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Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

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HERE is a sneak peak of Alex Kingston in her new role in Upstairs Downstairs. And the BBC are hoping the Doctor Who and ER star will give their period drama a more sensuous edge when it returns to our screens in the spring. Kingston, who will play Dr Blanche Mottershead – the younger and sexier sister of Dame Eileen Atkins’ character Lady Holland – is pictured alongside Keeley Hawes, who plays Lady Agnes Holland in the awardwinning show. She is delighted to be joining the cast, but remained tightlipped about what was in store for her character. She said: “I can say the character is very complex, very intriguing and very straighttalking. She has some very dark secrets of her own.”

By LAURA CAROE

SHE’S ON THE UP . . . new arrival Alex, left, with Keeley Hawes

THEY will wreak havoc on the dance floor with their acid-tongued comments and barbed praise in a quest to find Britain’s best movers. But today the super-catty Got To Dance judges are put under the spotlight just as they sharpen their claws for the hit show’s third series. Below, we grill West End star and actor Adam Garcia, singer and dancer Kimberly Wyatt and the leader/choreographer of dance troupe Diversity, Ashley Banjo. The trio will scour the nation for talented divas, crews, troupes and solo performers of every style and age, all competing to win a cheque for £250,000. The show, starting on Sky 1 on New Year’s Day at 6pm and hosted by Davina McCall, will see up to 3,000 dance acts try their luck in trials for the new series in Dublin, Glasgow and London. More than 71 dance variations will be on display, including African, Chinese ribbon, Cotswold Morris, electric boogie and hoofing – a form of step dancing. A four-year-old tap dancer will try to become the youngest ever finalist while a nimble 77-year-old will seek to impress with his group. A total of 214 acts are set to be asked back for another trial. Thirty will eventually be chosen to perform in live semi-final shows ahead of a final showdown at Kensington Olympia in west London. A second audition show airs on Monday, January 2, at 6pm. Last year’s winners were cheeky double-act Chris & Wes, following ten-year-old London lad Akai in 2010.

HUNKY Adam has told how he is a hit with contestants’ mums — and he can’t get enough of it. The Australian heart-throb said that while Ashley and Kimberly revelled in attention from younger fans, he preferred the more mature approach. He said: “I have experienced a lot of attention from the maturer women this series. I am quite happy about it as they are not old by any stretch. “Obviously Ashley is a young, dashing man so his appeal would be to the younger women of the audience.” Tap legend Adam revealed divisions on the judging panel this time round. He said: “Despite any arguments between the judges, which there have been a few of this year, we are all in it for a single purpose — to find the best dance act in Britain.” The West End star added there have been awkward moments during the audition stage — after wannabes refused to accept they were not going through. Adam, who confesses to being the “dimwit” of the judges, said: “The worst time was when we were in Scotland and we hadn’t put anyone through for about three hours. “Everyone was starting to get upset with us, saying, ‘I’ve worked really

hard and done my best’. That’s like saying, ‘I tried my best in the 100m running race in the Olympics and I know I came last but can I have a gold medal, please?’ “No, no, you can’t. Sometimes it seems to be a moment of sublime denial.” Adam, who idolised natural history legend David Attenborough as a child, added: “Although we are a dance show, we are a variety show, too. “While Strictly is quite restricted with set dances, the performers on this show will explode off the dance floor. “I think this series more than any other is really going to show off categories other than street, such as people on skates and in wheelchairs, and just as spectacular, amazing and spellbinding.” Glee fan Adam was cast as a heartthrob in the 2000 film Coyote Ugly, about a nightclub where girls perform sizzling routines to drive punters wild.

FORMER Pussycat Doll Kimberly insists she is great pals with fellow judges Ashley and Adam — but admits they had huge bustups during the filming for this latest series. The spiky singer is regarded as the “strict one” on the panel and her hardline views on the contestants can result in some fireworks. Kimberly said: “As a panel we have our disagreements and full blow-outs more than ever this year. “Oh boy, yes. “It has been very dramatic on this series, which is partly because the standard has raised so much, so the judging has had to as well. “It is a journey for all of us and that will come across to the viewers. “Sometimes you forget you are being filmed but it is an entertainment show after all. “We really are all such good friends and have so

much fun together. Ashley is kind of a superhero for young kids who want to dance and I think that is a really inspiring thing.” In the past, Kimberly hasn’t held back when criticising contestants — and this year she is even laying in to the other judges as well. In a recent put-down, she said: “Ashley has no body-to-brain filter. Even when he’s talking to you, he’s dancing. He just tuts and talks.” But despite her fondness for harsh w o r d s , Kimberly insists it n e v e r “stops crushing your heart when you have to

say no” to a wannabe. Kimberly — a trained dancer who is now part of electropop band Her Majesty & The Wolves — said: “The contestants remind me of myself. “They are desperately trying to find their way in the world and where they really fit in as a dancer.

Amazing

“I am known as the strictest probably because I am the most technical when it comes to being a judge. “I am looking for the full package.” Kimberly — who has been dating US actor Kevin Schmidt since early 2009 — added: “I set my bar and I don’t waiver from it very often — hardly at all. “Look out for the females this year. “Some of them are ridiculously amazing. I love it.”

DIVERSITY star Ashley has vowed to become a dream-maker not a heartbreaker — after admitting he can’t cope with tears. The practical joker, who found fame when his troupe Diversity won Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, knows just how hard it is to deal with rejection. Ashley said: “The hardest thing is having to say no to people. “I hate it, it kills me as I know exactly what it feels like. It is still really fresh for me. “I remember standing there waiting to hear my fate on Britain’s Got Talent and it was really difficult. “It is good to be on the other side of the stage and giving so many people a platform.” The 6ft 5in dancer — whose group danced in front of the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance in 2009 — reckons fans will never have seen anything like some of the killer dance moves on the new series. He said: “Everyone will be in awe. It is going to be amazing because of the amount of talent out there. You start

thinking it might have dried up and then you realise there is an explosion of energy right in front of you.” The London dance ace thinks Got To Dance is a different ball-game to singing competition X Factor. He said: “The big difference is you can nurture your voice. As a dancer no matter how much talent you are born with, it is not natural to dance. “Rhythm and timing maybe, but you have to train yourself to have technique.” Ashley believes a contestant in a category other than street dance has a good chance of bagging the prize this year. He said: “In the last two series, street dance has been hard to compete with. “But I do truly believe that this year the standard is so much higher in all the genres. “Only time will tell.”

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