Interview with Strictly Christmas 2022's Nicola Roberts and Giovanni Pernice

"It’s like walking into the Strictly Grotto"

The singer and actress and her professional dance partner tell us all about training for their festive Waltz



They're waltzing into the ballroom in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special on Christmas Day on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, so we caught up with Nicola Roberts and Giovanni Pernice to find out how training's been going and what it's like to step into the world of Strictly for Christmas...

How are you feeling about being a part of the Strictly Christmas special?

Nicola: It's all encompassing, as soon as you walk through the door, it's very much like Strictly land, which I think is magical and it’s even more magical that it's Christmas. Kimberley obviously did the show and would explain to us back then what it is like, but until you're actually in it, and feel it for yourself it’s quite hard to understand. It’s like walking into the Strictly Grotto.

What made you want to take part?

Nicola: I was actually in a meeting with a new acting agent and I said ‘I just really fancy some fun, what do adults do these days for fun, is there like soft play for adults!?’ I left the meeting and I got the call saying would you like to do the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special? And I was like, Yes, why not?

Tell us about your partnership, what’s training been like?

Nicola: My process is quite slow. When you're in a band you have weeks to perfect a two hour show, so there'll be some certain numbers that you pick up quickly or the numbers that might take, a good couple of weeks to really sink in, and that's my process, that's how I've learned over the years.

Obviously, Strictly you don't have the luxury of having time. It wasn't until after the fourth session that I felt like we were in a good space. Before that I was kind of like beating myself up and not understanding the routine, not grasping the technical aspects, and the position is still not there every time and it’s a lot to think about so it’s been very fast but I like to be professional and I like to do a good job, and I’ve had a great time!

Giovanni: She is really good, she picked it up slowly but with her background I can see that she is a good dancer. We are doing the Waltz and we’ve gone for quality and there's a lot of quality there.

How do you feel about being ‘Strictly-fied’ festive style?

Nicola: Well I spent a long time in a girl band sure where I was girl band-ified for a long time, and then you step out of that world and you learn how to be you without of all of that, and now I'm back in the machine just for a couple of weeks where I'm being like plied with glitter and sequined dresses and dressed as Santa’s helper, and I said I wanted fun and it has been fun.

Vicky Gill used to do all of our tours so I’ve known her for maybe 15 years and It is really lovely to be working with her again. when you are touring there is no time, and I guess it is very much the same here. She is amazing Vicky, she is a lovely person as well.

How do you rate your chances of being crowned Christmas champions? Who do you think your biggest competition is?

Nicola: I haven’t seen anyone else’s dances but I think we're all coming at it from different backgrounds. It's very hard to be competitive for a show like this, especially when everyone's so lovely, and it’s the Christmas special and it’s a bit of fun.

Giovanni: I’m feeling competitive, I want to win! There are a lot of good dancers as well, and it’s going to be fun!

Giovanni it’s your first Christmas special, how are you finding it?

I always said if I was going to the Christmas special I always said it had to be with someone good so I am happy about this, and I am glad I am doing my first with somebody who can dance, and I’m glad she decided to say yes to the show.

What’s your favourite Christmas movie and why?

Nicola: Miracle on 34th Street reminds me of being young,

Giovanni: Oh I love that movie!

Nicola: But I also love The Santa Claus with Tim Allen. It’s a really nice movie, it really makes me laugh, not a lot makes me laugh but that makes me laugh.

Giovanni: Home Alone one and two actually but the first one is always the best.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

Nicola: I’m Catholic, when I was a little girl my Nan would take us to midnight mass but I haven’t done that for many many many years. Wherever we all end up I’m frantically trying to prep the dinner and wrap the presents!

Which judge are you most keen to impress?

Nicola: Well Craig is the mean one, Shirley is very particular, Motsi is fierce and beautiful and Anton I have heard is such a lovely person. I'm not worried, if this was a singing competition, and they were saying to me Nicola, you didn't hit that note then I’d probably go home and smack my head against the wall but I'm not a dancer and I've had a week to learn the Waltz.

Any New Year’s resolutions?

Giovanni: Going back to the gym, that’s what I am doing in the new year!

Nicola: I'm not a very good communicator on my phone, I'm really bad and I get overwhelmed when I see the amount of texts and emails, and I get to the point where I can’t form a response, so put it down and don’t go back to it, so I need to become a better communicator. I’d also love to be in a drama.

Giovanni: Strictly is a drama, trust me!


Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Christmas Day.

Source BBC One

December 23, 2022 4:00am ET by BBC One  


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