Who is Rev Richard Coles? Strictly Come Dancing 2017 contestant and ex-Communards pop star and Radio 4 presenter


REV Richard Coles is thoroughly enjoying strutting his stuff on the Strictly Come Dancing 2017 dancefloor.

His face (and voice) will be familiar to those who remember eighties music, but what’s his story? What did he do before joining the church and is he able to dance?

 Rev Richard Coles is currently presenting The Big Painting Challenge

Rev Richard Coles is currently presenting The Big Painting Challenge

Who is Rev Richard Coles, how old is he and what is his background?

Rev Richard Coles, 55, is a Church of England priest and English musician.

The presenter was born in Northampton in 1962 and went to school at the Wellingborough School.

He studied Theology at Kings College London and went on to gain an MA from the University of Leeds.

Richard lives with his civil partner Rev David Coles and “4 dependent yet delightful dachshunds”.

Rev Richard Coles is most famous for being part of The Communards alongside Jimmy Somerville, who had been friends before joining the band.

They formed the band in 1984 after Jimmy left Bronski Beat and the pair played together for three years.

You may know the Communards hits Don’t Leave Me This Way and Never Can Say Goodbye.

 Rev Richard Coles was previously in The Communards alongside Jimmy Somerville

Rex Features
Rev Richard Coles was previously in The Communards alongside Jimmy Somerville

They bagged three UK Top 10 hits but split in 1988 and Jimmy went solo.

After their band split up they two drifted apart, but Richard told The Guardian in an interview that they had become close again.

He said: “We’re in the best place we’ve been in for a long time. We’re in touch by email and have a very sweet, revived relationship.”

Why did Rev Richard Coles join the church?

After leaving his music behind, he began writing for the Times Literary Supplement and Catholic Herald.

And it was after attending a mass at St Alban’s in 1990 that he was “suddenly inspired with a new found faith”.

In his biography on his website, it is revealed: “Between 1990-1994 he studied for a theology degree at King’s College, London, before returning to Northamptonshire where he began to seriously consider taking holy orders.”

After a 10-year period as a Roman Catholic, Richard returned to Anglicanism in 2001 and then in 2005 was ordained into the Anglican priesthood.

What TV shows has Rev Richard Coles been on?

In early 2017, the telly host fronted The Big Painting Challenge on BBC One with Mariella Frostrup.

His other noteworthy appearances include QI, Lorraine and The Review Show.

Every week, celebrity guests join Paul Merton and Ian Heslop on their Have I Got News For You panels – and this week, it will be Richard.

And now he’ll be dancing on Strictly 2017 alongside the likes of Mollie King, Ruth Langsford and Brian Conley.

His 1980s pop career involved the odd bit of dancing so who knows, maybe Richard will be the contest’s dark horse.

When is Strictly Come Dancing 2017 on and who are the judges?

Strictly Come Dancing launched on September 9 on BBC One, with the live shows kicking off on September 23.

Strictly always airs on BBC One in two parts. The main show is on Saturday normally around 7pm and the results show airs on Sunday at a similar time.

There will be a Christmas special again in 2017, with the celebrity participants expected to be announced in early November.

This year sees a new judging lineup after head judge Len Goodman retired.

He will be replaced by Shirley Ballas who joins returning judges Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel-Horwood on the panel.

There will be three new professional dancers joining the existing pros; Dianne Buswell, Amy Dowden and Nadiya Bychkova.

Rev Richard Coles’ ‘hilarious’ dance on Strictly Come Dancing

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