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Why Rylan Clark-Neil nearly turned down Strictly Come Dancing job

Britta Zeltmann

We can't wait for Rylan Clark-Neil to two-step onto our screens as the new co-host of Strictly: It Takes Two, but as he gets ready to take on two of the programme's sister shows each week, Rylan reveals he nearly turned his new role down.

"I'm such a massive fan of Strictly, so I was overwhelmed when I got asked to be a host on It Takes Two," he said. "It came completely out of the blue! Originally I thought they were asking me to be a contestant – I thought "no, I'm not doing it. I can't go back into a competition!"

The This Morning presenter's reservation comes after he rose to fame as a contestant on The X Factor in 2012, before winning Celebrity Big Brother in 2013. But Strictly producers were quick to explain his latest role would not require Rylan to take part himself. "When they said it was presenting I had to ring Zoe to make sure I wasn't taking her job! She said "no, I'm cutting my time back a bit – I want you to do it!"

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The 30-year-old Strictly superfan will be bringing all the exclusive backstage gossip to Strictly: It Takes Two on Monday and Tuesday evenings, with former Strictly contestant and radio star Zoe Ball hosting on Wednesdays and Thursdays. "I've watched Strictly every single year," Rylan said. "I think the only year I didn't watch it was when I was on X Factor! I was a bit busy in 2012! But apart from that, I've always watched it. When my telly mum Ruth was on the show, I came down to support her."

But he doesn't have any favourite contestants yet. "I'm genuinely looking forward to watching all of them – what I love about Strictly is that you see how people start and you see how they change. People turn from absolute novice dancers into ballroom professionals. I love it."

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Strictly: It Takes Two will start on BBC One, Monday 23 September.