Motsi Mabuse, Oti Mabuse & Johannes Radebe ready for new 'Strictly Come Dancing UK'
Talk about a bubbly and talkative bunch, Motsi Mabuse, Oti Mabuse and Johannes Radebe were exactly that during a recent virtual press junket.
Representing South Africa, the three continue to make us proud.
Interestingly, Motsi reprises her role on the judges’ panel along with Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas, with Bruno Tonioli joining them remotely.
And Oti, who took the title last year, returns to the dance floor. This time, she is paired with comedian and actor, Bill Bailey.
And Johannes Radebe, who returns for the second time, is joined by actress and television presenter, Caroline Quentin.
Although Motsi doesn’t get to interact much with Oti and Johannes, she was grateful to get to see family once a week.
She added: “When I say family, I include Johannes. It’s such a good feeling to know we are there together, even if we just say ‘Hi’ because I only see the dancers when they come out looking like the mirror ball.”
On returning, Radebe shared: “This show has obviously given me a bigger platform.
“I say that because, for the first time as a dancer, I’m getting paid, and I’m saving a little bit of money. So in that regard, money is okay at home, I can look after the family. It honestly is a dream come true.”
Of course, much has changed after the unceremonious arrival of Covid-19.
Oti unpacked the new way of shooting on set.
“We’ve actually shot all of our opening group numbers and to do that we’ve had to quarantine ourselves for two weeks before we went into a hotel with all the professionals and members of the production and after two weeks of getting tested twice and everybody being safe, we then all formed a bubble and we stayed in this bubble when we were recording our group numbers the whole time,” she explained.
“So we went only from studio to the rehearsal room to recording it. Everybody had to wear a mask. There was a system we had to put into place. We were constantly sanitising…”
In getting to work on a much bigger platform, Radebe offered: “I have to thank people like Kee-Leen (Irvine), Rapid Blue Production, for creating that platform.
Now that I’m here and I understand the production value of things, we did with what we had. That is the amazing thing about South Africa.
“With the little that we had, we pulled off the most.”
Having said that, he admitted the scale of the production value in the UK is mind-blowing.
On the hours they put in, Oti revealed: “It varies from celeb to celeb and pro to pro. My teaching methods are sometimes slow.
“So if I’m training with a celeb, I go from 10 in the morning to 10 in the evening. But that’s only because I’ve been blessed with celebs who have time.”
Radebe added: “We all put in the hours. You do what you have to do. If there is no sleeping, there is no sleeping.”
He was also chuffed about the same-sex teaming up of Katya Jones paired with Olympic boxer, Nicola Adams.
“I’m very very excited. Me standing here, I always say inclusivity is very important. There’s a representation for people out there.
“I think everybody is meant for ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.
“Whoever you are, wherever you come from and whatever you do. It’s gonna be amazing.
“And I’m so happy that we live in progressive times. It’s about time that something like this happened for me and my community at large,” he praised.
On Motsi having to also judge Oti, she smiled: “We’ve been sisters all our lives so we judge each other every day. Just joking.
“We are very professional. This show means a lot to both of us. I’ve been teaching Oti since she was tiny.
“I was her first dance teacher. She’s used to be critiquing her, saying, ‘Straighten your legs or do this or that’.
“At the end of the day, I’m not judging her, I’m judging the celebrity. She knows she’s a brilliant dancer. They are all brilliant, Johannes and everyone in the team.”
Oti was asked how it feels going into the show this year after taking the title in season 17.
She admitted: “I got you all so many trophies. I think ‘Strictly’ is a different game. I can’t determine who wins or not.
“The only thing I can do is my best. When you are ambitious, you are ambitious, you can’t hold it back.
“That is the one thing I got from being South African. I’m going to bring that. That’s all I have going for me.”
Season 18 of “Strictly Come Dancing” airs on BBC Brit (DStv channel 120) on Sunday at 7pm.