Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special: Who are the celebrities in the line-up? What time is it on? Who are the pros? Everything you need to know

Keep dancing after the Glitterball Trophy has been lifted as six Strictly veterans dust off the sequins and brush up on their dancing skills for the traditional Christmas special.

Strictly Come Dancing’s Christmas special is essential festive viewing, especially now that Doctor Who has been moved to New Year.

Although we’re still waiting to find out who the 2018 series winner will be, we’ve already got the names of all the dancers lined up for Christmas Day.

[Read more: Who is starring in Strictly 2018?]

Find out everything you need to know about the one-off competition, including who’s dancing and when to tune in.

When is Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special on TV?

As usual, the Strictly special will be back for Christmas Day and although exact timings haven’t been released yet, we’re expecting it to air around teatime.

However, we won’t be tuning into a live episode as the show is usually pre-recorded a few weeks before the big day and is scored on judges’ and studio audience’s votes.

Couples will each take on a festive-themed routine in the hope of winning the coveted Silver Star Trophy.

[Read more: Who are the Strictly Come Dancing judges?]

Who are the celebrities taking part?

It’s a slimmed-down line-up compared to the main series with just six celebrities taking part, all of them alumni of previous Strictly years.

BBC presenter Anita Rani is back after her appearance in series 13 and said: “I can’t contain my excitement about dancing again and getting sparkly for Strictly, stepping back inside the glitter ball of glam!”

She’ll be going up against one of the show’s all-time most memorable contestants, former MP Ann Widdecombe, who starred in series eight.

[Read more: The worst Strictly dancers ever]

Ann said: “I am very much looking forward to returning to Strictly, where I shall once again be pushed, pulled, cajoled and coaxed around the dancefloor in all manner of ways by my poor dance partner. Who knows, they might even fire me out of a cannon."

Series 12 winner Caroline Flack completes the ladies heading back to the ballroom and is a force to be reckoned with.

Caroline said: “I can’t quite believe it’s been four years since I had the best time of my life, dancing with Pasha on the Strictly dance floor. My Glitterball still has pride of place in my living room! It always felt like a family at the SCD studios, so how could I say no to performing one last time on this year’s Christmas special? It’ll be the best present I could imagine.”

They’ll be joined by three former male stars for the Christmas competition, including ex-JLS star Aston Merrygold who many felt was prematurely eliminated from series 15.

Aston said: “I’m so happy to be able to get back on the Strictly floor. I feel like I’ve got some unfinished business with it!”

EastEnder Jake Wood was a surprise hit in series 12 and is sure to give the celebs a run for their money

Jake said: “It’s been a few years since I donned the sequins so I can’t wait to do it all over again for the Christmas Special. I loved my experience on Strictly Come Dancing and I jumped at the chance when they asked if I wanted to step back onto the dancefloor.”

Cricketer Michael Vaughan, who appeared in series 10, will be back to show why his sport always does well in the ballroom. 

Michael said: “Having not danced at all since 2012 I can’t be any worse than then as I had no clue then, still have no clue, but can’t wait to have some fun and at least it will help lose a few pounds over the Christmas party season!”

Who are the pros they will be dancing with?

Anita’s partner could draw even more attention than she will as the celebrity, as she’s been paired with Neil Jones.

Neil hit the headlines earlier this season when it emerged his wife, fellow Strictly pro Katya Jones, had cheated on him with her celebrity dance partner Seann Walsh, prompting an outpouring of sympathy for Neil and Seann’s now ex-girlfriend Rebecca Humphries.

Fans of the show will be delighted that Ann will be reunited with her original partner Anton Du Beke, and will be hoping for further comedy scenes.

[Read more: Who are the Strictly pro dancers?]

Caroline will have a new dancer to get used to as she’s been matched with Gorka Marquez – her previous partner Pasha Kovalev is busy at the moment racking up leaderboard-topping scores with Ashley Roberts.

Aston is back together again with Janette Manrara, who won the 2016 Christmas special with Melvin Odoom.

Jake has been paired with Luba Mushtuk, a brand new pro for 2018 who so far has only danced in the group numbers – will this secure her place in the main show?

It’s been a while since Michael Vaughan hit the dancefloor, and he’ll be stepping out with Nadiya Bychkova who is making her Christmas special debut after an early exit from the 2018 main series with Lee Ryan.

Strictly Come Dancing’s Christmas special will air on Christmas Day on BBC One.

Don’t miss the episode if it clashes with Christmas dinner – catch up with BT TV via the BBC iPlayer app.

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