Love Islanders, Paralympians and news anchors: meet the celebrities in Strictly Come Dancing 2023

Love Islanders, Paralympians and news anchors: meet the celebrities in Strictly Come Dancing 2023

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Thursday, 10th August 2023
Strictly Come Dancing (credit: BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing may not be back until the autumn but, like clockwork, the line-up has been announced and signalled the end of this soggy summer.

Claudia Winkleman will soon be back in the ballroom to present the live show alongside Tess Daly, while the notorious Craig Revel Horwood returns to the judging panel with Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and Shirley Ballas.

In the meantime, meet the celebrities who have their sights set on the Glitterball Trophy.

Amanda Abbington

Amanda Abbington (credit: BBC)

Amanda Abbington's TV career now spans three decades, but she's best known for playing the beguiling Mary Watson in Sherlock. She's also appeared on stage, recently starring in Steven Moffat's The Unfriend in the West End.

Far from craving the spotlight, though, she says, "I’m actually really shy and self-conscious so this will be a great opportunity for me to overcome those things!"

Angela Rippon CBE

Angela Rippon (credit: BBC)

Angela Rippon has been presenting the news for over 50 years, now fronting BBC's Rip-Off Britain and regularly appearing on Morning Live and The One Show.

She's also coming full circle, having presented the original Come Dancing between 1988-1991. She says "this will be quite an adventure for me. A scary one, considering I’m about to be 79. But I’m really looking forward to the challenge, and perhaps being able to learn the Argentinian Tango!!”

Layton Williams

Layton Williams (credit: BBC)

Having twirled his way to the titular role in a West End run of Billy Elliot, Layton Williams is a clear frontrunner. As well as theatre, he has also become a familiar face on UK TV, starring in the recently rebooted Bad Education, and appearing in I Hate Suzie Too as, coincidentally, the host of a fictional dance competition.

He says he's "absolutely buzzing to confirm that I will be taking part in THE most iconic dance competition in the UK! Bring on the sequins… ALL the sequins!"

Krishnan Guru-Murthy

Krishnan Guru-Murthy (credit: BBC)

By far the biggest surprise in this year's line-up, and the BBC took elaborate measures to maximise the reveal, hiding him in a The Traitors cloak as he pulled up at the Broadcasting House last weekend. Although, as he revealed to the RTS, the face of Channel 4 News has always had a streak of showmanship. The clue was in the colourful ties.

"I’m surprised, delighted and slightly confused to find myself taking part in Strictly on the basis of ‘you only live once!’ [...] But I am slightly worried about my general decrepitude."

Eddie Kadi

Eddie Kadi (credit: BBC)

Eddie Kadi was the first British black comedian to headline the O2 Arena in 2010, and this year he was nominated for the RTS Breakthrough Award after shining in Sorry, I Didn't Know. As well as stand-up, he also presents radio and has hosted the MOBO Awards.

“Anyone who knows me, understands that music and dance is so important and central to who I am [...] This is going to be a VIBE."

Angela Scanlon

Angela Scanlon (credit: BBC)

Angela Scanlon was originally a stylist before working in fashion TV in Ireland, and began her UK career as the presenter of Robot Wars. Now she hosts the popular interior design show Your Home Made Perfect on BBC Two.

Scanlon is "terrified" and has a lot of questions. "Will they make me tan? How itchy are sequins?! Do they do flesh coloured sports bras? Well - there’s only one way to find out, right!?"

Zara McDermott

Zara McDermott (credit: BBC)

The government policy advisor-turned-Love Island contestant has harnessed her newfound reality show fame to educate young people with hard-hitting documentaries, including Revenge Porn, Uncovering Rape Culture and Disordered Eating. And she has somewhat returned to policy, having fronted a campaign that changed the law for victims of digital abuse.

McDermott says she is "so excited to be joining the world of Strictly! I grew up watching it every year with my nan and she was the biggest Strictly fan. We would dance around the house and I have such fond memories of that time in my life."

Adam Thomas

Adam Thomas (credit: BBC)

Putting Manny on the map this series is Mancunian soap star Adam Thomas, who's starred in Emmerdale and more recently reprised his role as Donte Charles in the Waterloo Road reboot.

"I can't dance to save my life," he admits, "but I'm buzzing to learn and have a good laugh with my pro. Get me on that dance floor... I can't wait!"

Nikita Kanda

Nikita Kanda (credit: BBC)

Nikita Kanda is the current host of BBC Asian Network's Breakfast show, and has championed Asian talent in interviews with the likes of Sandra Oh from Killing Eve and Bridgerton's Kate Sharma and Charithra.

"I’m still pinching myself," she says. "I don’t think it will properly sink in until I step onto the dancefloor. I can’t wait to get glammed up and get out there. Throw the glitter on me!”

Ellie Leach

Ellie Leach (credit: BBC)

Ellie Leach is swapping the cobbles for the ballroom, having starred as Faye Windass for 12 years on Coronation Street with such thorny storylines as giving birth at 13 and reconnecting with the child she gave up.

She says: "It still doesn’t feel real that I’m going to be doing Strictly!! It’s always been a dream of mine so I guess dreams really do come true!!!!" Let's see if she can turn all those exclamation marks into points.

Jody Cundy CBE

Jody Cundy (credit: BBC)

Jody Cundy has won eight Gold, one Silver and three Bronze medals in swimming and cycling events across seven Summer Paralympics, as well as 23 world titles including one in the recent World Cycling Championships, but he admits that he's "always last onto the dance floor."

He is, however, "looking forward to the challenge and pushing myself way out of my comfort zone."

Bobby Brazier

Bobby Brazier (credit: BBC)

Having starred in EastEnders and slayed the runway for the likes of Dolce & Gabbana at Milan Fashion Week, actor and model Bobby Brazier will be hoping to braze the ballroom.

"I can’t wait to start training like a professional dancer and adding a few moves to my locker," he says.

Nigel Harmon

Nigel Harmon (credit: BBC)

Nigel Harmon has been acting since the age of 8, working across series, theatre shows and the odd movie. He's starred in EastEnders as Dennis Rickman but more recently he joined BBC's Casualty as Max Cristie, Holby ED's new Clinical Lead.

When he's not acting, Harmon also teaches meditation, so he'll be bringing some Zen focus to his performances. He says: "as an armchair fan of the show I have watched in awe as people have twirled and gyrated across the screen. And now it's my turn... gulp!"

Annabel Croft

Annabel Croft (credit: BBC)

After becoming the youngest Brit to play at Wimbledon for 95 years when she featured for the first time at just 15 years old, Annabel Croft went on to tear up the court to the very top of the British rankings. Since retiring, she has played a central role in the coverage of Wimbledon.

She is therefore looking forward to "swapping tennis balls for glitter balls", and "finding some joyfulness in the process."

Les Dennis

Les Dennis (credit: BBC)

The former face of Family Fortunes says he is "thrilled to be doing this iconic wonderful show as I approach my 70th birthday! In my career I’ve always gone for challenges outside my comfort zone and this is the ultimate one! Can’t wait.”

A showbiz mainstay for over 50 years, Dennis got his big break in the TV talent show New Faces before forming a double-act on The Laughter Show with the late Dustin Gee. He went on to star in Extras, Death in Paradise and Midsomer Murders, and appeared for two years on Coronation Street.

Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC One and BBC iPlayer in autumn 2023.

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Strictly Come Dancing may not be back until the autumn but, like clockwork, the line-up has been announced and signalled the end of this soggy summer.