The YouTube star takes us behind the scenes in the first of his exclusive weekly reports
I knew taking part in Strictly would be a brilliant thing to do. I went for a chat with the team and all of a sudden I just thought, ‘I’m going to do it!’ Now feels like the right time and it’s a rare opportunity. I didn’t question why they chose me in case they changed their minds!
I was prepared for the "who’s he?" backlash when they announced the line-up. But I do appreciate that there’s a whole generation who don’t know who I am. There will, however, be youngsters in their families that do. And that’s the reason I’m doing Strictly. If I can help to bring families together on a Saturday night, that’s a massive win in my book.
I started my career as a roof thatcher, which is why my YouTube channel is called ThatcherJoe. I started making videos as a hobby because I grew up in a village in Wiltshire where there wasn’t a lot to do. My sister [Zoe, also a YouTuber under the username Zoella] started a blog. I thought it was really cool. That was in 2011 and it was a good time to get started as a vlogger; I was lucky to discover it when I did as it’s not easy now.
I made sure I got my A-levels incase roofing didn’t work out. And I made sure I kept on with thatching because I didn’t think the YouTube channel would last longer than a year.
Now I run three channels (a mixture of pranks, impressions and gaming). Despite that, I don’t like being inside a lot. I had 1.6 million people subscribing to my channel, but I was still working on the roofs. It’s a job that’s given me great opportunities. Because of my huge following, I met Prince Charles in connection with the Prince’s Trust to encourage youngsters to get involved with dying trades and I went to the Queen’s summer Garden Party.
Strictly’s red-carpet launch was just as nerve-racking. I’m used to lots of fans, but going on Strictly makes me feel like a tiny piece of a big puzzle. I think it’s called Impostor Syndrome – where you don’t feel worthy of the situation and very lucky to be there.
My stomach sinks when I think about Saturday’s first live show. I’m dancing a Jive to Take On Me by A-ha. My guilty pleasure is Eighties music. I’m definitely going to have a pair of sunglasses, and there’s two parts in the dance that I think people are going to love. My pro partner Dianne [Buswell] says that I’ve got a good ear for music and my rhythm is getting better. She also pointed out that I have a long neck, which is good for ballroom, the style I’m most looking forward to. There’s already five Twitter accounts called Support Joe’s Neck, which shows what my fan base is like!
When I was growing up, my family would get together to watch Pop Idol. We all voted for Will Young to win. It’s strange to think that I’m now on a show like that where people vote for their favourite. I never, ever thought that would happen to me in my life.
Joe Sugg was talking to Rachel Ward
Strictly Come Dancing starts on Saturday on BBC One at 6.15pm