Craig Revel Horwood on his All Balls and Glitter tour, fiancé and Strictly

Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood chats to Yours about his fascinating one-man show, the early days and the charity he’s most passionate about.

Craig Revel Horwood

by Jane Oddy |

Craig Revel Horwood has criss-crossed the land in everything from Strictly tours to productions of the musical, Annie, in which he memorably plays Miss Hannigan. This time, though, it’s different. The All Balls and Glitter tour is a one-man show with Craig taking his audience through his highly coloured life.

“In Act One I’m telling my life story through song and dance with just a pianist accompanying me,” he explains. “That will take me from my time in Australia performing in musical theatre. Act Two concentrates on my TV career and how people know me now.”

Craig began his career as a dancer in West Side Story and La Cage Aux Folles in his native Australia before moving to Paris and getting hired as a singer at the Moulin Rouge. “I trained for three months in how to sing in French.” From there, he moved to the UK and was cast in the West End production of Cats.

Craig Revel Horwood
©Getty

He’d originally trained to be a chef and then a TV cameraman, “But dance was always my passion. I was a fat kid who didn’t like sport but loved dancing. At one stage, I became a hairdresser to pay for dance classes.”

He’s come a long way since, both professionally and personally. He’s just moved into a new house in Northamptonshire with his fiancé, Jonathan Myring, a horticulturist.

“Jonathan’s from Leicester which is nearby so he has family and friends round and about. I wanted to meet someone who wasn’t in the theatre or showbusiness, someone a little more grounded to share my life with. I knew from the first time we met that he was The One.”

They plan to marry in August 2023 in Rutland. On the guest list will be Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall – the two got to know each other because she’s the President of the Osteoporosis Society, a cause close to Craig’s heart.

Craig Revel Horwood and Camilla
©Getty

“My mother, Beverley, has had rheumatoid arthritis since her mid- 30s. I wanted to become a patron of a charity where I felt I could help change the outcome of people suffering from the condition. One in two women will get osteoporosis over the age of 50. But you can avoid that if you do weight-bearing exercises.

“Camilla is a very active president. She’s also huge fun and a surprisingly good dancer. When we posed for photographers, I was going to suggest we did an easy dance. ‘Oh no, darling,’ she said. ‘I’d like the cha-cha-cha’.”

Craig has been a judge on Strictly for all 18 series, only missing a single edition when he was isolating because of testing positive for Covid.

“It was so frustrating,” he says. “But I watched it at home and I can honestly say I gained a new appreciation of the entire show which I thought was fantastic.”

"I'd never leave Strictly."

Known as being a bit of a pantomime villain as a judge, Craig is a pussycat in real life. “Well, I take dance seriously so I can see no point in sugar-coating my critiques. That’s not going to help anyone. Anyway, I’m Australian and we like to say it as it is.”

Does he think we’ll get Bruno Tonioli back on the judging panel? “I hope so. He was on the recent tour and his energy is second to none. He really brings a diva spark to it all.”

A recent departure from the judging panel was professional dancer, Oti Mabuse. Would Craig ever leave? “Absolutely not. It’s my lovely little Saturday job. I adore it.”

Craig and Bruno’s Great British Road Trips

For an ITV series, Craig and former Strictly judge, Bruno Tonioli, took to the roads to tour the UK. The pair travelled from Cornwall to the Cotswolds and the Yorkshire Dales to the Lake District. The end result, Craig and Bruno’s Great British Road Trips, is part travelogue, part Top Gear, is currently on ITV.

It was one of many new experiences Craig has embraced recently after many of his theatre projects were put on hold in 2020 during the lockdowns. He says: “I’ve had time to do more telly. Normally I would never be able to do things like The Masked Dancer or The Wall or all the quiz shows I’ve appeared in recently, so I’ve had great fun. In the past, I’ve always been, ‘Oh no, I’m busy, I can’t do that. I said a no a lot.”

But he said a resounding yes to the new travel show with Bruno and, with the cameras rolling, they drove around Britain, sparring and bickering, while also exploring some of the country’s most iconic and best-loved roads.

Craig (56) says: “Bruno is from Italy and I’m from Australia, and I’ve only done a certain amount of travelling around the UK, often only going to one destination. So it was interesting driving through a whole area and discovering it – particularly the Yorkshire Dales, which I loved.

Spending a month together in a red Mini, sharing the driving, was an intense experience and Craig admits that it would test even the most intimate of friendships.

“We spent eight hours a day together in the car, plus breakfasts and dinners,” says Craig while Bruno (65) cheerfully admits he “nearly killed” his old friend.

Craig says their main disagreements were over the navigation. “And I was always trying to get a word in edgeways!” he laughs. “The best thing about each other is that we can make each other laugh to the point of crying.”

You can watch Craig and Bruno’s Great British Road Trips on catch up**here****.**

Strictly Come Dancing judges: past and present

Craig's new book

Lockdown proved a productive time for Craig (55) giving him time to put the finishing touches to his debut novel, Dances and Dreams on Diamond Street.

It is the story of an unlikely family of friends who each rent a room in a ramshackle six-bedroom town house in Camden over the course of a year in 1994 who are trying to follow their dreams. He says: “Obviously I am the main character Danny, the patriarch who runs the house. It is me when I moved to London from Australia when I was becoming a choreographer and hanging up my dance shoes. It was amazing to go back to that period. The book is a cross between the TV series Sex and the City and the Armistead Maupin novels Tales of the City.”

After publishing three bestselling memoirs, Craig found the experience of penning a fictional novel exhilarating. “Lockdown was a great time to write it. I would encourage everyone if they are bored to try their hand. Everyone has a book in them and it was so easy to write."

“Most of it is true stories about the bohemian and wonderful people I knew. People when they read it will know who they are! Some of it, I made up.

"I loved looking back to that period that it is set in – a time before mobile phones, because no one could afford them - and I enjoyed re-living it emotionally too. They were such good times," says Craig.

Dances & Dreams on Diamond Street by Craig Revel Horwood

Dances & Dreams on Diamond Street
Amazon

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Craig Revel Horwood's first novel follows a year in the life of the inhabitants of Diamond Street, rough diamonds one and all, as they try to achieve their dreams

Life with fiancé Jonathan

The couple have been together since 2018 after meeting backstage on the Strictly tour in Nottingham, and got engaged earlier this year in Tasmania, Australia.

“If you don’t get on in lockdown then you know it’s not right! It could be disastrous. A lot of couples get married and they have never really lived together and we have since February when we went to Australia for me to judge on Dancing With The Stars. We’ve just got stronger and stronger.”

Craig says simply: “We get on so well and it’s so easy. I think I knew immediately he was The One when we started chatting. Within that first hour.”

Craig says simply: “We get on so well and it’s so easy. I think I knew immediately he was The One when we started chatting. Within that first hour.”

Jonathan (35), a horticulturist, who trained at Kew Gardens in London, has planted a vineyard at the beautiful country home they share. He smiles: “I thought, ‘Oh I fancy making my own champagne! Let’s see where that takes us as a hobby.’ Why not, darling?”

There is also a vegetable garden, a glass house where they grow bananas, mangoes and various other exotic fruit and a cut-flower garden.

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