Robert Webb says having open heart surgery made him sign up for 'Strictly'

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: n/a - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing - Celebrity Announcements (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Robert Webb - (C) BBC - Photographer: BBC
Robert Webb is taking to the Strictly dancefloor. (BBC)

Robert Webb has said he signed up for Strictly Come Dancing because having open heart surgery made him realise there was no time to be “sitting at the edges”.

The Peep Show star, 48, underwent surgery almost two years ago after a routine medical check revealed he had a heart murmur caused by a mitral valve prolapse.

Discussing why he decided to do the BBC ballroom show this year, he said it was partly his age and partly what he had faced with his health.

Read more: Strictly dancer isolating ahead of live shows after testing positive for COVID

“I had open heart surgery and since then I think my attitude is basically, ‘This is no time to be cool and kind of sitting at the edges watching other people do the dancing’,” said the star.

“If you’ve got something to offer, it might be time to offer it.”

Watch: Who is Strictly's Robert Webb?

Webb said he has also spent a lot of time writing of late and was “quite itchy” and felt “the need to reconnect with the audience as a performer”.

He quipped that getting his surgery scar out as often as possible might be a good way of winning over judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Anton Du Beke, who is filling in for Bruno Tonioli.

"Maybe I should be really milking it about having heart surgery," he joked.

"In fact, I’m going to mention that as often as possible!"

The two-year anniversary of Webb’s operation will coincide with Strictly’s popular Halloween Week show, which is returning this year after being scrapped in 2020 due to COVID.

Robert Webb arrives for the 2009 British Comedy Awards at the LWT Studios in London.
The star had major heart surgery two years ago. (PA)

And he has thought about marking the milestone.

“That will be the show to wear a costume, like get my scar covered in glitter!” he said.

Webb said although he is a comedian he will be taking the contest very seriously.

“If I get more than halfway through then I expect I will become very competitive and I’ll start poisoning other people’s energy drinks and setting trip wires for Greg Wise,” he joked.

Read more: Strictly: When does the first show start and who is in the 2021 line-up?

As well as actor Wise, Webb is up against McFly's Tom Fletcher, BBC Breakfast star Dan Walker, Gordon Ramsay's daughter Tilly Ramsay, Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty and EastEnders stars Nina Wadia and Rose Ayling-Ellis when he takes to the dancefloor.

Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood The Strictly Come Dancing 2020 judges (BBC)
Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood are back on the 'Strictly' panel. (BBC)

Coronation Street star Katie McGlynn and former Bake Off winner John Whaite are also among the celebrities competing in the hope of winning the coveted glitterball trophy.

The 2021 Strictly launch show is set to begin on Saturday, 18 September at 7.45pm on BBC One.

Watch: Who is Strictly's Judi Love?