Dust off your dancing shoes, Strictly Come Dancing is waltzing back onto BBC BRIT for its 16th series from Sunday 30th September at 6pm.
This year audiences in South Africa will be in for an added treat as the professional dancer line up now champions two of our very own – Oti Mabuse, a former Strictly finalist, and newcomer Johannes Radebe. Together the pair will be able to showcase their African style and flair and get everyone in behind them to show that South Africans are world class dancers.
Team South Africa
For the first time in Strictly Come Dancing history, there will be two South African pros on the line-up.
Oti Mabuse was born in Pretoria and began dancing in South Africa as a young child along with her sister, who is a judge on the German version of Strictly. Oti moved to Germany to push herself as she was the eight-time South African Latin American Champion and wanted new challenges. She has achieved many titles in her dancing career including World European Latin semi-finalist and World Cup Championship semi-finalist. Oti joined the show in 2015, in 2016 she reached the final with Danny Mac in 2016 and last year she made it to Blackpool with Paralympian Jonnie Peacock.
Johannes Radebe is from Sasolburg and is a two-time Professional South African Latin Champion and three time South African Amateur Latin Champion. He is a dancer with the Afro Arimba Dance Company and has also been a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing South Africa for two seasons, both times reaching the final.
He said: "Joining Strictly Come Dancing is one of the greatest achievements of my dancing career. It is such an honour to be chosen to be a part of an incredible cast and be part of one of the biggest shows that is celebrated worldwide. I cannot wait to get started and experience the magic with the UK!"
Susannah says: “I hope to prove pigs can fly (dance). Sick with nerves and jangling with excitement.” Susannah Constantine is a television presenter, fashion journalist, style advisor, author and designer. Susannah began her career working in fashion for Giorgio Armani and John Galliano before she met Trinny Woodall in 1994, with whom she proceeded to write a weekly fashion column which ran for seven years. The pair went on to co-host the hugely successful BBC show ‘What Not to Wear’ from 2001 to 2005 and then moved to make Trinny & Susannah Undress, and Undress the Nation, they also frequently appeared as makeover stylists on The Oprah Winfrey show.
Ashley says: “I am beyond excited and grateful to be part of the Strictly family! I’m going to put my heart and soul into this new adventure and can’t wait to have fun with the team! Bring on the sequins, glitz and glamour!” Ashley Roberts is a skilled presenter, musician and actress best known for being a member of one of the biggest girl groups in the world - The Pussycat Dolls. During her seven years in The Pussycat Dolls the group sold over 54 million records worldwide and won multiple music awards. Since leaving the group in 2010, Ashley has had a successful broadcast career, with credits that include regular appearances on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway (ITV), judging on Dancing On Ice (ITV) and Let It Shine (BBC BRIT).
Stacey says: “It’s happening! I'm taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this year and my mother is going to explode. 2018 has already been such an incredible year for me, I’ve done some amazing things and I’m excited to add ‘becoming a dancing GENIUS’ to the list! Typically, work for me is very serious and can be quite hard core so I'm going to soak up the escapism and bathe in the sequins. See you on the dancefloor!” Stacey Dooley is one of Britain's most celebrated documentary presenters who earlier this year was awarded an MBE for her services to broadcasting. Stacey has been making television programmes for nine years and has embarked on presenting a series of hard-hitting shows with Stacey Dooley Investigates. In 2016 she travelled to Syria and presented the critically acclaimed BBC BRIT documentary, Stacey Dooley on The Frontline: Gun Girls and ISIS. She won the One World Media Award for her face-to-face interview with an ISIS solider, and last year she released her debut book On the Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back, which made it on to The Sunday Times Bestsellers List.
Graeme says: “It’s true - I’ve signed up for Strictly! I’m hoping to follow in the footsteps of the cricketers who’ve come before me who’ve either won the whole thing or had an absolute ball on the show. Keeping it under wraps from my kids has been nearly impossible; they are huge fans of the show and I can’t wait to see their faces when I tell them. I don’t have any background in dancing but can do the floss so let’s hope this comes in useful!” Graeme is a world-renowned cricketer who began his England career in a one-day international at Bloemfontein. His 2008 Test debut as part of the England team against India at Chennai was a turning point in his career and he went on to become one of our greatest ever spin bowlers. Graeme was part of the victorious England team who claimed the Ashes back from Australia, where he delivered the winning wicket to secure the victory.
Danny says: “Having spent the last few months on two wheels motorcycling around South America in pink leathers, I’m absolutely delighted to be getting back on two feet and into something more comfortable like glittery spandex.” Danny John-Jules is a British actor most famous for playing the character Cat in the sci-fi comedy series, Red Dwarf - one of the most well-known sci-fi franchises on the planet - and arguably the most popular science-fiction comedy ever created. Other recognisable roles include the policeman Dwayne Myers in the long running BBC BRIT hit crime drama, Death In Paradise.
Lee says: “I'm so excited to be joining this year’s Strictly line-up. It is a real honour for me and I can’t wait to get out on the dance floor.” Lee Ryan is most well-known for being a part of super successful boy band Blue and more recently playing bad-boy Woody Woodward on BBC Brit’s EastEnders. Lee rose to fame in the early 2000s as part of Blue along with Simon Webbe, Antony Costa and Duncan James. The band had three UK number one albums and sold 16 million records worldwide. After a six-year hiatus they reunited in 2011 to represent the UK in the Eurovision song contest with their track I Can, coming 11th in the competition. In 2017 fans were sent into a frenzy when Lee made his EastEnders debut playing bad-boy “Woody” Woodward. He played the role for just over a year and went on to receive the 2017 Inside Soap Award nomination for Best Newcomer in the UK.
Katie says: “I feel so privileged and excited to be part of my favourite show on TV. I already know how much of an amazing experience it will be for me and I can’t wait to show my girls some of my new dance moves. I’m nervous to put on my dancing shoes but can’t wait to learn a new skill and have the Strictly tan and makeover!” Katie is a best-selling international author, inspirational speaker, TV presenter and charity campaigner. Katie made the decision to share her story in a remarkable film for the Cutting Edge strand on Channel 4 called Katie: My Beautiful Face, which was watched by over 3.5million viewers and nominated for Best Single Documentary at the Bafta Television Awards in 2010.
Lauren says: “I still don’t think it has properly sunk in that I’m actually going to be part of this year’s Strictly! I have loved the show since I was young, and it’s a huge thing to tick off my bucket list. I’m more nervous about being on stage, performing live and in front of the judges than I am about the Elite Paratriathlon Grand Final next month! But I’m up for the challenge and excited to swap my triathlon kit for dancing shoes and sequins.” Lauren Steadman is a double World Champion Paratriathlete, Paralympic Silver medallist and six times European Champion. She was born missing her lower right arm, but this has only spurred her on to be the best she can be, and she relishes the challenge of overcoming these barriers. At 14, she went to Beijing Paralympics Games at which point her career really took off. Such was her talent, Lauren switched sports from swimming to triathlon after London 2012’s Paralympic Games where she then went on to win silver at Rio 2016 in the sport’s inaugural inclusion at the Games.
Seann says: “Having seen videos of me dancing on friends’ phones from the night before, it’s safe to say I’m petrified but also so excited. I’m really looking forward to the lifts, the Lycra and the laughs, although as Craig would probably say 'dancing is no laughing matter dahhhhling…’” Seann Walsh is one of the best live comedians working in the UK today, he has recently returned from performing in America, where he made his USA television debut appearance on late night chat show, Conan. He is well-known for his appearances on BBC BRIT’s Live At The Apollo.
Vick says: "I’m so excited about being a contestant on this year’s Strictly. I’ve always been such a massive fan of the show so it’s a huge honour to be part of this series. Dances like Ballroom and Latin are totally outside my comfort zone but I love dancing, it makes people happy - myself included. To be able to perform every Saturday is such an incredible opportunity - I couldn’t be looking forward to it anymore and I will be throwing myself into it, working hard and learning from the judges every week.” A Nigerian-Geordie with a degree from Cambridge University, Vick is a multilingual, multi-skilled and multifaceted young presenter making waves in the multi-platform world of broadcast. She is currently presenting one of the UK’s most popular breakfast shows. Vick is also a mainstay reporter where she produces, scripts, edits and presents news and entertainment bulletins and in 2018 Vick joined The Voice and The Voice Kids as the digital reporter, as well as fronting Sky UK’s Carnage alongside former England cricket captain Freddie Flintoff and musician Lethal Bizzle.
Kate says: “I’m excited to confirm that I will be swapping the newsroom for the ballroom and joining this year’s wonderful Strictly family. It’s something of a departure for a news journalist, shifting focus from the headlines to my hemlines and I suspect the only serious element of my life over the coming months will be in training hard and figuring out the foxtrot… but I am so looking forward to the fun, laughter and all the challenges ahead.” Kate Silverton is one of the most popular and accomplished broadcasters in the country. She is a main anchor for BBC News. An extremely experienced journalist she has reported from the frontline in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Her experience of motherhood has encouraged a return to her academic roots in child psychology and she now combines her journalism with her passion for raising awareness about mental health issues relevant to both children and adults.
Joe says: "I'm honestly so chuffed to be involved in the show this year! Not going to lie, I’m very nervous about it, it's totally out of my comfort zone and I know it will be a huge challenge but that's what life is all about I guess. Funnily enough I’m writing this statement whilst on the way to surprise my grandparents with the news. They are going to be so happy which will definitely make up for any embarrassment or cringe caused by my questionable rhythm.” Joe Sugg is a British YouTuber, filmmaker, author and vlogger. As of 2018 he has over 25 million followers and is an international star. His videos consist of challenges, pranks, impressions and gaming, across his three YouTube channels. Joe is the author of the tremendously successful graphic novel series Username: Evie, which was the fastest selling graphic novel of all time. He also wrote, starred and executive produced the travelogue specials Joe and Caspar: Hit the Road and Hit the Road USA, with best friend and South African - Caspar Lee, which set pre-order DVD sales records.
Faye says: “Being on Strictly is literally a dream come true! It’s everything my 9 year old self ever wanted from showbiz and I’m going to relish every moment!” Faye is best known for her part in the UK’s most successful mixed-sex pop group of all time, Steps. Formed in 1997 they went on to release over 17 singles and four studio albums selling over 20 million records in the UK, Europe, Asia, Australasia and the US in a five year period. Faye began her theatrical career in 2004 with Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tell Me On A Sunday and has gone on to gain many theatrical roles. In 2011 Steps successfully reunited and celebrated with a 22-date sell out arena tour and another number one album.
Dr Ranj said: “I'm so overwhelmed and excited to be part of this wonderful show. It's an absolute dream come true for me! I've been a massive fan for so long, and I can't quite believe this is happening, but I'm going to give it my best shot. Anyone that knows me knows that I love a bit of sparkle... so bring on the glitter! I can’t wait!” Inspiring, fun and engaging - not words often associated with science and medical experts, yet Dr Ranj combines all three with infectious enthusiasm. Dr Ranj is one of the UK’s resident TV doctors specialising in the wellbeing of young people, and still works shifts in A&E and the intensive care unit at his local NHS hospital. He is also the co-creating host of Bafta award-winning CBeebies series, Get Well Soon. As well, Dr Ranj **can regularly be seen on other programmes as wide-ranging as: **BBC BRIT's Pointless Celebrities, ITV's Good Morning Britain and Tonight; Channel 5's Big Brother's Bit On The Side and 5 News.
Charles says: “It truly is a pleasure to be a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing, to be associated with a show that has such a huge following excites and scares me in equal measure! Dancing on Strictly is going to be quite a challenge but life’s all about testing yourself so there’s lots to look forward to, let the games begin..!” Charles Venn is an actor best known for his roles in EastEnders as Ray Dixon (BBC BRIT).
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.
Prima Ballerina Dame Darcey Bussell DBE is a former Principal Dancer at The Royal Ballet. Darcey became a Principal at The Royal Ballet in 1989 aged only 20 years old and remained at the company for her entire career. She also performed as a principal guest artist with leading companies around the world, retiring from ballet in 2007. She came out of retirement to dance the ‘Spirit of the Flame’ at the Olympics closing ceremony in 2012. Amongst her many patronages, she is President of the Royal Academy of Dance and International patron of the Sydney Dance Company. Her extensive broadcast work includes presenting documentaries such as Darcey Dances Hollywood, the 'Looking for’ series and she has presented The Royal Ballet's popular worldwide cinema simulcasts since 2014. Darcey first appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2008 when she performed a segment of Viva La Diva with Katherine Jenkins. She then appeared as a guest judge on the series in 2009, during which she and professional dancer Ian Waite danced a Jive together. Darcey joined the judging panel full time in 2012.
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.