As we celebrate 15 years of ESP with lovely newsreader Susanna Reid from Strictly Come Dancing on our Christmas front cover, we caught up with last year’s local champ Louis Smith.
Sarah ‘sequins’ Tempest is ESP’s Strictly Come Dancing reporter, and Sarah met up with Olympic hero Louis when he turned on the lights at Serpentine Green shopping centre last year, so a year on and with a new series in full flow it was time to see just what he was making of this year’s Strictly…
Louis – “It’s been good! I can’t believe it’s been a year already with so much going on. I’ve had a really good time working on various exciting projects but I definitely still miss being on the show!”
Have you danced since the tour (other than on the opener of the new series)?
“Well if you don’t include in nightclubs or around the kitchen then not too much. I’m really excited to have a couple of corporate events with Flavia coming up in December though so we’ll be training for those soon which I can’t wait for.”
Are you watching this series and if so who have been your favourites and who do you think will win?
“Yep I’ve been watching and it’s great to see them all doing so well and enjoying it as much as I did. Natalie’s brilliant but the competition is really strong so there’s a few who could win it.”
What advice would you give this year’s contestants?
“Just to enjoy it to the fullest. It’s such an amazing thing to be a part of and it was without a doubt the best time of my life so they should just enjoy it while it lasts!”
How do you feel now when you hear the theme tune; wish you were there or relieved the pressure’s not on you?
“Yep definitely wish I was there. I loved everything about it – the excitement of a Saturday night and the fun we had in training. But it’s for the new cast to enjoy now and I’m enjoying watching and supporting them.”
How has doing Strictly changed things for you?
“In some ways not much has changed in that I’m still the same person but it definitely opened my eyes to new experiences and made me realise how much I could enjoy something so different to what I was used to in gymnastics.”
What did you really think about Sir Brucie’s jokes?!
“Ah bless him, to be fair considering his age and how long he’s been at it, it still amazes me how well he holds himself on the show week in week out!”
Would you do it again if it was possible?
“Any day of the week. Loved it.”
How will you spend Christmas and what’s next for you career wise?
“I’ll spend it at home with my family which I’m looking forward to as always. We’ve got some really exciting projects on the horizon in 2014 so watch this space as there will hopefully be some announcements coming in the not too distant future!”
We can’t wait! In the meantime… keep dancing and watching Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One every weekend!
Photo Louis and Sarah: Chris Brudenell for ESP magazine.
Photo Susanna Reid: BBC/Ray Burmiston