Get your dancing shoes on as a new season of fresh talent on Strictly Come Dancing is set to return to the screens.
Season 21 of the show will kick off on September 16, with hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, and judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, and Anton Du Beke ready to take their panel seats.
And this year, after weeks of rumours, the first of the celebrity contestants participating have finally been announced.
Here are all the names confirmed so far.
At the age of 15, Annabel Croft became the youngest British competitor at Wimbledon in 95 years.
She still contributes to the coverage of the matches and other tennis tournaments for the BBC, Sky, Amazon Prime, ITV, and Discovery as a presenter, commentator, and pundit.
Additionally, Croft has hosted entertainment programmes like Treasure Hunt and Inceptor.
Croft expressed excitement at “swapping tennis balls for glitter balls”.
Former EastEnders actor Nigel Harman, who played Dennis Rickman in the soap, expressed his “amazement, excitement, and terror” at joining the cast.
For his work as the roguish Rickman in Walford from 2003 to 2005, screen and stage actor and director Harman garnered numerous accolades, including Most Popular Newcomer at the National Television Awards.
As Max Cristie, the clinical lead, Harman has recently joined the cast of the BBC medical drama Casualty.
Additionally, he has made appearances on television in Downton Abbey and the movie Blood Diamond, as well as in Guys and Dolls and Shrek the Musical on London’s West End, for which he received an Olivier Award.
Ellie Leach is best known for playing Faye Windass on the ITV soap Coronation Street for 12 years.
The 22-year-old has been nominated for multiple British Soap Awards and Inside Soap Awards for her role, but left the cobbles in May 2023.
“It still doesn’t feel real that I’m going to be doing Strictly!” she said in a statement. “It’s always been a dream of mine so I guess dreams really do come true!”
World and Paralympic champion Jody Cundy has represented Britain at seven Paralympics, winning eight gold medals across both swimming and cycling events.
The 44-year-old has also competed in multiple World Championships, winning 23 titles, and was last year made a CBE for services to cycling. In 2021, he became the first man in Paralympics GB history to win medals at seven different games.
“[Strictly is] so far away from what I’m used to, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and pushing myself way out of my comfort zone, especially as I’m always last onto the dance floor,” he said. “Can’t wait to get stuck in, bring on the glitter and sequins!”
Best known for playing Adam Baron in ITV’s Emmerdale, Adam Thomas also appeared on the 2016 edition of I’m a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here.
The 34-year-old actor then went on to co-host the spin-off series I’m a Celebrity: Extra Camp, and has recently reprised his role in BBC One drama Waterloo Road.
“I can’t dance to save my life but I’m buzzing to learn and have a good laugh with my pro,” Thomas said. “Get me on that dance floor... I can’t wait!”
The first celebrity contestant confirmed for this year’s show was 49-year-old actress Amanda Abbington.
Best known for her roles in Sherlock, Mr Selfridge, and in the recent West End show The Unfriend by Steven Moffat, she has also recently taken roles in UK TV comedy feature We Are Not Alone, Netflix fantasy series Lockwood & Co. and BBC Two anthology Inside No. 9.
“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!” Abbington said.
“Plus, I get to learn to dance, which I am incredibly excited about. I’m really looking forward to the training, too, I’m quite competitive as my family and friends will tell you. I can’t wait to start!”
Former newsreader Angela Rippon will also be taking to the dance floor this autumn. The 78-year-old has a career spanning more than half a decade, from current affairs to quiz shows. She even hosted the original version of Strictly, which was called Come Dancing, more than 30 years ago.
In 2004, she was awarded an OBE in recognition of her services to Broadcasting, Charity and the Arts, then, in the 2017 New Year Honours, Angela was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to dementia care.
She currently presents BBC’s Rip-Off Britain and is a regular on Morning Live and The One 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,” Rippon said. “But I’m really looking forward to the challenge, and perhaps being able to learn to dance the Argentinian Tango!”
Stage and screen actor Layton Williams has performed in the West End, giving performances as the title role in Billy Elliot and Everyone’s Talking About Jamie.
His other stage shows include Thriller Live, Rent, Hairspray, and New Adventures, and he is best known to viewers for playing Stephen Carmichael in the Bad Education movie and recently rebooted series.
“Absolutely buzzing to confirm that I will be taking part in THE most iconic dance competition in the UK!” Williams said. “It’s time to bring it to the Ballroom. So excited to learn new skills from the best. Bring on the sequins… ALL the sequins!”
53-year-old Krishnan Guru-Murthy became the fourth contestant to be announced. Having joined Channel 4 News in 1998, he’s the broadcaster’s longest-serving current presenter, covering major events from the Omagh bombing to the 9/11 attacks and from the Arab Spring to the Ukraine war.
“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,” he said. “I know I’m going to love it and have a brilliant time and just hope I’m not the only one enjoying my participation.”
Forty-year-old Eddie Kadi is a multi-award-winning stand-up comedian and radio presenter.
The first British Black comic to headline the O2 Arena in London, he has hosted the prestigious Mobo Awards and appeared on numerous TV formats including Blankety Blank, The National Comedy Awards, Tonight with Target, +44 Presents: The Noughties Podcast, Don’t Hate the Playaz, and Road to Afro Nation: Davido Live.
Kadi also hosts The Official Afrobeats Chart Show on BBC Radio 1Xtra and is a team captain on ITV’s entertainment format Sorry I Didn’t Know. He has been nominated this year for both the Royal Television Society Best Breakthrough Award and Best Breakthrough Presenter at the Edinburgh TV Awards.
“WOW. Anyone who knows me understands that music and dance are so important and central to who I am.” Kadi said. “I’m so unbelievably proud and honoured that Strictly and the BBC have asked me to join the 2023 Team. I promise you, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. This is going to be a VIBE.”
Irish TV presenter Angela Scanlon is the latest contestant to have been confirmed for the show.
The 39-year-old was announced on BBC Radio 2 on Monday.
The Irish presenter works for BBC and RTÉ, hosting Your Home Made Perfect on BBC Two and her own Saturday night chatshow Angela Scanlon’s Ask Me Anything. She is also known for presenting on The One Show and Robot Wars.
“I’m terrified, I’m excited and I have so many questions,” she said. “Will they make me tan? How itchy are sequins?! Do they do flesh-coloured sports bras? Well, there’s only one way to find out, right!? Now I’m panicking a bit… but also secretly thrilled about the prospect of all that glitter. Let’s go!”
Award-winning BBC presenter Nikita Kanda has said it is a “dream come true” to be joining Strictly, saying that she was “pinching herself”.
“I can’t believe I’m going to be on Strictly. This is a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself,” she shared.
“I don’t think it will properly sink in until I step onto the dancefloor. I can’t wait to get glammed up and get out there. Throw the glitter on me!”
Kanda is currently the host of the BBC Asian Network breakfast show, and regularly reports on The One Show. She was recently nominated for presenter of the year at the Asian Media Awards.
Best known for her appearances on reality shows Love Island and Made in Chelsea, Zara McDermott has also hosted a number of documentaries for the BBC, including Revenge Porn and Uncovering Rape Culture. The 26-year-old also worked as a government policy advisor before finding fame.
McDermott said in a statement on Monday: “I grew up watching it every year with my nan and she was the biggest Strictly fan. We would dance around the house and I have such fond memories of that time in my life.
“I even remember the first ever series, and being mesmerised by all the beautiful dresses! I can’t wait to throw myself into this experience and start training. It’s going to be incredible.”
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) August 11, 2023
Comedian, actor and presenter Les Dennis has been revealed as the final celebrity contestant to hit the dancefloor on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing competition.
Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to reveal himself as the 15th and final Strictly contestant, he said: “I had a knee replacement two years ago and I remember thinking to myself, ‘it may be time to slow down’, but you get something offered like this and it puts a spring in your step.
“I’m excited and I’m terrified. People at any age can do anything.”
How much are the celebrity contestants paid on Strictly Come Dancing?
Although the BBC has never officially released the actual amount paid to Strictly's professional dancers and judges, it has been generally claimed that the professional dancers, celebrities and judges alike receive a good amount.
The Independent reports that the professional dancers receive a salary between £35,000 and £50,000, while Strictly judges make between £200,000 and £500,000 per season.
The Mirror suggests each celebrity receives £25,000 for participating in the series and stepping foot on the Strictly dance floor. They can each earn an additional £40,000 if they manage to continue and make it past week four.