Ellie Simmonds: Dancing is 'way out of my comfort zone'

Last updated at 12:48

There's only one more sleep until the return of Strictly Come Dancing!

And celebrity contestant, Paralympian Ellie Simmonds, has been dishing the gossip ahead of the start of the latest series.

Strictly starts its 20th series this year, with 15 celebrity stars competing alongside professional dance partners over 13 weeks, until only three couples are remaining.

On Thursday, Ellie spoke to BBC One Breakfast presenters Naga and Charlie about her nerves ahead of the start of the new series.

Read on to find out more about what we can expect from the latest series!

Ellie says she's nervous thinking of dancing in front of millions

Five-time Paralympian champion Ellie is one of the contestants competing on this year's Strictly.

But despite her athletic abilities, she admitted that dancing was "way out of my comfort zone" in an interview on BBC Breakfast.

"I'm normally in a swimming costume, hat and goggles and this is dancing in front of millions of people in the Strictly ballroom, in front of the judges as well..." she said.

She says it's been great to get to know the other contestants, saying "we're all supporting each other and everyone is so, so lovely".

All four Strictly Come Dancing judges will be returning this series

Naga and Charlie tried to squeeze some details out of Ellie ahead of the first episode, but the superstar swimmer didn't give much away.

She did confess she was "surprised" by who she was paired with, before adding that all of the professional dancers are "phenomenal" and she would have been delighted to dance with any of them.

Ellie also spoke about her experience working with a partner with a height difference.

"My partner is tall and I am small, I've never danced and they've never danced with an individual with dwarfism before so it's going to be different," she said.

"We're not going to hold each other in the same postures that everyone else does and it's figuring it all out."

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Reality star Terra Jolé gave Ellie some tips on how to dance with a height difference

She said she reached out to American reality star Terra Jolé who, like Ellie, has dwarfism.

Terra Jolé took part in the US version of the Strictly Come Dancing, and she had some advice for Ellie.

Ellie said seeing Terra Jolé perform on Dancing with the Stars gave her more confidence.

"I knew seeing her do it that I could do it."

When can I watch Strictly Come Dancing?
Rose and her partner Giovanni Pernice lifted the Glitterball Trophy in 2021 after an emotional finale

Strictly returns on Friday 23 September, with the first live show airing on Saturday 24.

All four Strictly judges - Anton du Beke, Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood - are returning, as well as presenters Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly.

This year the series will be welcoming four new professional dancers! And singer-songwriter John Legend will be performing in the ballroom.

Last year's champions Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice are also expected to make an appearance!

You can watch the first episode of Strictly Come Dancing on Friday 23 September at 19.00 on BBC One and on BBC iPlayer.

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