Strictly Come Prancing – Dundee’s answer to the BBC TV hit show – is already shaping up to be the most talked-about charity event of the year.
A dozen local couples will battle it out at a glitzy dance-off at the Apex Hotel in November in front of a panel of judges headed by celebrity style guru Gok Wan. Funds from the event will go to children’s charity Help for Kids.
Here, Jon Brady and Iqra Farooq speak to two of the couples taking part.
Family friends Mark Dunlop, 46, and Kelly Leslie, 39, are going to have a challenge on their hands – because they won’t dance together for the first six weeks of their training.
Mark Dunlop and partner Kelly LeslieKelly and her family are away to Florida for three weeks, and around the time she comes back Mark heads off to Australia.
So, while the pair will be going to their lessons when they can, they won’t actually dance as a couple until halfway through the preparation.
Kelly, a hairdresser from Fintry, said: “We both signed up after a couple of drinks. We thought it would just be a laugh but it dawned on us at the launch night how serious it was.
“We’ve resolved to throw ourselves into it since it’s for charity and we’ll have fun along the way.”
Neither Mark nor Kelly are big Strictly fans, nor are they experienced at dancing.
The only time they have danced together is at football dinners, as Mark plays alongside Kelly’s husband Richard – also a Help for Kids Ambassador – at Barnhill AFC.
Kelly said: “I’m not worried about dancing in front of Gok Wan or anything but the thought of going out in front of 500 people is a bit scary.
“But my husband is also entering the contest – Mark and I are determined to make sure we knock him out.”
Quantity surveyor Mark, from Monifieth, said: “I have absolutely no experience of dancing – none, save for after a couple of drinks at some weddings.
“I’m quite relaxed because I think they wanted people that don’t have a lot of experience.
“But as it gets closer and closer I’m beginning to realise it’s not just something to laugh about in the pub any more – after the launch night it started to feel very real.”
Mark isn’t an avid Strictly fan, but says he’s seen a few shows.
He said: “I think we can almost certainly say I’ll have a new-found respect for all the dancers on the show once we’ve got through it all.
“It’s going to be interesting, and a good laugh. At the end of the day, what’s the worst that could happen?”
Long-term friends Derek Miller, 41, from Letham, and Jenni MacFarlane, 43, from Ballumbie, can’t wait to start practising their routine.
The pair first met while working in radio in their early 20s.
Fast forward to now and Derek works as a foster carer and has previously been involved in fundraising for Help for Kids – the local charity that will receive funds from the event.
He said: “I am an ambassador for the charity so I know what benefits it has for kids in the area.
“It is very important for us to be part of the event and we are aiming to raise as much money as we can.”
He added: “I’m very nervous about it because I have absolutely zero dance experience apart from a Saturday night at a wedding.”
Although a newcomer to the world of dance, Derek has dedicated himself to getting in shape for the night by joining a running club in Arbroath.
Jenni, who works as a senior operations manager at Openreach, said: “I knew I wanted to do it when Derek asked because I love Strictly.
“I have to admit I am a bit nervous about it but I can’t wait to get our training started.
“The size of the event is making me nervous. I’m not shy but being taken out of my comfort zone is a bit scary.”
As a Strictly fan, Jenni admitted she was in charge of organising the routine.
She said: “We have not picked a song to dance to yet but we are definitely going to go for something fun and upbeat – but we’re not telling anybody.
“We’re in it to win it.”
She added: “I do not know any of the other contestants but I’m looking forward to making friends at training.”
Jenni and Derek have already started their fundraising by having their training gear sponsored.
Strictly Come Prancing is being supported by the Evening Telegraph, radio station Wave FM and the Overgate Shopping Centre. During the launch, the 12 couples were announced and received a video message of support from TV star Gok after posing for their first photo shoot.
Tickets are on sale at eventbrite.co.uk/e/strictly-come-prancing-tickets-48946935602.