How Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba owes his career to a three-day trip to Edinburgh


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Surprisingly, it was a three-day trip to the capital for the Edinburgh International Television Festival that changed his life forever.

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Better known these days as a TV presenter (for a generation, he will always be the face of CBBC’s Newsround, which he ran from 2008 to 2013), Oduba recalls: “It was the summer of 2007 and I had applied for a spot on a scheme of television networks at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Joanne Clifton and Ore Oduba with the shiny ball trophy after winning the final of Strictly Come Dancing in 2016

“I knew that I wanted to work in television since I was 15 years old and had applied for the TVYP (Television and Youth) program for four or five years. However, I never did until that senior year when I was in my junior year in college.”

He continues: “It was a networking scheme, you did workshops, you attended talks and you were able to rub shoulders with people in the industry to get an idea of ​​what it could be like to work in television.

“I had a great time and met a lot of people, including a senior executive from Children’s BBC, and we got on really well. I remember leaving Edinburgh after that weekend with dating sites. Six months later, I had coffee in London with that BBC executive, it was my first trip to the BBC Centre, which was amazing. He was one step closer.

“Then four or five months later, he got in touch to say that they were looking for new anchors for Newsround and if he had a video to pass on to him.

Ore Oduba as Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Show, coming to Edinburgh King’s

“Because of the advice he had given me in Edinburgh I did it and passed it on. Two weeks after graduating from college, I took a screen test and started as a presenter on Newsround.

“So, I have Edinburgh to thank for my whole career, it all came from those three days in the capital. If I hadn’t put my foot in the door there, I don’t know where I would have.”

If that trip to Edinburgh opened the doors for young Oduba, it was winning Strictly’s Glitterball Trophy that allowed him to follow his childhood dreams and buy into the spirit of The Rocky Horror Show, which will take him back to the capital next year. month; “Don’t dream it, do it!”

“It strictly changed the direction of my life,” he says. “I am a bit of a dreamer, even working on television, which was so far from what my friends and family group did, was a great dream for me.

Pray Oduba in presenter mood

“So I guess I’ve allowed myself to dream that way throughout my career. I did a lot of stage work when I was a kid. In school I was in every production under the sun, I was in concerts and I went to Fame Academies and I was even in a band once. It was a rock band, we didn’t have a name but we played a lot of Bon Jovi covers on our breaks.

“But then you get to a certain age where you park all those things that you love to do and I guess it was Strictly that made me remember how big my passion was – if we hadn’t won Strictly, I don’t think I would have had the belief to give a I jump into such a different world. It was a great gamble.”

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And as Richard O’Brien’s cult musical prepares to take the stage at the King’s Theater from February 21-26, Oduba reveals he can’t wait.

Winner of Strictly Come Dancing Ore Oduba

In the racy rock opera, he plays the flawless Brad Majors, who, along with his fiancée Janet Weiss, stumbles into the world of mad scientist Frank-N-Furter. Cue songs like The Time Warp and Sweet Travestite while Oduba is in various states of undress.

“I’ve never actually performed in Edinburgh before, but every time I’ve been to the city it’s always seemed very special.

“I guess after Joanne and I did Strictly I realized that I had to continue acting in my everyday life. It was something that I loved doing. But going further back through the various forms my career has taken, I never thought I’d be kicking up a six-inch heel, dancing in tights, platforms, and suspenders—it’s not a competition, but I’m pretty sure my heel is the highest of all the guys.”

He laughs, “That was never part of the deal,” adding, “Actually, it’s my wife’s fault that she’s doing the show because she thought it would be funny to see me go around the country dancing in my pants, but I’m definitely having a good time.” a good time.

So what will his four-year-old son, Roman, think when he’s old enough to understand what daddy does for a living?

Oduba laughs again: “I love the idea that when I’m older and have more gray hair, my children and grandchildren will ask me, ‘What did you do for fun when you were younger, Dad?’ or ‘grandpa’ and I’ll just show the pictures of me in Rocky and say, ‘This is what I used to do…’ and wait for their reaction.”

He laughs: “They probably wouldn’t see it coming.”

Tickets for The Rocky Horror Show at the King’s Theater are available here

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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