Actor Greg Wise has said he put off the first holiday with his wife Dame Emma Thompson in seven years so he could join the celebrity line-up on Strictly Come Dancing.

Wise said his wife encouraged him to agree to the dancing competition and that she was “thrilled” at the prospect of supporting her husband during the show.

The 55-year-old is best known for roles in Sense And Sensibility, in which he starred opposite his wife, Johnny English, Cranford and The Crown.

Wise said: “I told my dear lady wife when they’d asked me and I’d said no, and she said ‘You’re mad, you’ve got to do it’.

“She’s been filming solidly since January, she’s made three films back to back.

“We’d planned a really nice autumn, we were actually going to have our first holiday in seven years together.

“Over the space of a five-minute conversation the two of us had, the entire autumn was kicked into the long grass and here I am, and she’s thrilled because she’ll be able to relax and support me and watch every Saturday night, or as many Saturday nights as I survive.”

This is the full list of Strictly Come Dancing contestants this year:

When asked about his motivation for signing up to the show, he added: “I was asked and I thought, ‘No, absolutely, I can’t do it’.

“Then I thought about it and almost exactly five years to the day that my sister died will be the first day that we do our routines on this, and my sister was a real disco diva, she was the dancer in the family, and she left this world in a glitter ball coffin.

“As this show is all glittery and ‘fever-y’ and ‘disco-y’, I thought, ‘I have to do it for her’.

“Also, I’m 30 years in as a professional now, I’ve kind of been around the block a few times and have never even dreamt of trying to do something like this.

“So, it’s all about challenge, it’s always all about living slightly out of your comfort zone.

“Here I am, I’m the oldest one here, I’m the grandad, so I’ve got to try and slightly emulate Mr [Bill] Bailey from last year, because I think we’re the same age.”


Wise added that his sister loved the song Dancing Queen by Abba and that it “would be fun” for him and his partner to potentially waltz to the disco tune.

When asked if he thought his acting skills would help him in the dances, he said: “I think it’s good to try and tell a story within the routines.

“And to have an intent and to have a start, middle and end to it, rather than just being a straightforward dance.

“But that’s up to the professional, who will cast her eye over me and see what I can do and how far we can do it.

“But I think, possibly, a little bit of the saving grace with that is that I could probably be slightly more dramatic if I can’t do the dance.”

Strictly Come Dancing starts on BBC One on Saturday September 18 at 7.45pm.