Strictly The Full Monty bares all for cancer

Monday:Strictly The Full Monty; (ITV, 9pm)

By Claire Cartmill
Sunday, 12th December 2021, 5:00 pm
Colin Jackson, Christine McGuiness, Demi Jones, Martin Roberts, Colleen Nolan, Ashley Banjo,  Duncan James, Teddy Soares, Orla Jordan James Jordan and Brenda Edwards on stage at the Blackpool Winter Gardens Empress Ballroom
Colin Jackson, Christine McGuiness, Demi Jones, Martin Roberts, Colleen Nolan, Ashley Banjo, Duncan James, Teddy Soares, Orla Jordan James Jordan and Brenda Edwards on stage at the Blackpool Winter Gardens Empress Ballroom

We’ve only just enjoyed the charity fundraising hijinks of Channel 4’s Stand Up to Cancer and the juggernaut that is the BBC’s Children in Need, and now another similar – but shorter – production is heading our way.

Back in 2017, Ashley Banjo became involved in The Real Full Monty, a show in which a bunch of brave famous blokes agreed to bare all in a bid to raise awareness of men’s cancers.

Alexander Armstrong led the unlikely stripping troupe, which also included Wayne Sleep, Mark Foster, Matthew Wolfenden, Danny John-Jules, Harry Judd, Dom Littlewood and Elliot Wright.

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Banjo was originally on board simply to coach the boys and choreograph their routine, but Armstrong eventually persuaded him to take part in the show itself – and he’s been a mainstay ever since. Viewers got to follow the original group’s progress in an often moving 90-minute documentary ahead of the event, which was held at the London Palladium.

The strip for charity has taken place every year since then, with female celebrities also getting in on the act. And now it’s returning to our screens for what’s promised to be the most spectacular show yet.

“I’m so excited to be working with a new brilliant, bold and brave line-up of celebrities for Strictly The Real Full Monty,” says Banjo. “It’s going to be our biggest musical dance extravaganza yet and we are determined to get the message out there that early cancer checks in intimate areas save lives. So don’t forget to check your bits and baubles this Christmas!”

The show aims to bring some old school glitz and glamour to the proceedings, and its organisers are convinced they have the line-up to enable them to do that – what’s more, they’ll be performing in front of a live audience in Blackpool.

Laila Morse is best known for playing Big Mo Harris in EastEnders, but she’s no stranger to reality TV, having appeared in Dancing on Ice, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and Celebrity MasterChef. She’s joined by singer and actor Duncan James; they should be able to share some of their experiences – he too has taken to the ice and tried to prove his worth in the kitchen.

Christine McGuinness has hit the headlines recently due to her work to raise awareness of autism, but is now fully focused on this new challenge, while retired athlete Colin Jackson and singer and actor Brenda Edwards are also taking part.

Property expert Martin Roberts and Love Island stars Teddy Soares and Demi Jones will be appearing too, as will married duo Ola and James Jordan, who are no strangers to Blackpool, having competed there many times, both during their stints on Strictly Come Dancing and as pro dancers.

The Jordans may be able to lend Banjo a hand with the choreography, although the emphasis is on them raising awareness and money while ensuring those watching are fully entertained.

“This year we’re bringing our message with a bang by adding a huge dose of sequins, sparkles, sambas and salsas to the strip,” claims ITV’s Kate Teckman. “There’ll also be star guest performances and stunning solos, so hold onto your mirror balls – this is strictly the most ambitious Full Monty yet!”

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