Actress Lesley Joseph, World Champion long jumper Greg Rutherford and EastEnders star Tameka Empson complete the line-up for this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Their participation was confirmed on a Strictly themed edition of The One Show today (22 August) where they joined presenters Alex Jones and Patrick Kielty in the studio to discuss taking part.
Lesley is best known for her role of man crazy Dorien Green in sitcom Birds of a Feather, the friend of Essex sisters Tracey Stubbs (Linda Robson) and Sharon Theodopolopodos (Pauline Quirke). The series began in 1989 on BBC One with nine series – all featuring Joseph – airing until 1998. In 2014, following a successful stage version, ITV revived the series with Joseph reprising her role of Dorien. Lesley was also a regular in off-the-wall ITV saga Night and Day from 2001 to 2003 playing the show’s resident bitch, Rachel Culgrin.
“Strictly is an iconic show and I have always loved the glamour and the dedication and the entertainment and this year it suddenly seemed right to take part. I am scared and excited and apprehensive and thrilled to be a part of this wonderful show and I will try my best and enjoy this amazing experience!” – Lesley Joseph
Greg won the long jump gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics and bronze at this year’s in Rio. Other gold wins were seen at 2014 Commonwealth Games, 2014 and 2016 European Athletics Championships and 2015 World Athletics Championships.
“I love being challenged and taking to the Strictly ballroom is like nothing I have ever done before – doing this is definitely a long jump from my day job for sure! – Greg Rutherford
Actress and comedian Tameka has been a regular cast member of EastEnders since 2010, with a prior guest appearance as the larger than life Kim Fox in 2009. She is also known for being one of the three protagonists in covert camera comedy sketch series 3 Non-Blondes. In 2012 she participated in Let’s Dance for Sport Relief alongside Laurie Brett with a routine set to ‘Telephone’ by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé.
“I have been waiting for years to take part in Strictly and I’m so excited that finally I get to show the nation my moves! It’s always been a dream and I can’t wait to get started!” – Tameka Empson
The trio join Ed Balls, Will Young, Laura Whitmore, Ore Oduba, Melvin Odoom, Louise Redknapp, Danny Mac, Daisy Lowe, Naga Munchetty, Anastacia, Claudia Fragapane and Robert ‘Judge’ Rinder in the line-up.
Strictly Come Dancing‘s launch show will be broadcast on BBC One on Saturday 3rd September and will see the celebrity contestants discover which professional dancer they will be paired with throughout the competition.