Strictly Come Dancing returned to our screens this evening for its annual premiere show that saw this year’s cast of celebrities assigned to a professional dancing partner.
Presiding over the pre-recorded show – a precursor to the series proper – were Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman.
The celebs made their way into the famous Strictly ballroom via the red carpet before the nail-biting moment when they discovered with whom they’ll be partnered for the duration of the competition.
The celebrities strutting their stuff on the dance floor this series are Alexandra Burke, Charlotte Hawkins, Chizzy Akudolu, Debbie McGee, Gemma Atkinson, Mollie King, Ruth Langsford, Susan Calman, Aston Merrygold, Brian Conley, Davood Ghadami, Joe McFadden, Jonnie Peacock, Reverend Richard Coles and Simon Rimmer.
The professional dancer line-up includes newbies Dianne Buswell from Australia, Nadiya Bychkova from Ukraine and Amy Dowden from Wales alongside established Anton Du Beke, AJ Pritchard, Aljaž Škorjanec, Brendan Cole, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Kevin Clifton, Neil Jones, Pasha Kovalev, Chloe Hewitt, Karen Clifton, Katya Jones, Janette Manrara and Oti Mabuse.
The pairings are as follows:
|Aston Merrygold||Janette Manrara|
|Brian Conley||Amy Dowden|
|Davood Ghadami||Nadiya Bychkova|
|Joe McFadden||Katya Jones|
|Jonnie Peacock||Oti Mabuse|
|Reverend Richard Coles||Dianne Buswell|
|Simon Rimmer||Karen Clifton|
|Alexandra Burke||Gorka Marquez|
|Charlotte Hawkins||Brendan Cole|
|Chizzy Akudolu||Pasha Kovalev|
|Debbie McGee||Giovanni Pernice|
|Gemma Atkinson||Aljaž Škorjanec|
|Mollie King||AJ Pritchard|
|Ruth Langsford||Anton Du Beke|
|Susan Calman||Kevin Clifton|
The celebrities and pros joined forces for a spectacular group number to officially launch the new series in Strictly style. There was also a performance from last year’s reigning Champions and 2016 winners, Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton and a heart-felt tribute to television legend and long-serving Strictly host Sir Bruce Forsyth who died last month at the age of 89.
This year’s series also sees the addition of ‘Queen of Latin’ Shirley Ballas to the judging panel. The British-born ballroom and Latin dancer, World Champion and international coach joins Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell, and Craig Revel Horwood in critiquing the celebrities’ performance.
The celebrities now have two weeks to train with their partners before returning to the Strictly ballroom to perform live to the nation.
Meanwhile, the beeb were unimpressed at The Sun leaking details of this year’s pairings early.
“We are disappointed that The Sun broke the Strictly embargo regarding celebrity pairings,” a statement from the beeb on Twitter notes. “It spoils it for everyone involved especially the viewers looking forward to watching the launch show on Saturday night.”