And the next celebrity waiting to waltz onto Strictly Come Dancing 2020 is… JJ Chalmers!
The TV presenter and former Royal Marine was unveiled as this year’s eighth contestant on ITV’s Lorraine this morning (3rd September).
Speaking to the host about the announcement, Chalmers said: “I’m always looking for a challenge, always looking to push myself out of my comfort zone.”
Comparing Strictly to his military experience, he added: “This is completely off the chart and so it’s going to be a huge challenge but I’m really looking forward to learning something new.”
Chalmers, who lost two fingers and badly damaged his right elbow in a bomb blast, also said he wanted to be treated like “any other contestant” and didn’t want special treatment.
He continued: “Whoever I partner with they’ve got their work cut out. I don’t want special treatment but we’re going to have to level the playing field to make it fair.”
In a statement, Chalmers said: “My whole life is defined by facing challenges. Whether it’s becoming a Royal Marine Commando, recovering from my injuries sustained in Afghanistan to competing in The Invictus Games.
“Now as a TV presenter I’m lucky enough to witness some of the greatest sporting contests in the world. Strictly is a whole different ball game in respect to the challenges I will face but I’m up for an adventure and at least my mum will know where I am!”
He is the latest familiar face to join this year’s Strictly Come Dancing line-up, with seven other celebrities already confirmed to be taking part.
Actress Caroline Quentin, sports star Jason Bell, The Wanted musician Max George, ITV journalist Ranvir Singh, DJ Clara Amfo, boxer Nicola Adams, comedian Bill Bailey and singer HRVY are also set to appear on this year’s dance floor.
Adams will be dancing in Strictly’s first-ever same-sex couple, something she described as “really important”. Speaking to BBC Breakfast presenters Dan Walker and Louise Minchin, she added: “It’s definitely time for change. It’s definitely time to move on and be more diverse, and this is a brilliant step in the right direction.”
As previously reported, this year’s dance competition will be a shorter series due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This will means that viewers can expect fewer celebrities to be battling it out for the Glitterball trophy.
In a statement, Strictly said: “To ensure we deliver the high standards audiences know and love, and in light of the ongoing considerations around COVID-19, this year’s series of Strictly will have a slightly shorter run than usual.
“The safety of our cast and crew is of the utmost importance to us and further updates will be made in due course.”
Coronavirus travel restrictions also mean that judge Bruno Tonioli – who lives in the US – will feature on the show virtually, appearing “remotely in the Sunday night Results show each week.”
After the announcement was made, Tonioli said: “I absolutely adore being part of Strictly and can’t wait to see what incredible dancing this year has in store! Lockdown has resulted in me being in LA for the foreseeable, but I’m excited to be involved as much as I possibly can. There was no cha-cha-chance I’d miss out!”
Strictly Come Dancing returns later this year. If you’re looking for something else to watch, check out our TV Guide.