Get your sequins at the ready – Strictly season is now upon us.
The BBC’s dance competition is back with a vengeance, with 15 hapless celebs preparing to quickstep to the dancefloor under the withering eye of the judges and the 10 million strong audience at home.
Rumours have been rife about who could be stepping into their dancing shoes for the 17th series – but the first batch of names has now been announced, with Emma Barton, Chris Ramsey and David James confirmed.
After a big reveal on The One Show, EastEnders actor Barton said: “I’m the biggest Strictly fan but I am wondering whether I did the right thing by saying yes as I can’t sit at home and watch it. I was over the moon when I got the call.”
“I’m a huge Strictly fan,” added comedian Ramsey. “We’ve had Strictly parties. I went mental and told everyone. I told three of my mates on a stag do, and thankfully they forgot.
“My wife is a professional dancer, so she’s going to show me up!”
“I’ve been asked to do this quite a number of times, and I’ve said it’s not me,” said James. “But I chatted with Mark Foster and he said he had an amazing time in 2008, so I said yes!”
The remaining 13 stars will be unveiled across several TV and radio shows in the upcoming weeks ahead of the launch later this year.
EastEnders star Emma Barton, Drag Race favourite Michelle Visage and Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya have all been hotly tipped to be taking part.
2019 marks a year of change for the BBC ballroom show; Motsi Mabuse will join the judging panel for the first time following the departure of ballerina Darcey Bussell after five years.
Sister of Stirctly pro dancer Oti Mabuse, Motsi has previously worked on Let’s Dance – Germany’s answer to Strictly.
Latin star Nancy Xu has been confirmed to join the professional cohort while Rylan Clark-Neal will co-host spin-off show It Takes Two with Zoe Ball.
Speaking of her appointment, Xu said: “I’m thrilled and excited! I cannot wait to start this new journey with all these amazing people and share the magic together.”
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC 1 later this year