Be sure to come dance is back on our screens this autumn, with host Eddie Kadi among the stars hoping for a shot at the Glitterball Trophy.
The eldest of four siblings, Kadi, 40, was born in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Kadi grew up in the African country and began performing at a young age thanks to his extended family’s love of all things music.
As a child, Kadi loved dancing and said: “Congo is known for its music, that is one of the riches we have besides everything else.” This has played a very big role in my work; Since I’m a guy who loved dancing from an early age, I incorporate that into my performance.”
At the age of eight, Kadi and his family moved to the UK and settled in Fulham, west London. That’s where Kadi’s interest in television began. He idolized entertainers like Ronnie Corbett and Victoria Wood (and even former ones). Strictly host Bruce Forsyth), but imagined he would become a teacher or spend his adulthood traveling rather than performing.
In the end, Kadi stumbled upon comedy by chance while studying. When his university’s African-Caribbean society couldn’t book a presenter for its upcoming talent show, society president Kadi was asked to step in. Since he had no experience with comedy, he joked about his heritage and family, which touched the audience.
“When I did stand-up early on, I didn’t think that’s what I was doing, I was just telling stories about my culture,” he said in a previous interview. “But many people from that culture could relate, and those who weren’t part of it found it insightful.”
Initially, Kadi continued the hosting direction as part of a group called Black Grape, which hosted shows across the country. At the suggestion of a friend, he took the step to stand up and quickly became a well-known figure in the university comedy scene.
The comic was soon a success. In 2006 he was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Black Comedy Awards. And just four years later, in 2010, Kadi became the first black British comedian to headline the O2 Arena.
Before his historic performance in the music hall, Kadi had approached the O2 and asked if he could perform, but was then turned away and asked to try out the smaller hall first. But after selling out the 2,000-seat room – then called indigO2 – in 2009, he was given the opportunity to perform in the larger hall the following year.
Speak with The Independent At the time, Kadi said: “Some people would say I should continue to play it safe in smaller venues, but I don’t see why I should continue to take baby steps when I’m confident I can make big leaps. “I’m trying always trying to improve and advance my career.”
Although comedy remains his first love, Kadi has pursued other professional goals in recent years. He has hosted the Olympics, the MOBOs, the BET Awards and the National Comedy Awards.
Music remains another of Kadi’s passions, and one that he has been able to combine with his presenting work. He presents BBC Radio 1 Afrobeats chart show and attended the Brit Awards this year, but has also toured as a presenter for the likes of Wizkid, Lauryn Hill and Nas, as well as Burna Boy.
Kadi is co-host of the Wheel talk Podcast with fellow comedian Babatunde Aléshé and producing a documentary for Channel 4.
Despite his varied career, Kadi has no hesitation in describing him Strictly as the “scariest thing” he’s ever done.
“Because I love dancing, right?” he said on Hits Radio’s breakfast show. “And as Congolese, as I have said many times, we dance every chance we get.
“But then you realize you’re not really dancing, just wiggling your butt. And I have these illegal hips – they just don’t listen to anyone! But I’m looking forward to learning.”
Be sure to come dance will air every Saturday on BBC One from September 16th.