The sigh of relief uttered by Strictly fans following confirmation for 2020's season could be heard around the world. And it was quickly followed by questions as to who'd be taking to the dance floor this year. We already know news about the professional line up and the judges panel, but which celebrities are taking part in Strictly 2020?
The wait is over and BBC have finally announced their full line up for the latest season of their flagship dancing competition. The biggest news of all is that, after years of speculation, they've finally decided to have a same sex couple and the celeb taking up the mantel is none other than boxing legend Nicola Adams.
Adams told BBC News that the pairing was actually her suggestion after she was asked to appear on the show. In her statement, Adams assured fans she'd bring all of her feistiness in the ring onto the dance floor. She also championed the BBC for their push towards equality. "It’s amazing to be a part," she said, "of the movement for change, diversity, and breaking boundaries in the entertainment industry."
Beloved Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo will also be appearing this season as announced on Radio 1 Breakfast by her colleague Greg James. Discussing the news, she addressed the importance of the show's joyfulness during these trying times.
“As we know this year has been a real challenge and escapism through dancing is something I know we all enjoy," Amfo said. "So to be taught by a pro and live a fantasy is something that I can’t wait to fully embrace. See you on the dance floor!”
If every season has a comedy act (see Anne Widdecombe) then this season’s funny guy is sure to be legendary British comic Bill Bailey. However, speaking about competing on the show, the star revealed his rather personal reasons for competing, too. “My late mum Madrin would have loved it,” he said. “I hope she'll be watching.”
Former home secretary and Labour politician Jacqui Smith was confirmed as the final celebrity dancer on Steve Wright's Radio 2 show on Sept 4.
"I was speechless with excitement at being asked to join Strictly - and that's very rare for me," said Smith. "Fifty years ago, I got a bronze medal for Scottish Highland Dancing and it feels about time to return to dancing."
The 12 contestants competing in 2020's Strictly Come Dancing for this year's series are:
- Clara Amfo, Radio 1 presenter
- Nicola Adams, Olympic boxing champion
- Bill Bailey, comedian and actor
- Ranvir Singh, ITV journalist and presenter
- Caroline Quentin, actor
- Max George, former member of The Wanted
- Jason Bell, former NFL player
- JJ Chalmers, TV presenter and Invictus Games medallist
- Jamie Laing, Made In Chelsea star
- Maisie Smith, Eastenders actor
- HRVY, singer and Youtuber
- Jacqui Smith, former home secretary
As this year's season is being slightly pared down, owing to coronavirus-related production constraints, there are considerably fewer stars than usual. Filming is due to start later this week, despite the "crisis" caused by a former crew member testing positive for COVID-19, according to the Daily Mail. The BBC has yet to confirm or deny the claims. We'll keep you up to date with the latest news, so watch this space.