Calling all Strictly fans – it’s time to dust off your dancing shoes and look out your best sparkly frock, as everyone’s favourite dancing competition comes waltzing back.
On Saturday, 15 celebrities will take their first tentative steps towards the famous Glitterball Trophy, hoping to wow the judges with a passionate paso doble, charming cha-cha-cha or sexy samba.
The famous faces include Olympic gold medal winner James Cracknell, TV presenter Anneka Rice, Eastenders actress Emma Barton, former footballers Alex Scott and David James, comedian Cand RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage.
But it’s not just the dancers who will be learning the ropes over the next 13 weeks, as a new face also joins the judging panel to replace the departing Darcey Bussell.
South African dancer Motsi Mabuse will sit beside regular judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli, completing the all-star line-up. And if the 38-year-old’s name sounds familiar, it should – her sister Oti joined Strictly as a professional dancer in 2015.
“I am absolutely overjoyed to be joining the judging panel,” said Motsi.
“I have so much respect and admiration for the other three judges and hope to add my own bit of sparkle to the show. I can’t wait to get started!” Veteran judge Shirley thinks Motsi’s background makes her the perfect addition to the panel, especially as she has been in the contestants’ shoes, and she doesn’t believe anyone will get an easy 10 – least of all her sister.
She explained: “I’ve been judging her all of her competitive career and she’s an amazing dancer.
“She will judge without fear or favour – there will always be a question about her sister and her being in the show but I know her integrity and her family and it’s just second to none. She’s amazing.”
Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly will once again take up presenting duties, with the dazzling duo joining the dancers and judges for the official red carpet launch earlier this week.
Soap star Catherine Tyldesley, 35, has already been tipped as the bookies’ favourite to win the 17th series – something the Coronation Street actress can’t quite believe.
She said: “It’s just hilarious because nobody has seen me dance yet and I’m like Mr Bean.
“I’ve got the Strictly bug. We did three days of rehearsals last week and I was just buzzing. I can’t wait.”
Us too, Cath!
Strictly Come Dancing, BBC1, Saturday, 7.10pm