KYM MARSH has told of her joy after signing up for the new series of Strictly, saying: “This is the one show I always wanted to do.”
The 46-year-old former Corrie regular, now the host of BBC Morning Live, has been approached by the show’s bosses multiple times in the past but said the timing was never “quite right”.
Now, after her first shot at fame on the talent show Popstars in 2001, the singer-turned-actress says she is thrilled to be finally returning to her reality TV roots.
Kym says: “Did I think when I did Popstars 22 years ago that I’d still be here, performing on a show like this one? Absolutely not.
“And really, I’m setting a foot back into the reality world.
“I’ve been asked to do I’m A Celebrity and other shows over the years but this is the one show that I always said I wanted to do.
“It would be great if I could inspire people by going on the show. It’s great to do things that are out of your comfort zone to test yourself, because we’re not used to this.”
Kym’s appearance on Popstars, which was watched by more than 12 million viewers, saw her win a place in Hear’Say, the group which was created for the show.
The band instantly topped the charts with their first single and album and were briefly the toast of the pop world before disbanding just a year later.
But while they did dance in videos, Kym insists that such “prancing around” will not be an advantage when she takes to the Strictly ballroom.
She says: “People said I’ve danced before with Hear’Say but that’s a completely different kettle of fish.
“That was prancing around on stage. Ballroom is something so different.”
Kym agrees the show will be therapeutic for her, but adds: “We’re under no illusion that it’s hard work.
“We did a bit yesterday for the group dance, and to say that I’m a sweaty mess is an understatement.
“I then got back and realized I had all my stuff in the car and so I had nothing to change into. Then today, everything is hurting.”
Kym, who played Rovers favorite Michelle Connor for 13 years before leaving the ITV soap in 2019, married army major Scott Ratcliff last October.
And she appreciates the fact he is able to support her on Strictly, which begins next week — even if he faces tough competition for tickets.
She says: “I’m married to a soldier and this year he’s here — next year he might be deployed.
“I won’t be at every show because a lot of people will want to come.
“But he will be with me every weekend, because that’s when we see each other.
“He lives and works in the barracks during the week so our weekends will now be here, and that’ll be nice for him not to make the journey all the way to the north.”
Kym also had another very personal reason for signing up for Strictly this year, after her 77-year-old dad Dave’s diagnosis of incurable cancer shifted her perspective on life.
He was given the shock news after delaying getting a check-up during the pandemic, but has since been given the OK to receive treatment.
Kym says: “Since he was diagnosed last March I’ve just decided to grab everything while I can.
“Without being melancholy, we don’t know how long we’ve got him for, so you’ve got to make the best of these situations.
“My dad’s diagnosis does change things. He’s been telling me for years, ‘You never know what’s around the corner, so grab things with both hands’.
“But you don’t think about that until an event happens. It makes you look at things differently.”
Despite the shadow that cancer has cast over their family, last month Kym was delighted by the birth of her son David’s first child — a boy, Clayton.
The new arrival made her a grandmother for the second time after her daughter Emilie gave birth to son Teddy in 2019.
On BBC Morning Live last month Kym said she welcomed the opportunity to become the first grandmother to lift the Glitterball Trophy.
But she admitted that initially she wasn’t too thrilled at the prospect of being called “Grandma”.
She said: “I love being a grandma, but Teddy calls me Yaya instead. He did it naturally — it’s Greek for grandma.
“I did choose an alternative name at the beginning because I didn’t want the Grandma name. I had a meltdown about it.
“But I do love being a grandma. My friends said it would change me, and it really has. My latest addition is three weeks old and he is gorgeous.
“He lives with me while David and his fiancée Courtney are waiting for their house to go through, so I get all the cuddles.
“So yes, I’m doing Strictly for the grannies.”
- The new series of Strictly begins on BBC1 at 7pm on Friday.