Strictly Come Dancing star Ugo Monye pays tribute to late father as he competes hours after funeral

Former rugby pro and sports pundit said the moment felt ‘really special’

Roisin O'Connor
Saturday 25 September 2021 20:20
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Strictly Come Dancing star Ugo Monye revealed he had attended his late father’s funeral just hours before he took part in his first dance of the competition.

The 38-year-old former rugby pro and sports pundit is among the celebrities competing in this year’s series of the BBC competition.

Making his debut on the Strictly dancefloor with his professional partner Oti Mabuse, Monye received praise from the judges for “giving it his all”.

As he waited for the judges’ scores, he revealed to co-presenter Claudia Winkleman that the night was particularly poignant.

“My dad passed away a couple of weeks ago [from] prostate cancer, we had his funeral this morning,” he revealed. “During the funeral they spoke about today being a day of celebration and that’s exactly how today felt, there’s no better way of celebrating than by dancing, so tonight feels really special.”

Speaking ahead of the show’s launch, Monye said being cast in Strictly was “a dream come true” and that he wanted to prove to people that he has “more than dad dancing moves”.

“My two beautiful daughters never had a chance to see me on the rugby pitch, so to know they can watch me waltzing and twirling every week is really special to me. I love an outfit at the best of times, so bring on the sequins!” he said.

Read more about this year’s Strictly contestants here.

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