Strictly Come Dancing 2016 could welcome a bumper crop of celebrities to the competition as 17 professional dancers have been announced.
It’s unlikely we’ll see all of them partnered up with a famous face – usually one of the announced pros sits on standby without a partner – but we could get 16 celebs taking part rather than the 15 seen in the last two series.
While it wouldn’t be the first time the ballroom has welcomed that many couples – series six and seven also boasted 16 contestants – it’d be the largest number in seven years. 14 or 15 tends to be the norm.
The pro left without a rhinestone-covered celebrity usually has a recurring spot on BBC2 spin-off It Takes Two and appears in the group dances and charity and Christmas specials. Joanne Clifton – who went on to win the festive special with Harry Judd – did this last year.
Exactly who will miss out on a famous partner remains to be seen. It depends in part on who is on the final celebrity list – namely how many females there are to males, who seems to gel and so on. Or if anyone gets injured, of course.
Moreover, a decision will also need to be made among Beeb bosses as to who is left out – a new dancer (there’s six to choose from) or a familiar face (Janette Manrara, Anton Du Beke, Brendan Cole et al). With so many professionals from last year exiting – Ola Jordan, Kristina Rhianoff and Gleb Savchenko, Aliona Vilani and Tristan McManus – they might want to keep some of the well-known faces dancing. But then why bring in newbies only to pop them on the subs’ bench?
Whether a bumper crop would mean an earlier start date or perhaps even double eliminations is another possible hurdle.
With a few weeks to go until this year’s “eclectic” mix of celebrities is confirmed, for now we’ll have to simply keeeep waiting.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC1 later this year