Fred Sirieix, 51, spoke about his “scary” but ultimately rewarding experience on Strictly Come Dancing in a wider conversation about the launch of LU Le Petit Ganache in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk.
The First Dates star recalled how he was once so scared about taking part in the Christmas edition of the popular BBC show, he “threw up” after his rehearsal with dance partner Dianne Buswell, 34.
While the pair got on like a house on fire, that didn’t stop the French maître d’hôtel from feeling nervous ahead of his big performance.
He recalled: “I didn’t think of doing Strictly before they called me up and said, ‘Do you want to do it?’
“And as soon as they called me I was so scared. The first sensation, the feeling I had was, ‘My god I’m scared’.
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“And then I was excited in equal measure,” Fred added. “But, because I was so scared, I had to do it.
He explained: “I couldn’t say ‘no’, because if I were to say ‘no’ it would have been because of the fear.
“And it was the fear of the spotlight, being able to do it, being able to perform and not making a fool of myself…
“I genuinely was scared,” he confessed, before revealing just how nerve-wracking his first Strictly dance rehearsal had been.
He said: “Three weeks later, I was on top form. I performed and I loved it, but it was hard work.
“It was really hard work because I’m not a natural dancer and it really took me three weeks to master the routine.
“The penny finally dropped for me two days before we were due to film and compete with the other dancers. Two days before!
“And it was Dianne who said, ‘Okay, let’s have one more practice.’ On the Sunday, after making different mistakes every time we rehearsed, I did five routines in a row and they were perfect.”
While the pair – who performed a quickstep to Merry Christmas Everyone – lost out to singer Anne-Marie and partner Graziano Di Prima, Fred confirmed he had a fantastic time filming the show.
Elsewhere in the interview, the Million Pound Menu star spoke about his close connection to the LU brand as they launch their new biscuit Le Petit Ganache, and how small gestures can often make a loved one’s day.
“My relationship with LU started as a little boy because my mum used to buy their biscuits from when I was three or four years old,” he remembered fondly.
“I always remember the biscuits in the house in the cupboard under the stairs,” he added. “And now whenever I go back with the kids or whatever, those same delicious biscuits are still there.”
He added: “To celebrate the launch of LU Le Petit Ganache, with its surprise silky chocolatey centre, I’ve teamed up with LU to look at the pleasure a simple surprise gives people.
“The simple act of surprising a loved one shouldn’t be underestimated– as a third (31%) of UK residents reveal the best memories come from small, surprising moments rather than big elaborate ones.”
To find out more, visit LU website here: https://www.lubakery.co.uk