Which TV chefs does Ainsley Harriott think could appear on the new series of Strictly Come Dancing?


Ainsley Harriott has predicted which celebrity chefs are likely appear on the new series of Strictly Come Dancing, and has also praised the programme for attracting big names.

The TV chef, 59, appeared on the BBC dancing series in 2015 and has shared his views on the new line-up, which so far consists of 10 celebrities.

There have been a number of famous foodies who have taken part in the popular show over the years, including James Martin, Gregg Wallace, Gary Rhodes and Hairy Bikers star Dave Myers.

Ainsley Harriott and Natalie Lowe

He believes there is space for another as the current line-up is chef-free, and there are more contestants to be unveiled.

Ainsley told Press Association: "I don't know if (MasterChef's) John Torode would do it. Maybe Simon Rimmer from Sunday Brunch - he's quite a fit bloke."

He added that "Tom Kerridge would be good" and referred to the Bake Off: Creme De La Creme presenter's recent weight loss efforts.

He said: "Tom is looking good at the moment. Maybe it's time for him to get that Superman body completely."

(L-R) Simon Rimmer, John Torode and Tom Kerridge

Ainsley also suggested veteran TV chef Brian Turner, but said the 70-year-old Ready Steady Cook star is "maybe a little too old".

The former Can't Cook, Won't Cook presenter praised the line-up for the forthcoming series of Strictly as "lovely" due to its variety and prestige.

"To know that people who are established in the entertainment industry [are taking part], it's lovely."

He added: "It proves the show attracts all sorts from every walks of life."

Strictly Come Dancing 2016

Strictly Come Dancing 2016

The line-up so far includes singers Will Young and Anastacia, ex-Eternal star Louise Redknapp, politician Ed Balls, TV presenter Laura Whitmore, BBC Breakfast's Naga Munchetty, former Hollyoaks actor Danny Mac, radio DJ Melvin Odoom, model Daisy Lowe and sports broadcaster Ore Oduba.

Away from the dance floor, Ainsley was recently given the chance to visit the winner of the UK's Best Heritage project in this year's National Lottery Awards.

He visited the Lion Salt Works, which opened last year with the help of National Lottery funding, to give staff their prize after receiving almost 6,000 votes for the accolade.

Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour Photocall - Birmingham

The museum opened after a 30-year campaign to save the UK's last open pan salt-making site in Cheshire.

The TV cook commended the National Lottery for funding institutions such as the Lion Salt Works, and the help the donated money brings to preserving the culture of the UK.

He said: "I think people do forget to play [the National Lottery] sometimes. But the money is going towards good causes, and it can be a little bit of fun."