Strictly's Joe McFadden: 'I've realised I'm not the quickest at picking up steps!'

strictly joe mcfadden
(Image credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Strictly goes to Hollywood on Saturday night for Movie Night! Holby City actor Joe McFadden took a break from training for his Viennese Waltz to chat to What's on TV about his Strictly journey so far...

Strictly and Holby City star Joe McFadden on how he's enjoying his Strictly journey - and what he thinks of his dancefloor rivals...

WOTV: So, with two dances under your belt, is Strictly tougher than you thought it was going to be?

Joe McFadden: "Yes it is. In the beginning, you’re lulled into a false sense of security where you have two weeks to learn the first dance and you're like: ‘Oh, OK, this is fine.’ After that, you kind of only have three and half days to learn a new routine, so it's really, really quick with not a lot of time for processing information – so you just have to just throw yourself into it and not think about it too much."

Strictly Joe's Jive

Joe burst onto the dancefloor in Week 1 with an energetic jive and scored 29 points with the judges

WOTV: Has the reality of the competition hit now following the first elimination this weekend, even more so given it was your former Holby City co-star Chizzy Akudolu?

JM: "Yeah, it really has. It was really sad to lose Chizzy on Sunday night – she was having such a fantastic time doing. It's a real lesson to us all that we don't know when the Strictly experience is gonna be over, so we really should enjoy every minute of it."

WOTV: So far you've done a jive and a tango – are you preferring ballroom or Latin?

JM: "I really don't have a comfort zone yet. I won't lie, I didn't enjoy my tango on Saturday night; it's a really different feeling from any kind of dancing I've ever done before – not that I've ever really done any kind of dancing before. It's quite a foreign, difficult frame to get into. I'm looking forward to getting back to doing some Latin stuff but I don't think any of the dances are going to be easy; I think they're all going to require maximum effort. But we're all in the same boat and you can't take it too seriously, you need to just try and enjoy it."

Joe McFadden waltz

Not his comfort zone... Joe says he didn't enjoy dancing his waltz last weekend

WOTV: How are you finding the judges' comments? After your jive in Week 1, Craig said he 'liked you'. That's unheard of for Craig!

JM: "Yeah he did and Shirley said she's a fan too and that she was behind us. They were so kind and encouraging in the first week but I also think the comments last week for my tango were absolutely fair. Everything they said was true, so I didn't feel hard done by at all. I just have to take on board the things they've said and come back this Saturday better and stronger. I'm not gonna get rocked by their comments."

WOTV: It's Movie Week on Strictly this week and you and your dance partner Katya Jones are dancing a Viennese Waltz. What teasers can you give about that?

JM: "We're dancing to Somewhere My Love (Lara's Theme) from the film Dr Zhivago, which is a beautiful tune and one that people are so familiar with from the film that's on every year. There's also the whole Russian connection with Katya. Hopefully people will connect with the music and we'll do something interesting with it. I'm sure Katya will have a brilliant routine in her head for us both. As long as I can get it in my head it'll be fine!"

Strictly Joe Katya

Joe says he's learning so much from dance partner Katya Jones

WOTV: Is remembering dance steps harder than learning your lines for Holby?

JM: "It's just using a different part of your brain than I've ever used. I can learn my lines a couple of nights before and I thought this would be similar but it's really not. Because as well as remembering the steps, you've got to do the steps and you've got to have the framing in your body. So it's juggling a lot of plates at one time and I've realised I'm not the quickest at picking up the steps. I know Debbie McGee picks up the steps really quickly but that's not the case with me."

WOTV: Have you got any juicy gossip from behind the scenes? Which of the celebs takes the longest to get ready, perhaps?

JM: "Nothing springs to mind. The thing is we're all in our little cocoons – we all move around independently of each other, so you don't really see anyone else, apart from when you get on the dancefloor. But I can confirm that the boys take as long to get ready as the girls. Fortunately, no one's been too vain… yet!"

strictly class of 2017

Joe with the rest of Strictly's Class of 2017

WOTV: Which of your Strictly rivals do you think is the one to beat?

JM: "There's such varying degrees of ability and varying degrees of style this year that I think it would be foolish to compare yourself to anyone because we're all so different. I'm just hoping over the weeks that I'll get better. So I'm just looking to myself and thinking what do I need to do to improve. I'm not really looking at anyone else because I think that would be distracting and not a wise thing to do."

WOTV: Surely you must have mentally lifted the glitterball trophy in your head?

JM: "Ha, ha! No way. Absolutely not! I'm just taking it one week at a time. I just want to get through my Viennese Waltz this weekend then, hopefully, focus on the next dance. No, I'm certainly not thinking that far ahead."

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday October 7 at 6.35pm on BBC1, with the results show on Sunday October 8 at 7.15pm on BBC1.

Victoria Wilson
Feature Writer for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and

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, 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!