Another year, another 15 contestants are set to cha-cha-cha their way across the dance floor for a sequin-encrusted season of Strictly Come Dancing.
Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton were crowned the champions of 2018 – but who will be battling it out in the ballroom in 2019 with the Strictly professionals? And who will get that all-important first “TEN!” from judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas, Bruno Tonioli and new recruit Motsi Mabuse?
Strictly Come Dancing 2019 confirmed contestants
Profession: Pundit for the BBC and Sky Sports, former footballer
Former footballer-turned-pundit Alex Scott may have mastered her footwork on the pitch – but how will she fare in the ballroom? The 34-year-old is “absolutely buzzing” to join this year’s line-up, having previously voiced her dream to star during an interview with Radio Times.
“It’s the show I’ve always wanted to do and I can’t believe I’m finally going to be part of it,” she said on Ace’s BBC Radio 1Xtra show. “I’m super excited, but also terrified at the same time…”
Profession: EastEnders actress
The EastEnders actress was one of three celebrities confirmed to be appearing on Strictly Come Dancing on The One Show.
Emma Barton – who plays Honey Mitchell on Albert Square – has a musical background, starring as Roxie Hart in a touring production of Chicago, and will be hoping to emulate the success of her co-stars, many of whom reached the latter stages of the BBC dance contest.
“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!” she said upon joining the show.
Chris Ramsey was amongst the three celebrities revealed on The One Show.
The 32-year-old comedian, who has regularly appeared as a panellist on shows such as Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats and I’m a Celebrity: Extra Camp, said he was excited about appearing on Strictly.
And it appears Ramsey may have a secret advantage, as he said his wife was a professional dancer.
“I practised for six months for my first dance at my own wedding,” he said. “We went to a wedding last week and we were really going for it on the dancefloor, and everyone was wondering why!”
(C) BBC – Photographer: Ray Burmiston BBC/Ray Burmiston
Fletcher quick-stepped into the fray following Jamie Laing’s departure from injury, appearing on Strictly from 2019’s first live show.
“I’m so happy that I can be a part of it, but at the same time it’s quite bittersweet! I’m coming in on the back of Jamie’s injury – I keep thinking about him! I can’t imagine going through all this excitement and then having to pull out. My thoughts are with him – he seems like a fantastic guy and I hope he’s doing OK.”
He’s best known for playing Andy Sugden on ITV soap Emmerdale from 1996 to 2016.
Profession: CBBC Presenter
Better known to younger Strictly fans, Karim Zeroual made a name for himself as a CBBC presenter, having been a staple at the channel since 2014.
Zeroual has always worked as an actor, with parts in the West End productions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Lion King, as well as a role on EastEnders.
He also starred in The Sparticle Mystery, a children’s series that his since clocked up two million views on iPlayer.
Zeroual said he “can’t wait” to be Strictlified – but will he be ready to rumba come September?
Profession: Presenter turned painted
Anneka Rice is about to get the challenge of a life time as she swerves the dungarees for sequins and a stint in the BBC ballroom. The 90s icon and TV presenter was unveiled on Steve Wright’s BBC Radio 2 show as the 15th and final 2019 contestant – and jokingly compared herself to Ann Widdecombe.
“I did a Zumba class in 2011 which was a disaster,” she said. “I couldn’t follow it at all. I’ve asked to have two dancers either side. I just don’t have the coordination gene. I realised I am the Ann Widdecombe figure.”
Profession: Sports presenter and former rower
The former Olympic gold winner, 47, was confirmed as the 14th contestant during an appearance on Good Morning Britain.
Speaking to Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway about his dance skills, James Cracknell said: “I single-mindedly lean on a bar and then at a certain point in the night I think I’m good at dancing.
“I know what I’m in for and I’ve had some mates that have done it. It’s going to be interesting having no confidence in it.”
Profession: Radio 1 DJ
Radio DJ Dev Griffin was revealed as the 13th star during an appearance on Nick Grimshaw’s BBC Radio 1 evening show, which was being presented by Jordan North.
Speaking about his appointment to the popular BBC 1 show, Griffin, 34, explained: “I just can’t believe I’m doing Strictly, it just doesn’t feel real yet!
“It’s going to be so much fun, but just to be clear, I’m not doing this to take part, I’m totally in it to win it! I can’t wait to meet my partner and start practicing.”
Profession: Reality TV star
Best known as a cast member of Made in Chelsea, Jamie Laing was unveiled as the 11th Celebrity to join this year’s all-star line-up.
“I am beyond thrilled to be asked to be on Strictly, the only person potentially more thrilled is my mother. I have finally become the son she hoped for!” he said.
Heir to the McVitie’s fortune, Laing is also the founder of Candy Kittens confectionary.
Jamie has now quit the show due to injury – read the full story here.
Profession: Paralympian/table tennis player
A gold-medal-winning Paralympian, table tennis champ Will Bayley MBE was revealed as the tenth celeb in this year’s line-up.
Unveiled on Talk Radio, the sportsman – who was born with Arthrogryposis, a rare disorder that affects joints on all his limbs – said he wanted to “inspire people with a disability – that would mean a lot to me. I want to prove to people I can do this.”
Bayley was one of the stars of London 2012 and Rio 2016 games, winning consecutive silver and gold medals.
Profession: Judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race
The 50-year-old RuPaul‘s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage was unveiled as the ninth celebrity to join the Strictly cast.
Unveiled on Lorraine, the US star – who also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2015 – said she’d be looking to partner up with Giovanni Pernice. “I’m Italian so I would love Giovanni. I love the Italian sense of humour – it’s so funny and the accent is amazing so we would have a good time. And, by the way, they’ve got to have some guns to lift all this, trust me!” She said.
Profession: Socialite, model and chef
The 33-year-old was confirmed as the eighth celebrity to join the Strictly Come Dancing 2019 line-up, with the news announced on Gaby Roslin’s BBC London Radio Show.
The chef and model was coy about who she told ahead of the news going public, admitting she had only told her family the day before the announcement was made.
“I absolutely love watching Strictly every weekend and I can’t believe that I’m getting the chance to be on this series,” Viscountess Emma Weymouth said. “I know it will be such an amazing experience from start to finish. I can’t wait for the dancing and the fabulous outfits!”
Profession: TV Presenter
If you don’t know Mike Bushell from his day job, you’ll definitely know him as the guy who fell into a swimming pool – microphone and all – while presenting on live TV. The BBC Breakfast sports reporter was unveiled as the sixth celeb sign up on Breakfast, and told co-stars Ben Thompson and Steph McGovern that he thought show bosses had “got the wrong person, genuinely!”
Bushell’s tried out 500 different sports – but how will he cope in the ballroom?
Profession: Actress and singer
Having previously been rumored, the former Coronation Street actor was the fifth celebrity to be confirmed for this season of Strictly – with the news announced on This Morning.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing,” Catherine Tyldesley said. “I’m a huge fan of the show. It’ll be my biggest challenge to date as I’m not much of a dancer, but I’ve always wanted to learn the skill and the time feels right! I’m nervous as hell but super excited to work with such talented professionals. Hold onto your jazz shoes… mine is sure to be a bumpy/clumsy/fun ride!”
Profession: Former England goalkeeper
Former England footballer David James was confirmed as one of three Strictly contestants on The One Show.
Speaking about his appointment on the show, the 48-year-old said, “I’ve been asked to do this quite a number of times, and I’ve said it’s not me.
“But I chatted with Mark Foster and he said he had an amazing time in 2008, so I said yes!”
James was reportedly “in talks” to appear in the 16th series of Strictly, but did not join the show’s cast as he struggled to balance training with his other commitments as he also coaches a team in India.
“The Strictly casting team are really keen to sign up a former footballer this year,” a show insider told The Sun. “David would be a fantastic signing for us, and he is interested.”
Profession: YouTube star
The YouTube sensation was confirmed to be joining the series in an interview on Heart Radio’s Breakfast Show.
Saffron Barker explained, “I am really excited to go on the Strictly journey and am feeling very grateful for the opportunity! I’m looking forward to learning all of the dances, finding out who my partner is, getting to wear the costumes and to just experience this once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The social media star, who has a combined following of four million on social media platforms, is following in Joe Sugg’s footsteps as the second YouTuber to have ever joined the dancing competition.
But will she manage to make the final?