Chris Evans says yes to Strictly Come Dancing 2019

Radio host Chris Evans has revealed he has agreed to take part in next year’s Strictly Come Dancing – nine months before the series starts.

“I have said yes,” he told BBC One’s The One Show, although he added he hadn’t yet signed on the dotted line.

“Everyone puts it off and tries and keep it a secret. No, announce now. We’re doing it now,” he said.

The 52-year-old DJ is about to swap the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show for the rival slot on Virgin Radio.

He joked that he had agreed to Strictly “primarily because my wife would like to go every week”.

When The One Show host Alex Jones offered to go with her, Evans said: “So you and my wife will go every week. You will have a great time while I’ll be petrified backstage, with shaky legs and all that kind of stuff.”

He said he had discussed his appearance with Strictly commissioning editor Jo Wallace.

“We had a cup of tea and she said, ‘Are you up for it? This is what you need to know about it, this is the minimum, this is the maximum, it’s not as easy as maybe you imagine it is.’ But I know it isn’t.”

He also admitted rhythm was “not really” his natural forte.

He made the announcement less than a week after Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton were crowned winners of this year’s series.

Evans will present his final Radio 2 show on Christmas Eve, and will launch his new Virgin breakfast programme in January.

Sponsored content

He said the station, owned by News UK, approached him with the idea of making it the first commercial radio breakfast show to run without conventional advert breaks.

Instead, it will be sponsored by Sky, and the deal means he will promote Sky’s programmes during his slot.

“So we’ll go to Formula 1 venues with listeners. We’ll go to the set of Game of Thrones, and we’ll fill it with that kind of content,” he said.

“So many people advertise everywhere. You turn your phone on and there’s an advert.

“There are so many of them now that we sort of become anaesthetised to them, and so if you actually turn your commercial partner into a storyteller… we’re trying this thing, it’s never been done before, it’s quite groundbreaking.”

Commercial radio is usually funded by adverts, but for listeners they are often an unwelcome interruption.

Roy Martin, managing editor of RadioToday.co.uk, said: “There have been many attempts by commercial radio to ditch the adverts for sponsor credits in the past, including entire radio stations, but nothing on this scale.

‘Blow to commercial radio industry’

“It’s a gamble which will likely pay off for News UK, especially if BBC Radio 2 listeners, who aren’t used to advert breaks, follow him to Virgin.”

Capital Radio and Capital Xtra also went ad-free on Friday and Saturday nights in 2016, while Absolute Radio promises online listeners that they will hear 50% fewer adverts if they sign up for an account.

Mr Martin added: “The move is a blow to the rest of the commercial radio industry who I suspect will be looking at ways to replicate the idea where possible.”

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