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Greg Wise wants to end the stigma of talking about death as he joins Strictly for his late sister


Greg Wise has joined the Strictly line-up in memory of his late sister, Clare, who died in 2016, in a bid to end the stigma surrounding talking about death. 

The Sense and Sensibility star, 55, has spoken out about how there is scarce material out there to help others going through the same heartbreak as their family did. 

Greg, who is the husband of Dame Emma Thompson, has said: ‘It’s essential. It’s important. I’m trying to get people to talk about death as much as they talk about the run up to birth’

His mission: Greg Wise, 55,  joined the Strictly line-up in memory of his late sister, Clare, who died in 2016, in a bid to end the stigma surrounding talking about death

Clare died aged 51 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, when she started a blog documenting her journey. She was then told that the disease was incurable after it spread into her bones.

Greg also wrote about his own experience with his wife’s battle in a series of journals, which were later published as a book.

In the journals he spoke about how Clare was unique and the family thought it was fitting for her to have a glittery coffin.

In a statement on appearing on this year’s show he said: ‘My beautiful sister was a huge disco queen. She left our world almost exactly five years ago in a glitter ball coffin. This is for her.’ 

End the stigma: The actor has spoken out about how little material is out there to help others: 'I'm trying to get people to talk about death as much as they talk about the run up to birth'

End the stigma: The actor has spoken out about how little material is out there to help others: ‘I’m trying to get people to talk about death as much as they talk about the run up to birth’

Being a Strictly fan, Greg said that his elder sister would have been ecstatic about the news of him going on Strictly, even though he claims he cannot dance. 

Greg said: ‘My gorgeous diva sis would have been insane with excitement that her little bro was doing this. I will channel her, as her bro can’t dance – but I’m thrilled to be dipping my toes, knees, hips and arms into this wonderful world’ 

Back in 2016, Greg cancelled a family holiday in Greece and moved into his sister’s London flat in the final three months of her life, in order to be her full-time carer. 

On the night she died Greg wiped her face, told her he loved her and gave her permission to go when she wanted. She died one minute later, holding his hand.  

Greg is an actor known for his various film, television and theatre roles, including The Crown, Cranford, Walking on Sunshine and his breakout role in Sense and Sensibility. 

Big fan: Being a Strictly fanatic, Greg said that his elder sister would have been ecstatic about the news of him going on the show; Clare and Greg pictured in 2014

Big fan: Being a Strictly fanatic, Greg said that his elder sister would have been ecstatic about the news of him going on the show; Clare and Greg pictured in 2014

Greg also wrote box-office hit film Last Christmas with his wife, Emma, and the book Not That Kind of Love with his late sister Clare. 

Emma and Greg share two children together, 33-year-old Tindy and Gaia, who is 21 years old.  

He revealed that wife Emma was ‘stupidly excited’ he would be appearing on the show.  

Speaking on This Morning, he said: ‘It’s going to be so important having her there. She’s done three films back-to-back this year, so she’s exhausted now anyway.’ 

He also admitted he is ‘more nervous’ about having the spotlight on him – due to him being a part of the dance show – than he is about taking to the dance floor and strutting his stuff.

Sweet: He revealed that wife Emma was also 'stupidly excited' he would be appearing on the show. 'It's going to be so important having her there'

Sweet: He revealed that wife Emma was also ‘stupidly excited’ he would be appearing on the show. ‘It’s going to be so important having her there’ 

When it was suggested there would be a lot of attention on him during his Strictly stint, he said: ‘Yeah, which is one of the things I’m slightly more nervous about than the actual dance steps.

‘But it’s about being out there and exposing yourself as someone who can’t dance, and learning.’

Moments earlier on the show, Matilda ‘Tilly’ Ramsay was revealed as the ninth contestant. 

The CBBC presenter – who is the daughter of chef Gordon Ramsay – was unveiled during Wednesday’s episode of This Morning and her famous father also made a cameo as he recorded a clip to show to her.

In the video, Gordon, 54, cheekily warned Tilly, 19, not to date any of the dancers, while Tilly admitted she was ‘terrified’ of the challenge that lies ahead. 

Also joining the star-studded line up is presenter AJ Odudu, along will comedian Robert Webb, Olympian Adam Peaty, Dragon’s Den star Sara Davies, and actress Nina Wadia. 

Eastenders’ Rose Ayling Ellis will be taking to the dancefloor with Corrie’s Katie McGlynn, BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker, England rugby union star Ugo Monye, and TV presenter Rhys Stephenson. 

Other famous faces include Loose Women panellist Judi Love, and McFly’s Tom Fletcher. 

Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Gordon Ramsay's daughter Tilly, 19, was the NINTH contestant announced - as her dad warned her not to date any of the dancers!

Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Gordon Ramsay’s daughter Tilly, 19, was the NINTH contestant announced – as her dad warned her not to date any of the dancers!

Who will take home the glitterball? The full stars-studded line up has now been revealed for this year's show

Who will take home the glitterball? The full stars-studded line up has now been revealed for this year’s show 

STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021: WHO ARE THE CONTESTANTS?

TOM FLETCHER

Age: 36

Profession: McFly musician

Tom says: ‘I’m so pleased the news is out it’s been so hard keeping it secret. Equal parts excited and terrified.’

Fun fact: Tom’s McFly bandmate Harry Judd won Strictly Come Dancing in 2011. Tom’s wife Giovanna Fletcher is the reigning champion of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

ROBERT WEBB

 Age: 48

Profession: Actor and comedian

Robert says: ‘It’s very exciting but with a slight undertone of quivering terror.’

Fun Fact: Robert squeezed into a shiny leotard to take the title of Let’s Dance For Comic Relief in 2009, performing What A Feeling from ’80s film Flashdance, beating the likes of Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness to the title. 

RHYS STEPHENSON  

Age: 27

Profession: CBBC presenter  

Rhys says: ‘I have dreamt about being on this show, and I know for a fact that it is going to exceed every expectation’

Fun fact: Rhys has been an actor since the age of ten, performing alongside Matt Smith and Hugh Bonneville. 

KATIE MCGLYNN

 Age: 28

Profession: Actress

Katie says: ‘I’m really not a dancer, but I’m so excited to learn a new skill on this crazy journey and cannot wait to slip into some sequins along the way.’

Fun fact: Katie, who played Sinead Tinker in Corrie, won a NTA for Best Serial Drama Performance in 2020. 

TILLY RAMSAY

Age: 19

Profession: CBBC presenter

Tilly says: ’I’m going to put my heart and soul into this and can’t wait to get my dancing shoes on!’

Fun fact: Tilly’s father is celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and the pair often star in dancing TikTok videos.

NINA WADIA  

Age: 52

Profession: Actress

Nina says: ‘I think I should do this before I’m too old and can’t walk anymore. I just want to grab life by the horns and just enjoy it.’

Fun fact: Nina is a JDRF Ambassador and was awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List. 

ADAM PEATY

Age: 26

Profession: Athlete 

Adam says: ‘I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool.’

Fun fact: Adam becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.

UGO MONYE

 

Age: 38

Profession: Rugby player and sports pundit

Ugo says: ‘What a dream come true! Strictly is the biggest entertainment show on TV and I can’t wait to show everyone I’ve got more than just dad dancing moves.

Fun fact: Beginning his rugby career at Harlequins in 2002, Ugo went on to make 241 appearances for the club where he scored 89 tries, won a Premiership and made his England debut in 2008.

 

AJ ODUDU

Age: 33

Profession: TV presenter

 AJ says: ‘I think it’s going to be really challenging. I can’t wait for the sequins, the wigs, the glitz and the glamour.’

Fun Fact: Apocalypse Wow hosts AJ has featured on a whopping 14 TV shows this year, competing in the likes oF Cooking With The Stars and Celebrity Karaoke Club. She has appeared as a panelist on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two in the past, too.

JOHN WHAITE

Age: 33

Profession: Great British Bake Off Winner and TV chef

 John says: ‘I’m so grateful, excited, and nervous to be joining the Strictly 2021 family… I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth’

Fun Fact: John is set tp be part of the first ever all-male partnering – the first in 17 years of the show.

SARA DAVIES 

Age: 37  

Profession:  Businesswoman

Sara says: ‘I’m really nervous because so far the producers keep asking me if I can dance… Truth be told – I haven’t got a clue! I’ve not danced since I did ballet lessons when I was little.’

Fun fact: Sara was the youngest ever dragon on BBC show Dragons’ Den.

DAN WALKER

Age: 44 

Profession: Journalist

Dan says: ‘I’m enjoying the experience when it starts of learning to dance. I’ll be honest I’m not making room on any shelves in my house for the glitterball.’

Fun fact: Dan recently quit Football Focus after 12 years at the helm and has been covering Tokyo Olympics.

 GREG WISE

Age: 55

Profession: Actor

Greg says: ‘It’s about being out there and exposing yourself as someone who can’t dance, and learning.’

Fun fact: Greg is married to the actress Emma Thompson who he met while filming Sense and Sensibility.  

ROSE AYLING-ELLIS

Age: 30

Profession: Actress

Rose says: ‘I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers. I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill.’

 Fun fact: Rose will make history as Strictly’s first deaf contestant. 

 JUDI LOVE

Age: 41

Profession: Comedienne 

Judi says: ‘I’m truly looking forward to pushing myself in something that I could have only dreamed of doing and now it’s actually coming true!’

Fun fact: Judi began comedy when she performed a set in front of her class for a degree module.

 

 

 



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