Meet Strictly’s Adam Thomas, the Waterloo Road star with fame in the family

It’s time for the nation to get dance fever once again, as Strictly Come Dancing season is here.

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman are leading proceedings as 15 celebrities test out their footwork with the help of their professional dance partners.

Actor Adam Thomas is one of this year’s crop of familiar faces – and he will certainly be recognisable to soap fans.

Thomas was born in Salford, Greater Manchester on 11 August 1988. He and his twin, Love Island season two finalist Scott, are the younger brothers of former Coronation Street star Ryan Thomas.

While all three brothers are in the public eye, Adam followed Ryan on the acting route and made his on-screen debut with a guest role on the daytime soap, Doctors, in 2002.

Though he’d appear twice more in the programme – each time as a different character – Thomas’s breakout role came in 2006 as Donte Charles in the school drama Waterloo Road.

He left the programme in 2009, and began playing Adam Barton in ITV’s Yorkshire-based soap, Emmerdale.

Friendly family man Adam was an instant hit with audiences and led to Thomas winning Best Newcomer at the 2010 TV Choice Awards.

During his time in the soap, Thomas tackled several high-pressured plotlines, including a grief-induced breakdown after his father’s death, fertility issues, and falsely admitting to a murder to protect his mother.

After eight years and two nominations for Sexiest Male at the Inside Soap Awards, Thomas left Emmerdale in 2018 to pursue other entertainment opportunities, including presenting and theatre work.

Adam Thomas and the cast of Emmerdale in 2017 (Getty Images)
Adam Thomas and the cast of Emmerdale in 2017 (Getty Images)

In a statement on the show’s website, Thomas told fans: “I've had an amazing eight years working on Emmerdale and I've loved every minute of it. It was a really tough decision to take to leave, but I felt that now is the time to move on and challenge myself with some new roles.”

As well as his work on the soap, Thomas had endeared himself to audiences even more with his stint on ITV’s winter staple survival show I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2016. He finished in third place and ended up hosting its companion show, I’m A Celebrity: Extra Camp, in 2019.

In 2023, Thomas reprised his role as Donte in the rebooted Waterloo Road.

Thomas has also had plenty to celebrate in his personal life, over the years. In September 2014, he and his long-term partner Caroline Thomas (née Daly) welcomed their first son, Teddy. They married in 2017, and then added to their family with a daughter named Elsie in May 2018.

As Caroline is a dance teacher, some fans have already speculated that Thomas may have had years of secret training prior to hitting the Strictly dancefloor.

However, in an interview with The Sun, the soap star denied any prior dance experience, despite being in close contact with a professional.

“I said this to my wife the other day, the fact that my wife is a dance teacher, and I have never learnt how to dance just baffles me, but then she said to me that I haven’t taught her how to act either,” he explained.

“I have had no dance experience so this is definitely a first for me but again, I am excited to learn and get out there and do my thing.”

Ahead of the launch show, Thomas vowed to “bring a lot of laughter” to the series, and noted that his professional partner will ideally like joking around as much as he does.

“My professional dancer is definitely going to need a sense of humour, because I just like to have fun and enjoy it,” he said in a promotional video.

Strictly Come Dancing airs on Saturday nights on BBC One.