We have fun, it’s Christmas!

Alexandra Mardell said she wanted to “perform well” on the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special but didn’t feel the need to win the competition.

The 29-year-old actress, known for her portrayal of Emma Brooker on Coronation Street, has been paired with Kai Widdrington as one of six celebrities to go head-to-head on a celebratory edition of the show.

Speaking ahead of the special, which airs on Christmas Day, Mardell said: “It’s just fun, I think there’s probably a lot of competitive people out there, but not right now, we’re just having fun, it’s Christmas !

“I’m definitely going to get nervous because I want to perform well but I’m not like ‘I have to win’.”

Speaking alongside professional partner Widdrington, 27, the duo revealed what it was like training together ahead of the big day.

Mardell said: “It’s been a real pleasure, I was very nervous on the first day but it’s been fantastic.”

Widdrington added: “It’s a pleasure to work with Alexandra, it’s so easy because when someone walks into the rehearsal room with such positivity every day, even if it’s only been a short time, it’s just a real pleasure.

“We’ve got a nice, fun, cheeky routine and hopefully we’ll have some good quality dancing as well.”

The couple went on to reveal their family’s Christmas traditions, both centered around food.

Widdrington said: “We always have Christmas sausage rolls in the morning with chutney. Oh my god, that’s a game changer. It’s sensational, it will change your life.

Mardell said: “We always have fajitas on Christmas Eve which is hit and miss, I’ve never had them this often and I love them! And play lots of board games.

Discussing her plans for the New Year, Mardell revealed that she will be getting a health kick and getting ready for her wedding.

“Dry Veganuary,” she says.

“So it’s going to be a very serious January, and just run through my wedding planning list, because I have to get on it.”

The actress revealed her engagement to partner Joe Parker in April last year and shared regular updates on her bride-to-be journey via Instagram.

This year’s Strictly Festive special will also see CBeebies presenter George Webster dancing with pro Amy Dowden, and Girls Aloud’s Nicola Roberts partnering Giovanni Pernice.

Actor Larry Lamb will dance with Nadiya Bychkova, DJ Rickie Haywood-Williams with Luba Mushtuk and podcaster Rosie Ramsey will be associated with Neil Jones.

Last year, singer Anne-Marie and professional dancer Graziano Di Prima were crowned winners of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021.

The Strictly 2022 series ended on Saturday with Hamza Yassin and partner Jowita Przystal lifting the glitterball trophy after the public vote.

– The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Christmas Day at 5.10pm.

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