Final names complete Strictly line-up

Final names complete Strictly line-up

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By Toby Hood,
Monday, 22nd August 2016
Anastacia previously sang on the show in 2015 (credit: flickr/ Mark Kent)

Greg Rutherford, Lesley Joseph, and Tameka Empson are the last three competitors to be announced for the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing

Rutherford has just returned from the Rio Olympics where he won a bronze medal in the long jump final. He announced his taking part in the celebrity dance contest on BBC's The One Show alongside actors Lesley Joseph and Tameka Empson.

Joseph is most remembered for her role in the 1990's hit sitcom Birds of a Feather, where she played promiscuous neighbour Dorien, while Empson rose to prominence in her hidden camera comedy 3 Non-Blondes in 2003. She currently stars on EastEnders as the bubbly but vicious Kim Fox.

"Strictly is an iconic show and I have always loved the glamour and the dedication," said Joseph, "and this year it suddenly seemed right to take part." Empson described being asked to appear as "like a dream" adding: "I've been waiting for years to take part in Strictly."

Robert Rinder confirmed his place in the competition a few hours ahead of the final three.

RTS Daytime Programme Award-winner Judge Rinder has been a household name since he first appeared on screens in 2014. Best friend of Benedict Cumberbatch, Rinder flirted with acting at university before pursuing law, pitching the idea for his own television vehicle to ITV a few years ago.  

Rumours about him taking to Strictly have been ongoing for months. On announcing his place on the show, he said: "I'm genuinely going in to dance, and people seem to want you to pretend that you're not going in to progress as far as you can in the competition."

Team GB Olympian Claudia Fragapane has also confirmed her place on the dancefloor. Gymnast Fragapane made history in 2014 as the first Englishwoman to win four gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. She is also fresh off the plane from Rio, having reached the final of the women's team all-around event.

The Bristolian will be seeking to emulate fellow Olympian Louis Smith's success when he won Strictly in 2012. “I am used to performing in front of big crowds but this is going to be so different to my floor routines in gymnastics." She said. 

"I love a challenge and performing! I also love dressing up and wearing sparkly costumes.”

Noughties singing sensation Anastacia was the tenth celebrity to join series 14 of the celebrity dancing competition.

The 'Left Outside Alone' songstress was announced during Chris Evans Radio 2 breakfast show when host Evans slipped up and said her name earlier in the programme than planned.

Anastacia, full name Anastacia Lyn Newkirk, is also well known for her medical charity work following diagnoses of Crohn's disease, breast cancer, and supraventricular tachycardia. 

Speaking of her choice to dance on Strictly, she said: "I think that I did it because I wanted to challenge myself on something that had nothing to do with a hospital." She appeared on the show last year, performing her 2000 debut song 'I'm Outta Love'.

Newsreader ​Naga Munchetty was the ninth competitor to be confirmed and the second BBC Breakfast presenter to take part in the 14th series, alongside colleague Ore Oduba.

Fashion model Daisy Lowe was also added to Strictly Come Dancing's series 14 line-up earlier this week.

Swapping the catwalk for the ballroom, Lowe is more familiar with strutting her stuff in front of designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Vivienne Westwood.

Hopefully she has inherited some rhythm from her musical parents, former singer Pearl Lowe and Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale. Either way, Lowe said she was "so looking forward to learning a new skill."

Hollyoaks actor Danny Mac will also be dancing this year, after announcing his engagement to co-star Carley Stenson.

Mac left the soap last year, opting for the stage instead as lead male in Leicester's Curve Theatre production of the Legally Blonde musical. 

The TV hunk appeared in a teasing video clip on Strictly's official Twitter feed to confirm his involvement.

They join Louise Redknapp, BBC Breakfast presenter Ore Oduba, Kiss FM DJ Melvin Odoom, I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Now host Laura Whitmore, singing sensation Will Young and ex-Labour MP Ed Balls who have all been confirmed as series 14 contestants.

Redknapp rose to fame in the nineties as part of girl group Eternal. After a successful solo career, she stopped singing in 2004 to raise a family with husband Jamie. She currently works as a model and TV presenter, and was once a judge on So You Think You Can Dance.

Commenting on her previous dance experience, the R&B singer said: "Dancing in Eternal in Caterpillar boots isn't quite the tango."   

Comedian Melvin Odoom previously hosted Strictly's rival show The X Factor's spin-off The Xtra Factor, following in the footsteps of fellow host Caroline Flack who won the dancing competition in 2014. 

Ore Oduba made his announcement from Rio de Janeiro (credit: BBC)

Meanwhile, Oduba made his announcement from Rio where he is currently covering the 2016 Olympic Games on BBC Four. "I don’t think I’ve been more nervously excited - aside from on my wedding day." He said. "I’m still waiting for someone to wake me up and tell me I’m dreaming!"

Speculation about the gender of BRIT Award-winner Will Young's partner fuelled the debate on whether same-sex couple's should be allowed to compete on Strictly

“I have always imagined myself on the show, but the timing has not been right... until now!" Said Young in a statement, "music is my passion and the dancing I have done has always been with a microphone in hand. Now there will be no microphone or band, just me, my partner and the dance floor."

Ed Balls missed out on being Star Baker on The Great Sport Relief Bake-Off (credit:BBC)

Ed Balls recently competed in the BBC's Great Sport Relief Bake Off earlier this year, finishing second behind Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh. He said: “I'd like to say I'm just really excited about learning to dance on TV, but the truth is I'm also scared to death. I'm just hoping it doesn't turn into a nightmare too quickly!” 

Last month it was revealed that this will be the last series of Strictly Come Dancing for judge Len Goodman, who has been part of the show since its inception in 2004.

It is not yet known who will replace Goodman, but Anton Du Beke has become the firm favourite after rumours of dancer Brendan Cole being ruled out were reported last week.

All contestants will perform at the series opener, where they will find out who their partners are, on Saturday 3rd September.

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Greg Rutherford, Lesley Joseph, and Tameka Empson are the last three competitors to be announced for the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing