Katie Piper shares rhythm fears as Strictly reveals her as its first contestant
PRESENTER and campaigner Katie Piper has said she is ‘really proud’ to be taking part in this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing, 10 years after being the victim of an acid attack.
In March 2008, Katie, now 34, was injured in an assault that was arranged by her former partner.
She was left partially blind, with severe scarring to her face, chest, neck, arm and hands, after sulphuric acid was thrown in her face.
Now a TV presenter, author and campaigner, who supports acid attack survivors through her charity the Katie Piper Foundation, she has undergone more than 250 operations over the past decade.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, where she was unveiled as the first star name to appear in the 16th series of the dancing competition, Katie said: ‘I think it gives a wider message that my past and the way I look is irrelevant and I’m able to go forward and do these things.
‘That’s something I’m really proud of. From a personal point of view, it’s so refreshing to be doing something so light-hearted and just so fun.’
Piper told hosts Dan Walker and Louise Minchin that she would like to be partnered with professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, but she is concerned that she has no natural rhythm.
‘For me, it’s really out of my comfort zone and it’s nothing like I’ve ever done before, so I was really worried — will I be the first person to go home?’ she said.
Katie added: ‘I like having fun and music and parties, but dance-wise I went to a musical on Thursday with my friend and he noted that I wasn’t even clapping in time! So in terms of rhythm, I don’t know how well that’s going to go.’
But she’s upbeat about showing off her stuff on the dancefloor.
‘I think whatever happens to me on Strictly, I hope to come away with a different type of confidence in a different area of my life and I would have learned something new.
‘Even if I don’t last long, I will come away knowing something that I didn’t before, and that’s a bonus.’
Katie admitted that keeping her participation a secret was difficult, saying: ‘The only person I told was my husband, through text message — and he thought I was joking.’
The identity of the remaining contestants on this year’s series of the dancing competition will be revealed over the coming days.
Other stars tipped to be donning their dancing shoes for the show this year include Pussycat Dolls singer Ashley Roberts, radio host Vick Hope and Steps star Faye Tozer.
Katie claims she has no clue who else has been signed up for the show.
She said: ‘When there are leaks, I’m like, “Oh wow, I wonder if they’re in it?” When I ask, I’m not allowed to know. No-one will confirm any speculation.
‘It’s so secretive and when you turn up to the reception you can’t say what you’re here for and why. I couldn’t even use my own name for months.
‘I had a code name — Brie. Everyone was cheese. Brie is not too smelly, is it?’
The new series, believed to be starting in early September, will see presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman return, along with judges Shirley Ballas, Bruno Tonioli, Dame Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel Horwood.
The dancers for this year’s series, including Anton Du Beke, Oti Mabuse, Pasha Kovalev and Karen Clifton, started work in the dance studio at the end of July.
Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC One in the autumn
Author: Andrew Arthur