Veterans

JJ Chalmers: Wearing Military Uniform Again For Strictly Performance Was 'Incredible'

The veteran also said he is inspired by his dancing partner Amy Dowden who lives with Crohn's disease.

Former Royal Marine JJ Chalmers said it was "incredible" to wear a military uniform again for a performance on Strictly Come Dancing.

Mr Chalmers and his dance partner Amy Dowden progressed to the next round of the show after performing a jive routine on Saturday.

The veteran said the uniform had to be cleared by the Ministry of Defence before being allowed on national television. 

He told Forces News: "Within 12 hours that was it, it was sorted, tailored and on the road to me.

"I never expected to pull a uniform on ever again, and who does, and I'd made my peace with that in some regards, but the opportunity to do it again was incredible.

"To dance in it, to be in front of 11 million people in it – I’m sure many people watching this now can understand just how much of a privilege that is."

Mr Chalmers, now a TV presenter, was wounded by an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2011 and has competed in the Invictus Games.

He told Forces News he has been inspired by his Strictly Come Dancing partner Ms Dowden and how she lives with Crohn's disease.

Prince Harry, who knows JJ Chalmers from his Invictus Games days, sent a special message to the duo ahead of last week's performance (Picture: BBC Studios).

Speaking about Ms Dowden, the former lance corporal said: "Throughout that entire time [since her diagnosis] she [has been] in and out of hospital for sometimes up to a third or a quarter of the year.

"But, somehow, she still managed to get to the top of her game and become one of the best dancers in the world.

"It's that mindset that I have so much respect for, but actually I see so much similarity in."

The Duke of Sussex, who founded the Invictus Games and knows Mr Chalmers well from the competition, made a surprise appearance on the latest episode of Strictly Come Dancing, wishing the duo good luck.

"Yes, he’s proud of me as an individual, because I'm achieving something which none of us thought was possible in many regards," Mr Chalmers added.

"I think he also takes a certain amount of pride in the things that he has created that [have] allowed these opportunities."

The veteran also joked several members of the 42 Commando community are "coming out of the woodwork" as fans of the show, as the pair gear up for another challenging round.