Strictly Come Dancing share first snaps of A-List lineup ahead of launch

Strictly Come Dancing is just weeks away from bursting back onto screens with an all-new lineup.

The show is returning for its 18th season on BBC One with bosses at the network promising more glitz and glamour than ever seen before.

Officially kicking things off, celebrity contestants will be partnered with a professional dancer ahead of the launch premiere on October 17, presented by non-other than Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman.

Judges Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and head judge Shirley Ballas will once again be taking the seats on the judging panel, with Bruno Tonioli returning towards the end of the season.

As 12 lucky contestants get ready to strut their stuff on the dancefloor, Daily Star Online is here to bring you up to speed on who is who.

Bill Bailey

Comedian and actor Bill revealed he'd always been interested in dancing, often envious of those who were able to "waltz around the floor with great aplomb."

The 55-year-old who began working on the comedy scene in 1989 went on to say that since announcing he would be taking part in the show, he has received an "overwhelmingly positive" reaction from fans, friends and family.

Ahead of taking to the ballroom, the Never Mind The Buzzcocks star has been researching into the history of the dances as well as where they originated from.

A longstanding partner with the BBC, Bill was given his own show on the network in 1998, aptly named Is It Bill Bailey? before featuring in Channel 4 sitcom Black Books.

  • Strictly Come Dancing's HRVY tests positive for coronavirus days before partnering

HRVY

Chart-topping star HRVY is no stranger to busting out a few moves on stage during his performances.

Famed for his hits such as Hasta Luego, the 21-year-old has performed across the world from the likes of Wembley Stadium to small academies.

He originally made a name for himself as one of the presenters on CBBC's Friday Download, alongside Cellach Spellman and Dionne Bromfield.

HRVY, whose real name is Harvey Leigh Cantwell admitted that he is most excited about being thrown into the deep end, with a view to winning the competition and taking home the famous glitterball trophy.

  • Strictly's Katya Jones and Nicola Adams confirmed as show's first same-sex pairing

Jacqui Smith

Former teacher-turned-politician Jacqui Smith was the final contestant to join the star-studded line up for the 2020 season.

Jacquie, 57, served as Home Secretary for two years between 2007 and 2009 before resigning following her involvement in the parliamentary expenses scandal.

The former politician joked that Ex-Strictly contestant and former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has offered her some advice but she doesn't feel too positive about taking on his infamous Gangnam Style routine.

She says that amongst her friendship group, she is known for shaking her "bits on the dance floor".

  • Strictly Come Dancing stars to pay tribute to Caroline Flack in moving moment

Caroline Quentin

Actress Caroline was one of the first names to be announced for the upcoming season, instantly becoming a fan favourite.

The Men Behaving Badly star, 60, was said to have been thrilled after officially signing up, after years of wanting to take part.

Quentin who has been on the showbiz circuit for five decades was set to take up a role at the National Theatre before the coronavirus pandemic hit – clearing her schedule for the show.

Speaking about her excitement, she said that model Elizabeth Hurley is "more excited about it than anyone I've ever met".

  • Strictly Come Dancing 'will be cancelled' if UK goes into second coronavirus lockdown

Jamie Laing

Reality star Jamie Laing is no stranger to airing his life on screen, so it will be no different putting his best moves into practise as he waltzes across the ballroom.

Jamie, 31, who became a household name after appearing on Made In Chelsea was sweet to appear on the show last year, but a foot injury led him to instantly withdraw from the competition.

The Candy Kittens entrepreneur joked that if anything was to happen this year, the infamous "Strictly curse" would be about his foot and not celebs "sleeping with someone else".

Speaking about his competition, he said: "Maisie, she looks pretty hot on the dancing."

  • Strictly star says HRVY will take part in show despite positive coronavirus test

Nicola Adams

Former Olympic boxer Nicola Adams is to be the first contestant to compete in a same-sex person on the show.

The Leeds-native, 37, took home a gold medal during the London 2012 Olympics, becoming the first openly LGBTQ+ person to win an Olympic gold medal.

Nicola recently won over the hearts of the nation alongside girlfriend Ella when the pair participated in the most recent series of Celebrity Gogglebox.

Speaking about Strictly, she said: "All my family have said I can’t dance, but I can learn. I'm going out there to prove them wrong."

  • Shirley Ballas admits she almost didn't land Strictly role due to awful audition

Jason Bell

Former NFL legend Jason Bell may be known as a sports pundit to many but the 42-year-old is keen to prove that he's ready for the competition.

Jason dated ex Girls Aloud star, Nadine Coyle who is sure to be helping him perfect his routines ahead of the live shows in front of millions.

Speaking about his competitive side, he said: "I'm competitive. The longer you’re on the show, the more of an experience you get and I don't want that to end."

  • Strictly's Karen Hauer and boyfriend 'hinted at romance issues' in lockdown

Maisie Smith

EastEnders star Maisie, 19, was an early contender for the show after bagging the top spot during the Children In Need special last year.

The red-headed bombshell has already amassed over one million followers on TikTok thanks to her crazy dance routines which will certainly come in handy.

Maisie who shot to fame playing gobby Tiffany Butcher on the BBC soap believes her biggest competition is singer HRVY.

  • Inside Strictly's Shirley Ballas' steamy 12 year age-gap romance with Danny Taylor

Max George

Singer Max George may be known for his vocal ability as one-fifth of the chart-topping group The Wanted but despite having stage experience, he's not too confident on his place in the competition.

The 32-year-old who has performed at the likes of Wembley Stadium said about winning: "If I was to bet on myself, I wouldn't and that's the truth."

He's also set to take in tips from ex-bandmate Jay McGuinness who was crowned the winner in 2015.

Since leaving The Wanted, Max has gone on to star in Glee as well as release a string of solo singles.

  • Claudia Winkleman 'feels pressure' to have sex with husband every 48 hours

Ranvir Singh

Good Morning Britain's Ranvir looked speechless as the news broke on the breakfast show that she was participating in Strictly.

The 43-year-old who started her career at BBC Radio Lancashire in 2002 may have dance experience from her childhood, including grade one ballet but admitted she isn't a natural dancer.

She jokingly added that she is the "least competitive person you've ever met."

Ranvir was praised by GMB co-star Susanna Reid who has previously taken to the Strictly ballroom.

  • Strictly's Shirley Ballas in furious row with Craig Revel-Horwood after boob jibe

Clara Amfo

BBC Radio One legend Clara Amfo admitted she was thrilled with the reception she had received since it was revealed she was joining the show: "It's sort of reminded me that sincerely lovely strangers still exist," she said.

A self-proclaimed "clumsy person" the 36-year-old went on to say that ballroom dancing sends shivers down her spine.

Addressing the competition she faces, she added: "I reckon Jamie Laing is absolutely going to be one to watch."

JJ Chalmers

Former marine turned TV presenter JJ, 33, signed up for the show in order to throw himself out of his comfort zone.

The war hero who served in Afghanistan before being "smashed to pieces" after discovering an IED [improvised explosive device].

Speaking about his dancing experience the ballroom hopeful said he took up classes while serving in Afghan ahead of his brother's wedding.

"We started doing the waltz and then both of us got blown up, unfortunately, in the same incident. That was the one dance he had begun to teach me, so it feels like a good place to start."

Strictly Come Dancing launches on October 17, on BBC One.

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