Strictly Come Dancing is returning to screens tonight, Friday 23 September, with this year’s star-studded lineup in the midst of being unveiled by BBC bosses.
The show will kickstart is 20th series hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, with actors Kym Marsh and Will Mellor being the first stars confirmed to be taking part.
Alongside this, the Strictly spin-off It Takes Two will also be back on screens, hosted by Rylan Clark and former professional dancer Janette Manrara.
So, as this year’s stars don their dancing shoes to hit the ballroom and show off their skills, here’s everything you need to know about the much-anticipated new series.
Strictly Come Dancing is returning to screens tonight and will hit BBC One at 7pm with it’s pre-recorded launch show.
The glitzy launch show, which sees the celebrities discover their professional partners, was pre-recorded at Elstree on Wednesday September 7.
Strictly will then be back just 24 hours later on Saturday evening at 6:45pm – with all of the couples taking to the dancefloor twice in two weeks, before the first pair are voted off.
The show will then air live every Saturday throughout the autumn, with the final typically airing on the last Saturday before Christmas.
It’s spin-off show, It Takes Two, will also make a return following the first bumper weekend – with Rylan Clark and Janette Manrara set to return as hosts.
All of the 15 contestants have been confirmed for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing lineup, with Coronation Street star Kym Marsh and Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps actor Will Mellor the first stars unveiled during BBC Breakfast last week.
Kym revealed she’s been keen to join the show ‘for a number of years’ while Will said he’s signed up to bring some joy to his mother following his dad’s death from cancer in 2020.
Radio DJ Richie Anderson and Loose Women star Kaye Adams were revealed on Friday.
Former Sunday League footballer Richie – who went viral in 2018 when he came out as gay to his teammates at Coombs Wood F.C in an emotional documentary – said that it’s a ‘massive honour’ to be part of the show’s all-male partnership.
Kaye told her fellow Loose Women panellists of her involvement, ‘I’m absolutely terrified because I can’t dance. I could think of a million reasons not to do this.’
The fifth star was unveiled as comedian Jayde Adams was announced and she said that keeping the secret hidden had been like ‘torture’, but that she was a ‘massive fan’ of the show, joking appearing on the beloved show was her main career goal.
Paralympian Ellie Simmonds was unveiled as the show’s sixth contestant on Sunday. The athlete has a type of dwarfism called achondroplasia and is a height of 4ft, is the first with the genetic condition to appear on the show.
And as KISS FM DJ Tyler West was announced, he joked ‘I am SO gassed to be joining the Strictly family! As I started writing this I already got cramp.’
Bros star Matt Goss was then announced as the eighth contestant taking part on This Morning and said he has ‘butterflies for the first time in three decades’.
Comedian and Ted Lasso star Ellie Taylor, 38, was revealed on ITV show Lorraine as the ninth celebrity contestant for this year’s Strictly, and insisted that she has the dancing ability of a ‘newly born giraffe’.
Britain’s Got Talent singer and CBBC star Molly Rainford was the 10th star confirmed to be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing 2022.
The singer, 21, revealed she’s already sought advice from 2020 contestant HRVY, adding that despite her performing background she’s like ‘Ellie the Elephant’ when she takes to the floor.
Retired footballer and manager Tony Adams MBE, 55, was announced as the eleventh contestant a few hours later.
Tony said: ‘To say I’m excited is an understatement – the lure of the sequins and the call of the salsa has me swapping my battered old football boots for a set of Strictly soft shoes.
‘Am absolutely thrilled to be giving it my all on this year’s 20th anniversary of Strictly Come Dancing. I can’t wait to meet my partner – god help her – and start the dancing.’
The formidable centre-back’s football career spanned over 22 years, playing for both Arsenal and England.
Fleur East was confirmed as the twelfth contestant taking part after she made the announcement on Thursday during her Hits Radio Breakfast show where she said: ‘You’ll see me in the ballroom on Strictly Come Dancing!’
The singer further elaborated that it was an ‘honour’ to be asked to take part in the show and hopes to do her late father Malcolm proud.
After coming runner-up in series 11 of The X Factor, Fleur has been a regular face in the world of music and broadcasting.
Wildlife cameraman and Countryfile presenter Hamza Yassin was then announced as the 13th contestant.
Hamza is one of the presenters of BBC’s Animal Park and a guest presenter on Countryfile.
Hamza Yassin said: ‘I am absolutely over the moon to be joining Strictly 2022. Never in a million years did I think I’d be on such a cool show. I’ve been watching it for years and I can’t believe I’ll actually be there dancing live in front of the British public.
‘My dance skills are currently at the level of ‘1970’s disco vibe’ but I’m ready to work hard and will be shaking it every time I get the chance – shake it ’til you make it!’
EastEnders actor James Bye, 38, – who has played the role of Martin Fowler in the BBC show since 2014 – will also be taking part as the 14th star.
And last but not least, Helen Skelton is the final celebrity contestant confirmed for the brand new series of Strictly Come Dancing.
The TV and radio broadcaster, 39, was widely tipped to be taking part in the BBC ballroom show and her spot on the programme has now been confirmed as she completes the full celebrity line-up.
It was revealed on Saturday morning on BBC Radio 2 during Claudia Winkleman’s breakfast show that Helen – who split from husband Richie Myler earlier this year – would be appearing on the show.
Helen said: ‘I’m really excited to get stuck into a fun adventure. My family and friends have always loved the show and can’t wait for me to get started.’
An array of stars are also rumoured to be appearing on the new series, including chef Gino D’Acampo, Emmerdale star Adam Thomas, presenter Steph McGovern, Olympic champion Tom Daley and retired footballer Tony Adams.
It was also reported that rugby player Mike Tindall, who is married to Princess Anne’s daughter Zara, and the Queen’s granddaughter, Lady Louise Windsor, 18, were top of bosses’ wish list to coincide with the Platinum Jubilee earlier this year.
Fans are also hoping the series could feature another same-sex pairing, after The Great British Bake Off star John Whaite and Johannes Radebe reached the final last year.
This year’s Strictly has seen huge changes in the professional lineup, with four new dancers signing up to take part after Aljaž Škorjanec and Oti Mabuse announced they would be leaving the show earlier this year.
Four new pro dancers have joined the line-up, which means that 20 professionals in total are ready to bring their skills to the BBC show’s dancefloor later this year.
The four new world class dancers completing this year’s professional troupe are European cup winner Vito Coppola, Chinese National Champion Carlos Gu, former Under 21 British National Champion Lauren Oakley and Latin dance champion Michelle Tsiakkas.
They join the professional dancers already revealed for the upcoming series: Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Cameron Lombard, Gorka Marquez, Luba Mushtuk, Giovanni Pernice, Jowita Przystal, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington and Nancy Xu.
Not every pro dancer will be paired with a celebrity with four traditionally performing only in the professional group routines.
The new series of Strictly Come Dancing will once again be hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, who had presented the show together since 2014.
They will present a live show on Saturday, followed by a pre-recorded results show which will air on Sunday evenings.
Rylan Clark and Janette Manrara will return to host the Strictly spin-off It Takes Two, which airs weekdays on BBC Two, featuring interviews with the couples and judges, along with behind the scenes clips and fun segments.
Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke will return to the judging panel for the 20th series, after Bruno Tonioli confirmed in July he had permenantly left the show.
Bruno was unable to appear on the past two series due to his filming commitments in the US and Covid restrictions, with former professional Anton joining the panel in his place last year.
Bruno told MailOnline that he had found juggling the British show and its American variant Dancing With The Stars shows too taxing, saying: ‘Well I always will miss it, it’s my family, but I mean we’ll always be friends and you never know what’s going to happen.’
This year’s Strictly Come Dancing will kick off with a special group performance to celebrate 100 years of the BBC, featuring ‘special guests and fun tributes to some of your favourite BBC shows.’
It’s also been reported that Prince Charles, 73, and Duchess of Cornwall, 74, are planning to host a live episode of Strictly at Buckingham Palace following secret discussions with BBC executives.
Camilla is said to be a ‘massive fan’ of the show and even ‘votes every week’ for her favourite dancing duo.
The royal broadcast is being lined up for either the quarter or semi-finals later this , with only a handful of aides believed to be involved in the top secret project.
The new series is expected to feature the Movie Week and Musicals Week segments, along with its annual Halloween special.
Strictly Come Dancing will also return to the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom this year, after being unable to film at the historic venue due to Covid restrictions.
The new series will also see the return of a full audience for the live shows, after social distancing rules limited the number of spectators able to attend filming.
EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis made history when she became the show’s first ever disabled contestant to be crowned series champion with professional Giovanni Pernice in 2021.
The actress, who is deaf, earned nationwide praise when she delivered a moving silent dance for her Couples Choice, offering viewers a glimpse into her world.
Previous winners of Strictly Come Dancing include Bill Bailey, Joe McFadden, Ore Oduba, Jay McGuinness, Caroline Flack and Abbey Clancy.
Each week Strictly Come Dancing viewers vote for their favourite couple either by phone or online, and these votes are combined with the scores given by the judging panel for their performances.
The two couples with the fewest votes then go head-to-head in the dance-off, delivering a reprisal of their performance from the live show.
The judges then decide which couple they would like to save, and in the event of a tie head judge Shirley Ballas is given the casting vote.
Strictly Come Dancing returns next month on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.