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Strictly Come Dancing 2021 – lineup rumours, judges and everything you need to know

Time to sparkle.

Strictly Come Dancing was able to keep dancing last year, even when other shows were forced to come off air due to *gestures wildly* everything.

Even though we were treated to a shorter run than usual, and had to see a few contestants pull out along the way, Strictly was a shining light each Saturday night. The 2020 series also welcomed its first celebrity same-sex dance pairing, opening the door to more possibilities for 2021 and beyond.

But what will Strictly Come Dancing series 19(!) look like? Here's everything you need to know...

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 cast: Which celebrities will be taking part?

strictly come dancing   gorka marquez and maisie smith
Guy LevyBBC

According to head judge Shirley Ballas, we're in for a real treat with the 2021 lineup.

During an appearance on The One Show (April 30), she teased (with a grin): "Just when you thought it couldn't get better! Let me tell you..."

While she couldn't let the cat out of the bag in terms of celebrity names, Shirley did reveal that it will be "a show not to be missed" before later adding: "This lineup, well, hello!"

Speculation around who might one day take part in the BBC dance competition never really ends, but the rumours always step up a notch in the run-up to a brand-new series.

Sure enough, 2021 is no different in that regard – so we've pulled together the names currently on everyone's lips. Here's what the Strictly 2021 lineup could look like, if reports are to be believed...

Christine Quinn

christine quinn, selling sunset

Who? Reality star on Netflix's Selling Sunset.

What's the rumour? The breakout star has long-been followed by speculation that she'll be taking part in another reality show, and she got fans into a frenzy when she recently teased an upcoming trip to the UK.

Christine told her Twitter followers: "I'm so excited to announce I will be coming to the UK in September for a big surprise!"

This announcement came amid unconfirmed rumours that she would be taking part in Strictly 2021, and now fans are pretty convinced...

Josephine Jobert

josephine jobert as florence in death in paradise season 8
Red Planet Pictures/Denis GuyenonBBC

Who? Death in Paradise star.

What's the rumour? Josephine, who plays DS Florence Cassell in the hit BBC crime show, recently showed her interest in hitting the ballroom during an an Instagram Q&A with co-star Tahj Miles.

After Tahj said he'd like to take part, Josephine added: "We should do it together, we'd win it together!"

This has sparked rumours that Josephine could join the lineup. We would love to see both of them take part, to be honest.

Nicola Adams

nicola adams on lorraine tv show
Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Who? Former professional boxer.

What's the rumour? Well, you may remember that Nicola took part in 2020 alongside pro dancer Katya Jones – before the pair were forced to pull out.

Could we see her return for the 2021 series?

During an appearance on Lorraine on June 9, Nicola opened up about feeling as though it was a "shame" to have left under such circumstances. She also said that she would have preferred her time on the show to have come to an end as a result of a dance-off.

When asked by host Lorraine Kelly whether she would be allowed to return, Nicola said: "I'm not sure. I mean, I'd love to, just because of the way that I went out."

However, the BBC declared in a statement last year that Nicola wouldn't be able to take part in another series because she would have "an unfair advantage in the future, as she's now had weeks of training".

Ryan Thomas

cbb final winner ryan thomas, celebrity big brother, 2018
Channel 5

Who? Former Coronation Street actor.

What's the rumour? BBC bosses are keen to sign Ryan Thomas, according to a report in The Sun.

The publication claims that he turned down a spot on the show last year, but is considering it this year.

No stranger to reality television, Ryan took part in the final series of Celebrity Big Brother in 2018 and came out on top as the winner.

Louise Minchin

louise minchin and dan walker on bbc breakfast

Who? Presenter, journalist and BBC Breakfast host.

What's the rumour? Louise announced recently (June 8) that she will be leaving BBC Breakfast after 20 years on the show.

Perhaps predictably, it didn't take very long for the Strictly rumours to start – particularly because she said she will likely leave "sometime after the summer".

After the papers reported on her chances, Louise's co-host Dan Walker asked her outright, to which she replied: "You know the answer to that... I'm on a lifetime ban."

Michael 'Eddie the Eagle' Edwards

masked dancer uk eddie the eagle

Who? Ski-jumper and Olympian.

What's the rumour? Having recently surprised fans with a stint as a rubber chicken on ITV's Masked Dancer, the sport star has said that he would love to do Strictly next.

"They asked me a few years ago. The film had just been out a year or two and I'd been very very busy for the last five years off the back of the film, travelling all over the world, doing talks, speaking at conferences and that kind of thing," he told Radio Times.

He later added: "So as much as I would love to do Strictly, they've just got to time it right and make sure that my diary is free."

Dan Walker

dan walker
Getty Images

Who? Presenter, journalist and BBC Breakfast host.

What's the rumour? The Sun reports that BBC bosses are keen to get Dan in some dancing shoes, following his exit from Football Focus.

A source reportedly told the publication that "Dan would be a great fit for Strictly", pointing to his "fans across a range of age groups" and his "charisma".

Ralf Little

ralf little as detective inspector neville parker in death in paradise

Who? Actor and Death in Paradise star.

What's the rumour? Ralf, who is currently starring in the BBC's popular crime drama Death in Paradise, recently revealed that he is constantly getting asked to take part in reality shows.

But for those wanting to see his moves, you'll be pleased to hear that Strictly and Dancing on Ice were ones that he would consider, due to the learning of a skill.

"I think people who participate in Strictly and do well in Strictly, they're learning a real skill, an art form, and there's something really rewarding about that," he told HELLO!. "The same goes for Dancing on Ice."

Tom Malone Jr

tom malone

Who? Former Gogglebox cast member.

What's the rumour? Having recently walked away from his regular spot on the much-loved Channel 4 show, it was only a matter of time before speculation was going to start about other possible reality show stints – and here we are!

As it turns out though, Tom is no stranger to a dancefloor. He's been a breakdancer since the age of 14 and even previously performed on Strictly as part of an opening number. During a recent interview with Express, he opened up about his desire to return to the BBC show.

"I would love to," he told the publication. "If the opportunity came up to go on Strictly as a contestant, I've never done Ballroom in my life, so it'd be interesting to see how as someone who breaks, I'm used to dancing upside-down, how those two worlds could come together."

Rio Ferdinand

rio ferdinand
Getty Images

Who? Former professional footballer and TV pundit.

What's the rumour? According to The Sun, Rio has been approached by BBC bosses.

Fellow sports commentator Gabby Logan spoke about trying to convince him to take part during a talk on her podcast Mid-Point with Strictly host Tess Daly.

Angellica Bell

angellica bell on the one show

Who? TV and radio presenter.

What's the rumour? Angellica has been rumoured in previous years, but has yet to appear on the BBC dance show.

She did rule out her involvement in the 2020 series, branding her reported appearance a "rumour" and saying that "nobody's called me, no one's spoken to me".

But could 2021 be her year instead? Angellica has already revealed who she'd like to be paired with, naming Johannes Radebe "because I want to learn how to dance in heels".

Laura Tobin

laura tobin

Who? Good Morning Britain's weather presenter.

What's the rumour? During a recent interview with the Mirror, Laura put herself forward for a stint on the BBC show.

"I would love to do Strictly," she said.

"I love dancing and singing, that's all I do around the house with Charlotte. I would be available..."

Tina Barrett

tina barrett
Getty Images

Who? Singer and member of S Club 7.

What's the rumour? Tina has thrown her own name into the hat, telling The Sun: "I love Strictly and I'd like to do it. I haven't been asked to, so if ­any­one at Strictly is reading, please let me go on.

"It would be amazing. I am a bit of a ­glitterball girl."

Maya Jama

maya jama
Getty Images

Who? TV presenter.

What's the rumour? Maya has also been rumoured in previous years, but is yet to take part.

During an interview with Radio Times in September last year, she didn't rule out a possible Cha Cha Cha in the ballroom.

"I don't know, I always say I don't know," she told the publication. "I'd never say never to all of these things."

Matt Willis

emma willis and matt willis
Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Who? Musician and member of Busted and McBusted.

What's the rumour? No stranger to reality television, Matt took part in I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2006 and won.

He's also previously spoken about being sure that there would be "some sort of dancing show in my future" (via Express) – so is he eying up a Strictly spot too?

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 judges: Who will be in the hot seats?

strictly come dancing 2020 judges  motsi mabuse, shirley ballas and craig revel horwood, standing in front of a blue and purple background
Ray BurmistonBBC

The Strictly Come Dancing 2021 judging panel has now been confirmed (June 24) – and things are going to look a little different this year.

In recent years, it has been made up of Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli – although Bruno had to sit out last year due to travel restrictions.

Craig previously opened up about Bruno's inclusion in the 2021 series, telling Good Morning Britain on March 31, stating that"we're hoping Bruno comes back."

But it seems that this couldn't be arranged, as the BBC has since confirmed that Anton Du Beke will be stepping in for this year's series.

anton du beke, new strictly come dancing 2021 judge promo shot
Ray BurmistonBBC

"My loves I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to be stepping into Bruno's brogues for the next series of Strictly," the professional dancer said.

Anton called it a "dream come true", and then promised "to be kinder to all the couples" than the judges "have ever been to me."

Meanwhile Bruno said he was "gutted" not to be joining for the 2021 series, but then congratulated Anton.

"Anton IS Mr Strictly and if anybody is filling in for me, it has to be him," Bruno said. "I honestly wouldn't have it any other way and I am so excited to see him waggle his paddle."

Anton was made a temporary judge during the 2020 series, standing in for Motsi when she was forced to self-isolate for two weeks. His appearance went down a storm with viewers, so we're sure that he'll be a popular addition this year too.

There had previously been a bit of question mark put over Motsi, who joined the panel in 2019, when reports in The Sun suggested that her commitments to German dancing show Let's Dance could conflict with this year's Strictly series.

But the official judging announcement has put those rumours to bed, as Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas are all confirmed to be returning.

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 professional dancers: Who is back?

strictly come dancing launch red carpet
Getty Images

The BBC officially announced the full line-up of professionals returning for the 2021 series of Strictly back in March– and it includes some fan favourites!

Oti Mabuse, winner of last year's series, is confirmed to be making a comeback along with Johannes Radebe, Dianne Buswell, Karen Hauer and Gorka Marquez.

Here's the full list:

• Aljaž Škorjanec
• Amy Dowden
• Anton Du Beke
• Dianne Buswell
• Giovanni Pernice
• Gorka Marquez
• Graziano Di Prima
• Janette Manrara
• Johannes Radebe
• Karen Hauer
• Katya Jones
• Luba Mushtuk
• Nadiya Bychkova
• Nancy Xu
• Neil Jones
• Oti Mabuse

      oti mabuse in december 2018
      Tabatha FiremanGetty Images

      More recently, Anton has been confirmed to be taking a seat on the judging panel in place of Bruno Tonioli (who will be missing the show this year).

      Janette Manrara has also since announced that she will no longer be competing on the BBC dance competition because she will be taking over hosting duties of the spin-off show (more on that later), which presumably leaves another gap in the above lineup.

      Meanwhile Oti previously made a comment which hinted that the 2021 series might be her last, but she has since clarified her remarks to put fans at ease.

      "I don't know why I said that but I will take it a season at a time," she assured during an interview with Metro. "I don't know what came over me. I'll see how I feel to be honest."

      She added: "The first thing that I have to say, this job that I have is one of the best jobs that I've ever had and Strictly for me is the most amazing experience of my life. It's the professional dancers, it's the celebrities, it's the crew that we all feel like a family and every single year it just gets better and better."

      Strictly Come Dancing 2021 start date: When will the BBC show return?

      In more recent years, Strictly would premiere sometime between mid-to-late September. But in 2020 the show was pushed back until the middle of October and it was a shorter run than normal.

      It's probably too early to predict what might happen this year, but it would probably be safe to assume a September/October start date and a glitzy live final in the run-up to Christmas.

      Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two 2021: What's happening with the spin-off?

      On May 17, It Takes Two host Zoe Ball announced her departure from the show after fronting it for 10 years.

      She revealed that she would be "waltzing away" from the Strictly companion show in an emotional Instagram post, which praised "the celebrity dancers, the gorgeous & awesome pro dancers", the Strictly judges and her co-stars.

      "Time now for some new cha cha challenges," Zoe also said. "I will continue to support the Strictly family on the Breakfast Show & can't wait to watch the Class Of 2021 from my sofa."

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      As mentioned earlier, professional dancer Janette Manrara – who has previously been paired with singer HRVY, Will Bayley and This Morning's Dr Ranj Singh (to name a few) – has been announced as Zoe's replacement.

      During a chat on The One Show on June 10, she revealed that she will be joining Rylan Clark-Neal as co-host of weeknight spin-off.

      "I did say, 'One day I would love to do that', and it's here, here we are," Janette said, before also confirming that "the hardest part of accepting this honour" was that she'll no longer be competing on the live shows.

      It Takes Two star Ian Waite has revealed that he will be leaving.

      Sharing the news on Instagram not long after Zoe Ball, Ian wrote: "It is with great sadness but also a lot of pride that after ten years presenting Waite's Warm Up on #ItTakesTwo the sister show to @bbcstrictly I will be putting away my wand to focus on my dance fitness brand Fitsteps and also my up and coming tour with Vincent Simone The Ballroom Boys."

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      "I feel so grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with Strictly since the first year in 2004 and I will continue to support all my supremely talented fellow pro dancers, judges, celebs and look forward to their performances in 2021," he also added.

      Strictly Come Dancing tour 2022: Tickets and further information

      As things currently stand, a selection of Strictly stars will be taking to the road for those huge arena shows that have become something of a late winter/early spring fixture in recent years.

      Unfortunately, there weren't any Strictly arena shows in 2021 for obvious reasons, but you'll be able to see a number of your favourite pros and celebs – plus some of the judges – on a very, very large dance floor in January, February and March 2022.

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      Strictly 2022 tour tickets

      Tickets are available here, and it looks like there's already low availability for the 2.30pm show on January 22, so clearly Strictly fans in Birmingham are keen to keeeeeeep dancing on a Saturday afternoon.

      A number of Strictly pros will also be taking to the road for solo and joint tours in 2022, as Aljaz and Janette bring their Remembering the Oscars show to venues around the country, Oti Mabuse embarks on her debut solo tour, and Johannes Radebe takes his first solo show around the UK, too.

      Strictly Come Dancing winner: Who took the trophy in 2020?

      strictly come dancing oti mabuse and bill bailey win
      Guy LevyBBC

      The reigning Strictly champions are Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse, with Maisie Smith (paired with Gorka Márquez), Jamie Laing (dancing with Karen Hauer) and HRVY (paired with Janette Manrara) all runners up.

      Oti also came out on top in the 2019 series, dancing with Kelvin Fletcher, so could 2021 see her make it three in a row?

      Strictly Come Dancing airs on BBC One and is expected to return later this year.

      This month, Digital Spy Magazine counts down the 50 greatest LGBTQ+ TV characters since the Stonewall riots. Read every issue now with a 1-month free trial, only on Apple News+.

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