TEN million people watched as Danny John-Jules bowed out of Strictly Come Dancing after an impressive eight-week run.
Despite being three decades older than the youngest contestant, the 58-year-old actor confesses to “dancing his a*** off” to achieve near-perfect scores.
But behind the scenes, the Red Dwarf actor was forced to suffer cruel taunts about his efforts from trolls online.
The abuse rocketed when Danny faced accusations of “bullying” his dance partner Amy Dowden, claims which he strongly denies.
Allegations he was “volatile” in training left him rocked to the core, but ever the professional, determined Danny returned to the dance floor to entertain.
For some, his experience of reality TV could have left him feeling bitter, but the actor simply replies: “That’s showbiz”.
Instead the journey reignited Danny’s passion for live performance – and inspired his very own one-man show I’ve Gotta Be Me all about Rat Pack legend Sammy Davis Junior.
Until now, Danny has refused to talk about the “nonsense” rumours of a backstage fallout.
But as he puts the scandal-hit show behind him to launch his 11-date UK tour, Danny has set the record straight in an exclusive interview with The Sun Online.
“With me and Amy, it was always professional”, explained Danny.
“I came in professional and I left professional.
“As many times as I had Amy dripping off me and I was dripping off her, at no point did we ever have a conversation that wasn’t about dance.
“I didn’t have to broadcast what happened. I didn’t want to wash anybody’s dirty laundry in public.
“I did everything truthfully and honestly and I wouldn’t do anything differently.
“I was expecting [the backlash] because people always talk c*** about me.
“But I did exactly what I was hired to do and what I promised to do, which was to dance my a*** off.
“I was never told The Dancing Show was reality TV, but I found out it was one once I was on it.
“I was the oldest person there, including the professionals, but still excelled beyond and above the call of duty.
“I have no regrets.”
From September Danny will embark on a tour of the UK to tell the life story of legendary American singer Sammy who was known as being “the world’s greatest entertainer”.
He named it I’ve Gotta Be Me – the song he waltzed to Strictly Come Dancing in front of the sign “For One Night Only, Danny John-Jules”.
It will see Danny return to his musical theatre roots, having made a name for himself in CATS when he kick-started his career in the West End.
“It’s daunting,” admits Danny, who wrote the show from a penthouse suite in London where we met him for the interview.
Danny gets into character with Sammy’s favourite whisky tipple in a penthouse suite in London[/caption]
Danny John-Jules tours the UK with I've Gotta Be Me
DANNY John-Jules is returning to his musical theatre roots to take fans on a journey through the life of one of his showbiz heroes, Sammy Davis Junior.
After getting the buzz back for live performance following his stint on Strictly Come Dancing, the 58-year-old will tour the UK to tell the legendary Mr Wonderful’s story from October this year.
For tickets, click here. Tour dates below:
12 and 13 – Bognor Regis, Alexandra Theatre
11– Eastbourne, The Royal Hippodrome
17 – High Wycombe, Wycombe Swan Theatre
25 & 26 – Manchester, The Dancehouse
28 – Durham, Gala Theatre
30 – Coventry, The Albany Theatre
4 – Swindon, Wyvern Theatre
14 – Sevenoaks, The Stag
20 – Greenock, Beacon Arts Centre
21 – Aberdeen, The Tivoli
22 – Dunfermline, Carnegie Hall
29 – Margate, The Theatre Royal
“I’m only telling the story, I’m not actually playing him, but you can’t tell his story without song, dance, impersonations or jokes. You can’t do it without trying to be the greatest entertainer that ever lived.
“The show charts his life from his first role on stage at the age of three on tour with his father.
“People might know who Sammy Davis Jr was, but that’s it. I want to tell them the whole story.
“Most of his life he was just trying to love and be loved. I’ve Gotta Be Me says it all.
“I’m going to tell the story and sing the songs. His songs seem to resonate.
“It’s funny because I’ve kind of been emulating his life.
The Red Dwarf actor is touring the UK from this September[/caption]
“I left school with no qualifications. I lived in one room, having one bath a week with three in the bath.
“I have gone and beyond anything I ever thought I would in life. If I never worked another day in this industry, I’ve still done more than most people.
“I’ve got nothing else to prove, I’ve got nothing I need. I’ve been in Hollywood films, done TV shows, sitcoms, dramas, choreographed, world tours with pop stars, sung with legends, acted with legends, met the queen. I’ve been there, done that, worn the t-shirt, but I don’t go around bragging about it.”
Earlier this month Danny reunited with his Red Dwarf co-stars. He posted a video on Instagram to fans saying “we’re not allowed to say a damn word about what we’re doing”.
After sparking rumours filming had begun on a new series, The Sun Online can reveal Red Dwarf will return for a one-off special.
But fans will have to wait a while longer to see Danny, Craig Charles, Chris Barrie and Robert Llewellyn back on-screen.
MOST READ IN TV & SHOWBIZ
“All we know is it’s going to be done by the end of the year,” said Danny, who plays Cat in the comedy series first broadcast in 1988.
“We haven’t seen a script yet, it’s all in negotiation.
“But I’m never worried about Red Dwarf. I’ve never been so comfortable in a gig.
“The fans are over the moon, spinning cartwheels because unless you’re watching Netflix, what are you going to watch as a sitcom in England.”
For now, he’s focused on portraying the trials and tribulations of the Rat Pack’s Sammy Davis Junior; his rise to stardom, relationship with Frank Sinatra and fallout with American president John F Kennedy.
- To get tickets for Danny John-Jules’ one-man show I’ve Gotta Be Me, click here.