Strictly Come Dancing: The People’s Comic Relief special confirms contestants

Six inspirational members of the public will compete in a four-part Strictly charity special

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Six inspirational members of the public – and Strictly Come Dancing super-fans – are set to waltz, foxtrot and cha-cha their way around the ballroom this March. 

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As part of a Comic Relief special, Strictly is opening its sparkly doors to six individuals who have been picked from thousands of applicants. Each of the contestants has been chosen “for their tireless and selfless work which has helped change so many lives for the better.”

The new Strictly contestants are poised to be paired with a professional dancer from the show before spending five weeks training, as they prepare to become the new stars of the ballroom.

Meet the contestants:

Phillip Barnett from Cornwall, who founded a children’s theatre charity in 1994 and has since raised over £2 million and staged over 70 shows.

Trishna Bharadia from Buckinghamshire, who is living with MS and works to raise awareness around the condition.

Anna Kennedy OBE from Middlesex, who set up the largest school for autism in the UK after her own autistic sons were turned away from mainstream education.

Cassidy Little, originally from Canada but now lives in Peterborough. Cassidy was serving in Afghanistan as a medic for the Royal Marines when he was severely injured, losing the lower half of his leg in an explosion. His positivity has helped several of his colleagues through their time in rehab.

Heather Parsons from Hampshire, who set up her own charity to support intensive care patients and their families, following her own near-death experience in intensive care.

Michael Pattie from Dumfries, who has raised over £300,000 for meningitis charities, after losing his son to the disease.

The contestants will be paired with their professional dance partners in the coming weeks.

The series itself will consist of four pre-recorded programmes, presented by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, in the run up to Comic Relief. The first three instalments will follow their Strictly journey before the contestants perform in the final episode to impress the judges, and – most importantly – the voting public at home. 

“BBC1 is the TV home of ballroom dancing so where better to see deserving, real-life heroes and heroines experience the sparkling joy of Strictly and all for such a great cause in Comic Relief,” said BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore. 

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Comic Relief is on Friday 13th March on BBC1