Great Britain

Strictly’s Katie McGlynn paired with Gorka Marquez and not former flame Giovanni Pernice

STRICTLY Come Dancing star Katie McGlynn has been paired with pro dancer Gorka Marquez - and NOT her former beau Giovanni Pernice.

The Coronation Street star was seen meeting her dance partner for the first time on the opening show of the BBC ballroom competition on Saturday.

But instead of producers setting up Katie, 28, for a sizzling reunion with her former flame, she was partnered up with dancer Gorka, 31.

Rumours had swelled that she was due to reunite with Giovanni ahead of her dancing debut in the ballroom contest next weekend.

Kate and Gorka sat side by side following the reveal of their pairing as the actress told fans at home she was "thrilled" with the choice.

"I am beyond thrilled. We're gonna get on like a house on fire," she gushed over her dance partner as they shared a warm hug on screen.

"Bring on Strictly means I have to be myself. It is nerve wracking I have to say, but I'm excited about it," Katie introduced herself to the show.

She was seen donning a stylish orange suit before heading out to the set of Coronation Street to meet with Gorka for the first time.

She joked the judges should be ready to "hand her the trophy" as she oozed confidence in the pre-recorded footage alongside the dancer.

Gorka and Katie went on to chat live with host Claudia Winkleman, looking the part as they both dressed in shimmering black and gold outfits.

The professional dancer, who is married to former Hollyoaks actress Gemma Atkinson, looked equally happy with his choice of celebs.

The shock pairing comes after bosses shared their eagerness to partner up Katie with Giovanni, who once shared a romantic relationship.

Rumours swelled that they had been together five years ago, long before Giovanni got together with his girlfriend, Love Island star Maura Higgins.

However, producers worried that pairing would cause trouble between the current couple - and swiftly decided against the match.

An insider said: "It would be a dream ticket for Strictly producers, but a potential nightmare for the trio concerned.

"The show’s bosses always strive to pair up pros and celebrities likely to have the most chemistry. In that respect, Giovanni and Katie are an obvious choice.

"But they have to consider if that could have the knock-on effect of making life so difficult outside of the rehearsal studio that it might impact on their performances."

Katie and Giovanni were linked back in 2017 as reports suggested they had been out with pals on a "dinner and cinema" style date.

However, the actress has always denied speculation they were dating - recently shutting down the rumours once more.

“Don’t worry. I’ve no time for a man," she exclusively told The Sun last week. "“Giovanni is a really nice guy but I don’t really know him. We’re on perfectly good terms but Maura has nothing to worry about.

“I would never get involved with anyone that had a girlfriend. I understand that happens but I’d avoid that like the plague. If someone has a partner, they are completely off-limits.

“I never want to be that person. The amount of heartache the other person would be going through — it’s just really not nice and I’m not about that.”

Strictly shock as BBC Breakfast's Dan Walker AND Corrie's Katie McGlynn are announced for 2021 series

Football news:

Gasperini on 2:3 with Manchester United: They have enough spark in such an environment to get started. I don't know if Atalanta could have done more
Sulscher on 3-2 with Atalanta: Manchester United have a tradition of turning over matches. We believed in ourselves
The Premier League clubs have won all 4 Champions League matches this week. Spanish teams have 10 points in 5 matches, Italian teams have 6 points in 4 games, Bundesliga clubs have 1 win and 3 losses
Maguire on Ronaldo Atalanta's winning goal: We see them every day in training. An important goal
Thomas Tuchel: Lukaku has a dislocated ankle, Werner has a hip injury
Ronaldo scored twice from a free kick in the game with Atalanta: past the goal and into the opponent
Bruno Fernandes made an assist in the 4th match of Manchester United in a row