Search

FIRST LOOK Strictly Come Dancing 2020

This year's celebrities share their thoughts about joining the class of Strictly Come Dancing 2020 as their glam shots are revealed for the first time!


If ever there was a year when we needed Strictly Come Dancing, it's 2020 - and thankfully this year's series is now just over a week away with the launch show airing on 17th October, followed by the first live show on 24th October.


This year's launch show will see Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman host an exclusive premiere, welcoming the celebrity class of 2020 as they prepare to begin their Strictly adventure.


The twelve celebrity contestants will make their grand entrance into the famous Strictly ballroom for the very first time and we’ll discover which professional dancer they will be paired with.


Once the pairings have been announced the celebrities and professionals will take to the dance floor for what promises to be an entertaining group performance, launching the new series in Strictly style.


Returning to the panel and casting their expert judgement every week will be Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas. This year, Bruno Tonioli will be joining the show remotely for the Sunday night Results show and will hopefully be making his grand return to the show live in the studio towards the end of the series.



The other week, Strictly's Executive Producer Sarah James spoke to I Talk Telly and other press about how this year's series is going to work and what changes viewers can expect to see.


"The big difference is that we're going to be pairing our celebrities with their dancers in VT rather than in the studio like previous years. It's a bit more difficult with distancing but we've got some incredible locations for those VTs so I'm really excited about how they will look."


Take a look at the new set and find out what else she had to say here.


But for now, it's time to hear from this year's celebrities and admire their glam shots (apart from HRVY who missed the photoshoot)...


Bill Bailey


On why they wanted to take part...


I've always been interested in dancing, I've always loved dance. When I was a kid, my mum was very keen for me to learn to dance. There was a dance academy across the road from my house. I went and had some lessons. As I was young I didn’t pursue it and I’ve always regretted that because it’s a lovely thing to do.


Whenever there's a situation that requires a formal dance, I was quite envious of everyone that can waltz around the floor with great aplomb. So hopefully that will be my take home from the whole show, a skill I'll have for life.


On the reaction so far...


Every reaction has been brilliant, overwhelmingly positive. In fact, they've said they're thrilled. There’s a friend of ours who lives in a very rural, remote farmhouse. She’s the last person that would watch Strictly or know anything about it. Shortly after I was revealed on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show I got a text from her which goes to show the huge reach this shows has, everyone watches it.


On what they're looking for in a partner...


Someone who's very patient, very patient indeed. And doesn't mind the odd misstep. I'm a very quick learner but I might make a few mistakes along the way. So as long as someone is gonna be very patient with me, then that will be fine.


On being Strictly-fied...


Over the years, I've worn all manner of costumes, either for stage, theatre or on TV shows. I’ve dressed up as wizards, put spangly suits on, worn all manner of stuff, it's all part of the process.

Caroline Quentin


On why they wanted to take part...


It's definitely something to do with the times we're living in. I was about to do a play at the National Theatre which was cut short as we all went into lockdown, so I was reeling a bit from that.


Then Strictly came, and I thought, this might be something just delightfully fun. It's pretty bleak out there for people at the moment and I wanted to do something for myself that was joyful, but also for all of us, my family and friends and, God Almighty people love it. It was definitely the right choice.


On the reaction so far...


I have never in 50 years of working in showbiz had a reaction like it to anything I have ever done. People are thrilled, absolutely thrilled. Honestly, I'm really not exaggerating. I've never known anything like it. Everywhere I go, people are like, We can't wait. Oh my god, we're so glad you're doing it. That's so exciting. It's been so delightful.


Until you're in the eye of the storm you don't really know how much people love something. I've been working with Elizabeth Hurley and she’s more excited about it than anyone I’ve ever met. She has told me so much information about the programme that I didn't know, past years and winners, what's happened and how to go about it.


She and her son Damien have been extraordinarily supportive. In my local grocer, I got a round of applause when I went to buy some fruit!


On what they're looking for in a partner...


I'm looking for expertise, a problem solver, someone who knows if I’m struggling with something and can find a way around to make it excellent. Someone with a sense of humour. If there's any lifting involved, I'm going to need someone with a bit of bicep action.


On being Strictly-fied...


Well, I'm not quite sure what it's going to entail. But I think some of it might be uncomfortable, some of it might be vaguely embarrassing, and some of it would just be delightful. As long as most of it is delightful, that's a win for me.

Clara Amfo


On why they wanted to take part...


I just think it's just unadulterated joy that everyone loves. I want to just surrender myself into it. It's an absolute fantasy world. I just want to be able to just throw myself in and literally pretend to be a dancer and then hopefully learn to be one in the process.


On the reaction so far...


It's been genuinely overwhelming. I think the reaction has sort of reminded me that sincerely lovely strangers still exist! Your friends and family are always going to back you, so the kindness of people has been so lovely. I’m genuinely trying to surrender myself to the experience and just enjoy it.


On what they're looking for in a partner...


I’m very much a chemistry person. First and foremost, I think the basis of any good partnership is just a decent friendship. I want someone who is going to push me - I don't want someone to go easy with me. I want fun to be the pinnacle of what we do, but I'm not afraid of hard work.

On being Strictly-fied...


I’m a late sequins fan! I only got into wearing sequins a few years ago. My mate is a designer and lent me this sequinned red dress and I was like, “Oh, OK right I get it; I get what all the fuss is about.” So I’m definitely a sequin convert.


Been given any advice?


Melvin (Odoom) did a funny thing on the radio the other day; he said “Don’t be too good in the first week!” That was said very tongue in cheek! Dev (Griffin) said “You have to give yourself to it and enjoy it” and Vick (Hope) said the same thing.


Mollie (King) was one of the first people to message me - she sent me a voice note singing the Strictly theme song! Basically every single person at Radio 1, all they’ve done is sing the theme tune. That’s all I’m going to hear from my team now!

HRVY


On why they wanted to take part...


There are loads of different reasons why I wanted to do it. I love the challenge, I love dancing, – I would say I can move my hips a bit! I just love the idea of the challenge and I'm so competitive.


On the reaction so far...


The reaction has been pretty mad actually. Obviously I knew it was huge - the biggest show in the UK - but I just didn't realise how many of my friends, especially younger friends, watch the show. They were like “There’s no way you’re doing it, me and my family love watching it, I can’t wait to watch you!”


And they were friends that I never knew were into it. My nan's over the moon and my mum’s received loads of texts from all of her friends.


On what they're looking for in a partner...


I'm actually quite hardworking when it comes to things like this so I feel I just need someone as passionate and driven as I am to keep up with me a little bit! Also someone quite patient, I am driven but my attention can go to different things quite a lot so someone who can keep my focus! I need someone with a bit of banter as well.


On being Strictly-fied...


I might stay away from the fake tan but apparently all the boys say that and then by week four are like “I think I might need to be a bit bronzer!” I think for now I don’t mind, put me in anything, I’m there for all the diamonds and dazzle! I’m not scared.


Been given any advice?


I know Saffron (Barker) really well who was on the show last year and she said that I’m going to love it. She said that I have to obviously work hard but enjoy it. She was just like “Just work hard but don't overthink anything and just have fun.”

Jacqui Smith


On why they wanted to take part...


The opportunity to have a new adventure at my age, to learn something completely new from the best teachers and dancers in the country is something that just seemed like a fantastic opportunity.


On the reaction so far...


People have been absolutely delighted whether it's the NHS Trust where I work or the Children's Trust or my family and friends. I always knew that Strictly brought joy to people, but I haven't quite seen it first-hand it's been absolutely lovely.


Strictly is always something that people look forward to, but this year, where things have been just so tough and miserable for people, somehow they feel even more positive about the fact that it's going to be happening. They frankly feel a bit amazed that I’m going to be doing it.


On what they're looking for in a partner...


Somebody who's very patient, a good teacher. Somebody who will be able to take me from the absolute basics through to something that I hope will impress people in a very short period of time.


On being Strictly-fied...


Having tried to put on fake tan each summer and have it go all streaky I’m very much looking forward to a proper spray tan which I’ve never had before. Everybody knows that the wardrobe and makeup people on the Strictly team are absolutely fantastic so having them look after me is going to be absolutely amazing.


Been given any advice?


Well, I’ve been lucky that Ed Balls has talked to me and give me some advice. I'm not sure that I would ever be able to match his Gangnam Style. I've only been on the phone with him so far. But obviously, I should be watching. I should replay the video and watch very, very carefully.


What he told me which I think is really, really important advice is people love Strictly and they love you taking it seriously and trying hard and that's absolutely what I'm going to be doing.

Jamie Laing


On why they wanted to take part (again)...


For me it's one of the shows that we all grew up with. Honestly, it makes my mum proud that I’m doing it and I’ve never made her proud before so that is literally one of the big reasons! I came out of it last year and obviously like most people I hate failing at stuff and it definitely felt like I failed last year so this is the time to really go for it.


On the reaction so far...


Everyone was like “What, again? That guy?!” Everyone has been super supportive, my mum is over the moon and she’s so excited. It’s been a pretty crazy year for everyone so hopefully it's going to be the most epic kind of escape for everyone. But I think pretty much everyone that I know is really excited about it!


If I get injured again it would look like I bottled it! So I really have to be careful. I'm not worried, I feel like I'm pretty fit and healthy. If something happens then the Strictly curse isn't about me sleeping with someone else, it’s definitely about my foot!


On what they're looking for in a partner...


I feel sorry for anyone who's going to have me! I'm looking for someone who's going to really push me to the edge. I'm pretty good at being coached and I'm pretty competitive.


On being Strictly-fied...


Are you kidding me? Dress me up as a glitterball and give me so much fake tan, I can’t wait. I want everything; it’s going to be unbelievable!


Been given any advice?


A friend of mine Pixie (Lott) gave me some advice. All the guys from last year too. Chris Ramsey said, “Jamie if you think it's hard, trust me. You have no idea how hard it’s going to be.” Everyone loved it, they said to have the best time and just really go for it.

Jason Bell


On why they wanted to take part...


I wanted to take part because it made me nervous. At some point, I've always challenged myself - sports has forced that - but when I retired and went off and did other ventures, everything I was scared of, I took that challenge on and I've learned something from it. I've learned about myself and how I operate.


Having to learn a new skill and compete and be judged by the best; it's a lot of pressure and I think I'm gonna re-ally hone in some skills that I didn't know I have yet.


On the reaction so far...


The reaction has been a lot of intense excitement. Everyone I know personally is excited. Everybody I work with, especially the NFL is just over the moon about it. I’ve always known the show is huge but the reaction I’ve had has confirmed that and I've been overwhelmed by the whole process and just really enjoying it because it feels like a celebration for everybody.


On who they told first...


Nadine (Coyle) my daughter’s mother. She just kind of looked at me for a minute. She’s not very quick to tell you her opinion, she listens to all the facts. So when I told her, she just was like, are you sure your back can do it?


I talk to her all the time about preparing for dance routines and stuff like that, and how long does it take and what do you need to do. She’s an expert, so I'm lucky because of that.


On what they're looking for in a partner...


A good coach. Someone with patience and not that they have to be hard on me because I'm hard enough on myself. But don't be scared to push me and to challenge me to go out of my comfort zone.


On being Strictly-fied...


I've been wearing tight uniforms my whole life (laughs). I've been putting face paint on to block the sun and all kinds of stuff. I'm ready for it. It's gonna be fun. The show has the greatest stylist and costume designers in the country, you just got to let them do their thing.

JJ Chalmers


On why they wanted to take part...


The challenge. I live to put myself outside my comfort zone and to make sure that I'm always trying to become the best version of myself that I possibly can. The types of opportunities and things which I've had in the past, learning to scuba dive or going to Afghanistan, for example, they have been pretty extreme.


But actually, they were inside my comfort zone because they were the kind of things I would do with ease. This is completely new and I plan on bringing the exact same mind set - giving it my absolute everything.


On the reaction so far...


My nephew Rory is starting a fan club with his friends at school. I believe they’re calling it ‘The JJ Cha Cha Cha Chalmers Fan Club’ which is absolutely amazing.


On the dance they're most looking forward to...


Probably the waltz. When I was in Afghanistan, I was learning how to dance for my brother's wedding. I was meant to come back midway through my tour and go to my brother's wedding and I wanted to surprise my girlfriend, now wife, that I could actually learn to waltz.


One of the guys in my checkpoint in Afghanistan had been a semi-professional dancer before he joined the Marines. So we started doing the waltz and then both of us got blown up unfortunately, in the same incident. That was the one dance he had begun to teach me so it feels like a good place to start.


On being Strictly-fied...


You can’t stand on the sidelines and feel self-conscious in this, because then you're missing the point. You’ve got to fully embrace it.


Been given any advice?


I'm really fortunate because of the breadth of programming that work on that lots of my friends have done it - Alex Jones, Anita Rani, Ore Oduba. The advice they've all given me is essentially, “Hold on for dear life”, because it's just wonderful madness, hard work, and all those things.

Maisie Smith


On why they wanted to take part...


It’s a family favourite and I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t seen the show. There’s usually someone from EastEnders on the show so there’s always someone I can support, and now that I’m that person it’s just surreal.


On the reaction so far...


It’s been unbelievable actually! It’s one of those things that you always wanted to do but you don’t expect it to actually happen. So in my house there was a lot of shock.


I hadn’t told a great deal of people because I had to keep it so private so I could only tell a couple of my friends. We had been so excited holding it in so after the official announcement every single person was so excited for me. It’s been a really happy vibe.


On what they're looking for in a partner...


I think someone who is strict enough to put me in my place! Also I hope we can have a laugh together because obviously we're going to be spending so much time together. I think they need to be able to put up with my craziness – so someone that can handle me!


On being Strictly-fied...


That is genuinely what I think I’m most excited about - being glammed up every single week! I remember when Emma (Barton) did it last year; I barely do scenes with her so when I do see her I just saw her as her character Honey. So watching her every week she just looked incredible and I can’t wait for them to work that magic on me!


Been given any advice?


I have actually, a lot of them have said to enjoy it, that it’s going to be hard and will take a lot out of you but remember to have the best time and be yourself - which is the perfect advice.

Max George


On why they wanted to take part...


It’s the show that my family all love and have watched for years. As this year has been a terrible one for a lot of people, I wanted to do something that would be fun and hopefully put a smile on people’s faces on a Saturday night.


I know its going to be a massive challenge for me because I’m not a dancer and its something that I never really thought I’d do. Now I’m actually doing it, I’m just really excited. I can't wait to meet my dance partner.


On the reaction so far...


It’s been an amazing reaction. Some of my friends were really surprised and my family are buzzing because they love the show. Fans of The Wanted are all buzzing because it brings that nice little connection back with Jay and The Wanted so that’s been really nice.


On what they're looking for in a partner...


Someone that makes me look pretty good. Someone that’s full of energy, up for having fun but can keep me in line as well.


I don't really know anything about different dances. From what people have told me apparently the cha cha can be a bit of a pain. I have no idea what that is by the way, I might love it.


On being Strictly-fied...


Great, let’s go for it! It's all part of the show in it, you might as well embrace it.


Been given any advice?


When I perform on Saturdays I’ll be contacting Jay to ask his thoughts. If he says that was pretty good then I’ll be happy. Jay has already texted me a couple of times out of the blue asking how it’s going so I’ll be asking him for a few tips.

Nicola Adams


On why they wanted to take part...


I wanted a new challenge, something different to do. I'm always challenging myself all the time. So it was a good step in the right direction. I'm not the best dancer so I wanted to see how I will do.


On the reaction so far...


It's been an amazing reaction actually. I’ve had lots of positive messages, everybody saying they can’t wait to see me, so I’m excited. From the start I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has supported me so far. I hope I don't disappoint with my dance moves and I’ll be giving it 110%.


On being part of the first same-sex pairing...


It means a lot to me. I think it's a brilliant step in the right direction especially on the diversity side of things. And women actually dance with women all the time in the professional circuit so I guess it’s just showing people that it can be done.


On what they're looking for in a partner...


Someone competitive who will work as hard as I will and hopefully be around the same height as I am as well. My biggest challenge is probably going to be just learning the routines, I've got the physical side, I’m pretty fit, I’m pretty in shape. So the fitness side of things won't be a problem. It's just learning the actual routine where I think it will be quite tricky.


On being Strictly-fied...


Yeah, it's gonna be very different. I’ll be out of my comfort zone but I’m looking forward to it. I don’t really wear too much glitter so it’s gonna be different but exciting for me.

Ranvir Singh


On why they wanted to take part...


I think the reason is that it’s the most joyous programme and you know that it's a real privilege to be asked to be on it. It's a real milestone, it’s a career high - it’s everything isn’t it? Strictly is about actually learning a skill.


I haven't learned anything from scratch for years. I just have my head down and worked really hard and now all of a sudden, there's this beautiful chance to learn something completely different from scratch. I hope my brain works, my body works and I’m up for a challenge.


On the reaction so far...


The reaction has been really lovely. My family have been super excited and my friends are literally beside themselves. It’s the one show that everyone goes, “I would love to do that, wouldn't it be a joy?” and then you are the one that gets the chance to do it! Before the show is even on air it is spreading joy.


On being Strictly-fied...


I just hope they’ve got really, really, really strong support underwear - that's all I'm concerned about. As long as they can hold it all in and make me look as streamlined as is magically possible - and Strictly is all about the magic - then I'll be happy.


I'm not even sure I need to breathe. As long as I can hold my breath for three minutes or however long the dance is - have St John Ambulance on the sidelines for fainting through lack of oxygen!


On what they're looking for in a partner...


I need somebody who can laugh really easily, to break the tension of not being able to get the steps straight away. I also need somebody who understands that I’ll be working on Good Morning Britain and the tiredness element that will bring.


Strictly is the thing where you have to physically push yourself beyond tiredness, beyond discomfort. So I think I need somebody who is upbeat, who can laugh and make me laugh, to keep my energy levels going I think.


Been given any advice?


I think Susanna Reid’s immediate advice was at all costs to try and avoid the Cha Cha and the Samba. But I don't know if I can avoid them! Kate Garraway said, “You realise a few weeks in how serious the training is, so don't miss the opportunity to really hit the ground running and take it seriously right at the beginning.”


Strictly Come Dancing returns Saturday 17th October on BBC One

CONTACT

 

FOR ANY BLOG ENQUIRIES INCLUDING TV AND RADIO OPPORTUNITIES, PLEASE EMAIL

HELLO@ITALKTELLY.COM

OR FIND ME ON SOCIAL

  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Instagram Icon

DONATE

 

I TALK TELLY CURRENTLY RUNS NO ADVERTISING, SO IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TO HELP KEEP THE SITE RUNNING PLEASE DO SO HERE

LISTEN

BBC Radio Leicester Logo.png

MONDAYS 12.30PM

TALKING TO BEN JACKSON

Copyright © I Talk Telly®