Dust off your sequins. Dig out your dancing shoes. Because Strictly Come Dancing is back to liven up your Saturday nights. Oh boy…
By Simon Ward, Content Editor
How often do you sing along to a TV theme tune? Because if you’re a Strictly Come Dancing fan, then it’s Every Saturday Night, Baby. Yes, that’s right, the best TV show on Earth is back with a bang, ready to inject some glitz and glamour into the winter months. Sizzling salsas, tantalising tangos and – if you listen to Craig Revel Horwood – disappointing rumbas, daaaahling. (He’s wrong there!)
Unlike last year’s slightly shorter run, we’re getting a full season packed with 15 genuinely amazing celebrities ready to coat themselves in fake tan and clad themselves in enough sparkly diamonds to have the Queen, sat on a gold throne, in full state dress, complete with crown and sceptre, probably muttering, “Bit much, that.”
Still no Blackpool Week this year, but expect the usual themed fun across the series. Plus this year sees four new Strictly pros ready to put the huffing and puffing celebs through their paces. They are: Kai Widdrington, Nikita Kuzmin, Cameron Lombard and winner of BBC One’s The Greatest Dancer, Jowita Przystal.
There’s also a change in the judges. With Bruno Tonioli in America, and travel restrictions making flying back and forth to judge on both Dancing With The Stars and Strictly impossible, mother’s favourite and Judy Murray survivor Anton Du Beke gets his shot after temporarily sitting on the panel last year.
Anyway, enough of this. You want to know who’s taking to the dance floor. Ahead of the launch show on Sunday 18 September, with the full series flicking-and-kicking off properly from Saturday 25 September, we take a look at his year’s hopefuls, and where they might finish…
Sara Davies MBE
She employs 250 people worldwide, has received more than 30 business awards, was given an MBE in 2016 and was the youngest ever dragon on Dragon’s Den. TL;DR: even if she does go out in week one, she’s won far bigger battles than this.
Her straight-talking comedy on shows like 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown makes her the perfect sparring partner for Craig Revel Horwood across the series. As such, we must protect Judi Love at all costs. Get voting, people.
Brilliant in shows like The Crown, and the thought of his wife Emma Thompson shrieking and whooping on the front row each week is a truly thrilling thought. If he can avoid the Latin dances for a few weeks, he may build some momentum.
A TikTok superstar and chef – and yes, daughter to the other rather famous Ramsay. Social media influencers have done well on Strictly before, but those have typically been YouTubers. Will her fans be voting her through on Saturday nights?
Best known for his roles on CBBC, and has presented truly iconic shows like Blue Peter and Newsround. With an younger audience than Strictly’s, he’ll need a lot of parent nagging from the kids if he’s to progress. Still, Karim didn’t do too badly…
The former Harlequins and England star sits in the middle here because sports stars can go either way. A rugby player has never won Strictly (Kenny Logan got to week 9, Gavin Henson to week 11, Austin Healey to week 12). At least, until this series…
Nina Wadia OBE
If you’re doing a Voting Venn Diagram™ for comedy and soap fans, Goodness Gracious Me and EastEnders star Nina Wadia is right in the middle of those circles. If she dances OK, she’ll do well. But if she can dance well, here’s your outsider, folks.
Adam Peaty MBE
What a booking! Seriously, give the booking team the glitterball. Like, how did they pull this off? He was winning gold in the Olympics only last week, wasn’t he? He will struggle with his frame but how could anyone vote off Adam Peaty?
Another great booking! An actor, TV writer, author, and he’s acclaimed at all three. But forget all that. Remember when he did “What A Feeling” from Flashdance on Let’s Dance For Comic Relief back in 2009? Basically: he’s a contender.
Her CV as a TV presenter reads like she can take on any challenge and smash it. If Strictly is all about the journey, expect AJ to start off well, but get better and better as the weeks go on. And as we write that, we are now counting down the seconds ’til show number one.
As the first deaf celebrity on Strictly Come Dancing, there will be a huge amount of pressure. Strictly deals with disability as it should – judging the dancing and nothing else. As such, we think soapstar Rose will go far.
The former Great British Bake Off winner becomes part of Strictly Come Dancing’s first all-male couple, following Nicola Adams in the first same-sex pairing last series. Can he do the Bake Off/Strictly double? If he can, he should possibly be elected our actual King.
It’s hard to imagine Katie not making it all the way to the final. The Corrie faithful are big voters, and soap stars absolutely throw themselves into the competition with a sense of wild abandonment, not seen in, say, more reserved morning breakfast presenters.
Will he win this year’s Strictly Come Dancing? We’re saying yes – he’s in the mould of past winners (including McFly bandmate Harry Judd). But Bill Bailey won last year, so really, what do we know? Let the competition commence!
Strictly Come Dancing start date
Strictly Come Dancing starts with its launch show on BBC One HD (CH 101/108) on Saturday 18 September at 7.45pm. The series begins properly on Saturday 25 September and will run until the grand final on Saturday 18 December. The results shows will run concurrently on Sundays.
If you miss any episode, it will be available in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV set, V HD Box, TiVo box, Virgin TV V6 box or Virgin TV 360 box connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.
Image credits: Strictly Come Dancing @ BBC / Guy Levy