BBC Strictly 'signing' announced by Zoe Ball after co-star's 'change of heart'

Zoe Ball
Zoe previously appeared on Strictly Come Dancing and was the former host of It Takes Two -Credit:(Image: GETTY)

Zoe Ball has hinted that her BBC Radio 2 colleague Jo Whiley might be stepping onto the Strictly Come Dancing dance floor this year, following a change of heart about her dancing abilities. Earlier in the week, Jo, 58, responded to Strictly's recent Bafta triumph, looking forward to the milestone 20th series.

Despite previously dismissing the idea of participating in the show because she doubted her dancing skills, Jo recently admitted to her listeners that she's feeling more confident after mastering the dance to Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode's hit song Jerusalema. She confessed: "I was doing it and I obviously had a vodka and at one point I thought, 'Maybe I can do Strictly'."

On her BBC Radio 2 Breakfast show, Zoe played a snippet of Jo discussing Strictly's Bafta victory and her newfound dancing confidence, questioning: "Our very own Jo Whiley was talking about Strictly and winning a Bafta on her show and Jo has always said that she won't and can't dance. But, is Jo now in fact ready for the Strictly dance floor?"

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Following the clip, Richie Anderson, who himself took part in Strictly in 2022, declared Jo's revelation as "huge" news. Zoe, also a past contestant, excitedly suggested: "If that's not the sign that it's going to happen! Imagine her in the outfits." The conversation then turned to which professional dancer would be the best match for Jo if she decides to join the competition. Initially, Richie suggested Graziano Di Prima, but then quickly reconsidered, proposing Johannes Radebe instead, reports the Express.

"Jo and Jo, team JoJo dancing to this," Zoe excitedly suggested, clearly thrilled by the idea. She then revealed her intention to make it a reality, saying she was getting in touch with the show's booker to orchestrate the surprise. "Don't tell Jo yet, we'll leave it as a surprise," she quipped, keeping the plan under wraps for now.

Zoe also took the opportunity to name-drop other BBC celebrities who she thinks would shine on the dance floor. She mentioned Dermot O'Leary as a potential contestant, hinting that he'd look great in the show's "tight-fitted" costumes. Furthermore, Zoe suggested that Reverend Kate Bottley is eager to join the show and mused that Trevor Nelson might excel at a Rumba. "They would have to put it on quite late I think," she remarked, contemplating the scheduling implications of such casting choices.

In a conversation with back in 2021, Jo herself commented on the prospect of joining Strictly. She confessed: "That is definitely outlawed because it would be so embarrassing for my family. The kids would be mortified. I'd be the Ann Widecombe of the series. I don't have any rhythm at all," she admitted, doubting her own dance abilities.

While the official line-up for Strictly 2024 remains under wraps, there are whispers about potential contestants including Dame Laura Kenny, Gino D'Acampo, Hannah Waddingham and Jill Scott. Fans are eagerly anticipating the return of the new series, which is expected to grace BBC screens around September. For the latest TV and showbiz news, sign up to our newsletter.