Rev Richard Coles joins Strictly

Rev Richard Coles has signed up for Strictly
Rev Richard Coles has signed up for Strictly
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Communards star, turned vicar, the Rev Richard Coles has signed up for Strictly Come Dancing and admitted of his cha, cha, cha: "God does not always endow us with gifts equally".

The 55-year-old said he had been "waiting by the phone for 11 years" to be invited on to the BBC1 show, and that he was "totally serious" about competing.

"It was an easy decision to make," he told the Chris Evans Breakfast Show.

"It's obvious to anyone who knows me that a major dance talent was waiting to be discovered and the opportunity came along. I'm just wondering why they took so long frankly!" he joked.

"I've been waiting by the phone for 11 years. One day it rang. It was a nice lady. She said 'do you want to have a top secret meeting? Wear a disguise'.

"I cunningly disguised myself as a cardinal. We met in a bar and we had the discussion. They looked me up and down a bit and said, 'Do you fancy it?'. I said, 'Not half!'.

"I'm totally serious about it."

Rev Coles, who had a big hit with Don't Leave Me This Way in the 1980s, said: "There's more bling in my vestry than in my dressing room."

The broadcaster, who co-hosts BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live, said despite being asked to keep his signing a secret, he had undertaken an "off-the-record briefing" with former Strictly competitor Ed Balls who "gave me a very comprehensive briefing about it".

"I may have just let something slip to Judge Rinder too."

The Church of England priest said his medical for the programme "was basically a catastrophe".

"I have cut down on pork pies. My partner David had practically put a padlock on the fridge. It's salad, salad, salad. I seem to have put on some weight," he said.

He may not be able to embark on the Strictly tour, following the show, as it "does rather clash with epiphany so I have to work that out with my church".

Rev Coles described his moves on the dancefloor as "remarkable" and added: "I've got form. (Strictly judge) Bruno Tonioli choreographed me in a Communards video. There were moves.

"I'm from the David Brent school of dance. I love dancing and I love music but God does not always endow us with gifts equally, and I was near the back of the queue.

"But I'm not going to let that stop me. "

Rev Coles will be in the show when it kicks off in the autumn, alongside previously announced soap stars Gemma Atkinson and Davood Ghadami, TV host Ruth Langsford and singer Mollie King.

He recently co-hosted BBC1's The Big Painting Challenge and was an inspiration for the main character in the hit comedy Rev.

Coles is vicar of St Mary's Church in Finedon, Northamptonshire, and Chancellor of the University of Northampton.