Comedian, actor and former Family Fortunes presenter Les Dennis has been revealed as the final celebrity contestant to hit the dancefloor on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing competition.
The 69-year-old has had a career in the entertainment industry spanning five decades, becoming a stalwart of Saturday night TV starring in comedies including The Les Dennis Laughter Show and The Russ Abbot Show, and most famously as the host of ITV’s popular game show Family Fortunes from 1987 until 2002.
He is both a star of the screen and the stage, appearing on ITV soap Coronation Street as Michael Rodwell from 2014 to 2016, as well as in hit plays and musicals on the West End, including Hairspray, Legally Blonde, Only Fools And Horses The Musical, Chicago and The Addams Family.
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to reveal himself as the 15th and final Strictly contestant, he said: “I had a knee replacement two years ago and I remember thinking to myself, ‘it may be time to slow down’, but you get something offered like this and it puts a spring in your step.
“I’m excited and I’m terrified. People at any age can do anything.”
The average age of contestants in this year’s series is 42 – the highest since 2017 and close to the highest in the show’s history, which was 45 in 2010.
Dennis also said he was asked to appear in the show while he was starring in Coronation Street and said he accidentally leaked the news on Twitter ahead of the announcement on Friday.
He said: “What happened was the Strictly producers ask you to send a playlist of songs you might like, so I tried to and I’m totally hopeless at social media and all that stuff.
“So my daughter put my playlist together and put ‘Strictly Les Dennis’ and I sent it to my agent by email, but must have done a fat finger mistake and pressed Twitter by mistake.
“I was asked once when I was in Corrie, but when you’re in Corrie you can’t do it, you can only do it when you come out, and Ellie Leach of course she’s doing it.”
Dennis said he will be on tour with the musical 42nd Street “so whoever I partner has to come with me”, training all day for Strictly and “dancing all night” in the theatre show ahead of his 70th birthday in October.
Born in Liverpool, Dennis has been married three times, most famously to Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden in 1995 before splitting in 2002.
His other TV credits include Celebrity Big Brother, Casualty, Merseybeat, Hotel Babylon and Birds Of A Feather.
Dennis will join soap stars past and present on the dancefloor, including former Coronation Street star Ellie Leach, EastEnders actor Bobby Brazier, former EastEnders star Nigel Harman and Waterloo Road star Adam Thomas.
The Strictly line-up also includes Paralympic champion Jody Cundy and former British number one tennis player Annabel Croft as well as BBC Asian Network’s Breakfast Show host Nikita Kanda, actress Amanda Abbington, Bad Education star Layton Williams and broadcaster Angela Rippon.
They will be joined by journalist Krishnan Guru-Murthy, comedian Eddie Kadi, Irish TV presenter Angela Scanlon and former Love Island star Zara McDermott.
Presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will be back to host the show when it returns to screens in the autumn, alongside judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, and Anton Du Beke.
Published: by Radio NewsHub