OLYMPIC gymnast Louis Smith will join fellow Strictly Come Dancing stars Harry Judd and Aston Merrygold in Rip It Up, a new Sixties-themed song-and-dance show, at York Barbican next Friday.

Here Louis, who also starred in Rip It Up Dancing Through The 50s last year, answers a series of questions on his return to this hit format. “It’s a lot less daunting this time because I did the full stage production the year before, so I half know what to expect, so there won’t be so many surprises as to what the tour entails,” he says.

Can you compare the training for the Rip It Up tour to competing for gymnastic competitions such as the Olympics, Louis?

“It was so much harder than training for the Olympics. It was by the hardest thing I have ever done in my life! It’s ten times easier training for the Olympic Games than it was getting ready for the Rip It Up tour, for sure. In terms of effort, I would rather prepare for the Olympic Games.”

You and Rip It Up newcomer Harry Judd have each won Strictly, while Aston sadly didn’t stay in the competition very long. Will you and Harry be teasing Aston because he was robbed?

“Me and Aston grew up together; our parents were in the same neighbourhood and friends growing up, so if there is any teasing going on with Aston it won’t be that – it will be all sorts!”

Do you think Aston should have won the Glitterball Trophy on last year’s series of Strictly?

“Yes, he was robbed. He definitely deserved one. Aston is an extremely talented dancer.”

The new Rip It Up show is based on the hits of the 1960s. Who are your favourite artists of that era?

“I love all the Motown and swing music, so it blends into last year’s 1950s theme. There’s a lot I like from Elvis Presley, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations; all of that music is right up my street, so I’m really looking forward to rocking it out.”

Will you be singing on stage this year?

“I don’t know if I am singing. I want to get my stamp on the show and I am sure they are going to try and persuade me.”

York Press:

Making a song and dance: Merrygold, Smith and Judd

What will you be wearing?

“Being focused on the Sixties, I think they are going to be a bit more garish than last year!”

As a boy could you have imagined you would be touring as a dancer?

“No, not at all. I have always loved performing and challenging myself, but never would I have thought I would be on stage performing in a UK dance tour. It is mind-blowing and I don’t take it for granted.

“I have always appreciated it, and been grateful for the amount of hard work my Mum put in to me and helped me get to where I am. She is an angel.”

How have your fans reacted to you being back for Rip It Up part two this year?

“It’s been very positive. I am glad people are happy to have me coming back, and that they are excited by the new cast as well. I think Aston and Harry are an absolutely incredible addition to the show.”

How have people responded to you being so open about your anxieties and difficulties as a child?

“I have to really rein it in and try and focus on what I am doing with the ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) . It has a very good part to play too, in that I get a lot of support and I have lots of parents asking me for advice about kids in similar situations, in both health and sport.

“It’s nice that people reach out to me and ask for advice. I share my story and you never know who you might affect and who you might inspire.”

Did you find your Team GB Olympics medal haul overshadowed by your Strictly triumph?

“Yes, for a year or two after Strictly. But my Mum always says, ‘Gymnast first’.”

Rip It Up: Dancing And Singing Through The 60s, with Louis Smith, Harry Judd and Aston Merrygold, York Barbican, September 21, 7.30pm. Box office: 0844 854 2757 or at yorkbarbican.co.uk