Strictly’s Janette Manrara shares the gift Zoe Ball bought her for It Takes Two gig

Janette Manrara has been a staunch Strictly Come Dancing supporter since she joined the show for Series 11 in 2013, teaming up with a celebrity each year and reaching the final in 2020 alongside rising star HRVY.

But Cuban-American Janette, who joined the show in the same year as Slovenian husband Aljaz Skorjanec, made the bold move to hang up her ballet shoes this year, when the opportunity arose to replace the host of the show. Radio 2 Zoe Ball’s breakfast on the weekday twin show competition, It Takes Two.

And while recording a Strictly-themed episode of The Weakest Link – which returns with a new host at Romesh Ranganathan the day Strictly’s latest series airs – Janette revealed that Zoe helped celebrate her new role with a very appropriate gift.



Janette hopes she isn’t the weakest link …

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Asked if she had any advice for Romesh, who replaced The Weakest Link show’s original host Anne Robinson, she said, “I’d say keep in touch. Zoe and I write all the time.”

Janette later revealed that she and her predecessor discuss on-screen wardrobes and admitted that Zoe made a lovely gesture as she walked away from the show.



Busy Zoe Ball said goodbye to Strictly's friends Claudia and Tess
Busy Zoe Ball said goodbye to Strictly’s friends Claudia and Tess

“He gave me a beautiful pair of shoes to congratulate me,” Janette revealed. “I just think they stay in touch because they know what they’re talking about and can always give you good advice.”

And of course Zoe knows all about putting herself in someone else’s shoes, having taken over from It Takes Two when Claudia Winkleman left.



HRVY joined his dance partner Janette in the quiz
HRVY joined his dance partner Janette in the quiz

Zoe had joined the Strictly family a couple of years earlier and co-hosted the Sunday results show with Tess Daly in 2010, having replaced a villain Sir Bruce Forsyth in the Saturday night show a year earlier.

Now that Janette has her feet under the table from It Takes Two – possibly dressed in Zoe’s featured shoes – the pro dancer said she’s doing a (glitter) dance.

“I’m in love with It takes two, I can’t wait for the shows to come, “continued Janette.” Doing Morning Live in the morning was great too, but It Takes Two is something I’ve always thought ‘Oh I’d love to do it someday’ so I’m still pinching myself that I’m the host of the show. “



Zoe made a special gift to her successor, Janette
Zoe made a special gift to her successor, Janette

And now that she’s on the presentation team, Janette can’t talk about who she thinks will lift the iconic trophy this year – or who she’d like to see triumph.

He added: “Ahh I haven’t allowed favorites as a host of It Takes Two. I can’t have favorites, so we’ll see, but I think it’s one of those series that anyone can take this year.

“I’m glued every Saturday watching, well I’m there every Saturday and I sit backstage watching live!”



Anton du Beke, a rigorous dancer turned judge, also took part in the special Weakest Link
Anton du Beke, a rigorous dancer turned judge, also took part in the special Weakest Link

Famous Weak Ring players are all hoping to raise money for a particular cause, and for Janette that was the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

“I have been an ambassador for them for a few years,” he explained. “And they make so many kids really happy at a time when it can be really hard for them, so I hope I can win some money for the charity.”



Strictly pro Aljaz surprised his wife Janette on her birthday in It Takes Two
Strictly pro Aljaz surprised his wife Janette on her birthday in It Takes Two

But when it came to recording the quiz show, Janette admitted that imaginative footwork couldn’t cover a lack of knowledge and calculated that her chances of doing well depended a lot on the topics she was asked about.

“I feel like anything related to Disney will absolutely destroy it, obviously anything to do with Strictly Come Dancing will be fine. Anything else I’ll be terrible!” He admitted.

The weakest link returns Saturday 18 December at 6:10 pm on BBC One. For more TV gossip, subscribe to OK! newsletter here.

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