The BBC is reportedly eyeing astronaut Tim Peake as one of the stars of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.
A source close to the hit show has said ‘he would be a dream signing’ as the Beeb begins to unveil its line-up for the latest series.
The 44-year-old from Westbourne near Emsworth gained celebrity status with his stint on the International Space Station this year.
His popularity was apparent when he appeared at the Farnborough Air Show in July, where he posed for pictures and spoke to a crowd that included many children.
Over 7,000 youngsters attended the event, geared towards inspiring them to get involved in science.
He said: “It still seems fairly surreal that less than four weeks ago I was on board the International Space Station travelling at 25 times the speed of sound and looking down on planet Earth.”
But while his celebrity and easy charm position him to be a hit on the show, there is one potential deal breaker that could push any debut back to 2017.
Having landed on June 18 after six months on the International Space Station (ISS), he is in the initial stages of a two-year rehab program.
After returning from space expeditions, astronauts must undergo extensive treatment to recover muscle strength that is lost in the zero atmosphere environment of the ISS. As well as having to relearn how to walk, bones weakened in space have an elevated risk of breaking.
Were he to participate, he would join former shadow chancellor Ed Balls – who, on Monday, was the first contestant to be announced. The 49-year-old politician says he is already getting in some pre-emptive exercise, claiming that he would do “12 hours a day training,” hoping to “last a week, maybe two.”
Other stars who have been linked to the show include pop star Will Young, presenter Laura Whitmore, Actress Lesley Joseph and former royal butler Paul Burrell.
The 2016 Strictly Come Dancing premier will air on BBC One in September.