Austin Healey back for TV Christmas Strictly Come Dancing special
Leicester Tigers rugby hero Austin Healey is slipping back into lycra and sequins for the Christmas special of Strictly Come Dancing.
The former Leicester Tigers player has spent weeks brushing up his paso doble so he can return to the floor with professional dancer Erin Boag.
The pair are competing in the Strictly Christmas Special, a highlight of the BBC's Christmas Day viewing.
After a week of rehearsals in Leicester, filming for the special begins today.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Austin, who won 51 caps for England and toured with the British and Irish Lions in 1997 and 2001, has high hopes of success on Christmas Day.
He said: "It should be a really good show.
"I like all the dances, but I am really looking forward to the paso doble again.
"Erin and I will be dancing to the best song of all time – but I can't say what it is, people will just have to watch the show."
Austin and Erin recorded a score of 38, one of the highest-ever, including three 10s from the judges when they performed the paso doble in last year's Strictly Come Dancing.
Judge Len Goodman had high praise for the sportsman on his first performance, saying: "That was the best dance for a man I have ever seen."
But Austin and Erin – professional partner of dancer Anton Du Beke – ended the show in fourth place.
Austin will be joining Gethin Jones and Rachel Stevens, along with three of the contestants from this year's series, for the Christmas special.
Versatile Austin, who played scrum-half, fly-half, full back and on the wing for Leicester and England, said: "During the show, it's easy to say you are just enjoying taking part, but I am also in it to win it.
"I've sort of kept up the dancing. When you hear the music, you start to remember the steps."
Some cheeky commentators have remarked on his love of fake tan, but as he takes to the floor he told the Mercury his tan is the real thing.
Austin, who lives in Gaddesby, near Melton, with his wife Louise and their four daughters, said: "The tan is all real this time.
"We have had some really good holidays this year, going to weddings in France and Italy."
After the Christmas show, Austin will be keep his dancing shoes polished as he joins the Strictly Live tour in January, appearing at the Birmingham NEC from January 21 to 24. Also appearing will be this year's contestants Ali Bastian, Natalie Cassidy, Zoe Lucker, Ricky Groves and eventually winner Chris Hollins. Kelly Brook and Mark Ramprakash will also be on stage along with the original line-up of judges, including Arlene Phillips.
During the tour, Austin will be partnered by Lilia Kopylova.