Now Reading
Dr Ranj on his Strictly journey: ‘It’s given me body confidence I never had’

Dr Ranj on his Strictly journey: ‘It’s given me body confidence I never had’

Nothing’s dampening Dr Ranj Singh’s buzz right now – not even the aftermath of the Strictly Come Dancing wrap party Sunday night.

‘Last night was good fun,’ the 2018 contestant told us yesterday. ‘It was busy – there are hundreds of people who work on Strictly, so it was nice to let our hair down. There were epic moments. Lee Ryan took the mic and sang Blue songs! He can’t help himself. Stacey Dooley [this year’s winner] was singing Somebody Else’s Guy. She’s a better dancer than singer!’

The openly gay TV doctor certainly had a ball on this year’s show, despite intense media intrusion into his past (including his former marriage to a woman) after bowing out halfway through back in November.

‘I had no secrets’

‘I knew going into Strictly, you do open yourself up to the press, the public, and online,’ he says of the scrutiny now. ‘Some people look and hunt for stories. No stone will be left unturned. And I had no secrets. I’d been very vocal about my background, my sexuality. I’d already been very open and honest.’

Next, Dr Ranj will join the likes of Steps’ Faye Tozer and Pussycat Dolls’ Ashley Roberts for next year’s Strictly Come Dancing Live UK tour, kicking off on 18 January in Birmingham.

Here, the star – who also serves at This Morning’s resident doctor, and presented CBeebies’ BAFTA-award winning Get Well Soon – talks nights out at London’s gay bar the Two Brewers and dance offs with former Strictly star/rugby icon Thom Evans…

Will you be learning new dances for the tour?

As far as I know we’ll be learning some new group dancing. Then each couple does two dances they’ve done on the show already. I think mine will be Latin ones.

Have you been to any gay clubs since the show? Has anybody asked you to dance?

Oh my god, yeah. I’ve been to Two Brewers in Clapham a few times. But I did not do any of my Strictly dances… Funnily enough, there’s a pub close to me that’s popular with rugby players. I bumped into Thom Evans. Obviously he was a contestant before. We had a mini dance off! I was like ‘This is really weird.’ We looked really odd. We were trying to out cha cha each other… But he was loving it.

Did you get to keep any of your Strictly outfits?

I may have some mementos… I kept my dancing shoes. The only thing I’ve borrowed on long term loan was my George Michael Freedom ’90 outfit [see above video]. I really, really loved it.

Did your body change much over the course of the show?

It really did. It’s so physical, you do get fitter. Some people lose weight. I gained it, which was odd. I’d lost a bit just before going on, as I’m not the most body confident person and I knew there would be a lot of tight-fitting outfits. You do put on muscle because you’re working out so much. But because you’re working out so much, you’re constantly eating! But it definitely gave me body confidence I never had. It made me feel a lot sexier.

You were part of the Loose Women Body Confidence campaign last year. How is your relationship with your body now?

I’m more comfortable. I wasn’t especially overweight, but because I’m not particularly tall, my BMI very easily falls into the overweight category, if I’m not careful. And I love food. So I’m always going to be on the stumpier side. I just wanted to tone up a bit. Possibly even get to the stage where I’d take my top off at the beach. I got a bit closer to that, actually, and I thought, ‘this feels nice’.

Did a lot of gay and LGBTI men reach out to you?

They really did. As you and I both know, the LGBT+ community is a sometimes a very visually-focused community. How you look gets a lot of undue attention, [resulting] in what I call ‘unrealistic bodies’. Because they’re not realistic. They’re great if you can work out for three hours a day and don’t eat carbs. I’m all about promoting varieties of what normal is, and giving people a realistic image. Six packs, pecs, huge calves are not realistic for the vast majority of us. I think it’s sad that’s all we see on magazine covers, in magazines and on social media. People are obsessed with it. People need to realize that’s just an ideal. That’s not reality or normality.

How do you feel with hindsight looking back at some Strictly media coverage about you? Were you prepared? 

What I didn’t expect was there were people who’d misinterpret things I’d said and put a negative or controversial spin on then. I thought that was unfair. But I’m by no means the only person that happened to. I wasn’t prepared for that necessarily, but everything else, I went into it and thought ‘I’ve nothing to hide. Bring it on.’ I’ve got the life experience to know how to deal with it and take it in my stride.

If you had to pick one male professional Strictly dancer to dance with on the tour, who would it be and why?

It’s got to be Aljaz [Skorjanec]. He’s such a bundle of energy and ball of fun. He’s so lovely – one of the most welcoming people, and such a good laugh.

Where do you keep your BAFTA?

I’ve got two, but the second one they didn’t give me a trophy! The one, literally, when you walk into my flat it’s on the side table. It’s the first thing you see! I want to show it off! I was going to put it on the toilet, but I thought, that’s weird.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

To dance more! And one of my big hopes is to do panto! I’ve got a love of performing now. I fancy doing it!

For more info about Strictly Come Dancing Liv including venues and tickets, visit strictlycomedancinglive.com.

More from Gay Star News

David Walliams says he wants to be in a same-sex dance pairing on Strictly

Strictly mocked for routine in which 2 dancers almost kiss and we’re cringing

Dr Ranj Singh voted off Strictly Come