Strictly Come Dancing is underway with a new season and a brand-new cast of celebrity contestants.
The dance competition is back for a full-length series, having aired for a shorter run of episodes last year due to the pandemic. Fifteen couples will take part, rather than last year’s 12.
However, the show won’t travel to Blackpool for the second consecutive year, as social distancing is not possible in the backstage area.
So far, five contestants have been eliminated from the series, while comic Robert Webb was forced to leave the competition due to problems with his heart.
Here’s every celebrity competing on the show this year...
Fletcher is not the first McFly member to take part in Strictly, with drummer Harry Judd having won the show 10 years ago with Aliona Vilani. His wife, Giovanna, won the most recent series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!.
“I think the fact that I’m actually going to be dancing on Strictly this year has only just started to sink in while I’m writing this!” the 36-year-old wrote, describing how he was “excited” but “terrified” to take part.
“My kids were excited too until I started showing them my best dad-dancing in the kitchen. I’m not sure how far they’ll get me in the competition but I can’t wait to add some new moves to my embarrassing dad-dancing repertoire.”
He is partnered with Amy Dowden, with the pair missing one week of the competition after testing positive for Covid-19. Read more about Fletcher here.
Robert Webb / WITHDRAWN
Actor and comedian Robert Webb is the next celebrity to take part in Strictly 2021.
Best known for his roles in sitcoms Peep Show and Back, the Bafta winner also took part in and won Let’s Dance for Comic Relief in 2009 while performing to “What a Feeling” from Flashdance.
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Speaking about joining Strictly, Webb, 48, joked that he couldn’t wait to “get packed into a spandex onesie and fired from a glitter cannon directly at Claudia Winkleman”.
“My goal is to try and survive from week to week without causing serious injury to myself or innocent bystanders. I know it’s going to be a challenge. To do well in this competition is a test of character, although mainly it’s a test of dancing.”
He was partnered with Dianne Buswell. Read more about Webb here.
However, Webb announced on Wednesday 13 October that he and Buswell would not be returning to the competition due to problems with his heart.
The actor had open-heart surgery two years ago and had hoped he was “fit enough” to compete on Strictly, but says he realised in rehearsals that he has “bitten off way more than I could chew for this stage in my recovery”.
AJ Odudu is a TV presenter who previously co-hosted Big Brother’s Bit on the Side and has appeared on shows such as Richard Osman’s House of Games, Celebrity Karaoke Club and Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins.
She currently presents Apocalypse Wow on ITV2.
“I am beyond chuffed that I am going to be on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing and I’m so glad I can finally tell my mum. Her face will be a picture, she’s going to be over the moon!” Odudu, 33, said.
“I absolutely love the show and am fully committed to making the most of every second of the Strictly experience. Bring it on!”
She is partnered with Kai Widdrington. Read more about her here.
The winner of The Great British Bake Off series three in 2013, John Whaite is a chef and TV personality.
He’ll be competing in Strictly’s first ever all-male competitive partnership, following on from Nicola Adams and Katya Jones ,who danced together last series.
Speaking about appearing on the show, Whaite, 33, said that he was excited to dance with another man as “a great step forward in representation and inclusion”.
“I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth,” he said. “Whoever it is I’m paired with, I hope they are up for a challenge as I want our routines to include lots of spectacular lifts!”
Whaite is partnered with Johannes Radebe. Read more about him here.
Children’s TV presenter Rhys Stephenson has also been announced for Strictly 2021.
The actor is best known as the face of the CBBC channel and has also presented on shows such as Blue Peter, Saturday Mash-Up! and Newsround.
Stephenson says he’s excited about every part of the show – even getting criticism from Craig Revel Horwood.
“I am BUZZING to be a part of Strictly Come Dancing 2021,” he said. “I have dreamt about being on this show, and I know for a fact that it is going to exceed every expectation. I cannot wait to experience it all: the costumes, the orchestra, even Craig’s glare! I am READY!”
Stephenson is partnered with Nancy Xu. Read more about him here.
During an appearance on Good Morning Britain, Dragons’ Den investor Sara Davies was revealed as the latest member of the Strictly class of 2021.
The entrepreneur joined the BBC business programme in 2019, having taken her company Crafter’s Companion from a project she started at university to a business employing more than 250 people worldwide.
Discussing joining Strictly, she said: “My mum and dad are going to be so excited. I’m really nervous because so far the producers keep asking me if I can dance. Truth be told – I haven’t got a clue! I’ve not danced since I did ballet lessons when I was little.”
Davies also said that she hopes to bring her “tenacity, drive and determination” to the dance floor. She is partnered with Aljaz Skorjanec. Read more about her here.
Katie McGlynn / ELIMINATED
Another Strictly cast member was announced on BBC Breakfast this week, as it was revealed that Katie McGlynn will be taking part in the forthcoming series.
The actor is best known for her work on Waterloo Road and Coronation Street, while she currently plays Becky Quentin in Hollyoaks.
Revealing that she’s been keeping her casting on the show a secret for months, McGlynn said: “It’s been so hard keeping it a secret, but I can finally say that I’m getting ready to shake my shimmy and become part of the Strictly family!
“I’m really not a dancer, but I’m so excited to learn a new skill on this crazy journey and cannot wait to slip into some sequins along the way... I’m fully ready to let my hair down and do something different, even if it is completely outside of my comfort zone. I can’t promise that I’ll be the best, but I’m going to give it 110% on the dance floor! As long as I don’t fall over I’ll be happy.”
McGlynn was partnered with Gorka Marquez. Read more about her here.
She was eliminated in week three after performing to “Cruella DeVil” during Movie Week. Judi Love beat her in the dance-off on 10 October, winning three of the judge’s votes.
Also revealed to be taking part was TV presenter Dan Walker.
The BBC Breakfast host, who has presented the daily TV show since 2016, is also known for his sports coverage across the BBC.
Of Strictly, he said: “I am definitely excited, a little bit worried, mostly terrified and a small part of me is considering going into hiding!
“My kids have only ever asked me to go on two shows… Saturday Mash Up and Strictly. I did Saturday Mash Up this summer so… it’s time to embrace the sequins.”
Walker is partnered with Nadiya Bychkova. Read more about him here.
Two more names were announced on This Morning on Wednesday (11 August), the first being Tilly Ramsay.
The chef and influencer, who is the daughter of Gordon Ramsay, has more than 9.5 million followers on TikTok and has presented cookery content on CBBC and ITV.
Tilly, 19, said that she was “excited and grateful” to be joining the show, adding: “I’m always up for fun new challenges and this will be my biggest adventure yet!
“I’m going to put my heart and soul into this and can’t wait to get my dancing shoes on and show my Dad how it’s really done! Bring on the glitz, glamour and sequins!”
Ramsay is partnered with Nikita Kuzmin. Read more about her here.
Greg Wise / ELIMINATED
Greg Wise, the 55-year-old actor, is best known for his appearance in Sense and Sensibility opposite Emma Thompson, who he later married. In recent years, he has appeared in films such as A Private War and Military Wives, as well as playing Lord Mountbatten in The Crown.
The Last Christmas writer said: “My beautiful sister was a huge disco queen. She left our world almost exactly 5 years ago in a glitter ball coffin. This is for her. My gorgeous Diva sis, who would have been insane with excitement that her little bro was doing this.
“I will channel her, as her bro can’t dance - but I’m thrilled to be dipping my toes, knees, hips and arms into this wonderful world, and hope to make her proud, and obviously make her laugh...”
Wise was partnered with Karen Hauer but was voted off in week four after losing a dance-off against comedian Judi Love. Read more about him here.
Nina Wadia / ELIMINATED
Nina Wadia is best known for playing Zainab Massood in EastEnders.
Speaking about her appointment, she said: “I’ve always danced like nobody’s watching, so if we blindfold the judges I could actually win Strictly 2021.”
She added: “I think I should do this before I’m too old any more. I think this is last year I’m ever wearing heels. I think I think there’s a lot happened in the last couple of years and I just want to grab life by the balls.”
Wadia became the first Strictly contestant to be voted off. series, in week two, after facing Coronation Street star Katie McGlynn and Gorka Marquez in the dance-off with her partner, Neil Jones.
Actor Rose Ayling-Ellis, best known for playing Frankie Lewis in EastEnders, will be Strictly’s first ever deaf contestant.
She said: “To be the first deaf contestant on Strictly Come Dancing is sooooo exciting.. and a little bit scary. It is the hardest secret I have ever had to keep so it feels amazing to finally have this out in the open! I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers.
“But I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill and even better I get to learn whilst wearing beautiful dresses made especially for me!”
She is partnered with Giovanni Pernice. Read more about her here.
Fresh off his Olympics success, Adam Peaty MBE has joined this year’s Strictly lineup.
“I think this will come as a surprise to a lot of people, but I’m so excited to finally share the news that I’ll be joining Strictly this year,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool. I’m hoping my competitive nature is going to compensate for my dancing abilities!”
The swimmer won gold medals the Men’s 100m Breaststroke. at the Rio 2016 Olympics and at Tokyo 2020.
He holds the world record in 50 metre and 100 metre breaststroke events, and, in 2017, was given an MBE in the New Year Honours for his services to swimming.
He is partnered with Katya Jones. Read more about him here.
Judi Love / ELIMINATED
Actor and comedian Judi Love will be a contestant on this year’s Strictly.
She said: “I think I am still in shock that I will be part of this amazing show. I’ve watched it for many years and admired the phenomenal abilities of these dancers and celebrities that have taken part and dedicated themselves to learning a new craft.
“I’m truly looking forward to pushing myself in something that I could have only dreamed of doing and now it’s actually coming true!! I can’t lie I’m soooo nervous but excited at the same time!!”
The stand-up comic is a regular panellist on Loose Women, where her appointment was announced. She won fans with her video series Quarantine Date Nights, which she launched during lockdown.
Love was partnered with Graziano Di Prima, but was forced to miss of a week of the show after testing positive for Covid-19. She returned the following Saturday (30 October), but was then eliminated from the competition after facing Peaty in the dance-off. Read more about her here.
Ugo Monye / ELIMINATED
Former rugby player and sports pundit Ugo Monye was the final celebrity to be announced for this year’s competition. The 38-year-old played for England from 2009 and retired in 2015, going on to host rugby coverage for BT Sport, ITV and the BBC.
“What a dream come true! Strictly is the biggest entertainment show on TV and I can’t wait to show everyone I’ve got more than just dad dancing moves,” he said in a statement on joining the show.
“My two beautiful daughters never had a chance to see me on the rugby pitch, so to know they can watch me waltzing and twirling every week is really special to me. I love an outfit at the best of times, so bring on the sequins!”
Monye was partnered on the show with reigning Strictly champion Oti Mabuse. He was given a bye during week four of the competition after sustaining a back injury, but returned in week five where he was eliminated. Read more about him here.
Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday 6 November at 6.45pm on BBC One.
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