The Stiletto Files: Which diva's demanded the biggest mirror Which 'friends' are secretly at daggers drawn – and who's ALREADY split from his girlfriend It's all Strictly confidential
00:33 GMT, 5 October 2012
07:27 GMT, 5 October 2012
And so it begins… jealousy, fake tan and sequins, not to mention wardrobe nightmares and wild excuses — and the Strictly Come Dancing stars haven't even performed their first foxtrot. Six contestants dance on BBC1 tonight, with the remaining eight dancing tomorrow. ALISON BOSHOFF quicksteps backstage to find out all the gossip
VIVA LA DIVA
There's always one. Last year, with Nancy Dell'Olio, Lulu and Jason Donovan, there were actually three, although the pouting Italian proved the sulkiest, sultriest and stroppiest of them all.
This autumn it is statuesque Jerry Hall, 6ft 3in in her stilettos, who is making an early run for the prize.
It is said Jerry, 56, has so far asked for a 360-degree mirror in her dressing room, flowers and champagne after every performance and her own team of make-up artists and hair stylists.
Jerry Hall's laid back attitude is the opposite to that of Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton (right)
The gloriously high-maintenance Texan has also asked for 'mood lighting' during her performance. Someone ought to break it to her gently that live television in high definition is never going to make you look as good as a softly-lit shoot with photographer Mario Testino.
A mole on the show says: 'She's enormous fun but, my God, she's so camp!'
Others say Jerry has declared, in apparent seriousness, that she couldn't care less whether she wins or loses, as she will get her fee whether she goes out in week two or in the finals.
Jerry said her children were surprised she signed up because they think she is 'lazy' and her idea of a gruelling training regime is apparently to spend an hour or so in the studio (interrupted by a cigarette break), then have a jolly lunch with dance partner Anton Du Beke.
Anton, who was initially furious about being partnered with another 'joke' candidate after wrestling with Nancy last year, has been entirely won over by Jerry's Texan charm.
'They are both as bonkers and grand as each other,' adds the mole. The production team have nicknamed them 'Ton and Jerry.
Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace
rehearse for their first dance together. Louis is now the favourite to win
I feel like dancing: Louis Smith has split from his other half since rehearsals began two weeks ago
The Olympic gymnast looks like he's getting into the swing of things in preparation for his first dance
Louis's gymnastic background will come in handy when he has to perform some more difficult dance moves
LITTLE MISS MUSCLES
Jerry's laid-back attitude is the polar opposite to that of Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton. After striking gold at London 2012, media darling Miss Pendleton, 31, simply can't help competing with every fibre of her body.
She has been pushing herself further than any other celebrity, training for up to 30 hours a week, even though the BBC only recommends 12 hours.
The rumour is that she plays a tape of her chosen dance music, complete with instructions from partner Brendan Cole, on a loop as she sleeps so it can penetrate her subconscious.
One source said: 'Victoria is very stressed about not performing well. She simply can't get her athletic body to do what it needs to do.'
Victoria explains: 'We have accepted that I just don't move naturally, so Brendan tells me exactly where every single part of my body needs to be.
Otherwise I can guarantee that I'd do it wrong.' Brendan, the abrasive New Zealand ballroom dancer who was miserably paired with Lulu last year, is happy with Pendleton for now.
'The one thing Brendan cannot stand is someone who isn't trying,' says a BBC source. 'That's not something you can accuse Victoria of.'
Frenemies: There is no love lost between Denise Van Outen (pictured left with dance partner James Jordan) and presenter Tess Daley (pictured right with Bruce Forsyth)
BEST OF ENEMIES
Watch out for barbed compliments exchanged between high-wattage blondes Denise Van Outen and Strictly presenter Tess Daly.
There is no love lost between them – even if all seems polite enough on the surface. Apparently Denise, 38, who was a successful TV presenter before Tess ever hit the big time, feels that her slightly older rival (Tess is 43) has secured lucrative contracts for presenting jobs which she believes she could do just as well.
'It's a “frenemy” situation,' says a source, referring to the familiar idea that you should keep your friends close – and your enemies even closer.
Gym hero: Olympic gymnast Louis Smith with dance partner Flavia
Both Olympic gymnast Louis Smith and Tracy Beaker TV star Dani Harmer have split from their other halves since rehearsals started a fortnight ago. Smith, a handsome charmer who lives with his mum, has parted ways with his girlfriend Chantelle Hole, whom he met while on holiday in Marbella this summer.
He said: 'Chantelle and I are friends now. And I am single and free to talk to, text and meet other women – like Kimberley Walsh, who is beautiful.'
Fellow contestant Walsh, a member of pop group Girls Aloud, has been turning heads all round with her microscopic outfits and impossibly toned figure. Harmer, on the other hand, is said to be heartbroken over the end of her long relationship with boyfriend Graeme Livingstone, an assistant TV director.
Sources also say she is struggling with 'serious nerves' over her performance.
LIFT ME UP
Contestant Lisa Riley will tonight make Strictly history – by being the first ever female dancer to lift her male partner.
Riley, best known for playing Mandy Dingle on Emmerdale, had said at the press launch that she feared her partner Robin Windsor would not be able to lift her.
'I am so worried that he won't be able to get me off the floor,' she said. Describing herself as 'fat and funky' she added that she was worried Windsor might struggle because she is somewhat larger than the average ballroom dancer.
And although Windsor assured her he could 'lift anybody' it seems the couple have decided to make light of the situation by reversing the traditional roles during thei r cha-cha-cha.
A BBC source warns against writing Riley off as a joke candidate, saying: 'Lisa Riley is not just a good dancer for a woman of her size, she is a good dancer period. She is already almost as good as Robin. I think that people will be very surprised.'
THE BRUCIE QUESTION
How much longer can Sir Bruce Forsyth, 84, carry on presenting He says it takes him a full day in bed on Sunday to get over the strain of presenting the live Saturday night shows – and some wickedly refer to Tess Daly as his 'nurse.'
But Brucie himself insists that he's not ready to quit yet.
'I will know when it's time to retire,' he says. 'My loved ones, my darling wife, my agent, my manager, they will tell me.
'I've always told them, if I look as though I'm over the hill, you know, just tell me – but I think I'll know myself.'
Bruce Forsyth (left) has said he needs a full day's rest after presenting the live show on Saturday with Tess Daly (right) who some refer to as his 'nurse'
When – if – the entertainer ever does retire, Anton du Beke has made no secret of wanting to step into Brucie's shoes.
TWO LEFT FEET
Johnny Ball, the fondly remembered former children's television presenter, accidentally broke the ankle of his dancer partner Aliona Vilani during training this week.
Slinky Lithuanian dancer Iveta Lukosiute – a world champion in ten different styles of ballroom – will replace her for the next two to four weeks while Aliona recovers.
But rather than apologising for putting Vilani out of the competition for the time being, Ball, 74, has taken the chance to blow his own trumpet.
'I don't see myself as the novelty older person or clown figure,' said Ball, 74.
Johnny Ball (pictured right) accidentally broke the ankle of his dance partner. Here he is pictured with her replacement, dancer Iveta Lukosiute
'I really think I can compete in terms of dancing.' A source on the show claims he's more than just a lovable clown in the John Sergeant mould.
'He's actually very competitive and quite spiky sometimes.'
ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY
There are serious strains among the professional dancers – an ambitious crew who spend much of their off-air time trying to build personal fortunes via books, DVDs, tours and even clothing lines.
Relations are frosty between many of them, in particular Brendan Cole and Anton Du Beke, and Kristina Rihanoff and Aliona Vilani.
A source says: 'Nobody was on speaking terms with Aliona after she won last year with Harry Judd. There was a lot of amusement when she was paired with Johnny Ball this year.'
And there's more. New girl Karen Hauer, a very glamorous Venezuelan professional dancer, has been given the plum task of partnering Westlife's handsome Nicky Byrne.
Her jealous rivals are calling her 'the lap dancer' behind her back – a reference to her scanty manner of dress.
BOTTOM OF THE CLASS
Early intelligence suggests that former England captain Michael Vaughan is not going to repeat the twinkle-toed feats of fellow cricketers Darren Gough, who won the contest in 2005, and Mark Ramprakash, who was the champion the following year.
Denise Van Outen and her dance partner James Jordan fool around before getting up close and personal
The former Big Breakfast presenter was at first the favourite to win but is now in second place with odds of 3-to-1
After joking around, the pair prove that they are serious contenders for the Strictly trophy
'He's very stiff and lacks confidence,' says an insider.
Vaughan, 37, says he decided to give Strictly a try after seeing how much fun footballer Robbie Savage had last year, but added that none of his family would be voting for him anyway.
'My daughter will be voting for Kimberley because she's a Girls Aloud fan and my son wants Louis to win.'
Sid Owen, eternally famous as Ricky 'Rickaaay' Butcher in EastEnders, is also not much of a mover, although he is said to be loving the glamour and the girls.
Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood has built a media career on the back of his reputation as the show's Mr Nasty.
However, he has apparently been told that he must on no account make any remarks about Lisa Riley's weight.
An insider says: 'Craig is usually given free rein, but on this occasion producers wanted to nip it in the bud before Craig had the chance to mock her.
'Strictly prides itself on being a family show, without the nastiness and rudeness of The X Factor.'
The professional dancers each get 30,500 for 12 weeks' work – about 2,500 a week.
The judges: Craig Revel Horwood (left) has built a media career on the back of his reputation on the show while ballerina Darcey Bussell takes over former judge Alesha Dixon's role
The judges get around 110,000 each and the celebrities get between 35,000 and 55,000 for appearing.
Bruce Forsyth is on a deal worth in the region of 500,000 a year, while his co-presenter Tess Daly is paid 250,000.
A PAIR OF PEACOCKS
Louis Smith is taking a strong interest in the cut, colour and design of his outfits, and has been fussing over which colours work best on him, and whether his trousers are too tight.
Fern Britton, who owes her newly svelte figure to the fitting of a gastric band, is also taking a great deal of joy from the sequins, fake tan and high hemlines.
She has promised to start demurely, but 'might go a bit shorter later!'
She is certainly not lacking in selfbelief, but partner Artem Chigvintsev was heard muttering that he had been 'stitched up'. How unchivalrous.
Former prima ballerina Darcey Bussell has replaced pop star Alesha Dixon on the judging panel, and says she is 'nervous' about the live shows.
The first hurdle was dancing an American Smooth at the launch show with professional partner Ian Waite.
Viewers were impressed and all three fellow judges rose to give her a standing ovation, but this being the notoriously catty world of ballroom dancing, there were, inevitably, critics.
Some of Strictly's professional dancers could be heard sniggering at her shiny peach knickers, which were highly visible throughout the routine.
Louis Smith is the 9-to-4 favourite to win, according to bookmakers William Hill.
Denise Van Outen, at first the favourite, is now in second place with odds of 3-to-1, closely followed by Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh at 4-1.
Olympian Victoria Pendleton and Westlife's Nicky Byrne are both at 7-1.
The long shots are Jerry Hall and TV presenter Richard Arnold, both at 50-1.
But Johnny Ball, at 66-1, hasn't got a chance.