IT'S been a busy week so far in rehearsals for the first ever all-Irish pairing on BBC’s sequin-laden ballroom extravaganza Strictly Come Dancing.
Representing the Irish in the line-up of 15 celebrities is actress Jennifer Gibney, who stars alongside her husband Brendan O’Carroll in Mrs Brown’s Boys.
Jennifer plays Cathy on the comedy TV show which regularly attracts up to 12million viewers and spawned its own feature film Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie.
Gibney's first live performance in the Strictly ballroom is today, Friday, September 26, and she is hoping the show will be “a lot of fun”.
The launch show saw Gibney paired with the Strictly’s first Irish pro dancer, Tristan MacManus. MacManus joins Strictly’s 12th series after a three-year run on Dancing With The Stars in America, where he was partnered with Gladys Knight and Pamela Anderson.
“Things are going great with Jenny,” Tristin said. “She couldn’t work any harder than she is and I’m delighted with her progress. She is fully focused.”
MacManus started dancing in his hometown of Bray, Co. Wicklow. He competed around Europe, winning several juvenile, junior and amateur competitions before turning professional. He has also made a name for himself on the stage appearing in Dirty Dancing and Burn The Floor.
Before being matched with MacManus, Gibney said her perfect partner would be someone who “embraces fun and who understands the fact that I am a beginner”. After the launch show, which attracted 8.4million viewers, Gibney tweeted she was “so happy” about being paired with McManus.
Asked if she had a competitive streak Gibney said: “I have been known to upend the odd Trivial Pursuit board in my time, but my family would probably be the better judge about that than me.”
Bookmakers Paddy Power has Gibney at odds of 40/1 to win the glitterball.
As for Strictly’s mandatory sequins and fake tan Gibney said she was used to it: “We had it every Tuesday on Mrs Brown’s Boys, we called it tanning Tuesday… I am going to embrace it.”