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Strictly dream team as East Lancashire's Natalie Gumede gets Artem
EAST Lancashire actress Natalie Gumede had a smile as dazzling as the sequins on her Twenties-style flapper dress as she was paired with former champion Artem Chigvintsev on Strictly Come Dancing.
As host Sir Bruce Forsyth announced the ‘dream team’ partnership on a live show on BBC1 on Saturday night, pro dancer Artem picked up the former Coronation Street actress and spun her round in delight.
Later he told viewers: “I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot. It’s like I’ve won the lottery.”
Colne-born Natalie, 29, had already been installed as bookies’ favourite to win the 11th series of the primetime show, even before being teamed up with the Russian who took the title in 2010 with actress Kara Tointon.
She said: “I always wanted to be a dancer but I got an injury at 19 which meant that was not an option any more.
“But now I can’t wait to get Strictly-fied.
“Bring on the sequins and the glamour - I’m raring to go.”
As Kirsty Soames in Britain’s longest-running soap, a role which saw her take scoop three British Soap Awards, Natalie was last seen being sent to jail.
Host Sir Bruce Forsyth told her: “That will be perfect preparation for this show as it’s rotten food and four months hard labour from now on.”
He added: “This is a real partnership - you are going to go a long way.”
Head judge Len Goodman told viewers: “She is gorgeous and he is a big hunky-dunky. They are real eyeball pleasers.”
Natalie is a former pupil of Park High School, Colne.
She got her first break when she was selected to appear on a regional broadcast for Children in Need andwas a later a regular in the BBC3 comedy Ideal, alongside comic Johnny Vegas Natalie, was also a member of the Chippendale School of Dance in Pendle and Pendle Hippodrome Youth Theatre before going on to study at the famed Italia Conti drama school in London.
Fifteen celebrities were matched with their professional partners on Saturday’s Strictly show which is co-presented by Tess Daly Among those taking part are Hairy Biker Dave Myers, former Bond girl Fiona Fullerston, England rugby star Ben Cohen, Countdown’s maths whizz Rachel Riley and news presenter Susanna Reid.
Natalie and Artem, along with all the other couples, will now undertake three-weeks of gruelling training before dancing live together for the first time on the show which returns on Friday, September 27.
The public will vote for their favourites and the couple with the the fewest votes will leave the show.
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