Amanda Abbington is a ‘dark horse’ and could win Strictly, says rival star

The celebs meet their Pros in this Strictly preview

As this year’s Strictly Come Dancing contestants prepare to make their debut this weekend, award-winning actress Amanda Abbington has been tipped to win the whole thing by Coronation Street’s Ellie Leach.

The Faye Windass actress, 22, named the Sherlock star as her biggest competition when probed on who she will have to beat when the BBC dance show kicks off.

The Bury-born star proclaimed: “Amanda is a dark horse. I know it for a fact.

“I was watching, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, you’re so good’.”

Amanda, 51, has had a career on stage and screen spanning more than 30 years and is best known for playing Josie Mardle in Mr Selfridge and Mary Morstan, the wife of John Watson, in Sherlock.

READ MORE: Amanda Abbington on reason she and Martin Freeman kept kids out of public eye

Despite her glittering career as a performer, dancing is not something the mum-of-two adds to her repertoire.

She said in a new interview: “I danced a bit from the age of about five to 17, I did ballet at my local town hall.

“I went to Laine Theatre Arts for a year from the age of 16 to 17, but then I got an injury, so I stopped dancing. I dance at weddings and parties and in the kitchen!”

In spite of Ellie naming her as one to beat this year, Amanda thinks it will be a tough competition as her rival celebrities are “really strong”.

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The star continued: “There’s loads of really good dancers in there. I think both Angela’s (Rippon and Scanlon) are really strong!

“And everybody’s got like a lovely kind of, special thing, a little spark. But I think Layton (Williams) is the one to watch… he is amazing.”

As for how she is preparing for the ballroom, Amanda says her daredevil fiancé, Britain’s Got Talent’s Jonathan Goodwin, has been putting her “through her paces”.

She revealed: “I’ve set up an ice bath outside, I did it once the other day and hated it and won’t ever go in it again!

“Jonathan, my partner, is super fit and he used to be a stunt performer, so he’s putting me through my paces and just getting my strength up because I’m lazy.

“I haven’t been to the gym for ages, so I’m trying to get my fitness levels back up, but I’m not doing any dance training.

“I’m going into it completely fresh. I just want to learn it all from scratch from the professionals, I think that’s the best way to do it really.”

Strictly Come Dancing begins Saturday at 6.35pm on BBC One.

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