As she prepares to take to the ballroom, nervous Corrie star Catherine Tyldesley says her husband’s mates have already been goading him over the “curse” of Strictly Come Dancing.
The actress, best known as Weatherfield’s Eva Price, married personal trainer Tom Pitford in 2016, and the couple have a four-year-old son, Alfie.
But while his pals are joking that the show will be the nail in the coffin of their relationship, Cath insists that there is no chance that they will succumb like so many other couples have before them.
Speaking just 24 hours before tonight’s launch show was recorded, Cath, 35, says: “Do you know what? Tom’s got a WhatsApp group with all of his mates – a lot of them are rugby players and there is a lot of banter going on.
“They are all like, ‘Oh mate, you’re screwed – she’s gonna run off!’ But it’s just like, ‘Whatevs!’ Because we are happily married.”
The actress, who supports rugby league team Salford Red Devils, said her hubby is used to seeing her working closely with hot men.
“Tom has been on set when I have been snogging the face off actors. And I am used to faking my emotions. So to me it’s not a thing,” she says. At this stage, she reckons Tom has no problem with her getting up close and personal with a hunky dancer.
She adds: “He is just absolutely buzzing about me being on the show. Him and [son] Alfie, they are just so excited. And wardrobe have found Alfie a little sequinned bow tie.”
But she does suspect that Tom is quite happy to have her out of the house for more than 12 hours a week as she trains hard in a bid to impress the judges on Saturday nights.
“He actually said that the other day because I am so messy,” she laughs. “He was like, ‘Oh, she’s home – it’s been nice not having you here’.”
Tonight viewers will watch as all of this year’s celebrities are paired up with their professional partners by presenters Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly. Cath, who is 5ft 8in, reckons she knows who she’ll be getting. “There are only two they could put me with because of my height so either Johannes or Aljaz. They are both wonderful.”
Johannes Radebe has been a background dancer on the show for a while but has never had a star partner before while Aljaz Skorjanec – married to fellow pro Janette Manrara – is a firm favourite with Strictly fans.
She reckons whoever it is will have their work cut out with her. “I genuinely cannot dance,” she admits, looking very much as though she isn’t just being modest.
“I am really nervous. People keep going, ‘I am gonna put a bet on you’ and I am like ‘Babe…’” Cath shakes her head and trails off, looking a bit forlorn. “I think people are going to be really surprised. I think people are gonna go, ‘Oh’.”
But then she remembers what her pals who have previously done Strictly have told her. “I know a few people who have been on the show like Gemma Atkinson and Lisa Riley, and they have all said the same thing, ‘Let go of your inhibitions otherwise you are not going to enjoy it’.”
She already knows that the Latin sweat-fests are not going to be her strong suit – and is hankering after some floatier ballroom numbers.
She says: “This group dance we have learned is a jive, so it’s really fast and I am like, ‘Whoahhh’. Apparently people are born with either fast [muscle] fibres or slow fibres and I think I was born with slow fibres so I am hoping I’ll be dancing the waltz.”
Having upped her cardio workout regime, she credits the Strictly pros with helping her to feel a bit more confident. “They are great,” she says.
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