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Secret Strictly superfan Tom Hiddleston shares his picks for 2023 final

 (BBC)
(BBC)

Tom Hiddleston may be a Shakespearian actor with his own Marvel Cinematic Universe show, but the Loki star has also admitted to being a Strictly Come Dancing superfan.

The British actor, who is known for showing off his own dance moves on set, opened up about his “love” of the BBC competition series during a recent visit to Radio 2.

Appearing on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on Monday (20 November), Hiddleston explained that he was yet to see this weekend’s (18 November) Blackpool extravaganza. The episode saw Strictly move up north for the week, where Angela Rippon faced the dance-off and was eliminated from the show.

Discussing this series, Hiddleston said: “It’s been difficult to determine who is going to go all the way this year, with Ball agreeing: “It really is! There’s so many good ones.”

Ball then asked Hiddleston to name his favourites. Stressing that he didn’t “know anything about ballroom”, and that his dance experience came from his “misspent youth in the Nineties”, he first named former Coronation Street star Ellie Leach.

“I think Ellie is maybe the most improved. She’s extraordinary, pretty amazing,” Hiddleston said, Ball agreeing: “There’s something about that partnership. Vito [Coppola], I adore.”

The Night Manager star then listed musical theatre performer Layton Williams and Nigel Harman, noting that they had showed strong dance ability from the start of the series.

Leach and Coppola have gone from strength to strength (BBC/Guy Levy)
Leach and Coppola have gone from strength to strength (BBC/Guy Levy)

“It’s really interesting, because obviously Layton and Nigel came out of the blocks really fast and were very impressive. It was like, wow, these guys can dance.

“But then I think maybe the judges have been a bit tougher on them because it’s like, well, technique, ballroom. Maybe you’ve got rhythm, but this is a ballroom thing. Which I respect - I don’t know anything about it.”

Just six couples remain in Strictly 2023, with Leach and Williams topping the leaderboard last week with scores of 39 each. No couple has scored a perfect 40 so far this year, with Craig Revel Horwood refusing to get out his 10 paddle.

Williams and partner Nikita Kuzmin have been loved by the judges (BBC/Guy Levy)
Williams and partner Nikita Kuzmin have been loved by the judges (BBC/Guy Levy)

According to the bookies, Leach is the favourite to win the show, having risen up the ranks since week one and now been in the top two of the leaderboard for five consecutive weeks.

Coral has her odds of winning at 4/11, followed by Harman at 8/1 and Williams at 16/1. Many viewers have argued that Harman and Williams have an advantage on the show due to their experience in musical theatre. Harman is an Olivier Award-winner, having originated the role of Lord Farquaad in the West End production of Shrek the Musical, while Williams starred in Billy Elliot as a child and played the lead in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

Saturday (25 November) will see all six couples dance again, ahead of Musicals Week the following week. The Strictly final takes place this year on 16 December, where only three couples will compete for the Glitterball Trophy instead of the usual four, after Amanda Abbington quit the series.

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday 25 November at 7.30pm on BBC One.