The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Emma Pollard Headshot

'Strictly' Star Richard Arnold in the Hot Seat!

Posted: Updated:

He was saved in this week's dance off against Johnny Ball by Craig, Darcey and Bruno and now lives to see another week on the Strictly dance floor. In this exclusive interview I catch up with the man we saw rocking Sixties florals and Jedward high quiffs to the max. He's one of the most lovable TV presenters around... it's Richard Arnold!

Q: First up, after being in the bottom two this weekend. how are you feeling?
A: Exhausted but relieved to be through. I love Johnny, he's an absolute gent and I know he is gutted not to continue as any of us would be because once you've been bitten by the dancing jitter bug it's all you want to do.

Q: How nerve wracking is it, waiting for your name to be called out?
A: My heart was thumping but it was difficult to keep to keep a straight face because I always use humour to cover up my nerves. It didn't help that I was dressed like Jedward's uncle in a caravan curtain, circa 1976. Although, that was a very good year.

Q: How nervous were you after the final dance as the judges made their decision?
A: To be honest you are so shattered after that, it all seems a bit surreal. I was staring into the middle distance thinking, wow, that could have been the last chance I had to dance with Erin who has been at my side for seven hours a day for the last month. I have never danced a step in my life professionally so to whip round the floor in Cuban heels at the BBC has been a very big box ticked! I'm doing it for everyone sat at home who'd love a crack at it.

Q: Why do you think you were in the bottom two?
A: Perhaps florals aren't bang on trend anymore - although tell that to Mary Berry! Erin told me we were vulnerable because we were in the lower middle of the leader board and I guess people vote for the worst and the very best. I'm not rock royalty, a champion sports person or sold millions of albums - at least not since I last checked - so I guess to many watching they are just starting to get to know me. We danced our hearts out though and will do so again this weekend.

Q: Looking at the competition so far, who has impressed/surprised you the most?
A: It's the best line up of Strictly to date, hugely befitting for it's 10th series. The competition is massive - they can all move and every one of the stars has a huge following. None of us could call it last weekend, and I'm sure it'll be the same this weekend.

Q: Who do you think is going to be your main competition?
A: They are all much greater hoofers than I. Each week, it's weird, your performance either gets crushed by your nerves or you surf the tide of adrenaline. That's the same for everyone, whether they've played the West End, a movie set or a stadium. The Strictly bubble is an exquisitely excruciating place to be - pleasure one minute, pain the next... a real gamut of emotions. At the end of the day though it's just telly and it is an utter joy to be part of. Sequins, sparkles and slashed to the navel outfits - where's the bad news!

Q: Who is your favourite judge and why?!
A: He'd hate me for saying it but Craig has a heart of gold underneath that scathing panto dame. Darcey gives such great advice and his hugely supportive. Bruno is a pistol, like a loose canon but whether he peppers you with lead shot or not he's always worth a watch. And as for Len, he's a legend. A true gentleman, and I love ballroom.

Q: How are you enjoying working with Erin?

A: What a dancer and what a teacher! She is so patient and gracious. I couldn't have asked for anyone better.

Q: What is the funniest thing that has happened so far in the process?
A: Being shoe horned into Robbie Savage's old clothes at my first fitting and having the wardrobe girls cut my shirt at the back so it fitted. But then he is an adonis, myself less so.

Q: What are the best and worst moments of your Strictly experience so far?
A: The gang, the crew - seeing how the whole process works. I've been on sets many a time reporting but being backstage and part of the biggest show on TV is like nothing else I've ever experienced. Just hearing Brucie warm up the crowd as we hover behind the curtain is extraordinary. We've all grown up with him and now he can pick me out of a line up. I hope!

Q: Realistically how long do you think you can last? 
A: Another week if that but what a ride!

Q: How are you managing to combine the training with the early morning Daybreak starts?
A: I love learning to dance and I love the day job. Luckiest bloke in the world so you'll never hear me moan about the hours!

Q: Have you received any particularly surprising celebrity well-wishes?
A: Everyone I interview or meet at Daybreak wants to talk about Strictly. All the folk I meet in the street, it's taken all of us by surprise. There is so much affection for the show. I'm more twittered than I am shattered!

Q: If you had to choose of the female celebs to be your partner who would you choose and why?
A: Lisa Riley, no question. And she can lift me which is a real treat. Believe me, we've tried.

Q: We loved the quiff this week, have you got any other exciting style ideas lined up?
A: It's a lottery every time you go into that building. One of my godsons said I looked ridiculous. He's five. And is more interested in playing Angry Birds on my iPhone but he still loves the show! 

Q: Finally, what are you going to do next week to avoid ending up in the bottom two again?

A: Dance like it's my last chance. And it probably will be!

Around the Web

BBC One - Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly Come Dancing | News, results and gossip from the BBC1 ...

Strictly Come Dancing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Strictly Come Dancing 2012, second show, as it happened - Telegraph

Richard Arnold (TV presenter) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Strictly Come Dancing now minus one celeb - and it is TV's Mr Maths Johnny ...

Strictly Come Dancing 2012 results: TellyMix readers tip Richard Arnold for axe!

Johnny Ball first out of Strictly Come Dancing

Johnny Ball eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing 2012

Strictly Come Dancing 2012 Results: Johnny Ball, Richard Arnold or Jerry Hall ...