Duncan James pays emotional tribute to Sarah Harding ahead of Real Full Monty striptease

Blue singer Duncan James at BBC1's National Lottery Awards 2019

Duncan James paid a touching tribute to his close friend Sarah Harding during Strictly The Real Full Monty.

The Blue singer left viewers moved by his words as he confirmed he was taking part in the two-part ITV show in memory of his close friend, who died in September aged 39 after she a battle with breast cancer

Hosted by Ashley Banjo, the programme sees celebrities recreate the famous striptease scene from the 1997 movie, The Full Monty, to raise awareness of cancer checks.

In an emotional segment, the 43-year-old musician explained: “A lot of my friends from the music industry have suffered with breast cancer, and one of those friends, Sarah Harding, sadly lost her battle this year.

Sarah Harding (Getty Images)

Sarah Harding (Getty Images)

“Sarah was always such a bubbly girl, full of life, full of fun, biggest smile, and to hear the news that she’d lost the battle – it was just heartbreaking.”

James added that, though he wasn’t completely comfortable when it comes to stripping off, if he could just raise awareness with one person then he’d “feel like I was doing something good”.

Viewers instantly took to Twitter to share their reactions to James’ tribute. One tweeted: “RIP Sarah Harding, absolute legend. Great to see Duncan doing this for his friend ❤️ #StrictlyTheRealFullMonty”

“Duncan talking about Sarah?? I’m gone?? #StrictlyTheRealFullMonty #RIPSarahHarding x,” another viewer added.

One fan stated: “I agree with Duncan ? losing Sarah this year was just heartbreaking ? #StrictlyTheRealFullMonty”.

Sarah Harding tragically died on 5 September, a year after announcing that she had been diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer.

There was an outpouring of grief within the UK’s music industry as news of her death broke.

Her Girls Aloud bandmates shared their love for the late singer in moving Instagram posts, while countless others who had the chance to work with her spoke of her infectious, sunny disposition.

Harding shot to fame on Popstars: The Rivals in 2002, which won her a spot in the girl band Girls Aloud.

Over the next decade, the group consistently proved that they were more than just a reality television sensation – they released 21 UK top 10 singles throughout their illustrious career.

After the group went their separate ways in 2013, Harding delved into acting, taking on roles in St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold and Run For Your Wife. She went on to win Celebrity Big Brother in 2017.

Strictly The Real Full Monty airs at 9pm on Tuesday.