Strictly’s HRVY reacts to ‘pretty boy rape’ threats in TV prison show (exclusive)

The former Strictly Come Dancing star reveals his mum was 'petrified'

HRVY was considered the
HRVY was considered the 'pretty boy' in the prison. (Channel 4)

Strictly Come Dancing's 2020 contestant HRVY has responded to "pretty boy rape" threats he received during the TV prison show Banged Up while locked up with ex-inmates.

Speaking about the threats, he told Yahoo: "When I first heard it, again I was like: 'Good one.' But I was speaking to a lot of them (the former prisoners) and they were like, 'This really happens. If you were in a real prison you would have been taken advantage of already, in the first two nights. One million percent.'

If you were in a real prison you would have been taken advantage of already, in the first two nights.

"They said, 'You’re lucky that you are just getting a threat. But imagine how you feel now with the threat. Now imagine that and then actually something happening.' This is real."

Worlds away from the Strictly ballroom dancefloor – the 24-year-old social media star signed up to spend eight days behind bars at decommissioned Shrewsbury jail alongside ex-cons to give audiences a real insight into the UK's prisons.

HRVY dancing with Janette Manrara
HRVY had a great time on Strictly Come Dancing with Janette Manrara

But no-one was more terrified about the YouTuber taking part than his mum, with whom he shares an incredibly close bond. He said: "She was really petrified but also really excited for me. She wanted me to experience it.”

Banged Up included famous faces taking part included EastEnders star Sid Owen, MP Johnny Mercer, former Tory MP Neil Paris, Gogglebox’s Marcus Luther, Friday Night Dinner actor Tom Rosenthal and The Mail On Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens.

EastEnders actor Owen had breakdowns in the TV prison show. How did HRVY cope? "Honestly I knew coming in that I’m not a lion and I’m ok with that. I’m cool, I’m a nice guy," he said. "But I used that to survive. I think I befriended so many people and I didn't do that because I just wanted to befriend people to survive. I genuinely made real connections.

HRVY spent time behind bars for the prison TV show (Channel 4)
HRVY spent time behind bars for the prison TV show. (Channel 4)

"But I knew part of me surviving is using the skills that you have and mine was being charming. So I managed to actually charm my way into a lot of friendship circles and I say charming like I did it on purpose, obviously, I want to make friends, but then I've actually made friends.

"I had so many things in common with people that I never thought I would, I would in a million years. I said to a few of them, 'If I saw you in the street, I would cross the road because you're big and tattooed and you were scary.' But it's true.

HRVY revealed he used his personality to survive in the show (Channel 4)
HRVY revealed he used his personality to survive in the show. (Channel 4)

"They look like scary people and they are scary people. They were scary people. And, yeah, and they have reformed and that's another important point.

"Everyone you see in that show has reformed and before I went in my mindset was, ‘If you've done the crime, you deserve to be in there.’ And I still do think that if you've committed a crime, you deserve to be punished but not just punished.

"You now need to learn because eventually a lot of people come back out into the real world. So it's in our best interest for us to be safe from the outside, but also to keep them safe and for them to have a better life when they come out. It’s definitely, case by case."

Sid Owen pictured behind bars
Sid Owen said he had breakdowns during TV prison show. (Channel 4)

Admittedly HRVY said he spent a lot of the time hiding as he settled into "prison" lifestyle in Banged Up.

"This isn’t Strictly Come Dancing," he said. "This is real life. As much as there’s 24-hour security and then everyone’s been vetted, this will feel very real. It’s a social experiment.

"I really wanted the full experience and very quickly everything became very real. When you saw some of those arguments, that was real. I was the very first person to go into the prison for eight days. I was there for a lot of these things that you see. A lot of the time though, I was hiding!"

Pictured: L-R Tom Rosenthal, Sid Owen, Marcus Luther - Banged Up. (Channel 4)
Tom Rosenthal, Sid Owen, Marcus Luther were among the cast taking part in Banged Up (Channel 4)

While some people struggled with being banged up, HRVY revealed he preferred to be locked away safely inside his cell.

"I had found many moments of happiness, many moments of relief actually," he said. "I enjoyed actually being locked in the room. I hated more the outside communal part.

"Yeah, because it took a little thing for someone to explode. There is always one person who is the innocent one that gets accidentally mixed up in something and that gets hurt. I don't want to be that guy.

Owen in his prison gear (Channel 4)
Sid Owen in his prison gear. (Channel 4)

"So I'm so ok with being in my room whereas a lot of the other guys are banging and they really want to get out. Lock me in.

"Get me inside because then I can speak to these people on a level and not have to worry about everything else and the chaos and the environment around here."

Read more: Banged Up

Banged Up airs on Channel 4 on Tuesday 31st October at 9pm