Earlier than ever, the BBC have revealed the celebrities who'll be taking to the dance floor on this year's series of Strictly Come Dancing.
The 15 celebrities taking part in the 17th series of Strictly will be...
David James MBE
Former England Goalkeeper
David James is a former England No.1 goalkeeper and speaking about joining Strictly he said: "I'm really excited to be on Strictly this year. Not just competing against this year's stars, but being compared to previous sport stars from previous Strictly seasons. I have some big shoes to fill."
Starting his career at Watford he went on to play for a number of clubs including Liverpool, where he lifted the League Cup in 1994-95, and Portsmouth, whom he helped to FA Cup success in 2007-08. He amassed 53 caps for his country over an international career spanning 13 years and was first choice at both Euro 2004 and the 2010 World Cup. He also holds the Premier League record for the most clean sheets, with 173.
David, who has worked as a football analyst for the BBC & BT Sport, was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to football and charity, hung up his boots in 2013 after finishing his career at Icelandic club IBV. Aside from football James has also modelled for Giorgio Armani and H&M as well as being an avid artist, and was the illustrator on the children's book Harry's Magic Pockets: The Circus.
Chris is a critically acclaimed Stand Up Comedian and regular face on TV, speaking about joining Strictly he said “I’m both excited and absolutely terrified to be doing the show. You will not find me on the dance floor at parties, you will find me at the buffet table. All night. At my wedding I danced with my wife; that one song took about 6 months practice, and I definitely stood on her feet a couple of times. So I’m looking forward to the possibility of making a fool of myself in front of millions of people… there better be a buffet after the live shows.”
With two series of The Chris Ramsey Show (Comedy Central UK) under his belt, he is also a regular face on other entertainment shows such as Celebrity Juice (ITV2), Never Mind the Buzzcocks (BBC Two), 8 Out of 10 Cats (Channel 4) and Live at the Comedy Store (Comedy Central). He has also appeared on TV hosting Stand Up Central (Comedy Central) and I’m a Celebrity: Extra Camp (ITV2) as well as performing on The Royal Variety Performance (ITV) and Live at the Apollo (BBC Two).
In addition to his television work, Chris has also completed sell-out tours across the UK with The Most Dangerous Man on Sat Morning Television, Feeling Lucky, Offermation (nominated for an Edinburgh Comedy Award) and All Growed Up. Chris finished touring the UK last year with his 106 date stand-up tour Chris Ramsay Live 2018: The Just Happy To Get Out of the House Tour and will be touring the UK in 2020.
Emma is best known for playing Honey Mitchell in EastEnders and speaking about joining Strictly, she said “As possibly one of the biggest Strictly fans on the planet, I still can’t believe this is happening. I’m very much a dance around your handbag kinda girl, but now I've been given this wonderful opportunity to learn all the different styles of dancing from the very best in the business. So, I’m whipping off Honey's “Minute Mart” tabard & diving right in to all the glitter & sparkle. From Albert Square to the Strictly dance floor - I just can’t wait!”
Emma has been part of many memorable storylines including Honey’s weddings and failed marriage to Billy Mitchell. Honey is currently in a relationship with Adam but with her suspicions growing about his relationship with Habiba, will Honey learn the truth and tell Adam to Waltz off?
As well as many on screen roles, Emma is also an accomplished stage actress with theatre credits including: Roxie Hart in Chicago, Dolly in the National Theatre’s production of One Man Two Guvnors, Vera in Doctor in the House, Lily in Annie, Marty in Grease and Eileen in Over the Moon.
Emma is also a proud patron of Down’s Syndrome Association and Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association and recently ran the London Marathon as one of Dame Barbara Windsor’s ‘Revolutionaries’, in aid of Dementia Revolution.
Social Media Star
Saffron is a social media star And speaking about joining Strictly said “I am really excited to go on the Strictly journey and am feeling very grateful for the opportunity! I’m looking forward to learning all of the dances, finding out who my partner is, getting to wear the costumes and to just experience this once in a lifetime opportunity.”
19-year-old Saffron has over four million followers across her combined social channels and averaging 15 million views a month on her YouTube channels. In 2017 Saffron’s book Saffron Barker Vs Real Life reached number one on the Sunday Times bestsellers list and her popularity has also gained her three successful homeware ranges with Primark.
Saffron is also a supporter of several charities and this year completed the London Landmarks Half Marathon for the Make A Wish foundation. She also completed her first marathon, the London Marathon, running for Dementia Revolution in memory of her Great Grandad Ted.
Catherine is best-known for playing Eva Price in Coronation Street and speaking about joining Strictly she said “I’m thrilled to be a part of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing. I’m a huge fan of the show. It’ll be my biggest challenge to date as I’m not much of a dancer, but I’ve always wanted to learn the skill and the time feels right! I’m nervous as hell but super excited to work with such talented professionals. Hold onto your jazz shoes... mine is sure to be a bumpy/clumsy/fun ride!”
Recently Catherine also starred in the Channel 5 series 15 Days and has finished filming the new six-part comedy series Scarborough, written by the creator of long-running sitcom Benidorm, coming soon to BBC One. She also played the lead role of Iris Moss in BBC drama Lilies and has further credits in Holby City, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Shameless and Trollied.
Mike is best-known for his presenting role in BBC Breakfast and speaking about joining Strictly he said “I am so excited to be joining this year’s Strictly Come Dancing. I’ve heard so many wonderful things from colleagues over the years so thrilled I’m now getting the chance. I know I will completely throw myself into the whole experience and I’m sure will love it from start to finish. I may have tried and profiled over 500 sports over the years in my Saturday morning BBC Breakfast slot but think the Strictly challenge could be the greatest. Bring on the glitter!”
Mike presents the main sports bulletins of the day on BBC Breakfast, as well as profiling main stream sports events from the Olympics, Paralympics, the Winter games, Football World Cups, Commonwealth Games, and Asian Games, with the top stars, whether it be a game of tennis against Novak Djockovich, or trying to bowl out Alistair Cook, during his Saturday morning slot on Breakfast.
For Comic Relief he also holds the unusual world record for crossing one mile of water in a large inflatable ball in 1 hour 57 seconds.
Karim has been a CBBC presenter since 2014, presenting directly from the CBBC HQ as well as numerous other shows, including BBC Young Dancer and Wimbledon Live.
Speaking about joining Strictly, Karim said “To be offered the chance to take part in Strictly is dumbfounding, I’m pinching myself…! I’m so excited to be Strictlified. I want THE LOT. The skimpiest of clothes, the widest of flares, the brightest of colours and the tallest Cuban heels a guy can find! The more flamboyant the better… sequins galore please!!”
Karim is currently filming a brand new travel and sport documentary for CBBC called A Week to Beat the World, in which he takes three British kids to countries including Guatemala, Brazil and Japan to play national sports and see if they can beat the locals at their own game.
He started his career as a child in West End shows including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium, The Far Pavillions at the Shaftesbury Theatre and The Lion King at the Lyceum. His TV appearances include EastEnders, Da Vinci’s Demons, Blue Peter, Top Class and Saturday Mash-Up, and most notably the role of Sadiq in sci-fi drama The Sparticle Mystery, which ran for three series between 2011 and 2015 and has had over two million hits on BBC iPlayer to date.
Viscountess Emma Weymouth
Emma Thynn, Viscountess Weymouth is a businesswoman, chef, model and philanthropist. Speaking about joining Strictly she said “I absolutely love watching Strictly every weekend and I can’t believe that I’m getting the chance to be on this series. I know it will be such an amazing experience from start to finish. I can’t wait for the dancing and the fabulous outfits!”
Following her marriage in 2013 to Ceawlin Thynn, Viscount Weymouth, Emma became the chatelaine of the Longleat Estate in Wiltshire. Emma was born in London in 1986 to a British mother and Nigerian father and was raised in South Kensington where she was head girl at Queen's Gate School. She later attended University College London where she studied History of Art.
In 2015 Emma launched 'Emma's Kitchen' at Longleat, a space for her to share her love of food and cooking using the backdrop of the original kitchens within Longleat House. In addition, Emma is a contributing editor for British Vogue, makes regular appearances as a guest chef on James Martin's Saturday Morning TV show and is a model and ambassador for various brands. In the area of animal conservation Emma is particularly involved in Longleat's project to help save the Northern White Rhino and its work with the charity TUSK.
Singer and TV Personality
Michelle Visage is an American singer, television host, radio DJ, and media personality best-known for appearing as a judge on the American reality competition television series RuPaul's Drag Race since season three and on all seasons of the spin-off show RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars.
Speaking about joining Strictly, Michelle said “Getting to do Strictly in my favourite place on Earth is an actual DREAM! I'm so excited to show that being 50 doesn't mean life stops. Things may not work like they did when I was 20, but 50 also means 'FABULOUS!' There are plenty of women like me out there who still 'got it' and we still 'plan to use it!' so slap on the sequins, point me to the dance floor and watch me Paso my Doble!”
Michelle was also a member of the band Seduction, took part in the fifteenth series of Celebrity Big Brother finishing in fifth place, appeared as a judge on the first two seasons of Ireland's Got Talent, made her West End debut as Miss Hedge in Everybody's Talking About Jamie and this October will appear on BBC Three's RuPaul's Drag Race UK.
Will Bayley MBE
Will is a World Table Tennis Paralympic champion and speaking about joing Strictly has said “I’m so proud to be on the show, it’s my family’s favourite show. I have no dance experience at all, but I hope I can do well. I want to inspire people with a disability - that would mean a lot to me. I want to prove to people I can do this.”
In January 2017 Will was awarded an MBE for services for Table Tennis and is currently training to defend his Paralympic title at the Tokyo 2020 games. He recently won Gold at the Japan Open 2019.
Will has suffered from arthrogryposis since birth, a rare condition which affects all four of his limbs. Will is classified as a Class 7 Paralympic athlete and was one of the stars of London 2012 and Rio 2016 games, winning consecutive silver and gold medals.
Reality TV Star
Jamie Laing is best-known for being an original cast member of Made In Chelsea and on joining Strictly the television personality and businessman said "I am beyond thrilled to be asked to be on Strictly, the only person potentially more thrilled is my mother. I have finally become the son she hoped for!”
Alongside Made In Chelsea, Jamie hosts the podcast Private Parts alongside actor-comedian Francis Boulle and has appeared on Celebrity Hunted, The Great British Bakeoff and Famous and Fighting Crime.
As well as his media presence, Jamie is also a successful businessman, having founded the sweets brand Candy Kittens in 2012.
Alex Scott MBE
Pundit, presenter and former footballer
Alex is a pundit, presenter and former professional footballer. Speaking about joining Strictly she said “I am absolutely buzzing to be signed up to Strictly. It’s the show I’ve always wanted to do and I can’t believe I’m finally going to be part of it. I’m super excited, but also terrified at the same time… The football pitch is a bit less glam than the ballroom, but I’m ready to try the sequins and dresses! Bring it on!”
The former Arsenal Captain and Lioness is a well-regarded pundit for BBC and Sky Sports and a regular on BBC’s Match of the Day. Alex signed with Arsenal aged eight and stayed with the team for most of her career. Alex helped the club achieve a domestic double of the FA Women’s Cup and the FA Women’s Premier League. She was also a key figure in the historic quadruple season for Arsenal in which they won all their trophy competitions. Alex then led the team as captain for the 2014/15 season.
While playing for England, Alex travelled the world playing football, also representing Great Britain in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. When she retired in 2017, Alex was the second most capped England player with 140 appearances. Since her retirement Alex has begun a successful broadcasting career. Alex is part of BBC Sport’s football broadcasting team and has become a regular face for Sky Sports football coverage.
Alex made history last August as the first female Sky Pundit on a Sky Sports’ Super Sunday and made waves as a fresh addition to the BBC World Cup Commentary line up.
Radio presenter & DJ
Dev is best-known for presenting on BBC Radio 1 and speaking about joining Strictly said “I just can’t believe I’m doing Strictly, it just doesn’t feel real yet! It’s going to be so much fun, but just to be clear, I’m not doing this to take part, I’m totally in it to win it! I can’t wait to meet my partner and start practicing.”
Dev began his career in children’s television on BBC Two every Sunday morning as a presenter and DJ to millions of young people. His undeniable popularity led to him hosting his own show on BBC’s 1Xtra and was soon fast tracked to BBC Radio 1. Dev did a long stint hosting early breakfast, warming the nation up for then host Chris Moyles who was later succeeded by Nick Grimshaw. Dev later moved to host the much-coveted Weekend breakfast show before taking over the now hugely popular weekend afternoon shows on Radio 1 from 1-4pm with Alice Levine.
He has also competed on Celebrity MasterChef, getting through to the final, as well as hosting Bafta TV Awards and most recently appearing on Channel 4’s SAS Who Dares Wins for Stand Up To Cancer.
James Cracknell OBE
James is a former rowing World champion and speaking about joining Strictly said “I’m really looking forward to being a part of Strictly this year. Having spent so many years mucking around in a rowing boat with big men in tight lycra, it’s time I learned a new skill. I need to apologise to my kids in advance for the embarrassment.”
James is a double Olympic Gold Medallist, who won his medals in the 2000 Sydney Games and 2004 Athens Games alongside team mates Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent.
Since retiring James has carried out dangerous and gruelling challenges including The Race Across the Atlantic, where he and Ben Fogle finished first, and the Yukon Arctic Ultra, cycling over 430 miles in the race across the frozen Alaskan countryside becoming the highest placed Briton ever finishing 12th. In 2010, James attempted to cross America by cycling, running, rowing and swimming in record time. It was during this trip that James suffered a near fatal accident after being struck from behind by a truck while cycling through Arizona.
After a difficult six-month recovery period, James went to the Canadian Yukon, completing The Coldest Race on Earth. James is the BBC’s commentator for Rowing, and was heavily involved in the coverage for the Rio Olympics in 2016. He has more recently become the oldest ever Boat Race champion at 46 as part of Cambridge University’s crew as they rowed to victory at the 165th Boat Race. He has also just finished studying for his Masters in Philosophy from Cambridge University.
Anneka is an award-winning broadcaster and speaking about joining Strictly said “I haven’t danced since I was seven and Miss Beer sent me home from my ballet class because I was hopelessly uncoordinated. My family and friends haven’t seen me dance since, not at a wedding or round a handbag so it’s going to be a challenge for my partner. In fact I’ve asked for two, one on each side. I can’t see myself in a long frilly dress either. But I’m feeling recklessly excited. Strictly has always been my Autumn’s entertainment and now I’m part of it! My children will probably leave the country”.
Anneka Rice shot to fame in this country as the Sky-Runner in Channel 4’s Treasure Hunt.
She also presented Sporting Chance, TV-am, Driving Force, Wish You Were Here, Capital Woman, Combat, Holiday, Hell’s Kitchen, The Royal Variety Performance and numerous other shows.
She went on to devise the award-winning Challenge Anneka for BBC One, shining a spotlight on issues like disability, homelessness and animal welfare and has raised millions of pounds worth of supplies and services for charities and communities.
Her radio work includes the Radio 2 Saturday Breakfast Show which she presented for six years; Pick Of The Week, Friday Night Is Music Night, The Arts Show, Sunday Love Songs, Loose Ends, and the award-winning podcast Fortunately. She is also a Patron of Operation Encompass, Help for Heroes and Horatio’s Garden.
Strictly Come Dancing returns this autumn on BBC One