or friends, or the public ever thought I would get.
“I literally can't believe it - can't believe I have made it this far.”
What’s in store on Saturday?
This week will see the five remaining couples channel some of our best-known icons for the annual musical special.
Chris and Karen will transform into Artful Dodger and Oliver Twist for a cheeky and charming Foxtrot which, after a couple of serious routines in recent weeks, is a breath of fresh air for the couple.
And as training continues at Harton Academy, Chris revealed that this is one of the only routines that he hasn’t said he did not like at any point in the learning process.
“Foxtrot is over the top and we’ve got some iconic moves in there. The musical itself is really famous and we have just got to inhabit the characters,” he said.
Riding the wave
While viewers’ thoughts are firmly turning towards that glittering grand final on Saturday, December 14, dad-of-one Chris is continuing to take each week as it comes, with a focus on delivering the best performance he can.
The changes on the scoreboard over the competition’s 10 weeks speak volumes about his hard work and dedication to learning to dance – and all he wants to do is repay the people who have picked up the phone to vote with a fantastic Foxtrot this weekend.
Chris said: “Every single week we expect to be in that dance off - we have got no expectations. We are just enjoying the ride and I think it's a really healthy way to do it. I am just giving it my all.”
He said: “As long as I leave the training room on a Thursday and Karen is happy with where I am, then I am happy.”
Consider yourself our mate
Though the scores say otherwise, Chris doesn’t think of himself as a dancer quite yet – more someone who is proficient in doing what he’s told.
In previous interviews with the Gazette, the comedian has said his relationship with longest-serving female Strictly pro Karen is like “brother and sister” – but that she’s the boss, and he knows when he needs to bring the seriousness to the training room.
“I'm just someone who's getting better at following orders and copying what I'm being told to do”, he admitted.
“There are moments in the dances where I feel like I'm dancing, but I'm just following the steps.”
“[Me and Karen] have a massive laugh and have really good fun but I know when she's in the zone not to mess around.”
Following the news that the couple were straight through to the quarter-finals, Karen paid tribute to Chris and his hard work on social media in a touching post.
She praised her partner’s commitment to learning to dance and said he is “what Strictly is about”.
Our fantastic region
Every time we speak to Chris, he’s been loud and proud in his thanks for the backing of audiences at home – and especially in the North East.
He’s under no illusion that it is the love of the public that’s keeping him and Karen out of the dreaded Sunday dance-off.
And it is this unwavering support that he takes onto the dancefloor with him each week, and the thing he’s going to take forward with him once the curtain goes down on Strictly.
The backing is growing each week, especially in South Shields, with local businesses and community groups among those flying the flag for Team Chris and Karen.
Last week, Chris’s wife Rosie and son Robin, four, visited Specsavers in King Street where staff were photographed with posters backing the couple in the competition.
A “Keep Dancing” poster has also been up at the Customs House since the competition’s start.
How to back Chris in the Shields Gazette campaign
Print out a copy of our logo and take a “Vote Chris” selfie and send it in to us on social media or via email along with a message for the comedian and his partner.
Don’t forget to use #VoteChris and #TeamChrisRamsey if you’re sharing on social.
You can email your pictures and messages of support to [email protected] and we will share the best.