Dust off your dancing shoes, Strictly Come Dancing is waltzing back onto BBC Brit for its 18th series. The NTA and BAFTA award-winning entertainment show produced by BBC Studios re-turns with more sparkle, glitz and glamour than ever.
The celebrities strutting their stuff on the dance floor this series are Bill Bailey, Caroline Quentin, Clara Amfo, HRVY, Jacqui Smith, Jamie Laing, Jason Bell, JJ Chalmers, Maisie Smith, Max George, Nicola Adams and Ranvir Singh.
On Sunday 25th October, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman host an exclusive premiere to welcome 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 dancefloor for what promises to be an entertaining group performance, launching the new series in Strictly style.
Our fabulous judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas return to the panel and will be casting their expert judgement every week. Bruno Tonioli will be joining the show re-motely 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 professional line-up is…Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Anton Du Beke, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Janette Manrara, Johannes Radebe, Ka-ren Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova, Nancy Xu, Neil Jones and Oti Ma-buse.
Bill said: “In these are strange times we're living through, it feels right to do something different and take on a new challenge. So I am delighted to be a part of this year's unique Strictly Come Dancing. My late mum Madrin would have loved it - I hope she'll be watching.” Bill Bailey is a comedian, musician, author, documentary-maker and keen outdoors enthusiast best known for his live comedy and for the TV shows Black Books, Never Mind the Buzzcocks and QI . Bill is constantly in demand as an internationally touring comedian, and his live shows always feature ingenious and original musical elements drawing on Bill’s skills as a classically trained musician and multi-instrumentalist. His unique ability to entertain and educate was brilliantly demonstrated in his award-winning show, Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra, where he performed with the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Caroline said: “I am thrilled and terrified in equal measure to be taking part” Award-winning actress, broadcaster and national treasure, Caroline Quentin is well known for a wide range of acting roles including Maddie in Jonathan Creek, DCI Janine Lewis in Blue Murder, plus star roles in Kiss Me Kate, Life Begins and Life of Riley. Best known for starring as Dorothy in hit sitcom Men Behaving Badly, Caroline has also presented a number of documentaries, as well as two very successful series of Extraordinary Homes for BBC Two and performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2019.
Clara said: “As we know this year has been a real challenge and escapism through dancing is something I know we all enjoy, so to be taught by a pro and live a fantasy is something that I can’t wait to fully embrace, see you on the dancefloor!” Clara Amfo is a broadcaster best known for her 10am – 1pm show on BBC Radio 1, home of the Live Lounge. Her credits as a television presenter include One World: Together at Home (BBC One), ITV2’s coverage of The BRIT Awards and the BBC’s coverage of Glastonbury Festival, Radio 1’s Big Weekend, and The Proms. Clara is part of the BAFTA TV Awards presenting team and is a recurrent presence on the judging panel for the Mercury Prize. She’s a regular on the red carpet, hosting European and world film premieres for Elton John’s Rocketman, The Crimes Of Grindelwald, Marvel’s Black Panther, Birds of Prey and The Royal European Premiere of Disney’s The Lion King. Clara appeared on the September 2020 Activism Now cover of British Vogue, and was named as a contributing editor to Elle magazine. She is also the host of Sony Music and Spotify podcast This City.
HRVY said: “Being on Strictly is going to be such an amazing experience and I’m so thankful to be taking part this year. I think my mum is more excited that she’ll be able to see me every Saturday night now.” 21-year-old popstar HRVY has over a billion combined streams to his name and a social following of over 10 million globally. He has sold out two UK and European tours including headline shows at Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo and a now postponed London Palladium show, plus shows in Asia, Australia and America. HRVY performed at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in 2019, has shared the stage with Jonas Blue at Capital FM’s Summertime Ball and Jingle Bell Ball. Born in Kent, HRVY first rose to fame after uploading his music videos to Facebook. He signed to Virgin EMI in 2017 and his debut album is out this year. He has previously presented on CBBC's Friday Download.
Jacqui said: “I was speechless with excitement at being asked to join Strictly – and that’s very rare for me. Fifty years ago, I got a bronze medal for Scottish Highland Dancing and it feels about time to return to dancing. I couldn’t be in better hands with the Strictly team and I’m going to throw myself into the challenge. Watch out!”. The former politician is best known as being the UK’s first female Home Secretary in 2007. Jacqui is now the Chair of the largest NHS trust in England in Birmingham and a Children’s Trust in Sandwell. She has become a regular political commentator on TV and radio and also hosts a weekly award winning podcast called For the Many that she presents with broadcaster Iain Dale.
Jaimie said: “Here we go again, hopefully this time I can last long enough so my mum can see me dance. The reason I’m doing it, is to make my mum proud but all I did last year was make her even more disappointed. Let’s change that this year, can’t wait!!” TV personality and entrepreneur Jamie Laing has appeared in the award-winning television series Made in Chelsea since 2011. Following his debut on the show, Jamie starred in BBC Three’s Murder in Successville, Channel 4’s In Bed with Jamie and hosted his own Saturday show on heat Radio. His podcast Private Parts, which he co-hosts with Francis Boulle, has featured guest such as Jack Whitehall and Elizabeth Day. Earlier this year saw the launch of Jamie’s new BBC Sounds podcast 6 Degrees from Jamie and Spencer, which he co-hosts with Spencer Matthews. Jamie is an ambassador for the YoungMinds organisation and regularly supports children’s charity Barnardos and their work in fundraising events to help vulnerable children. Other credits include Channel 4’s Celebrity Hunted for Stand Up to Cancer and BBC One’s Comic Relief documentary Famous, Rich and Hungry. As well as his media presence, Jamie is also a successful businessman, having founded the sweets brand Candy Kittens in 2012.
Jason said: “Strictly is the epitome of British television and this year, more than ever, I’m so proud and humbled to be participating. Strictly was the first show I ever watched when I moved to the UK and I’m a massive fan. My 6 year-old daughter never got the chance to see me run out on the field at an NFL game but she is very excited about me taking to the dance floor. I hope I can do her proud.” A former professional American footballer, Jason played as a cornerback/safety in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys. He then played for the Houston Texans, where he was named a recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award, one of the league's highest honors. He finished his professional career with the New York Giants. Jason now co-hosts The Jason & Osi Podcast with fellow NFL alum Osi Umenyiora. Alongside Osi he also presents the NFL Show on BBC.
JJ said: “My whole life is defined by facing challenges. Whether it's becoming a Royal Marine Commando, recovering from my injuries sustained in Afghanistan to competing in The Invictus Games. Now as a TV Presenter I'm lucky enough to witness some of the greatest sporting contests in the world. Strictly is a whole different ball game in respect to the challenges I will face but I'm up for an adventure and at least my mum will know where I am!” JJ Chalmers is a TV Presenter with a remarkable back story. The career of the former Royal Marine Commando was cut short after he suffered life-changing injuries following an IED explosion in Afghanistan. After years of rehabilitation, JJ went on to compete in the 2014 Invictus Games where he captained the Trike Cycling team and took home three medals. As a spokesperson for this inaugural Invictus Games JJ got an insight into TV and embarked on a career in broadcasting. He hit the ground running in 2016 with a Studio Presenter role for the Rio Paralympics and has anchored BBC One’s coverage of the Invictus Games since 2017. Other presenting highlights for BBC Sport include The Commonwealth Games and The London Marathon. As part of the BBC's Ceremonial team JJ commentates on The Lord Mayor's Show and was involved in the D-Day Memorial programming. Other BBC credits include The One Show, BBC Breakfast, Getaways, The People Remember and Radio 5 Live’s From Helmand and Back. JJ is an Ambassador for both Help For Heroes and The Invictus Games.
Maisie said: “Get me in those sequins, I can’t wait to dive into the Strictly fancy dress box this winter! This is a dream come true.” Maisie made her acting debut playing a young Elizabeth in feature film The Other Boleyn Girl alongside Scarlett Johansson and Eddie Redmayne. That same year, Maisie stormed into Albert Square as Tiffany, daughter of Bianca and now member of the long established Butcher family.Maisie has won numerous awards for her portrayal of Tiffany including ‘Best Dramatic Performance from a Young Actress’ at the British Soap Awards and ‘Best Young Actor’ at the Inside Soap Awards. As well as acting, Maisie has released two singles in 2016 and 2017 under an independent record label.
Max said: "Buzzing to be on Strictly this year. Not really one for the dance floor, but I take a lot of comfort in the fact that Jay McGuiness set The Wanted’s bar so low....”. Max shot to fame as a member of The Wanted. The band had two number 1 singles in the UK and reached the top 3 in the US Billboard charts. After The Wanted took a break, Max moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career and starred in the 6th season of Glee as Clint. More recently he has returned to music as a solo artist.
Nicola said “I’m really excited to be joining this year’s incredible line-up for Strictly ComeDancing. I’m a huge fan of the show and am thrilled to be part of something that holds such a special place in so many people’s hearts. People might know me from my work in the ring, but I’ll be every bit as passionate and dedicated on the dancefloor too. I also wanted to thank the BBC for supporting me and making me the first ever all female-pairing; and it’s amazing to be a part of the movement for change, diversity and breaking boundaries in the entertainment industry.” Nicola became the first female amateur boxer to win an Olympic gold medal at London 2012 and double Olympic champion following her second gold medal win in Rio 2016 as well as being the first boxer in history to retain an Olympic title. Having also become World Amateur Champion in May 2016 she secured a grand slam of titles, and is the only female boxer in the history of the sport to have won every major title available to her; Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth. In recognition of her services to boxing and unprecedented achievement, Nicola was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list. She was then made an OBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list. She recently retired from the sport with an undefeated record and held the WBO female flyweight title in 2019.
Ranvir Singh is a journalist and presenter, best known as the Political Editor for ITV’s Good Morning Britain, anchor for ITV’s Tonight and newsreader on ITN. Ranvir said: “The initial feeling of being confirmed for Strictly is one of complete terror – feels like embarking on a rollercoaster, where you really want to do it but you are equally scared. Hopefully after the first dance I will feel exhilarated rather than sick!” Ranvir was born and raised in Preston. Following her time at Lancashire University, she spent 12 years at the BBC as a producer, reporter and presenter. She co-presented BBC North West Tonight and in 2010 was awarded ‘Best On Screen Talent’ at the Royal Television Society’s North West Awards. As a regular newsreader on ITN news and anchor for ITV’s Tonight, 2019 was a very busy year for Ranvir, culminating in interviewing some of the top political leaders ahead of the General Election. Ranvir has fronted several ITV primetime factual series including Eat, Shop, Save, and has co-presented The Martin Lewis Show Live. She also recently fronted Loose Women. Alongside her television work, Ranvir has presented on various shows for BBC 5 Live.
Bruno Tonioli has worked with some of the biggest and best names in the industry such as Elton John, Duran Duran, Freddie Mercury, Tina Turner, Paul McCartney to name but a few! He splits his time between London and Los Angeles to record both Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars, two of the most successful shows either side of the Atlantic. In 2015, he also served as a guest judge on Dancing with the Stars in Australia.
Craig's work has taken him all over the world and along the way he has picked up a prestigious Olivier Award for his work on the West End musical Spend, Spend, Spend. Craig is constantly on the go choreographing and directing new stage projects - including the Strictly Live Arena Tour every year. Craig has also judged on the New Zealand version of Strictly Come Dancing. Craig was born in a sleepy Australian town called Ballarat and when he was old enough, he moved away from his hometown to the bright lights of Melbourne where his dance career began. He appeared in productions including West Side Story, La Cage Aux Folles, Me and My Girl and many more. He eventually headed to Europe where he joined the Lido Du Paris as a dancer in Panache and then as principle singer in Formidable at the Moulin Rouge, finding himself a year later in the UK tour of Cats in Edinburgh and Dublin. Craig also appeared in the original concert version of Jesus Christ Superstar. In the West End, Craig has performed in Cats, playing the part of Munkustrap, Miss Saigon and was an original cast member playing the part of Harry in Crazy For You. Craig has recently returned to his performing roots, playing Miss Hannigan in Annie. Craig has directed numerous stage shows including most recently the hugely successful tour of Sister Act and the new Dusty Springfield musical Son of a Preacher Man. Craig is now in his 16th series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Motsi Mabuse, judge on Let’s Dance (the German version of Strictly Come Dancing) and professional dancer, has been confirmed as the new judge replacing former ballerina Dame Darcey Bussell. Originally from Pretoria, South Africa, Motsi is a former South African Champion and German Latin Champion in 2009 and 2010. Motsi has been a judge on Let’s Dance in Germany since 2011, after joining the show in 2007 as a professional dancer. Sister to professional dancer and cherished Strictly star Oti Mabuse, Motsi was expected to become a lawyer and join the family law firm but her passion for dance took over whilst she was studying at the University of Pretoria. Motsi Mabuse says: “I am absolutely overjoyed to be joining the Strictly judging panel. I have so much respect and admiration for the other three judges and hope to add my own bit of sparkle to the show. I can’t wait to get started!”
Head Judge Shirley Ballas is a British-born ballroom and Latin dancer and international coach who joined Strictly last year. Originally from Wallasey, Shirley is a former British Open to the World Champion and European, German, United Kingdom, United States and International Latin American Champion. She retired from competitive dancing in 1996. Shirley is now an acclaimed and respected international coach to many of the top professional and amateur dancers as well as a highly renowned sought-after adjudicator for ballroom and Latin American competitions judging all around the world. Nicknamed the ‘Queen of Latin’, Shirley is one of the top and most decorated professional dancers in the world. She is three-time British Open to the World Latin American Champion, 10-time United States Latin American Champion, and multiple-times British National Champion.
Tess returns to co-present another series of Strictly Come Dancing. She has the role of introducing the dances and probing the judges for their comments, whilst co-host Claudia Winkleman hosts the post-dance interviews with each couple. After working around the world as a model and before landing her role on Strictly Come Dancing, Tess presented many other TV shows including the Royal Variety Performance.
Claudia Winkleman returns as co-host of Strictly Come Dancing with Tess Daly and will be providing first-hand reactions from the couples hot off the dance floor in the ‘Clauditorium’. Claudia is a firm favourite with the Strictly audience, she has co-presented the Sunday night results show alongside Tess Daly since 2010. In 2015, Claudia was named Best Entertainment Presenter at the Royal Television Society Awards for her work on Strictly Come Dancing and has twice been nominated for Best Entertainment Performance at the Bafta TV Awards. Claudia will hosts a new show coming to BBC Lifestyle Britain’s Best Home Cook and also previously presented one of BBC Lifestyle’s most popular shows The Great British Sewing Bee.