Entertainment

Meet the celebrities hitting the dancefloor in Strictly Come Dancing 2023

The cast of Strictly Come Dancing 2023 (BBC/PA)
The cast of Strictly Come Dancing 2023 (BBC/PA) The cast of Strictly Come Dancing 2023 (BBC/PA)

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 feet forward on the dance floor in the BBC One competition:

– Les Dennis

Comedian, actor and former Family Fortunes presenter has had a career in the entertainment industry spanning five decades, becoming a stalwart of Saturday night TV starring in comedies including The Les Dennis Laughter Show and The Russ Abbot Show.

He is a star of both screen and stage, appearing on ITV soap Coronation Street as Michael Rodwell from 2014 to 2016, as well as in hit plays and musicals on the West End including Hairspray, Legally Blonde, Only Fools And Horses The Musical, Chicago and The Addams Family.

Dennis said: “I had a knee replacement two years ago and I remember thinking to myself, ‘it may be time to slow down’, but you get something offered like this and it puts a spring in your step.

“I’m excited and I’m terrified. People at any age can do anything.”

– Annabel Croft

The former British number one tennis player and broadcaster said she hopes to swap a tennis ball for the glitter ball trophy as she was the 14th contestant named in this year’s Strictly line-up.

Croft, who was the youngest Briton to compete in the Wimbledon Championships for almost a century at the age of 15 before becoming a junior champion at the tournament in 1984 at the age of 18, said competing on the BBC flagship show has “come at the right time for me” after announcing the death of her husband Mel Coleman, who had been diagnosed with cancer, in May.

She said: “My husband used to love watching Johannes (Radebe). I just think he’s so amazing, that would be a dream to dance with him.”

– Nigel Harman

The British actor is known for his role playing Dennis Rickman – the late husband of Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) – in BBC soap EastEnders from 2003 until 2005, and recently returned to the BBC on soap Casualty playing clinical lead doctor Max Cristie.

In 2013, Harman was at the centre of a hard-hitting storyline on hit period drama series Downton Abbey, while his other credits include winning an Olivier award for his role in Shrek The Musical on the West End.

On signing up to the competition, he said: “I think I’m realising as time has gone on since I said yes to this, in my mind I think I’m a better dancer than my body is telling me.”

– Bobby Brazier

The EastEnders actor and model is the son of former Big Brother star Jade Goody and Jeff Brazier.

Now best known for playing Freddie Slater in Walford, Brazier has also made a name for himself on the catwalk, gracing the Dolce & Gabbana show at Milan Fashion Week.

On swapping T-shirts for sequins, Brazier said: “EastEnders have had me dressed up in mad stuff – I’ve been a pumpkin, so I think sequins is fine. Even personally I wear some pretty crazy stuff anyway, and it’s all part of getting into a role for the dance and the different kinds of songs, so it’s exciting.”

– Jody Cundy

The Paralympic champion is hoping to add a glitterball trophy to his collection, having already bagged eight gold, one silver and three bronze medals across swimming and cycling events at seven summer Games.

He currently holds the world record in the flying 200m and the 1km time trial and also holds 14 consecutive world titles in the MC4 kilo time trial but said he is more anxious about getting knocked out of Strictly in the first week.

“My most nervous thing would be going out in the first week – even talking about it now my heart is pumping. I had a world championship final literally last night and my heart rate is probably higher now than it was then.”

– Ellie Leach

The actress is best known for her role as Faye Windass in Coronation Street, tackling hard-hitting storylines including being pregnant at 13, discovering she was going through an early menopause, and reconnecting with the child she gave up.

She left the cobbles earlier this year and said the new challenge of competing for the glitterball has “always been a dream of mine so I guess dreams really do come true.”

– Nikita Kanda

The radio host presents the BBC Asian Network’s Breakfast Show, having previously presented the Saturday afternoon show.

She was recently nominated for presenter of the year at the Asian Media Awards and hosts regular reports on BBC One’s The One Show on a range of topics from the rise of cashless businesses to government support for female sport.

She said she is “still pinching herself” about joining Strictly, adding: “I don’t think it will properly sink in until I step on to the dancefloor. I can’t wait to get glammed up and get out there. Throw the glitter on me.”

– Adam Thomas

The Waterloo Road actor will be swapping the classroom for the ballroom as part of this year’s line-up.

Thomas, who says he “can’t dance to save his life”, is best known as Adam Barton in Emmerdale and has since reprised his role as Donte Charles in Waterloo Road, having been an original cast member when the school drama first launched.

He has also appeared in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2016, and went on to co-host the spin-off, I’m A Celebrity: Extra Camp.

– Angela Rippon

The broadcaster became the first regular female news anchor on the BBC in 1975 and went on to host shows including Top Gear, Antiques Roadshow, Children In Need and the original Come Dancing.

Rippon will be 79 when the programme is filmed, making her the main Strictly’s oldest contestant. The previous oldest was Johnny Ball, who took part in 2012 when he was 74.

She said being on the show will be a “scary” adventure and she is “looking forward to the challenge”.

– Krishnan Guru-Murthy

Strictly Come Dancing 2023
Strictly Come Dancing 2023 Krishnan Guru-Murthy says he is worried about his ‘general decrepitude’ (Yui Mok/PA)

The Channel 4 News presenter began his career at the age of 18 when he presented youth programmes for the BBC before working on Newsround, Newsnight, BBC World and News 24.

The 53-year-old journalist has fronted worldwide news events including the Omagh bombing of 1998, and 9/11 and 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Guru-Murthy said he worries about his “general decrepitude” and is “slightly confused to find myself taking part in Strictly on the basis of you only live once”.

He has also reported for the Channel 4 foreign affairs series Unreported World, about the lives of people who live in some of the fastest-changing areas of the planet.

– Zara McDermott

The Brit Awards 2023 – Arrivals – London
The Brit Awards 2023 – Arrivals – London Reality TV star and presenter Zara McDermott (Ian West/PA)

The 26-year-old appeared in hit dating show Love Island in 2018 and later featured in the singing competition The X Factor: Celebrity, and reality series Made In Chelsea.

She has since made documentaries about revenge porn, sexual assault and disordered eating for the BBC where she has drawn on her own experiences.

Her latest documentary series for BBC Three aims to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the death of 19-year-old Gaia Pope-Sutherland, who ran away from home while experiencing a mental health crisis in 2017, after reporting she had been drugged and sexually attacked by a man when she was 16.

In 2022, McDermott presented new dating series Love In The Flesh on the channel, which sees couples who have only ever connected online meet for the first time.

She said Strictly is “such a far cry” from her day job and feels the dancing competition will be the furthest she has ever pushed herself out of her comfort zone.

– Angela Scanlon

The Fashion Awards 2022 – London
The Fashion Awards 2022 – London Angela Scanlon is known for presenting Robot Wars (Ian West/PA)

The Irish TV presenter is perhaps best known for presenting the revamped machine combat competition Robot Wars alongside comedian Dara O Briain.

Starting off as a stylist, she worked on former Irish fashion and entertainment programme Xpose and is the only woman in the UK and Ireland to have had their own Saturday night chat show – Ask Me Anything on RTE One.

The 39-year-old has presented the BBC’s Your Home Made Perfect and The One Show and is also a published author and host of positivity podcast Thanks A Million.

Scanlon said she is “panicking a bit” and wonders whether she will have to tan and if the sequins are itchy.

– Amanda Abbington

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One UK premiere
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One UK premiere Amanda Abbington is best known for playing Mary Morstan in Sherlock (Ian West/PA)

The 49-year-old actress is best known for playing Mary Morstan in Sherlock, for which she was nominated for a best supporting actress Critics’ Choice Television Award in 2014.

Morstan served as love interest in the BBC drama – inspired by the Sherlock Holmes novels – for Dr John Watson, who was played by Martin Freeman, Abbington’s former long-term partner with whom she has two children.

She has also featured in Mr Selfridge, Wolfe and Desperate Measures, and the 2022 biographical film, The Lost King.

Her stage credits include The Unfriend, a dark comedy from Sherlock writer Steven Moffat and writer/director Mark Gatiss, the musical A Little Princess, and The Taming Of The Shrew.

– Layton Williams

Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition Preview Party 2023 – London
Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition Preview Party 2023 – London Layton Williams is best known for his role in the sitcom Bad Education (Ian West/PA)

Williams, who is best known for playing Stephen Carmichael in the sitcom Bad Education, rose to fame as a child, playing the title role in Billy Elliot The Musical in London’s West End.

The 28-year-old has also performed in stage shows including Thriller Live, Rent, Hairspray and, from 2019, he played the title character in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

He has also been in comedy The Cleaner, drama I Hate Suzie Too, and BBC Two’s Beautiful People. He has also done the voiceover for the BBC’s gay dating show, I Kissed A Boy.

– Eddie Kadi

National Comedy Awards 2023 – London
National Comedy Awards 2023 – London Eddie Kadi has headlined the O2 Arena in London (Ian West/PA)

Kadi is a stand-up comic and was the first British black comedian to headline the O2 Arena in London.

The 40-year-old is also a presenter and has fronted The Official Afrobeats Chart Show on BBC Radio 1Xtra and is a team captain on ITV’s panel show Sorry I Didn’t Know.

He has also hosted the Mobo awards and is in production for his own documentary with Channel 4.

This year, Kadi was nominated for best breakthrough presenter at the Edinburgh TV Awards.