Strictly 2016 launch date, musical guests and number of contestants revealed

The ballroom bags two X Factor stars - Olly Murs and Rebecca Ferguson - for its opening night, which sees the celebrity contestants paired up with their professional partners to dance for the first time

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Get your glitziest outfit to the dry cleaner’s because the return of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing has been confirmed for 6.50pm on Saturday 3rd of September 2016. 

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This is when this year’s celebrity cast will be paired up with their professional partners, which is about as exciting as getting a ten from Len. 

The Beeb has also spilled that this year’s cast will include a total of 15 celebrities, which means two of this year’s 17 announced pros will be left without a full-time partner. Tradition dictates they will be on standby (incase of injuries or illness) and will be seen in the group numbers and festive edition. 

Plus, it’s the night the celebrities take to the floor for the first time, performing a group number. It’s at this point we all decide who we want to back and secretly try to pull them out of the office sweepstake… 

In addition, it’s been confirmed to RadioTimes.com that former X Factor stars Olly Murs and Rebecca Ferguson will both appear as musical guests, continuing the annual X Factor/Strictly swapathon (which has already begun with former Xtra Factor presenter Melvin Odoom confirmed for the line-up). Sassy. 

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will be on hosting duties and, of course, the panel of Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and – in his final year – Len Goodman will be presiding over matters. After this episode the show traditionally goes off air for around two weeks before the pairs return for their first official dance. 

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Anastacia, Daisy Lowe, Ed Balls, Will Young, Louise Redknapp and Danny Mac are among the celebrities taking part