South Shields comedian Chris Ramsey on learning to dance and the public's love on Strictly Come Dancing journey
As this year's series of Strictly Come Dancing races towards its half-way point, the Shields Gazette caught up with comedian Chris Ramsey ahead of the show's Halloween spectacular - and what promises to be a spooky Samba for the South Shields dad and his professional partner Karen Hauer.
Reporter Debra Fox grabbed a quick chat with Chris between his hectic training sessions, which are taking place at his alma mater, Harton Academy, to talk about Saturday's show, all things sequinned and the support he's received across his hometown of South Shields and the wider North East since the programme's launch in August.
A self-confessed "non dancer", no one is more surprised than Chris himself that he's still standing as the sixth live show approaches on Saturday, October 26.
And it's the backing of the public in his home region and beyond that he says has been the best thing about taking part in Strictly so far.
“It’s blown me away”
Admitting that he has been feeling “a bit of the Little Mix and Joe McElderry love", Chris said: "Thank you everyone who has voted, everyone who has messaged on Twitter, Instagram and social media, everyone stopping in the street, thank you so much, it's blown me away.”
Speaking to the comedian in the midst of a Samba training session, the dad-of-one revealed he had been working hard on getting his hips into action for the carnival-inspired Latin dance, which they will perform to Backstreet Boys’ classic Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) in celebration of Halloween.
The couple’s highest score to date has been 26 marks for both Charleston and Jive, with the judging panel continuing to praise Chris’ improvement as the competition continues.
Memorising the routine isn’t a problem, he said, but putting the steps into action is another matter altogether.
“I take every week as it comes, try not to worry about what the judges say and what the scores will be,” Chris continued.
“I try as hard as I can, try and enjoy it and try to have a bit of banter and remind people that I'm a comedian.”
Go for it!
Since the competition began, posters backing Chris and Karen on their Strictly journey have popped up across the region, including at The Customs House theatre in South Shields, intu Metrocentre, at both ends of the Tyne Tunnel, and in his hometown newspaper, the Shields Gazette.
On last Saturday’s show, viewers heard that dancer Karen has been enjoying getting to know the North East and its people as the couple’s training sessions continue in Shields.
Footage broadcast in the early weeks of Strictly also showed the Latin specialist meeting Chris’ wife Rosie, with whom he co-hosts a weekly podcast about married life, along with its pitfalls and problems.
The comedian said he and Karen are “like brother and sister” laughing away both in and out of training, along with Rosie, 33 and the dancer’s boyfriend David Webb.
And if the Strictly schedule allows, Chris and Rosie hope to treat the couple to a real Shields night out with fish and chips from Colmans.
Halloween Week is usually around the time that Strictly fever hits its peak, with viewing parties taking place up and down the country and new-year pledges to take up a class in the future.
And while learning to dance has been hard, the comedian said the fun of taking on a new routine each week with Karen far outweighs the difficulty of the whole experience.
Chris had this parting advice for anyone, like him, who had never strung two steps together: “Any blokes out there who are the same as me and have never gotten up and danced with their wives apart from at their own weddings, any blokes who think ‘I can't get up’, just have a crack at it, try and not get embarrassed. Lose your inhibitions and go for it."
The Shields Gazette team is backing Chris and Karen to lift this year's Strictly Come Dancing Glitterball trophy - and we want you to support our campaign! Print off our Vote Chris logo and tag us in your messages of support and selfies on social media. Don't forget to use #VoteChris and #TeamChrisRamsey.
Voting for this week's Halloween special will open after all couples have performed on Saturday, October 26. You can vote up to three times online through registering for an account, or via phone. To vote for Chris and Karen from a UK landline call: 09015 22 5203. To vote from a UK mobile call: 6 22 52 03