The Peep Show star, 48, who revealed last year he’d been diagnosed with a serious heart condition before surgery saved his life, told MailOnline that following a break from TV to focus on his writing, he’s done with ‘sitting on the edges.’
Robert added that despite donning a leotard for his iconic Flashdance routine on Let’s Dance For Comic Relief, he will be taking the competition ‘seriously’ and doesn’t want to ‘muck around.’
Getting his sequins on! Strictly Come Dancing star Robert Webb has revealed his life-saving heart surgery spurred him to sign up in the show so he can ‘reconnect with his audience’
Discussing his reason for signing up for the show, Robert told MailOnline: ‘I’ve always been very fond of the show it’s partly my age and it’s partly about nearly two years ago I had a quite big deal health thing.
‘I had to have open heart surgery so I think my attitude is basically ”this is no time to be cool and sitting at the edges watching other people do the dancing,” if you’ve got something to offer, offer it.
‘I’ve spent the past few years doing quite a lot of writing and I just felt the need to reconnect with the audience as a performer, it looks a lot of fun, but tough, but fun.’
Coming soon: The Peep Show star, who revealed last year he’d been diagnosed with a heart condition before surgery saved his life, told MailOnline he’s done with ‘sitting on the edges’
In 2019 Robert revealed that he was told by doctors he had just months to live after being diagnosed with a serious heart condition during a routine health check.
He told Weekend Magazine: ‘The prognosis was, ”This is going to fail in two to six months.” And that really got my attention.’
The father of two, whose comedy credits include Peep Show and That Mitchell And Webb Look, was suffering from a mitral valve prolapse – also known as click-murmur syndrome, and had previously dismissed his fatigue as being due to his age and overexcess.
Robert eventually underwent the life-saving surgery a month later, and work his comedy Black was postponed while he recovered.
Strictlified! The actor joked that if he makes it to Halloween Week he may have to perform with his surgery scar ‘covered in glitter’
The actor joked that if he makes it to Halloween Week he may have to perform with his surgery scar ‘covered in glitter,’ as the date will mark exactly two years since the procedure.
‘The way I’m looking at it, perhaps naively, is that I’ve got to work as hard as I can in the performance room, but maybe that’s not true,’ Robert added.
‘I should be really milking it about having heart surgery, I’m going to mention that as often as possible.’
Proving he’s not afraid of taking on the gruelling challenges that come with the Strictly dancefloor, Robert also told MailOnline: ‘I’ve shown I’m not afraid of an extreme costume, I’m not afraid to show a bit of leg, although I don’t think the guys get their legs out on this show very much.
‘If it’s not going to upset the ladies and gentleman, I’m up for more or less anything, within the laws of public decency.’
New role: Robert also revealed that he shared the news with his longtime comedy partner David Mitchell, who was ‘absolutely delighted’ to see him take part
Robert also revealed that he shared the news with his longtime comedy partner David Mitchell, who was ‘absolutely delighted’ to see him take part.
Describing his ideal partner he added: ‘I’m looking for someone very forgiving and patient, I think they’re all very patient and I’m used to it.
‘I’m not necessarily super speedy at picking up moves, someone very patient and forgiving would be my top asks. I don’t know enough about the dances to know that fear, the jive looks very energetic.’
This year’s Strictly will see 15 celebrities take to the dancefloor with their professional partners, with the pairings set to be revealed in Saturday’s launch show.
Showman: Robert added that despite donning a leotard for his iconic Flashdance routine on Let’s Dance For Comic Relief, he will be taking the competition ‘seriously’
Stars including actor Greg, comedian Judi Love, singer Tom Fletcher and presenter AJ Odudu will take to the dancefloor in their sequins in the hope of impressing the judging panel.
Despite the easing of Covid restrictions across the UK, bosses have confirmed that many of last year’s protocols will continue for this series, including couples forming Covid-safe ‘bubbles’ so they can train and perform safely.
The show will also see the return of a live audience, after most of the 2020 series was plagued by England’s ongoing lockdowns.
Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday 18th September on BBC One.
Back soon: Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday 18th September on BBC One
STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021: WHO ARE THE CONTESTANTS?
Profession: McFly musician
Tom says: ‘I’m so pleased the news is out it’s been so hard keeping it secret. Equal parts excited and terrified.’
Fun fact: Tom’s McFly bandmate Harry Judd won Strictly Come Dancing in 2011. Tom’s wife Giovanna Fletcher is the reigning champion of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
Profession: Actor and comedian
Robert says: ‘It’s very exciting but with a slight undertone of quivering terror.’
Fun Fact: Robert squeezed into a shiny leotard to take the title of Let’s Dance For Comic Relief in 2009, performing What A Feeling from ’80s film Flashdance, beating the likes of Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness to the title.
Profession: CBBC presenter
Rhys says: ‘I have dreamt about being on this show, and I know for a fact that it is going to exceed every expectation’
Fun fact: Rhys has been an actor since the age of ten, performing alongside Matt Smith and Hugh Bonneville.
Katie says: ‘I’m really not a dancer, but I’m so excited to learn a new skill on this crazy journey and cannot wait to slip into some sequins along the way.’
Fun fact: Katie, who played Sinead Tinker in Corrie, won a NTA for Best Serial Drama Performance in 2020.
Profession: CBBC presenter
Tilly says: ’I’m going to put my heart and soul into this and can’t wait to get my dancing shoes on!’
Fun fact: Tilly’s father is celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and the pair often star in dancing TikTok videos.
Nina says: ‘I think I should do this before I’m too old and can’t walk anymore. I just want to grab life by the horns and just enjoy it.’
Fun fact: Nina is a JDRF Ambassador and was awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List.
Adam says: ‘I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool.’
Fun fact: Adam becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.
Profession: Rugby player and sports pundit
Ugo says: ‘What a dream come true! Strictly is the biggest entertainment show on TV and I can’t wait to show everyone I’ve got more than just dad dancing moves.
Fun fact: Beginning his rugby career at Harlequins in 2002, Ugo went on to make 241 appearances for the club where he scored 89 tries, won a Premiership and made his England debut in 2008.
Profession: TV presenter
AJ says: ‘I think it’s going to be really challenging. I can’t wait for the sequins, the wigs, the glitz and the glamour.’
Fun Fact: Apocalypse Wow hosts AJ has featured on a whopping 14 TV shows this year, competing in the likes oF Cooking With The Stars and Celebrity Karaoke Club. She has appeared as a panelist on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two in the past, too.
Profession: Great British Bake Off Winner and TV chef
John says: ‘I’m so grateful, excited, and nervous to be joining the Strictly 2021 family… I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth’
Fun Fact: John is set tp be part of the first ever all-male partnering – the first in 17 years of the show.
Sara says: ‘I’m really nervous because so far the producers keep asking me if I can dance… Truth be told – I haven’t got a clue! I’ve not danced since I did ballet lessons when I was little.’
Fun fact: Sara was the youngest ever dragon on BBC show Dragons’ Den.
Dan says: ‘I’m enjoying the experience when it starts of learning to dance. I’ll be honest I’m not making room on any shelves in my house for the glitterball.’
Fun fact: Dan recently quit Football Focus after 12 years at the helm and has been covering Tokyo Olympics.
Greg says: ‘It’s about being out there and exposing yourself as someone who can’t dance, and learning.’
Fun fact: Greg is married to the actress Emma Thompson who he met while filming Sense and Sensibility.
Rose says: ‘I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers. I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill.’
Fun fact: Rose will make history as Strictly’s first deaf contestant.
Judi says: ‘I’m truly looking forward to pushing myself in something that I could have only dreamed of doing and now it’s actually coming true!’
Fun fact: Judi began comedy when she performed a set in front of her class for a degree module.