Strictly Come Dancing 2014: EastEnders star ‘doing it for all the dads’

PUBLISHED: 14:52 05 September 2014 | UPDATED: 18:06 05 September 2014

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Jake Wood [(C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston]

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Jake Wood [(C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston]

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EastEnders favourite Jake Wood will be “doing it for all the dads” when the new series of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing waltzes onto TV screens for the first time on Sunday night.

Co-presented by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, the Strictly Come Dancing 2014 Launch Show will be screened on BBC One from 8pm on Sunday, with viewers discovering which professionals this year’s sparkling new celebrities have been partnered with.

Among the 15 ballroom hopefuls is twinkle-toed Tewin talent Jake Wood, who will be swapping Albert Square for sequinned shirts on the dance floor.

Best known for playing Walford’s notorious womaniser Max Branning, Jake’s character has been at the centre of a series of big storylines over the past eight years.

BBC's Strictly Come Dancing [(C) BBC  - Photographer: Ray Burmiston]BBC's Strictly Come Dancing [(C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston]

Max has had an affair with his son’s girlfriend, been through years of emotional turmoil with wife Tanya, coped with an alcoholic daughter and was devastated by the death of his son Bradley.

His current storyline sees him involved with the Lucy Beale murder investigation.

Away from Albert Square, 42-year-old Jake’s real life couldn’t be more different from that of his EastEnders character.

He’s a family man with two children and, in his spare time, he enjoys rock-climbing, running and cycling. He is also a huge boxing fan.

Looking ahead to his time on Strictly, Jake said: “I’m really relishing the prospect of hitting the Strictly dance floor this year.

“I’m doing it for all the dads out there and you never know, there’s always a chance of being the first Walford resident to take home the glitterball... Bring it on!”

Strictly Come Dancing judges Len Goodman, Darcey Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli [(C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston]Strictly Come Dancing judges Len Goodman, Darcey Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli [(C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston]

The glittering SDC 2014 line-up also includes MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace, Mrs Brown’s Boys star Jennifer Gibney, TV presenter Caroline Flack, pop princess Pixie Lott, tennis ace Andy Murray’s mum Judy Murray and The Saturdays singer Frankie Bridge.

On why he signed up for this year’s celebrity dancing competition, snake-hipped wannabe Jake said: “It’s something that’s completely out of my comfort zone and I like a challenge.

“It’s such a great Saturday night show and my family always sits down and watches it together, so I’m really happy to be involved and I think my kids will really enjoy watching me take part.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2014 line-up

* MasterChef judge Gregg Wallace

* Mrs Brown’s Boys star Jennifer Gibney

* Bargain Hunt’s antique expert Tim Wonnacott

* TV presenter Caroline Flack

* Pop princess Pixie Lott

* Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills

* Wildlife expert Steve Backshall

* EastEnders star Jake Wood

* Star of Casualty Sunetra Sarker

* TV presenter and radio DJ Mark Wright

* Blue pop star Simon Webbe

* Model and ex-rugby player Thom Evans

* This Morning reporter Alison Hammond

* Tennis coach Judy Murray

* The Saturdays singer Frankie Bridge

The EastEnders actor admits he’s had no professional dance training before.

He said: “I tend not to even dance at a party but I do sometimes dance at home when I’m mucking about with the kids.”

However, he is looking forward to slapping on the fake tan.

“Bring it on!” said Jake. “No, seriously I’m up for it all. I’ve signed up now and it’s part and parcel of the show, isn’t it?”

He’s also not worried about facing Strictly judges Len Goodman, Craig Revel Horwood, Bruno Tonioli and Darcey Bussell.

Jake added: “No, I’m not nervous at all. They’re always positive and any criticism is usually constructive and it’s all for our benefit.

“I’ll take any criticism on board and work with it.”

* The Strictly Come Dancing 2014 Launch Show is on BBC One on Sunday from 8pm to 9.15pm.

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