TV & Movies

The Strictly 2021 Makeovers Have Been Revealed & Are Glam AF

Plus, everything we know about this year’s series.

Strictly 20201 contestants Greg Wise, Katie McGlynn, Dan Walker, AJ Odudu, Rhys Stephenson, Tilly Ra...
BBC/Ray Burmiston
By Bustle UK
Updated: 
Originally Published: 

Autumn is just around the corner and, for fans of classic Saturday night telly, that means one thing: Strictly Come Dancing. And with Dan Walker’s seemingly accidental reveal of this year’s start date (September 18, btw), excitement around the series is reaching fever pitch. Add to that the glitzy official images? Cue frenzy.

Each year the discussion around which stars will join Strictly gets more and more outlandish. This year’s rumoured line-up included celebrities such as S Club’s Tina Barrett, footballing legend Rio Ferdinand, and Gogglebox’s Tom Malone. However, the most unlikely name on the list had to be Chris Whitty. After finding ‘fame’ during the pandemic, it was said that TV bosses were desperate to secure the government’s chief medical advisor.

Sadly, the Whitty rumour appears to have been just that – a rumour – but this year’s confirmed celebrities are a very exciting bunch, with a mix of soap actors, comedians, sports stars, and musicians.

The upcoming series will mark a number of firsts for Strictly, with TV chef John Whaite joining the competition in the first all-male same-sex pairing. The 19th series will also see the introduction of four new Strictly professionals: Kai Widdrington, Nikita Kuzmin, Cameron Lombard, and Jowita Przystal.

There has been a change to the judging panel, too, with Anton Du Beke taking over from Bruno Tonioli for the whole series.

There’s a lot to look forward to with Strictly 2021. Keep reading to find out to full line-up of celebrities, what their feelings are about taking to the dance floor, and their Strictly makeovers.

Tom Fletcher

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The first contestants to be confirmed this year was singer Tom Fletcher, who will follow in the footsteps of his McFly bandmate Harry Judd who won the show in 2012. Fletcher has said he is “incredibly excited” to take part, despite expressing a little concern over his “dad-dancing” moves.

Robert Webb

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Comedian Robert Webb is known for his work on legendary shows like Peep Show. Discussing his decision to join Strictly, he said: “It's a big, generous, joyful show and I can't wait to get packed into a spandex onesie and fired from a glitter cannon directly at Claudia Winkleman.”

AJ Odudu

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The Voice UK presenter AJ Odudu has said she is “chuffed” to be joining this year’s Strictly. Speaking of her upcoming appearance, she said: “I absolutely love the show and am fully committed to making the most of every second of the Strictly experience," before adding: "bring it on!"

John Whaite

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TV Chef John Whaite – who won The Great British Bake Off back in 2012 –  has said he is “grateful, excited, and nervous” to be joining the Strictly line-uip. He will make up one half of Strictly’s first ever male same-sex couple.

Rhys Stephenson

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CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson is a regular on shows such as Blue Peter and Newsround. And now he can add another legendary BBC show to his CV. “I am BUZZING to be a part of Strictly Come Dancing 2021,” he said after announcing the news. “I have dreamt about being on this show, and I know for a fact that it is going to exceed every expectation. I cannot wait to experience it all: the costumes, the orchestra, even Craig's glare! I am READY!”

Sara Davies

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Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Sara Davies hopes the “tenacity, drive and determination” she’s learnt in business will transfer to the dance floor. But she’s still feeling the pressure. “I’m really nervous because so far the producers keep asking me if I can dance. Truth be told – I haven’t got a clue! I’ve not danced since I did ballet lessons when I was little,” she said.

Katie McGlynn

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Former Coronation Street star Katie McGlynn will be following in the footsteps of a number of soaps stars over the years. The actor described it as a “pinch me moment” and said “It's such a brilliant show to be a part of, I'm so grateful, the glitz and the glamour, I'm super chuffed I'm joining it this year.”

Dan Walker

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BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker was revealed as the eighth contestant to be competing for the Glitterball trophy. The former Football Focus host said in a statement: “I am definitely excited, a little bit worried, mostly terrified and a small part of me is considering going into hiding!” He added: “My kids have only ever asked me to go on two shows… Saturday Mash Up and Strictly. I did Saturday Mash Up this summer so… it’s time to embrace the sequins.”

Tilly Ramsay

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Chef, TV presenter, and daughter of the Hells Kitchen legend himself, 19-year-old Tilly Ramsay has been confirmed to join this year’s Strictly line up. “I'm so excited and grateful to be joining the Strictly family!” she said in a statement following her announcement. “I'm always up for fun new challenges and this will be my biggest adventure yet.”

But it sounds like dad Gordon will be keeping a close eye on exactly what those adventures may entail. During an appearance on This Morning, the chef wished his daughter good luck but swiftly added “And don’t date any of those dancers!”

Greg Wise

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Actor and writer Greg Wise will also appear in this year’ competition, and he says that his wife Emma Thompson is “stupidly excited” for him to take part. The Cranford star has revealed that he decided to join Strictly in memory of his sister Clare, who sadly passed away in 2017.

“My beautiful sister was a huge disco queen,” he said. “She left our world almost exactly five years ago in a glitterball coffin. This is for her – my gorgeous diva sis, who would have been insane with excitement that her little bro was doing this. I will channel her, as her bro can't dance, but I'm thrilled to be dipping my toes, knees, hips, and arms into this wonderful world, and hope to make her proud and obviously make her laugh.”

Nina Wadia

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Confirmed as the 11th contestant during an episode of Lorraine on August 12, actor, presenter, and producer Nina Wadia said she was “scared” about taking part in Strictly, adding “I like dancing like no one’s dancing. So we just need to blindfold the judges and I’ll win!”

Wadia is best known for her role as Zainab Masood on EastEnders, with other notable appearances in BBC Two sketch show Goodness Gracious Me and the Open All Hours spin-off Still Open All Hours.

Rose Ayling-Ellis

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EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis was the 12th star to be announced in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing line up. Ayling-Ellis, who plays Frankie Lewis in the soap, will be the first deaf dancer to take to the dance floor.

“I hope I will [make] the deaf community proud and break down more barriers,” she said in a statement. “But I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill and even better I get to learn whilst wearing beautiful dresses made especially for me!” Ayling-Ellis – who joined EastEnders in 2020 – made history as the first deaf actor to play a deaf character in Albert Square.

Adam Peaty

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It’s been a big year for Team GB’s Adam Peaty! The 26-year-old swimmer won two gold medals and a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, defending the 100 metres breaststroke title he won in Rio in 2016, and he’s now the 13th celebrity to be making a splash – get it? – in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing line up. “Well I’ve been waiting a long time to say this but I’m going on @bbcstrictly,” Peaty wrote on Twitter. “I actually can’t believe I’m taking these legs out of the pool and onto the dance floor! Who’s excited?!”

Judi Love

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Comedian and TV presenter Judi Love was the penultimate name to be announced for this year’s competition, announcing the news during an episode of Loose Women. “I think I am still in shock that I will be part of this amazing show,” she said in a statement later. “I’ve watched it for many years and admired the phenomenal abilities of these dancers and celebrities that have taken part and dedicated themselves to learning a new craft.”

Ugo Monye

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Former Harlequins player and A Question Of Sport team captain Ugo Monye was the 15th and final Strictly contestant to be revealed this year, announcing the news on The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan. Monye said it was a “dream come true” to be competing, adding: “My two beautiful daughters never had a chance to see me on the rugby pitch, so to know they can watch me waltzing and twirling every week is really special to me. I love an outfit at the best of times, so bring on the sequins!”

Editorial note: This article is being continually updated to reflect the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 line up.