Natalie Gumede can waltz her way to Strictly success

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She become known for playing hard-hitting Kirstie Soames in Coronation Street, but Natalie Gumede will need plenty of flair and grace this winter.

With the opening performances just around the corner, Gumede has become a strong favourite for Strictly Come Dancing success this year.

The Corrie star is 9/4 to win Series 11, having previously been as long as 14/1.

Actresses have good pedigree in this competition; fellow Corrie star Jill Halfpenny was the victor in Series two, while Eastenders’ Kara Tointon lifted the Glitterball Trophy in Series eight.

Gumede has found favour with the British public for her performances as Kirstie in the Manchester-based soap, and has bagged three British Soap Awards for her committed portrayal of the character.

The 29-year-old suffered a back injury when she was 19, and despite not dancing for 10 years, does boast stage school experience and will have little trouble winning over the Strictly fans with her affable demeanour.

Fellow soap star Ashley Taylor Dawson is second favourite at 10/3, and his experience in boy band allSTARS* could see him dance his way long into the competition.

The Hollyoaks actor is a familiar face to many and has won a host of awards voted for by the public for his role as Darren Osborne in the Cheshire show.

Having previous dance experience isn’t a guarantee of success however, as seen last year when Denise Van Outen was ousted into third place by Kimberley Walsh and eventual winner Louis Smith.

Morning news anchor Susanna Reid is 7/1 and though she may be third-favourite in the betting, the Croydon-born presenter beat a handful of her colleagues in a special Children In Need edition of Strictly in 2011.

Reid will be looking to emulate Natasha Kaplinksy, who won the inaugural series in 2004.

Model Abbey Clancy is 9/1, but no catwalk star has won this competition before and many will be hoping she can dance better than her husband Peter (The Robot) Crouch.

 

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.