Strictly Christmas Special: Mark Wright reveals why Michelle Keegan WON'T be ...

Strictly Come Dancing returns for its annual festive special on Christmas Day.

And among the stars returning to this year's dance floor are Mark Wright and Gemma Atkinson.

While actress Gemma will be partnered this time around with her now-boyfriend Gorka Márquez - having met him backstage on the show when she took part two years ago - TOWIE star Mark won't have his wife floor-side to cheer him on.

Going solo: Mark Wright has revealed why wife Michelle Keegan won't be cheering him on during the Strictly Christmas special [pictured with pro Janette Manrara]

Going solo: Mark Wright has revealed why wife Michelle Keegan won't be cheering him on during the Strictly Christmas special [pictured with pro Janette Manrara]

'My mum and my sister [will be there],' he said, explaining that actress wife Michelle Keegan will be sitting this one out.

'My wife is working so wont be able to be there. My family were there all the time the first time around.'

Meanwhile Gemma admitted that dancing with Gorka this time around has been eye-opening, as she's seen a new authoritative side to her partner - with whom she shares baby daughter Mia, six-months-old.

'It's weird but it's good [dancing with a new partner]. You kind of see it all from a new perspective, which is good,' she said. 'Dancing with Aljaž [Škorjanec] was so amazing. Dancing with Gorka is funny because he's very authoritative in the dance studio, which makes me laugh because at home it's me that wears the trousers!

Saucy: Meanwhile Gemma Atkinson admitted that dancing with Gorka Márquez this time around has been eye-opening, as she's seen a new authoritative side to her partner

Saucy: Meanwhile Gemma Atkinson admitted that dancing with Gorka Márquez this time around has been eye-opening, as she's seen a new authoritative side to her partner

Unavailable: 'My mum and my sister [will be there],' he said, explaining that actress wife Michelle Keegan will be sitting this one out. 'My wife is working so wont be able to be there'

Unavailable: 'My mum and my sister [will be there],' he said, explaining that actress wife Michelle Keegan will be sitting this one out. 'My wife is working so wont be able to be there'

'I've never seen Gorka at work so to speak, but he's a fantastic teacher. He's not giving me an easy ride, he's put his foot down for the time we're rehearsing - phone down, shoes on and let's get on with it.

'He was quite strict with me, which I liked.'

Hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, the show wouldn't be complete without the festive foursome on the judging panel.

Back to it: Joe Sugg will be dancing with Dianne Buswell - who, since being partnered with her on the show last year, has started a romance with off-camera

 Back to it: Joe Sugg will be dancing with Dianne Buswell - who, since being partnered with her on the show last year, has started a romance with off-camera

Hostesses: Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will of course front the special episode

Hostesses: Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will of course front the special episode

Head Judge Shirley Ballas returns joining Motsi Mabuse on her first Christmas special alongside fellow judges, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood.

Other pairings see Chizzy Akudolu with Graziano Di Prima, Debbie McGee with Kevin Clifton

read more from dailymail.....

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

PREV Bar Refaeli gives BIRTH to her third child in three and a half years
NEXT Sofia Richie and Scott Disick bundle up for some shopping in Aspen