Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Essential guide to BBC show

Strictly continues this weekend!

Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly Come Dancing continues this weekend, although with fewer contestants in the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 line-up following a shock exit from Robert Webb.


On Wednesday, 13th October, Robert Webb quit Strictly 2022 due to “ill health”.

Sharing a statement, the BBC revealed: “Robert Webb and Dianne Buswell are to leave Strictly Come Dancing. Robert has made the decision to withdraw from the competition due to ill health.”

Webb isn’t the only celeb missing this weekend’s show, however. Ugo Monye will not appear on Strictly this week due to a back injury.

“Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to dance this weekend on the show,” Monye revealed on Twitter. I have a history of back problems which has always been managed under the guidance of medical professionals. Unfortunately this has been causing me some unwanted problems this week!”

Thankfully, Monye is expected to return to the competition for Week Five, providing he’s fit and able to.

Week Four will see the remaining Strictly Come 2021 couples return to the dance floor, with the hopes of impressing the judges and climbing the Strictly Come Dancing leaderboard.

But, they’ll have to pull out all the stops if they want to knock John Whaite off the current top spot. On Saturday, John and Johannes topped the Strictly leaderboard with three 10s.

Other impressive performances came from Rhys Stephenson, and  Rose Ayling-Ellis, who moved the judges with her Titanic-themed dance, with Tess Daly commenting that there wasn’t a “dry eye in sight.”

As the series continues, read on for everything you need to know about Strictly Come Dancing 2021.

What time is Strictly Come Dancing on?

Strictly Come Dancing  airs on BBC One on Saturdays and Sundays.

The next live show will be on Saturday 16th October at 7:10pm which is slightly later than usual, with the series usually airing at 6:45pm.

One all contestants have performed, the Strictly Come Dancing vote will open. The pre-recorded results show will then follow on Sunday 17th October, with Strictly confirming there will be an elimination on this weekend’s show, despite Robert Webb’s early departure.

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 release date

The 2021 series started on Saturday, 18th September at 7:45pm on BBC One with its highly-anticipated launch show.

While in previous years, fans have had to wait another two weeks before seeing the celebs this year, the first live show kicked off the following week.

On Thursday, 2nd September, Dan Walker revealed when the series is set to start during an episode of BBC Breakfast.

Whilst putting the date of co-anchor Louise Minchin’s BBC Breakfast departure into his phone calendar, he said: “I was just going to put your date in the diary.

“I meet and greet the partner in a couple of days time, and actually the first show is on the 18th and then the live shows start on the 25th.”

The BBC recently released an excellent first-look at the series, showing our beloved pro dancers wandering around a very sparkly dystopian landscape.

True to style, they’re donning big hair and glamorous outfits before Nadiya Bychkova makes her way into the Elstree studio where the whole gang’s waiting for her.

The talented bunch then perform a 70s-inspired routine to Donna Summer’s I Feel Love – and honestly, we can’t wait much longer for the series to start!

Who is in the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 line-up?

All 15 celebrities have been revealed. They are:

Strictly 2021 couples

  • John Whaite and Johannes Radebe
  • Robert Webb and Diane Buswell
  • Tom Fletcher and Amy Dowden
  • AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington
  • Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu
  • Sara Davies and Aljaz Skorjanec
  • Katie McGlynn and Gorka Marquez
  • Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychkova
  • Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin
  • Greg Wise and Karen Hauer
  • Nina Wadia and Neil Jones
  • Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice
  • Adam Peaty and Katya Jones
  • Judi Love and Graziano Di Prima
  • Ugo Monye and Oti Mabuse

Who will host Strictly: It Takes Two in 2021?

Zoe Ball announced she was leaving Strictly: It Takes Two earlier in 2021, prompting a lot of discussion on who would replace her.

We finally got that all-important name on 10th June 2021, and it definitely came as a surprise to many.

Janette Manrara announced she would be stepping down from her role as a professional dancer and would be taking on the It Takes Two gig instead.

Taking to Instagram, the pro said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining @rylan on #ItTakesTwo this series! A show where we can sit and talk about dancing?!? It’s the dream! I can never replace the legendary @zoetheball, but I can only hope to make her as well as all of the @bbcstrictly fans proud.

“To my wonderful EP and incredible friend @sarahjamesface, thank you and I love you with all my heart! The BEST boss I could have hoped for! To @jack.will.g, there are now words to describe my appreciation for you always through all these years! My dance mentor and best friend @jasongilkison I will miss being a part of your creative journeys on the dance floor more than you can ever imagine. And to the everyone who works on #Strictly, from hair and make-up, wardrobe, cameras, the lot…. it’s not goodbye, it’s more ‘I’ll see you around’ Thank you all for some of the most ‘fab-u-Lous’ memories of my life!

“The hardest part will be saying goodbye to my fellow professional dancers and the famous Strictly dance floor! The professionals are the superheroes of the show and I will always champion them! I love you all so so much! May you continue inspiring and bringing so much joy to the nation as always! I am over the moon and cannot WAIT to get on that very special couch! And do not worry guys, I will always “keeeeeeeeeeeep dancing”! It Takes Two…… ‘baby!!”

Who are the professionals returning for Strictly 2021?

strictly come dancing
Strictly Come Dancing 2020

The professional line-up was confirmed earlier in 2021, but there was a slight change in summer. Janette Manrara was initially due to compete, but on 10th June 2021 it was revealed she would be replacing Zoe Ball as one of the hosts of Strictly: It Takes Two alongside Rylan Clark Neal.

Furthermore, Anton Du Beke has stepped down from his professional dancer role to fill in as a judge on the panel.

Four new Strictly pros have now been added to the line-up.

You can see a full list below of all the dancers taking part:

There were some changes to the 2020 professional line-up, with Kevin Clifton and AJ Pritchard hanging up their dancing shoes as they departed from the series.

In March 2020, Kevin Clifton quit Strictly Come Dancing after seven years on the show.

A few weeks later, AJ Pritchard quit Strictly following a four-year stint.

Who are the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 judges?

Strictly Come Dancing judges
Strictly Come Dancing judges

Confirmed: Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke will judge on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

The news was revealed in June 2021, and explained why Bruno Tonioli won’t be a part of the Strictly Come Dancing judges line-up.

Bruno was unable to make it onto the panel last year due to travel restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bruno Tonioli
Bruno Tonioli

It was thought he’d make it back in time for the Strictly Come Dancing final after his work commitments on Dancing with the Stars came to end, however, that wasn’t the case.

Will Anton become a permanent fourth judge on Strictly Come Dancing in 2021?

Strictly Come Dancing Anton Du Beke
Strictly Come Dancing’s Anton Du Beke

Yes, he will!

Anton Du Beke enjoyed a two week stint on the panel in 2020 as he filled in for Motsi Mabuse while she isolated following a trip back home.

After his appearance, Strictly fans called for Anton Du Beke to come back as judge. It was thought he wouldn’t return to the panel as he’d actually been announced as part of the professionals line-up.

Speaking of his new role, Anton said: “My loves I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be stepping into Bruno’s brogues for the next series of Strictly. It’s a dream come true to be judging alongside the best of the best and I promise to be kinder to all the couples than any of them have ever been to me.”

It’s not thought to be a permanent replacement, rather just for this year instead.

Where is Strictly Come Dancing filmed?

The Strictly Come Dancing filming location has remained the same since 2013. Following the closure of the BBC Television Centre, the show has always taken place in Elstree Studios.

Despite many Strictly Come Dancing COVID changes, the show stayed at Elstree for 2020.

There is one week many viewers look froward to – Blackpool – where the cast and crew pack their bags and head north to the seaside town for a glitter-filled special.

However, sadly Strictly Come Dancing cancelled Blackpool Week for 2020, due to coronavirus restrictions and it looks like the cast and crew won’t be headed up north this year either.


Strictly Come Dancing starts on BBC One on Saturday, 18th September. Want something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide or visit our Entertainment hub for the latest news.