Former Strictly Come Dancing star Vincent Simone has revealed he has never seen a pantomime – even though he is starring in one this Christmas. The Argentine Tango world champion made his surprising confession during an exclusive interview and photoshoot with HELLO! magazine in November 2018. He teamed up with dance partner Flavia Cacace-Mistry to talk about their new stage roles, brushes with royalty and the so-called "Strictly curse". The pair will star as the King and Queen in Snow White at the London Palladium alongside stars including Dawn French and Julian Clary – but Vincent admitted this is new territory for him.
"You know, I've never seen a panto in my life," he told HELLO!. He and his former Strictly co-star, who were a couple for 11 years, are still professional partners and the best of friends, even though both are married to other people and Flavia has invited Vincent to spend Christmas with her and her husband, actor Jimi Mistry, if his wife Susan and their two sons can't make it to London from their home in Northern Ireland. "We must be one of the longest-lasting duets on the block," added Flavia, 38, who in 2012 – her final year on the show – won the coveted Strictly Glitterball trophy with Olympic gymnast Louis Smith. "Vincent and I could perform together with our eyes shut. We're now in the fantastic situation where we can pick and choose what we do. I’ll always be grateful to Strictly for that."
Vincent and Flavia spoke to HELLO! ahead of their new venture together
"Our schedule has been relentless," continued Vincent. "But that’s fine; I’m at home on the stage. When you see thousands of people giving you a standing ovation, it’s amazing. I love big audiences; they’re what I live for." Cheering on the self-confessed showman as he demonstrates his acting and dancing skills will be his wife Susan and their "little sausages" – sons Luca, nine, and Matteo, five – who will fly in from their home in Northern Ireland. "The boys love West End shows," noted Vincent. "They’re very artistic. Luca is musical; the way he plays the drums is incredible. And Matteo is following in my footsteps. When I showed him how to waltz, he knew it just like that. He’s a born entertainer and loves musicals. In the car I have to play Mamma Mia on a loop so he can sing along."
There to applaud Flavia on her big night will be her husband and former Strictly dance partner, East Is East actor Jimi Mistry. The pair, who celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary on 28 December, are excited about what has become their romantic time of year. "Jimi will spend one night a week with me at my hotel," revealed Flavia, who lives in Surrey with the former Coronation Street star. "We love London around Christmas; it’s magical with all the lights."
WATCH: Vincent and Flavia share Strictly secrets
It is clear as they laugh and joke together how close Flavia and Vincent have remained despite being struck by the so called "curse of Strictly" themselves in 2007. Their romance came under the spotlight when Flavia began a relationship with her dance partner, actor Matt di Angelo. Do the pair believe that there really is a jinx on the show? "I’d love to say a witch cast a spell on it," said Flavia. "But it just isn’t true. People push themselves out of their comfort zones and do drastic things so that they can move on. They need something to punch them in the face and snap them out of their regular lives. If they were in a happy place, they wouldn’t let that happen." Vincent added: "I don’t believe people’s behaviour has anything to do with the show. If they want to do bad things, they will. People lose the plot because they’re unhappy. And it takes two to tango."
Vincent then went on to recall how he once received a royal request to teach this passionate dance – the tango – to Prince Charles, saying: "We had the pleasure of meeting the Duchess of Cornwall after Midnight Tango. ‘Maybe you could teach Charles,’ she said. I’d have loved to take up her offer. I can teach anything that moves!" Smiling, Flavia revealed that there’s one member of the royal family she’d love to get to grips with on the dancefloor – the Duke of Cambridge. "You have a soft spot for him," teased Vincent. "I’ve always liked him," she replied. "He comes across as a genuinely nice guy. I reckon he would be great at the tango."
For information on Snow White at the London Palladium visit snowwhitepalladium.com. Previews are from 8 December and it runs until 13 January.
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.