The retired Manchester United and England footballer, 42, gets asked ‘every year’ to appear on the BBC‘s Latin and ballroom competition, and pundit Gabby Logan – who finished fourth on the show in 2007 – is trying to convince him to sign up.
Speaking to Strictly host Tess Daly, she said: ‘I was trying to persuade Rio Ferdinand. You need to get your producers onto him. I almost had him.
Big moves: Strictly Come Dancing bosses have approached Rio Ferdinand for this year’s series
‘He said, “Did you really enjoy it?” I said, “How often do they ask you?” He said, “Every year.” He’d be incredible, and he’s a dancer!’
Tess was delighted to hear that Rio went to ballet school as a child. The sportsman won a scholarship to attend London’s Central School of Ballet.
Speaking on Gabby’s own Mid-Point podcast, she added: ‘He would have a natural grace. He’d make it look good. That’s a great starting point. Welcome Rio, 2021.’
Speaking about his experience with ballet in a 2017 interview with FourFourTwo, Rio, who is married to Kate Ferdinand, said: ‘At first I didn’t tell my mates because they would have ripped me all day long. I just told them I was doing drama.
Repeat performance: The former footballer has reportedly been approached ‘every year’ to be a part of the hit BBC show. Pictured are last year’s winner’s Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse
‘I did it for two years, then in my third year I told my mates. I was one of the lads anyway and they were fine to be fair to them.
‘It was a big commitment though because it used to take me two hours to get there and I had to go three times a week.
‘Then I got to a point where my dad said, “Do you want to be a footballer or a ballet dancer? You have to make a decision because it’s taking up too much of your time.”
‘Luckily I chose football! But the ballet had a good effect on my career because of the flexibility, strength and balance you learn. ‘
Convincing: Pundit Gabby Logan – who finished fourth on the show in 2007 – has revealed that she is trying to convince him to sign up
Delighted: Strictly’s Tess Daly (pictured left with co-host Claudia Winkleman) was delighted to hear that Rio went to ballet school as a child
Tess has been at the helm for every single series of Strictly since its launch in 2004, as she initially hosted with the late Sir Bruce Forysth, and then Claudia Winkleman.
Reflecting on the job, the TV personality said: ‘The industry can be quite fickle. It can spit people out.
‘My eldest daughter Phoebe, who’s now 16, is a visual reference as to how long we’ve been on air because I was pregnant with her, series one. So yes, it’s a long time.’
Show bosses are hoping to put on a full 13-episode series this year after the programme was cut to nine shows in 2020 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Head judge Shirley Ballas added: ‘Just a little something: I heard they’re trying to do all 13 episodes this year.
‘Last time we had nine. We’re trying to get 13 shows on. I think they’re getting used to the COVID thing.’
Love: Rio has been married to Kate Ferdinand since 2019. They welcomed their first child, a son called Cree, in December. He also has three children from his marriage to late wife, Rebecca
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