Graziano Di Prima said he and Kym Marsh are “living the dream” by dancing in Blackpool for Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Italian dancer and choreographer has never danced with a partner at the prestigious Tower Ballroom since joining the cast in 2018.
It is the first time Strictly is returning to the seaside resort after a two-year absence due to the pandemic, with the remaining eight couples hoping to impress the judging panel.
Di Prima told the PA news agency: “The first thing I said to Kym, when we started this together, the dream is Blackpool and then we see…
“The fact that in the past few series, we didn’t have the chance to go. It was a bit sad. Finally, we’re going back baby.”
Former Hear’Say singer Marsh, 46, also joked that in Di Prima’s excitement to perform, he might “throw” her onto the ceiling of the Tower Ballroom.
Memorable Strictly moments from Blackpool over the years include 2016’s entrance by former shadow chancellor Ed Balls, who was lowered from the ceiling playing a piano before taking to the dancefloor to jive with Katya Jones to the Jerry Lee Lewis hit Great Balls Of Fire.
Another moment saw Ann Widdecombe do the samba alongside professional partner Anton Du Beke in 2010, both dressed in bright yellow, with the former Tory MP earning the night’s lowest score of 13 out of 40.
Marsh, who performed to an American smooth to Chasing Cars, originally by Snow Patrol, on the last show added it is “absolutely amazing” to get to this point.
She said: “I think you know, you always take week by week, but the closer you get to Blackpool, the more you want to be there.
“And I think that’s where we’re at now.”
She also said: “I’m very shocked to still be here and absolutely delighted.”
The actress – who has also starred in Coronation Street – said her fellow colleagues on the upcoming series of Waterloo Road have been “laughing” at her as she cannot stop dancing.
She said: “I was on set, the other day…I just turned around, I’m in my own world, I was doing (the) steps like (doing a) dance around the corner, and everyone was staring.
“Everyone was looking at me…They knew what I was doing.
“They were just laughing at me because I’m just doing it constantly.
“Or sometimes I’ll be in my own world thinking about the steps and they’re like ‘Are you okay, oh you’re just doing the dance in your head’.”
Marsh also said she knows now she is “stronger” than she thinks since doing Strictly.
She said: “I’m someone who (thinks I) can’t do something (but) if I push myself I can. I’m stronger than I think I am.”
Before taking to the stage last, she dedicated her performance to her son Archie, who died when he was born 18 weeks early in 2009.
The judges praised her “fragility” and “vulnerability” but noted a mistake at the halfway point.
After the dance, Marsh became tearful and apologised to Di Prima for putting their chances of reaching next week’s Blackpool special at the Tower Ballroom at risk.
However, despite her mistake the judges still awarded her 31 out of a possible 40 points, placing her towards the top of the leaderboard.
Marsh shared Archie with her former partner Jamie Lomas.
Sunday night’s results saw former England footballer Tony Adams, 56, become the seventh celebrity to exit the show after he was forced to withdraw due to injury.
The remaining eight couples will take to the dancefloor at Blackpool Tower on Saturday November 19 at 7.45pm, with the results show on Sunday November 20 at 7.20pm on BBC One.