“I Dropped My Trousers In Front Of Bruce Forsyth!” OTB Meets Strictly’s Bruno

Bruno Tonioli is not a man who holds back. Strictly Come Dancing just wouldn’t be the same without his tongue-tying outbursts filled with dancing metaphors and enthusiastic demonstrations. Poor Alesha should be given a crash helmet… there’s probably a greater chance of injury sitting beside him than there is on the dancefloor.

Strictly fans simply can’t get enough of his irrepressible energy, and it is this which also allows Bruno to not only be a judge on the UK show, but to travel back and forth across the pond to sit alongside his old pal Len on the American version Dancing with the Stars. It is a job which he undoubtedly relishes: “We can’t complain because it’s a great place to be. Having the opportunity to be on the biggest show in America and the biggest show in the UK is very rare and obviously we both are grateful to be there.â€?

“Nevertheless it gets tiring, it’s the jet lag…â€? he adds, although he still found time to find Simon Cowell’s dressing room while filming Dancing With The Stars and taunt him over Strictly beating X Factor in the ratings. “I said it to his face! I said (with a big grin), ‘Hello!’ Simon’s fuming! But he, like anybody, wants to do the best job possible,” he said earlier this week.

It had recently been suggested that the commute was taking its toll on colleague Len, and with his scores seeming to hit no higher than mediocre ‘seveeeeen’s there was talk of the head judge becoming a bit grumpy. “It’s not that he’s grumpy, the thing is you sometimes react to a situation… and you do get tired, it’s understandable. It’s just your opinion, you know, it’s Len! Like they say I’m crazy, I’m not crazy at all…â€? he told us.

It’s hard to imagine Bruno getting tired. (It’s not only on Saturday nights that he likes to talk at break-neck speed). Although the fifty-six year old admits that doing the two shows simultaneously does get wearing at times. “Before the show I actually just lock myself in, because I need to clear my head. Too much faffing about doesn’t work for me. Doing America, I really have to save my energy, and then when it starts it’s like you turn a switch. I don’t go out during that period of time; it’s just not worth it.â€?

Far from boring, the choreographer hints that he has enjoyed some hedonism in the past. Once upon a dodgy eighties leotard he was a backing dancer for Elton John, and you can imagine that he certainly went through some “wild timesâ€?. These days however he admits to not being able to keep up with the likes of fellow judge Alesha – (last seen fantastically swinging a bottle of wine on Alan Carr: “she’s a riot, I love herâ€?) – recalling with embarrassment a situation whereby his enthusiasm got the better of him…

“I have two drinks and I’m gone… I remember a few years back I ended up taking my top of and dropping my trousers in front of Bruce Forsyth. It was about four or five years back at the after show party, I ended up writhing with Claudia Winkleman… Bruce was shocked and so was I!â€?

Despite being a whacking great lightweight, his fun loving nature is by no means dampened – “I just don’t want to lose a day because of an extra glass of wineâ€? – and his surprisingly strict work-out routine would put dancers twenty years younger to shame. “If I’m not working I do an hour and half every morning. I’ve been doing it for years.â€?

So with a fitness regime and a Mediterranean diet ensuring he continues to be a picture of health, there seems no danger of Bruno slowing down just yet. He is signed up for the states until 2014, and although the UK show renews contracts on a yearly basis, Strictly fans can be assured he will be gracing our screens for as long as he is invited back.

“Physical perfection as you can see….â€? and with that he lifts his shirt up to show us. This is one man who clearly doesn’t need alcohol to let his hair down.