Entertainment

EastEnders star James Bye joins Strictly Come Dancing line-up

He is the 14th contestant confirmed for the show.

EastEnders star James Bye has been announced as the latest addition to the Strictly Come Dancing line-up.

The actor, best known for playing fan favourite Martin Fowler, was unveiled live on ITV’s Good Morning Britain outside the BBC soap’s fictional Walford East tube station.

The 38-year-old is the 14th contestant confirmed for the upcoming 20th series of Strictly.

He admitted he had known for “quite a long time” but the news had “still not really sunk in” and that he was “really nervous”.

Speaking about his wife Victoria, he added: “She is really supportive. She is always really supportive of everything I do.

“We talked it all through. It is a decision we have made together.

“I think she is going to be part of the team. I think she is going to teach me more than the dancers, to be honest. She knows what she is doing.”

He also reflected on the advice fellow EastEnders actor Jake Wood had offered him, after he appeared on the show in 2014.

“He has been really helpful,” he said.

British Soap Awards 2018 – London
James Bye at the British Soap Awards 2018 (Matt Crossick/PA)

“He has given me some key pointers for when it is really hard, when it kicks in. A lot of eating, keeping relaxed when you can.

“’Just enjoy it ‘was the main thing. Just go and have the best time you can.”

After the news was announced, Bye said in a statement: “I’m not known for my shimmy or my twinkle toes – in fact, my kids regularly laugh at my dad dancing, but it’s an honour to be asked and I’m going to give it my best shot.

“There are some huge dance shoes to fill and it’s truly exciting to follow in the footsteps of some amazing EastEnders talent. I’d love to do everyone proud.”

He joins a line-up that includes singer Fleur East, Ted Lasso star Ellie Taylor, Bros singer Matt Goss, Kiss radio host Tyler West, Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh and more.

The last series of Strictly was won by Rose Ayling-Ellis with professional partner Giovanni Pernice.

The 20th series will see audiences return to the studio, with the launch show scheduled to be recorded on September 7.