Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One this month and the full celebrity lineup has now been revealed.
Singer Alexandra Burke, Paralympic star Jonnie Peacock and Debbie McGee, the wife of the late magician Paul Daniels, were confirmed as the final three celebrities who will be taking part in the new series.
The last three contestants were unveiled on The One Show.
The battle to see which couple can take the coveted glitterball trophy, won last year by TV presenter Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton, will now begin in earnest.
The confirmed celebrities
1. Alexandra Burke
Alexandra Burke is the fifteenth and final celebrity contestant confirmed for the brand new series.
The former X Factor winner said: “I am so excited to be joining this year’s Strictly cast! I love this show and have followed it from the beginning, so being able to be a part of it is just a dream come true for me - I still can’t believe it! I am very nervous as I am a singer not a dancer, but I am going to give this my absolute everything and try my best to make everyone proud.”
2. Jonnie Peacock
Peacock, the double Paralympic, World and European T44 100m champion, said: “The opportunity to be the first contestant with a disability to take part in Strictly’s main show was too good to turn down. I’ve got no previous dance history outside of the occasional ‘worm’ at a mate’s party and I know this will be a challenge and a new experience. I can’t wait to see what I can achieve and how far I can push myself.”
3. Debbie McGee
TV personality and presenter McGee said: “There are no words to describe how I feel about performing on Strictly Come Dancing. The excitement is overwhelming. I can’t stop smiling. It’s been the hardest secret I have ever had to keep!”
Debbie achieved national and international fame through television appearances with Paul and appeared alongside him in the BBC One series The Paul Daniels Magic Show which ran from 1979 to 1994 regularly attracting audiences of 15 million during its peak in the 1980s. Paul was also a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in series 8.
Chizzy said, “When I was 13, I made the finals of a disco dancing competition once but there was this amazing girl who exploded onto the stage with a gorgeous sequined costume, throwing glitter everywhere… I knew it was game over for me. That was then, this is now and this is my chance to have even more sequins!”
Andrea Chizoba ‘Chizzy’ Akudolu is an actress, best-known for playing heart surgeon Mo Effanga, in BBC One’s Holby City. Chizzy joined the cast in 2012 and hung up her stethoscope in June after five years. During her time on the show, Chizzy won the award for ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Black International Film Festival and Music Video and Screen Awards as well as ‘Best Actress’ in the same year at the BEFFTA Awards. She was also nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ at the National Television Awards. Chizzy’s background is in comedy acting and she is also a writer and producer; her other TV appearances include The Inbetweeners, EastEnders, Silent Witness, Hollyoaks and Twenty Twelve. Earlier this year, Chizzy took part in BBC One’s Let’s Sing and Dance for Comic Relief with a duo from Casualty. The trio performed ‘Uptown Funk’ by Bruno Mars and were runners up.
Charlotte said, "I am so thrilled to be one of the contestants on Strictly this year! I've always been a big fan of the show. It is a dream come true to be taking part and I'll be following in the footsteps of my Good Morning Britain colleagues. I'm looking forward to stepping out from behind the news desk to cha-cha-cha my way across the dancefloor!"
Charlotte Hawkins is a newsreader, journalist and one of the anchors on ITV's breakfast show Good Morning Britain. Before joining ITV, Charlotte worked at Sky News for seven years on Sunrise with Eamonn Holmes and also hosted her own daily show of breaking news and interviews. She anchored Sunrise Live at the Olympics and presented coverage of the Diamond Jubilee and Royal Wedding. She also hosted Sky News's BAFTA's show and presented live from LA on the Oscars red carpet.
Charlotte began her broadcasting career with ITN in 1999 as a newsreader and reporter for LBC Radio. She then moved to ITV Meridian in the southeast where she hosted the current affairs series, The Big Story and later as co-anchor of their main news programme Meridian Tonight.
6. Brian Conley
The actor and entertainer was the 10 celebrity revealed by the BBC on Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon.
Brian said, “I'm delighted and honoured to be asked to strut my stuff on this year’s Strictly. My family all love the show and can't wait to see me do my Dad dancing on national television. I know it’s going to be a lot of hard work but I'm up for the challenge, so bring on the spray tan and sequins."
Brian Conley is a comedian, actor and television presenter with a career spanning over 40 years. In 1992, Brian got his big break with the hugely successful The Brian Conley Show which went on to become Britain's most-watched entertainment show at the time, coining his catchphrase 'It's a puppet!'
Brian's TV career has seen him win multiple awards including a National Television Award for 'Most Popular Television Performer.' He has also performed/presented at the Royal Variety Performance eight times and recently hosted two series of BBC One's The TV That Made Me. Brian has an extensive theatre career and has starred in many West End Productions; he's recorded three albums and has acted in six films. He recently finished a sell-out tour of the UK and will star in his thirty-fifth pantomime this Christmas.
The Scottish comic, who regularly works for Radio 4 was revealed on the Jeremy Vine show.
Susan said, “Being on Strictly is a dream come true. Finally I can reveal all the moves I've been practising in my kitchen to the nation. I am an enthusiastic home dancer and now on Saturday nights I'll be dancing in other people’s homes in a (hopefully) entertaining way. I am terrified but excited to start my Strictly journey.”
Susan Calman is a Scottish comedian, broadcaster and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4. She appears on The News Quiz, The Unbelievable Truth, Now Show, Dilemma, I’m Sorry I Haven't a Clue and So Wrong It's Right; and she recently recorded the second series of her sitcom Sisters. Aside from radio, Susan hosts a CBBC quiz show called Top Class as well as BBC One's new daytime shows, The Boss and Armchair Detectives. She has also appeared on QI, Have I Got News For You and Mock the Week. Susan wrote the book Cheer Up Love, which was an audible bestseller in 2016 and she continues to tour and play to sell-out crowds across the country. She recently completed her second tour, The Calman Before the Storm.
8. Aston Merrygold
The X Factor star and former member of hit boyband JLS will be an early favourite to win the series thanks to his extensive dance experience. But will his body-popping and back-flipping moves transfer to the ballroom?
Aston said: "I’m so happy to be joining Strictly 2017, it is such a brilliant show and I’ve followed it for years. I’m both nervous and excited to learn from the professionals about a whole new way of dancing!”
Aston Merrygold is a singer and songwriter, best-known for being a member of the successful British band JLS. The band sold over ten million records worldwide, had five number one hits, a four-time platinum album, won a MOBO award; and even starred in their very own film ‘JLS – Eyes Wide Open.’ After a successful five years with JLS, the band performed for the last time at their UK arena tour titled ‘Goodbye: The Greatest Hits.’ In 2013, Aston became a judge on British talent show ‘Got to Dance’ for Sky 1 and is now performing as a solo artist. His debut solo record ‘Get Stupid’ received huge international success gaining platinum accreditation.
The singer was unveiled as the latest celebrity taking part on Scott Mills Radio 1 show.
9. Simon Rimmer
The celebrity chef is best-know for being co-presenter of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, though he has presented and cooked on several shows and channels - his numerous credits including Tricks of the Restaurant Trade, Breaking into Tesco’s, Eat the Week, Great British Menu and Win It, Cook It.
Aside from his TV work, Simon has also written and published five books and he regularly contributes to food magazines. He is chef/owner of nine restaurants in north-west England and one in Dubai.
“I am so excited, terrified and proud to be invited to be part of Strictly 2017," said Rimmer. "I've always been a HUGE fan of the show.
"When I put on my sequins and hit the floor it will genuinely be my very first time dancing ballroom and latin. Nobody will try harder, have more fun or get more out of it than me. I can't wait.”
10. Joe McFadden
The Scottish actor will join a long and illustrious line of current and former soap stars to take on the glitterball challenge. Currently playing Raffaello ‘Raf’ di Lucca in the BBC medical drama Holby City, McFadden has previously starred in Heartbeat, Take The High Road, The Crow Road and Sex, Chips & Rock ‘n’ Roll – as well as West End shows including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
On being announced as the latest addition to the 2017 line-up, McFadden said: “Strictly is one of the biggest, most entertaining shows on TV, and being asked to be part of it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’m thrilled and terrified about in equal measures.”
The biggest surprise in the lineup so far is popstar-turned-vicar Reverend Richard Coles.
“Cometh the hour, cometh the overweight Vicar with arthritis in his knees," jokes Richard.
A writer, broadcaster and Church of England priest and co-hosts BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live, Coles is a popular figure and has made memorable appearances on shows such as Have I Got News For You and QI..
He is the only Vicar in Britain to have had a number one hit single with pop band The Communards in the 1980s, which went on to have three UK top ten hits and the biggest-selling single of 1986, Don’t Leave Me This Way.
Richard recently co-hosted BBC One’s The Big Painting Challenge and is a regular contributor to ‘Pause for Thought’ on the Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show,
Richard was an inspiration for the main character in the BBC hit comedy Rev and served as consultant to the series. He is Vicar of St Mary’s Church in Finedon, Northamptonshire and Chancellor of the University of Northampton.
The fourth star confirmed for the new series is soap star Gemma Atkinson, who is best known to TV fans for her roles in Hollyoaks and Emmerdale.
"I am honoured to be asked and so thrilled to be joining Strictly Come Dancing 2017," said Atkinson.
"I'm beyond excited and incredibly nervous but I am looking forward to learning a new skill in ballroom and latin dancing and taking on this new challenge."
Gemma is a British actress and radio presenter, well known for playing Lisa Hunter in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks between 2001 and 2005.
She has since played series regular Tamzin Bayle in BBC One’s Casualty and was most recently seen in ITV’s Emmerdale playing Carly Hope where she was nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ at the National Television Awards 2016.
Other TV appearances include The Bill, Law and Order and Waterloo Road. In February this year, Gemma joined the Key 103 breakfast team in Manchester hosting the breakfast show from 6am to 10am on weekdays.
The daytime TV presenter confirmed that she was taking part while hosting with husband Eamon Holmes.
Ruth said: "I have dreamt about doing Strictly for so long, I can't quite believe my dream has come true! The sum of my dance experience is throwing a few shapes at a party, I've never had a dance lesson in my life.
"Without doubt it will be the scariest yet most exciting thing I've ever done. It'll be a welcome change worrying about my next hot move instead of my next hot flush!”
Ruth Langsford is a host on two of ITV’s popular daytime shows Loose Women and This Morning – the latter she presents with her husband Eamonn Holmes. In addition to her daytime presenting roles, Ruth has a regular primetime series with Eamonn for Channel 5 called How the Other Half Lives currently in its third series.
"She also has a passion for fashion and has recently started hosting her own show Ruth Langsford’s Fashion Edit on QVC. Ruth is an Ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society and she and Eamonn live in London with their son Jack and beloved dog, Maggie.
The EastEnders actor was the surprise second celebrity revealed and the first male contestant unveiled for series 15.
Davood said: "Having the opportunity to take part in this year’s Strictly is such an honour. It’s going to be exciting, challenging and terrifying all at once and I am so looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and learning to dance.
"See you under the Glitterball!"
Davood is a British actor, best known for his role as Kush Kazemi in EastEnders for which he won 'Best Newcomer' at the TV Choice Awards. He was also nominated for 'Best Newcomer' and 'Best Actor' at the British Soap Awards.
Davood has starred in the BBC One show since 2014 and set pulses racing when he joined as Albert Square’s latest ladies’ man.
His first TV appearance was in 2005 on The Bill and his other TV work includes Doctor Who, The Omid Djalili Show, Taggart, Silent Witness, Life’s Too Short, Law & Order, Top Boy and Skins Redux.
On stage, Davood has played Amir in 13 at the National Theatre, as well as working extensively for York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre.
15. Mollie King
Saturdays popstar Mollie King was the first star revealed for the 15th series of Strictly Come Dancing.
The singer was unveiled on Nick Grimshaw's Radio 1 breakfast show and admitted that she couldn't wait to get started on training.
"I'm a huge fan of Strictly Come Dancing so I can't actually believe I'm lucky enough to be taking part in it this year!" she said.
"I'm literally so excited to learn latin and ballroom dancing, and of course I can’t wait to get into the sequins too! It’s going to be a lot of hard work but I'm ready for the challenge!”
Mollie is best known as one-fifth of leading girl group, The Saturdays.
Beyond the group, Mollie has established herself as a mainstay of the fashion press and a fixture on London’s style scene and is an ambassador for some of the UK’s biggest fashion and make-up brands.
She is the second member of The Saturdays to take part in the show, following Frankie Bridge.