James Bye on Strictly Come Dancing: 'I want my sons to see anything's achievable!'

James Bye Strictly Come Dancing 2022
Strictly Come Dancing star James Bye. (Image credit: BBC1)

It’s time to spray on that tan and shine those dancing shoes as it’s back to the ballroom as 15 celebrities prepare to make their Strictly Come Dancing debuts…

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman are our hosts again on Friday night as our famous faces find out which of the show’s professional dancers they will be waltzing, jiving and quick-stepping with this series. 

Among those hoping they’re hot to trot are pop legend Matt Goss, Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Simmonds and EastEnders actor James Bye who can't wait to get started... 

What made you decide to do Strictly?

"I’m doing it mainly because I want my three sons to see that, in life, anything's achievable. They all laugh at me when I'm dancing around the kitchen - they think that daddy being on telly dancing will be the funniest thing they’ve ever seen!"

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman Strictly 2022

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman return to host as 15 new couples take to the floor on Strictly. (Image credit: BBC1)

How do you rate your dancing skills?

"I've just not got that natural ‘thing’ that these dancers have. I think I can just about do the steps and then we can try and add some character into it. But I have no real dance training at all, so it may take me longer to pick stuff up. But I'm gonna give it everything."

Your EastEnders co-star Rose Ayling-Ellis won Strictly last year. Has she given you any tips?

"Rose Ayling-Ellis's Strictly journey was one of the most inspirational things I’ve ever watched on TV. Seeing Rose come out of herself to do what she did on the show was incredible. Rose told me to embrace every minute and enjoy it. Scott Maslen told me to make sure you eat loads and get that posture right and Jake Wood gave me advice about preparing for launch night."

Rose Ayling-Ellis dancing the Samba

James was inspired by watching his co-star Rose Ayling-Ellis, who went on to win Strictly 2021. (Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

What dances are you most looking forward to doing?

"I like the more intense dances like the Argentine Tango and Paso Doble, where you really get to play a character. I think my brain wants to do Latin… but my body wants to do ballroom!"

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 Ellie Simmonds

Paralympic swimming champion Ellie Simmonds is among the celebrities taking part in Strictly 2022. (Image credit: BBC1)

Are you enjoying being strictly-fied?

"Spray tans and sequins are a long way away from my normal daily life playing Martin Fowler, selling bananas and apples in my filthy clothes on the market in Walford. I’m enjoying all the different costumes on and playing different parts."

How will you balance Strictly with working on EastEnders?

"It's a massive commitment. Luckily both shows are filmed in Elstree, and my bosses at EastEnders have been very supportive in terms of quieting my storylines down to make sure I’m given the chance to do as best I can on Strictly. I think I'd be mad not to think about lifting the glitterball - as long as I can beat Rose, I'm not bothered where I get!"

Strictly Come Dancing kicks off with the launch show on Friday, September 23 at 7pm, followed by the first live show on Saturday, September 24 at 6.45pm on BBC1.

Strictly Come Dancing Glitterball

(Image credit: BBC1)
Victoria Wilson
Feature Writer for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and WhatToWatch.com

With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!