Full line-up for Strictly Come Dancing 2021
The 15 contestants taking part in the upcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing have been confirmed.
Here is a rundown of who will be putting their best foot forward on the dance floor in the BBC One celebrity dancing competition:
– Ugo Monye
The former rugby player works as a pundit for BT Sport and ITV and was recently announced as a new team captain on A Question Of Sport.
Monye, 38, played for Harlequins and England.
He said: “What a dream come true. Strictly is the biggest entertainment show on TV and I can’t wait to show everyone I’ve got more than just dad dancing moves.
“My two beautiful daughters never had a chance to see me on the rugby pitch, so to know they can watch me waltzing and twirling every week is really special to me.
“I love an outfit at the best of times, so bring on the sequins.”
– Judi Love
Comedian and television presenter Judi Love is known for appearing on Loose Women.
She said: “I think I am still in shock that I will be part of this amazing show.
“I’ve watched it for many years and admired the phenomenal abilities of these dancers and celebrities that have taken part and dedicated themselves to learning a new craft.
“I’m truly looking forward to pushing myself in something that I could have only dreamed of doing and now it’s actually coming true.”
– Adam Peaty
The Olympic swimming champion is coming into the competition after a successful Tokyo 2020 games, where he won two golds and a silver.
He also made history as the first British swimmer to retain an Olympic title after claiming victory in the men’s 100 metres backstroke.
He said: “I think this will come as a surprise to a lot of people, but I’m so excited to finally share the news that I’ll be joining Strictly this year.
“I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool.
“I’m hoping my competitive nature is going to compensate for my dancing abilities.”
– Rose Ayling-Ellis
The EastEnders actress will be the first deaf contestant to appear on the programme.
She has played Frankie Lewis in the soap since last year.
She said: “It is the hardest secret I have ever had to keep so it feels amazing to finally have this out in the open.
“I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers.
“But I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill and even better, I get to learn whilst wearing beautiful dresses made especially for me.”
– Nina Wadia
The actress is best known for playing Zainab Masood in EastEnders.
She has also starred in Goodness Gracious Me and Open All Hours spin-off Still Open All Hours.
Wadia said: “I think I should do this before I’m too old any more.
“I think this is the last year I’m ever wearing heels.
“I think there’s a lot happened in the last couple of years and I just want to grab life by the balls.”
– Greg Wise
The actor is best known for roles in Sense And Sensibility, in which he starred opposite his wife Dame Emma Thompson, Johnny English, Cranford and The Crown.
The 55-year-old has said he agreed to do the show in honour of his sister Clare, who died five years ago, and who he described as a “huge disco queen”.
Wise said: “My gorgeous diva sis, who would have been insane with excitement that her little bro was doing this, I will channel her, as her bro can’t dance – but I’m thrilled to be dipping my toes, knees, hips and arms into this wonderful world, and hope to make her proud and, obviously, make her laugh.”
– Matilda ‘Tilly’ Ramsay
The TV presenter and influencer is best known for presenting the cooking show Matilda And The Ramsay Bunch on CBBC alongside her famous chef father Gordon Ramsay and her family.
The 19-year-old has amassed a following of more than 9.5 million on TikTok, where she regularly posts videos with her father.
She said: “I’m going to put my heart and soul into this and can’t wait to get my dancing shoes on and show my dad how it’s really done.”
Matilda will also be competing on Celebrity MasterChef Australia later this year.
– Dan Walker
The BBC Breakfast host says he is “definitely excited, a little bit worried, mostly terrified and a small part of me is considering going into hiding.”
He added: “My kids have only ever asked me to go on two shows… Saturday Mash-Up and Strictly. I did Saturday Mash-Up this summer so… it’s time to embrace the sequins.”
Walker announced earlier this year he was stepping down after 12 years at the helm of BBC Football Focus.
He also presented BBC’s Olympic Breakfast throughout the recent games in Tokyo.
– Katie McGlynn
Best known for her role as Sinead Tinker in Coronation Street, the actress said keeping the news of being in Strictly a secret had been “so hard”.
She added: “I’m really not a dancer, but I’m so excited to learn a new skill on this crazy journey and cannot wait to slip into some sequins along the way.
“Although I do get to have so much fun as an actress, a lot of my roles have involved quite serious and challenging storylines, so I’m fully ready to let my hair down and do something different, even if it is completely outside of my comfort zone.
“I can’t promise that I’ll be the best, but I’m going to give it 110% on the dance floor.
“As long as I don’t fall over I’ll be happy.”
– Sara Davies
The Dragon’s Den star and entrepreneur will switch business for the ballroom as she joins the line-up.
She said: “My mam and dad are going to be so excited.
“I’m really nervous because so far the producers keep asking me if I can dance.
“Truth be told – I haven’t got a clue.
“I’ve not danced since I did ballet lessons when I was little.
“The business world has taught me that tenacity, drive and determination deliver results, I hope that I can bring that to the dancefloor.
“And I’m excited to see the impact of all those hours of training on my mum tum.”
– Tom Fletcher
Fletcher is the lead singer and guitarist of pop band McFly, who have produced six albums and seven number one singles.
The 36-year-old is the main writer on many of the boy band’s hits and is also credited with writing songs for One Direction and Busted.
He married longtime girlfriend Giovanna in 2012 and his wedding speech, which riffed on some of McFly’s greatest hits, later went viral after he uploaded it to his YouTube channel.
The couple have continued to document their lives together, including three creative baby announcement videos which delighted fans.
Giovanna, who is a bestselling author, won the 20th series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2020.
– Robert Webb
The actor and comedian is best known for appearing alongside David Mitchell in Channel 4 comedy Peep Show, where he plays unemployed musician Jez, or in the sketch show That Mitchell And Webb Look.
The 48-year-old has also regularly appeared on comedy panels for Have I Got News For You, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, QI and Mastermind.
Webb read English at Robinson College, Cambridge and joined the university’s theatre club Footlights, where he met Mitchell.
In 2020, he had major heart surgery after a routine medical check during filming for the second series of his sitcom Back revealed he had a heart murmur caused by a mitral valve prolapse.
Webb has also produced a memoir, How Not To Be A Boy, based on his life growing up in Lincolnshire, and in 2020 he published his first novel, Come Again, with Olivia Colman narrating the audiobook version.
– AJ Odudu
Odudu began her career as a reporter for BBC Blast on Radio Lancashire and went on to co-host the spin-off Big Brother’s Bit On The Side with Emma Willis and Rylan Clark-Neal and produce the documentary Manhunting With My Mum in Nigeria.
The 33-year-old has also done backstage reporting for The Voice UK and The Voice Kids UK.
She is a qualified personal trainer and sports nutritionist and was made a contributing editor to Grazia magazine in 2021.
Recently she appeared in ITV series Cooking With The Stars and is hosting ITV’s new gameshow Apocalypse Wow, which sees celebrities compete in a series of physical challenges in a bid to win money for charity.
She will join Bafta-winning comedian Mo Gilligan to host a one-off special of morning show The Big Breakfast for Channel 4’s Black To Front day in September, a project which celebrates black talent in the TV industry.
– John Whaite
The former winner of The Great British Bake Off will be part of Strictly’s first all-male partnership.
The chef and cookery author said: “I’m so grateful, excited and nervous to be joining the Strictly 2021 family.
“I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth.
“What’s more exciting for me is that I’m going to be one half of the first all-male partnership, which is a great step forward in representation and inclusion.
“Whoever it is I’m paired with, I hope they are up for a challenge as I want our routines to include lots of spectacular lifts.”
– Rhys Stephenson
The CBBC host said: “I am buzzing to be a part of Strictly Come Dancing 2021. I have dreamt about being on this show, and I know for a fact that it is going to exceed every expectation.
“I cannot wait to experience it all: the costumes, the orchestra, even Craig’s glare. I am ready.”