The series is starting later and with fewer celebrities but this autumn’s Strictly Come Dancing is going to be every bit as competitive.
Kate Phillips, boss of BBC entertainment, said: “Strictly is a slightly shorter run but, apart from that, I don’t think it will be a lesser show. If anything, I think this series will be rather special.” The series – hosted by Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly – kicks off on October 24.
Now the 12-strong line-up has been announced, it looks like there are already plenty of contenders to waltz away with this year’s glitterball trophy.
Here we look at how suited they are to the cha cha challenge ahead.
Jason Bell, 42
Career: Lively TV presenter grew up in California and played cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans and New York Giants. He now stars on the BBC’s NFL coverage with Mark Chapman and Osi Umenyiora.
Most likely to: Be good at the lifts.
Least likely to: Perform to a Girls Aloud number – he split with Nadine Coyle in 2014.
Jacqui Smith, 57
Career: The ex-Labour MP, from Worcestershire, became the first female Home Secretary in 2007 but quit in 2009 amid the expenses scandal.
Most likely to: Try to claim for her lunches/coffees/snacks during training.
Least likely to: Ever stop talking. She says she was speechless with excitement at being asked to join Strictly… “and that’s very rare for me”.
Clara Amfo, 36
Career: The Radio 1 DJ grew up in South-West London and fronts the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage.
Most likely to: Enjoy herself! She says: “Sex is a fantastic, natural thing. We could all be having more
Least likely to: Baulk at the daring costumes, having declared: “I love a short skirt to upset my mum.”
HRVY (Harvey Cantwell), 21
Career: Pop singer and YouTuber from Kent has 10 million followers around the world.
Most likely to: Find romance on show, saying “Dancing is so intimate, it can spark something”.
Least likely to: Go out in the first week – he claims he’ll change his name and leave the country if
Nicola Adams, 37
Career: Former boxer from Leeds was the first woman to take a boxing gold medal, at the London 2012 Olympics.
Most likely to: Make TV history by being partnered with another woman.
Least likely to: Wear billowing ballgowns – a sharp suit is more her style.
Caroline Quentin, 60
Career: The star, who was born in Surrey, is best known for Men Behaving Badly, Jonathan Creek, Blue Murder, Kiss Me Kate and Life Begins.
Most likely to: Wish the acting hadn’t dried up. Least likely to: Last the distance because her knees are “50 years older” than when she did ballet as a child.
Maisie Smith, 19
Career: EastEnders actress from Essex has played Tiffany Butcher since 2008… and was pictured smoking weed earlier this year.
Most likely to: Wind down after training with an interesting cigarette.
Least likely to: Be bad at dancing (if her acting and singing are anything to go by).
JJ Chalmers, 33
Career: The ex-Royal Marine and Invictus Games medallist from Scotland survived a devastating IED blast in Afghanistan in 2011.
Most likely to: Make viewers cry as he had to re-learn how to walk after 30 operations to save his life. Least likely to: Be fazed by Craig Revel Horwood’s put-downs.
Bill Bailey, 55
Career: The comedian and musician, from Somerset, has starred in Black Books, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and QI.
Most likely to: Do dad-dancing and be the John Sergeant of this year’s competition. Least likely to: Win… unkind bookies have installed him as the 50-1 rank outsider.
Ranvir Singh, 43
Career: TV journalist from Preston is political editor on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
Most likely to: Enjoy the regime, having moaned she’d put on a stone during lockdown.
Least likely to: Stay awake – she’ll be juggling Strictly with her day job on GMB plus new Sunday morning show, All Around Britain.
Jamie Laing, 31
Career: Well-off Londoner is best known for Casanova antics in Made in Chelsea and for being an heir to the McVities biscuit fortune.
Most likely to: Look a bit upset if you tell him to “break a leg” after what happened on the opening show last year…
Least likely to: Fall over (surely?).
Max George, 31
Career: Mancunian pin-up was in Glad You Came boy-band The Wanted and is currently stepping out with Ryan Giggs’ ex-wife Stacey.
Most likely to: Wish he was as good as his ex-bandmate Jay McGuiness, 30, who won the glitterball trophy in 2015.
Least likely to: Be as good as Jay.
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