Entertainment

Actor Larry Lamb joins Strictly Come Dancing's TV Christmas special

The actor is the fourth celebrity to be announced as part of the festive line-up.

Larry Lamb is the fourth celebrity contestant confirmed to compete in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.

The actor, who played Mick Shipman in hit sitcom Gavin & Stacey, will be partnered with professional dancer Nadiya Bychkova when he takes to the dancefloor in the festive version of the BBC One show.

The 75-year-old presents Channel 5 docuseries Britain By Bike alongside his son George and regularly appears on The One Show with history and heritage segments.

National Television Awards 2010 – Show – London
James Corden and Larry Lamb during the National Television Awards in 2010, later receiving the comedy award for Gavin & Stacey (Ian West/PA)

Lamb also starred in EastEnders, dramatically departing Walford on Christmas Day 2009 when his character Archie Mitchell was murdered by a mystery assassin who bashed him over the head with a bust of Queen Victoria.

In a bid to lift the Strictly trophy, Lamb will perform a Christmas-inspired routine in front of judges Anton Du Beke, Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood and the voting audience.

He will be one of six celebrities competing, with those announced so far including soap actress Alexandra Mardell with professional partner Kai Widdrington; DJ Rickie Haywood-Williams with Luba Mushtuk; and podcaster Rosie Ramsey who will be partnered with Neil Jones.

When his participation was revealed on BBC’s The One Show, Lamb spoke of dance partner Bychkova: “She’s the most extraordinary teacher and the most supportive person. The thing is what I didn’t realise is not only has she got to teach me a dance routine, the first thing is she has to teach me how to dance.

“I have bopped around for years but it’s a whole new world and she is just extraordinary.”

The actor said he is enjoying learning to dance “much more” than he thought he would.

He said: “The first day I thought, ‘that’s it, I’m out of here’. She’s got me to the point where I feel very very confident. We’re doing an American smooth. It’s a busy dance. I am into it, I’m really surprised that I’m into it.”

When asked why he said no to a chance to join Strictly five years ago, Lamb added: “They discovered I had a big problem with a serious situation where a disc was about to severe my spinal cord.

“Arms all over the place, legs all over the place, they finally got in and got it sorted out, the operation was a huge successful but the nerve damage happened over the years. I spent five years so I could walk straight.

“One of the jokes was back then if I ‘keep working on it you never know you might finish up on Strictly’.”

– The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Christmas Day.