Popstar turned vicar Reverend Richard Coles joins Strictly Come Dancing

Reverend Richard Coles

Popstar turned vicar Reverend Richard Coles has joined Strictly Come Dancing.

After leaving The Communards, Coles became a priest in the early 2000s. While he is openly gay, he is also in a long-term celibate relationship.

He also kicked off a career in broadcasting later in the decade as co-host of BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live, and plenty of guest appearances on Have I Got News for You.

Strictly Come Dancing in Blackpool

Strictly Come Dancing in Blackpool (Getty Images)

Reverend Coles joins the previously announced contestants, Davood Ghadami, Mollie King, Ruth Langsford and Gemma Atkinson.

“Cometh the hour, cometh the overweight Vicar with arthritis in his knees.” said Richard.

Reverend Coles is believed to be the only Vicar in Britain to have had a number one hit single in the UK, when The Communards topped the charts with ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’.

Even if you don’t know Richard Coles, you might recognise his style, as he was the inspiration for the BBC sitcom Rev – he was also a consultant on the series.

For the dayjob, he’s the Vicar of St Mary’s Church in Finedon, Northamptonshire and Chancellor of the University of Northampton.

Quizzed about his sexuality in the past, Coles said: “I think what I have learned being in that slightly invidious position of being a priest in the Church of England – I hope a faithful priest in the Church of England – at the same time a reasonably well adjusted and cheerful gay man, is that I’ve learned the virtues of patience, I think.”

“I am honoured to be asked and so thrilled to be joining Strictly Come Dancing 2017!” said Gemma Atkinson earlier this week when she was confirmed for the show.

“I’m beyond excited and incredibly nervous but I am looking forward to learning a new skill in ballroom and Latin dancing and taking on this new challenge.”

Ruth Langsford said: “I have dreamt about doing Strictly for so long, I can’t quite believe my dream has come true!

“The sum of my dance experience is throwing a few shapes at a party, I’ve never had a dance lesson in my life.

Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas

Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas (BBC)

“Without doubt it will be the scariest yet most exciting thing I’ve ever done. It will be a welcome change worrying about my next hot move instead of my next hot flush!”

Strictly Come Dancing is enjoying its 15th series of the show this year.

Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Darcey Bussell will return as judges, with Shirley Ballas replacing Len Goodman.

Tess Daley and Claudia Winkleman return as hosts, and Zoe Ball will host spinoff show Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two.