Is Soapy Dick the new Strictly Clown?

Producers on ITV’s Daybreak received a welcome boost today with news that the faltering breakfast programme’s showbiz editor Richard Arnold is being lined up as a contestant for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Arnold, known better as Soapy Dick due to his former soap slot on GMTV (RIP), is apparently being groomed by BBC programme execs in the hope that he will inject some fun into the programme, which launches only a week from tomorrow.

A source told the Sun: “Russell Grant was a huge hit on Strictly last year and we are hoping that Richard will attract the same fans.

“He is hilarious and during meetings had everyone in stitches with his camp jokes.â€?

Meanwhile a spokesman for Dani Harmer, the only contestant so far confirmed, has denied claims by Disco Inferno’s producers that she quit the touring musical to take part in the BBC1 contest.

Other contestants apparently signed up for the new run of Strictly include two Team GB medal heroes from the London 2012 Olympics — cyclist Victoria Pendleton and gymnast Louis Smith.