Hollyoaks hunk told to crank up the ‘sex factor’ as stars prepare for Strictly debut

The stars have cranked up their sex appeal, waltzed in the wards and will be aiming for a licence to thrill in their Strictly Come Dancing debut.

Strictly Come Dancing contestant Dave Myers and dance partner Karen Hauer during rehearsals

TV hunk Ashley Taylor Dawson has been getting lessons on how to be “sexy” after he failed to impress partner Ola Jordan as they practised in a rehearsal studio in the build-up to the BBC1 series beginning.

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The 15 celebrities and their professional partners will be taking a spin on the dancefloor in a bid to impress viewers and the hard-to-please judges – Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli – tonight and tomorrow.

But Hollyoaks star Dawson has been pre-occupied with an imminent new arrival in the family as he jokingly urged his girlfriend Karen McKay not to give birth ahead of his live debut. The due date for their second child was yesterday and in a message on Twitter he said: “Please don’t go into labour .... YET.”

The pair take on five other couples, including favourite Natalie Gumede and her partner Artem Chigvintsev. Others taking part include Countdown’s Rachel Riley, designer Julien Macdonald and model Abbey Clancy. Anton Du Beke went for the suave secret agent look in rehearsals as he got close to his Bond girl partner Fiona Fullerton, and Casualty star Patrick Robinson has been waltzing on the wards as he rehearsed on the hospital set.