By Naomi Clarke, PA Entertainment Reporter
Greg Wise will perform a poignant disco number for his couple’s choice dance in “celebration” of his late sister on Strictly Come Dancing’s Saturday night show.
The actor, 55, will take to the stage with partner Karen Hauer and perform If You Could Read My Mind by Ultra Nate, Amber and Jocelyn Enriquez.
Wise originally agreed to take part in the show in tribute to his sister Clare, who died five years ago, as she was a huge fan of disco.
He told the PA news agency: “I’m here for my sister, who was a big disco girl, so what’s really gorgeous about the song itself is the song is about lost love and the unattainable.
“And what we’ve put together, hopefully, if it works and I don’t fall over, is almost like a Greek myth of the love coming back from the underworld for a brief moment of celebration and then she has to go again.
“So a very poignant at the beginning of just ‘My goodness me, it is you isn’t it? Let’s do what we used to do’ and then it comes back and she leaves.
“So if we get it right, I think it should tick quite a few boxes.
“It should be emotional and emotive and explosive, and then very quiet, which is lovely for a disco.”
Wise, who is best known for his roles in Sense And Sensibility, Johnny English, Cranford and The Crown, said he loved the song and how intimate it was and that it would be in “celebration” of his sister.
His wife Dame Emma Thompson and his daughter Gaia were in the audience last Saturday and Wise said they were “thrilled, thankfully” with his performance of the American Smooth.
Before he took to the stage last week, he said he showed Ms Thompson a video from his rehearsal on Friday and admitted she “burst into tears” when watching it.
He added: “So we got that out of the way, so she didn’t have that response live on Saturday night, which was great and really useful, so I’m going to do the same today.”
His son, Tindy Agaba, and his wife will be attending the next live performance, which he said was particularly poignant as his sister was a “huge part of Tindy’s life” and that she had been there “for a lot of the first things he ever experienced”.
When asked how demanding rehearsals had been, Wise joked “it’s been a walk in the park this week” but clarified that it had been “fantastically demanding” and that his back had been particularly hurting.
He told PA: “But what’s wonderful is that it’s been joyful, and it’s been a mutual exploration, and I think we feed off each other really nicely.
“And also because we’re a couple of long-in-the-tooth old crows, we know when to say ‘Let’s stop’.”
Discussing their partnership, Hauer, 39, said: “The lovely thing about Greg is that he’s not afraid to express himself, which is something that’s really hard to teach sometimes.
“Because dancing is about the storytelling, but we’re using our movement and our bodies in space instead of just telling it to the world.
“And it’s a great way for us both to collaborate. As much as he is from me, I’m learning from him.”
She added: “It’s not just about the steps, and it’s not just about where you’re placing your spine or your feet or your hands, it’s about the way that we’re making people feel through our story.”