“DA DA DA DA DA DA DER, DA DA DA DA DA!”
What is Strictly Come Dancing?
Strictly Come Dancing (or Strictly to its fans) is a long running BBC dance show that is an annual affair on weekend primetime television.
15 celebrities partner with professional dancers to compete weekly in ballroom and latin dance routines and are then graded by four celebrity judges. There is also a public telephone vote where one of the celebrities is voted out of the competition.
Strictly was first broadcast in 2004 and is about to enter its 21st series of the much loved and widely syndicated show. The launch show is scheduled to take place on 16th September, with live shows being shown weekly afterwards.
Who are the judges, hosts and professionals this year?
No changes this year, with head judge Shirley Ballas joined by Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse.
The show will be hosted again by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, although the spin off show It Takes Two will be presented by Janette Manrana and Fleur East, after Ryan Clark announced his departure back in April.
All your favourite professional dancers are back, other than Cameron Lombard and Amy Dowden (who has sadly been diagnosed with breast cancer and is unable to take part).
The full list of professionals taking part is:
Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Vito Coppola, Graziano Di Prima, Carlos Gu, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Gorka Márquez, Luba Mushtuk, Lauren Oakley, Giovanni Pernice, Jowita Przystał, Johannes Radebe, Michelle Tsiakkas, Kai Widdrington, and Nancy Xu.
We will find out who has been partnered with which celebrities this weekend.
Who are this year’s Strictly contestants?
Bobby Brazier – 11/4
Bobby is the son of presenter Jeff Brazier and the late reality star Jade Goody and burst on to the scene in 2022 as Freddie Slater in Eastenders, a role he won an NTA award recently. The moment went viral due to his dad’s proud and teary reaction.
The 20-year-old former model was installed as the immediate favourite by Betfred and stated:
“I can’t wait to start training like a professional dancer and adding a few moves to my locker. I’m looking forward to performing in-front of everyone, it’s going to be so much fun!”
Angela Scanlon – 9/2
BBC and RTE presenter Angela Scanlon is just behind Brazier in the pre-show betting and will have the collective might of the Irish voting people behind her.
The 39-year-old redhead has presented The One Show, Robot Wars and T in the Park.
Layton Williams – 11/2
British actor, singer and dancer, Williams is mainly famous for starring in BBC Three drama Bad Education, as well as several high profile roles in the West End.
The 28-year-old played Billy Elliott in the London musical at the age of 12 and Jamie New in Everyone’s Talking About Jamie from 2019-2022.
With life long experience in dance schools and on the stage, you would expect the Bury-born lad to take to Strictly like a duck to water.
Nigel Harman – 6/1
The 50-year-old Actor will be immediately recognisable to most as ‘Dirty’ Dennis Rickman in the BBC soap Eastenders. He has more recently appeared in Casualty, Downton Abbey and Mount Pleasant.
Harman also has a stage background, including an Olivier award win for his performance in Shrek the Musical.
“I’m amazed, excited, and terrified to be doing Strictly. As an armchair fan of the show I have watched in awe as people have twirled and gyrated across the screen. And now it’s my turn…..gulp!”
Angela Rippon – 10/1
Angela Rippon will become the oldest contestant in Strictly history, when she steps onto the boards next week.
The 78-year-old journalist, newsreader, writer and presenter will roll back the years and famously danced and high-kicked on our screens back in 1976 as part of the Morecambe and Wise Show.
“Having been a fan of Strictly since day one, and as a former presenter of Come Dancing, this will be quite an adventure for me. A scary one, considering I’m about to be 79.
“But I’m really looking forward to the challenge, and perhaps being able to learn to dance the Argentinian Tango!”
Zara McDermott – 12/1
Love Island contestant, Made in Chelsea star and documentary filmmaker, Zara McDermott has squeezed a huge amount into her 26 years.
It’s unsure how much dance training she has but the bookies have installed her amongst the favourites.
Adam Thomas – 16/1
English Actor and reality star, Thomas is primarily famous for his roles as Donte Charles in Waterloo Road and Adam Barton in Emmerdale.
The 35-year-old Mancunian also finished third on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! back in 2016, so is used to a public vote.
Judging by his comments, he seems short at 16/1 to win the competition:
“I can’t dance to save my life but I’m buzzing to learn and have a good laugh with my pro. Get me on that dance floor…I can’t wait!”
Annabel Croft – 16/1
Former British tennis player and current presenter on Eurosport for their tennis coverage, Croft also has a history in reality shows.
The 57-year-old starred in Famous, Rich and Homeless, as well as winning the show Celebrity Wrestling.
Croft is hoping to find some happiness on the dancefloor after the sad death of her husband earlier this year.
Nikita Kanda – 20/1
27-year-old Nikita Kanda is the current host of the BBC Asian Network Breakfast Show and was recently nominated for presenter of the year.
The popular Brummie has some theatre experience, which suggests she will be able to learn the routines and should have a good backing for the popular vote.
Amanda Abbington – 25/1
Amanda is recognisable to BBC viewers from her time playing Mary Morstan in the detective show Sherlock.
She has two children from her marriage to Sherlock co-star and former husband Martin Freeman. Abbington is now re-married to former escapologist Jonathan Goodwin.
The 51-year-old has a long history in theatre, so should have no worries about treading the boards once again.
“I’m thrilled to have been asked to do Strictly. I’m actually really shy and self-conscious so this will be a great opportunity for me to overcome those things!
Eddie Kadi – 25/1
Comedian, Presenter and Actor, Eddie Kadi was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire) but moved to London in the early 90’s.
The 40-year-old started his career in comedy, selling out the O2 and won best comedy newcomer at the BCA awards in 2006.
Since then, Kadi has presented on BBC Radio 1 Xtra, hosting the Official UK Afrobeats Charts Show.
He is also a regular panellist on Fighting Talk on BBC Radio 5 as well as acting in BBC childrens show Tinga Tinga Tales and various film projects.
Ellie Leach – 25/1
22-year-old Ellie Leach is known to the UK public for her time playing Faye Windass in the television soap Coronation Street.
“It still doesn’t feel real that I’m going to be doing Strictly!! It’s always been a dream of mine so I guess dreams really do come true!!!!”
Les Dennis – 50/1
Surely I don’t need to explain this one?
Ok, I will… 69-year-old Actor, Presenter, Comedian and all round living legend, Les Dennis has finally been convinced in to doing Strictly.
Best known for his early comedy work on New Faces and with Russ Abbot brought him to the nation’s attention before his time presenting the game show Family Fortunes brought him to the masses.
Since then, Dennis has acted in Brookside, Coronation Street and a memorable starring turn in Extras with Ricky Gervais.
His name also regularly trends on Twitter, whenever former wife Amanda Holden posts a picture.
A long time stage star, Dennis can’t wait to get stuck into Strictly..
“I’m thrilled to be doing this iconic wonderful show as I approach my 70th birthday! In my career, I’ve always gone for challenges outside my comfort zone and this is the ultimate one! Can’t wait.”
Jody Cundy – 50/1
One of Britain’s greatest Paralympian swimmers and cyclists, Cundy has competed in seven summer Paralympics and has won eight golds.
The 44-year-old won his 23rd world title as recently as August and was awarded a CBE back in the 2022 New Year’s Honours List.
Krishnan Guru-Murthy – 66/1
53-year-old newsreader Guru-Murphy has presented the Channel 4 news for some 25 years now.
His hard-hitting interview style is immediately recognisable and many people have either refused to be interviewed by him or have walked out mid-interview.
“I’m surprised, delighted and slightly confused to find myself taking part in Strictly on the basis of ‘you only live once!’ and I can’t wait to start learning to dance, but I am slightly worried about my general decrepitude.”