Muamba picked for Strictly special

Essex County Standard: Fabrice Muamba is to appear in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special Fabrice Muamba is to appear in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special

Miracle footballer Fabrice Muamba is to crown his comeback from the dead by transferring his nifty footwork to Strictly Come Dancing.

The former Bolton Wanderers midfielder - who suffered a heart attack during an FA Cup tie - will be among the guest stars on the one-off Christmas edition of the BBC1 show.

Also due to appear in the festive line-up of the programme is JLS star JB Gill - who found fame as a result of appearing on Strictly's rival programme The X Factor. And the Christmas edition is expected to include an array of contestants who have dazzled viewers in years gone by, including Kelly Brook and Rachel Stevens.

Muamba's addition to the show comes just weeks after he told of his desire to strut his stuff on the dancefloor. He said in a recent interview that he turned down ITV's Dancing On Ice, but added: "I'd do Strictly Come Dancing. I love my salsa, so I'd be well up for that."

The 24-year-old collapsed in front of 35,000 fans in a match against Spurs earlier this year when he suffered his heart problem.

The Zaire-born player, who recently tied the knot with Shauna Magunda, was technically dead for 78 minutes but was brought back after repeated shocks from a defibrillator, which made his heart beat again. He has since given up football, although he has been allowed to take part in short kickabouts, including one with a group of youngsters for Children In Need.

Muamba - who came to the UK at the age of 11 - will dance with Aliona Vilani who made an early exit from this year's competition through a damaged ankle while her partner Johnny Ball was voted out during her absence.

A show insider said: "This booking comes on the back of our most successful series ever."

Also due to return for the Christmas special will be last year's runner-up Chelsee Healey plus newsreaders Natasha Kaplinsky and Chris Hollins.

The full line-up is due to be confirmed in around a week.

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