A fiery dance routine has seen Pendle actress Natalie Gumede cha-cha-cha her way to the title of “front-runner” in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.
The former Colne Park High School student’s performance with Artem Chigvintsev saw her gain glowing comments from all four judges – with Bruno Tonioli picking her out as an early favourite.
The 29-year-old, who danced to Rasputin by Boney M, also managed to bag herself a standing ovation from the audience.
Talking ahead of her first performance on the Strictly stage, Natalie told the BBC: “Artem is a self-proclaimed Russian terminator. His introduction to me was ‘don’t cry on Saturday night if you haven’t trained till you cry during the week’.
“I’m working to my absolute limit. I hope it goes alright on the night.”
The star, who is best known for her role as Kirsty Soames on Coronation Street, gained a total of 31 points out of 40 for her routine – putting her at the top of the evening’s leaderboard.
Talking today via her Twitter account, Natalie shared her excitement by writing: “Well I had my tiny mind blown last night :) #scd #scd2013” and “Last night was wild and @bbcstrictly is an addictive drug, thank god @artemchigvintse kept me on the straight and narrow - almost!”