'Irish dancing will help make me the reel deal on Strictly' - Laura
Laura Whitmore is hoping her Irish dancing will stand her in good stead for her turn in this year's Strictly Come Dancing.
Bray native Laura (31) is the latest celebrity name confirmed to appear on the hit BBC series.
The former MTV News presenter will be joined by singer Will Young and British politician Ed Balls on the show.
Laura, who was linked to the upcoming series for some time, spoke after the BBC confirmed her appearance.
"I have watched Strictly and been obsessed with the show since series one," she said.
"It's an incredible show and I feel so honoured to be asked to be a part of it. I'm not going to lie, I'm slightly petrified too."
The presenter said she had known for quite some time she would be joining the series but had to keep the information top secret.
"I've known for a while but it's so secretive - you've got fake names and stuff," she said. This year the show has used Shakespearean code names with Whitmore choosing "Lady Macbeth".
The presenter said that BBC bosses have wanted her for the show for some time.
"I was afraid they might not ask me again," she said.
Whitmore did Irish dancing as a child but joked that: "It was just the legs that moved. Apparently now I have to use my hands as well."
The ITV presenter is good friends with previous Strictly Come Dancing winner Caroline Flack.
Flack's career was given a major boost thanks to her stint on the show. Following her victory, she returned as host to last year's series of the X Factor and recently presented Love Island.
Whitmore's partner has yet to be revealed but speaking to BBC Radio One's Nick Grimshaw, she said: "I just want someone who can lift me."
Anticipating the levels of fitness required for the series, Laura said she will be hitting the gym hard ahead of her appearance on the show.
With countless hours of rehearsals ahead of her, the show can often take a toll on contestants' bodies if they do not keep their fitness levels up to scratch.
"I'm going to come in here in December and I'll be like the Hulk," she said.
No doubt Laura has her eyes on lifting the coveted Glitterball trophy - but she will have some stiff competition.
Other stars rumoured to be joining the 2016 series of the show include model Daisy Lowe, Geordie Shore's Charlotte Crosby and TV presenter Anna Richardson.