Strictly Come Dancing Interview: Ricky and Erin
But we suppose that working for Phil Mitchell might prepare you for intimidating environments.
When we chatted at the hallowed BBC centre, they seemed concerned about the upcoming Viennese Waltz – we were more concerned about Ricky’s ringtone…
You made it through the dance-off last weekend. You must be keen to avoid being in the bottom two on Saturday…
RG – I think that we did such a good salsa that the judges wanted to see it twice. The further you go in the competition, the more things get thrown at you, now that we’ve experienced a dance-off, I think it will make us stronger. We don’t want to be there again so it’s just a matter of upping the training rate. We’re quite confident about how we’ve done this week aren’t we…
EB – It was difficult at the beginning of the week but it got better as it went by. Now all we’ve got to do is sort out your shoulders…
RG – Most people who can’t dance have a tendency to cling on for your life when you’re in hold as if you’re on some life raft in the middle of the ocean! But we’re getting there…
So what would a normal day of practice be like?
EB – It depends what stage of the week we’re in but normally we’ll train for about five hours a day.
RG – As I said before, the further you go in the programme, the more is demanded of you – now we’ve started to do the It Takes Two programme, so that’s another thing to worry about. Sometimes Erin comes up to mine for a bit of training, then we might end up somewhere around here – we train in Fulham a lot. Ricky Whittle is still doing Hollyoaks so he does a lot of training on Sundays! He’s mental.
EB – Ricky works really hard though, there’s a lot of sweat and energy in that room.
Did you think you were a bit unlucky to be in the dance-off last week?
RG – I went out there to try and entertain with a positive attitude. (Ricky’s phone goes off, appropriately enough his ringtone is Evacuate The Dancefloor by Cascada). Sorry would you excuse me – hello darling I’m going to have to call you back in a bit. Sorry about that. Anyway, I try to get the crowd going a bit and I think that most of the other contestants are a bit more reeled in. This week we’ve got the Viennese waltz which will be a bit more subtle, but with the salsa being a party dance we thought, “let’s go out there and take the roof of the place” – obviously the judges didn’t really see it that way, I think they thought we were trying to show-off. But did I deserve to be there? Maybe in the bottom four – not right at the bottom.
EB – but we were ready and as soon as it was announced Ricky was like – ‘let’s do it’.
Random one here, which judge would you like to have dinner with?
EB – Craig, because I think he’s really funny.
RG – I would like to have dinner round at Alesha Dixon’s house and I wouldn’t do any washing-up!
So whats it like working with Bruce?
EB – It wouldn’t be the same without Bruce.
He’s good for deflecting criticism as well though. It must be difficult to work hard all week and then get savaged by the judges…
RG – Water off a duck’s back mate. Without offending the judges, it does end up almost panto-like at some stages. It would be a very boring show if they just said “I didn’t like that”. They’re very descriptive, one of them said to me that my hands looked like a poodle’s!
When you’re standing in front of the judges sometimes it feels like they might as well just say: “Oh Ricky, we didn’t like that and your ugly, your feet are too big, you smell, you have shocking halitosis and your mum’s a crackhead” – which can shatter your confidence, but you’ve just got to go out there and prove it to them. The thing about Bruce is that he warms up the audience before the show and people at home don’t see that. He sings to them and tells a few jokes, he’s in his element. He’s Mr entertainment!
How difficult have you found the show so far Ricky?
RG – Extremely difficult, these people are absolute athletes. I was over 14 stone when I started the show and I now weigh between 12 and 13 so I’m becoming more defined as the competition goes on, if anything Im grateful to Erin and Strictly for helping me lose that weight! The difficulty really comes in the technicality. I really did think that I had a sense of dancing and a bit of rythm. You do this and it’s like, ‘bang’ this is how you dance. It’s been one of the biggest challenges of my life and I’m pleased to still be here. I think I deserve to still be here because of the effort I’ve put in. Every Monday morning is like a crash course in dancing…
Has it been more difficult than working with Phil Mitchell?
RG – With acting you’re always told that you shouldn’t overemphasise, but in dancing that’s what they do all the time – it’s the complete opposite. Poor old Joe Calzaghe, for the last 20 years people have been telling him to keep his head down and now he’s being told to keep his head up! I’ve actually had a good idea for a programme it’s called ‘Strictly Acting’ and dancers have to do Shakespeare scenes without pivoting anywhere…