Who is on Strictly 2023? Latest contestant and cast lineup with Jody Cundy and Les Dennis - when does it start

The full lineup of famous faces for the annual ballroom extravaganza has been revealed!
(Photos: BBC)(Photos: BBC)
(Photos: BBC)

The 15 contestants for the upcoming season of Strictly Come Dancing have been confirmed, including broadcaster Angela Rippon, who will be the show's oldest contestant at 79 when the programme is filmed.

Of the names announced so far, Rippon perhaps has the most dance experience. She hosted Strictly predecessor Come Dancing between 1988 to 1991, and famously danced as part of a sketch on the 1976 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show, just a year after she became the first regular female news anchor on the BBC.

Appearing on The One Show, Rippon revealed the first thing she asked the BBC show when they approached her was “why didn’t they ask me 10 years ago”.

She added: “The serious reason behind doing it is because I’ve been advocating ever since I did a series called How To Stay Young with Chris van Tulleken where we demonstrated as part of the programme that dance is the complete full mind and body exercise for everybody, regardless of your age, but particularly for people as they get older.

After Johnny Ball, who competed in 2012 at the age of 74, Rippon will be the show's oldest contestant when the programme is filmed.

“As I’m now 78, and will be 79 when we’re actually doing the programme… it would be wonderful if I could last long enough, a few weeks, and demonstrate that even at my age that it genuinely is possible for people that are older to be able to dance, to keep fit and strong and help with their posture and balance and to feel a million dollars.”

(Photos: BBC)(Photos: BBC)
(Photos: BBC)

Rippon is joined on the line-up by Amanda Abbington, whose acting credits include playing Mary Morstan in Sherlock alongside her former long-term partner Martin Freeman who she shares two children with – a son Joe and a daughter Grace.

The actress has also featured in Mr Selfridge, Wolfe and Desperate Measures, and the 2022 biographical film The Lost King. After the news was revealed, she joked on The One Show that the main reason she wanted to do it was to embarrass her teenage children.

The third contestant to be announced is Layton Williams, who is best known for playing Stephen Carmichael in the sitcom Bad Education.

The 28-year-old rose to fame as a child playing the title role in Billy Elliot The Musical on London’s West End and from 2019 he played the title character in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. He has also performed in the stage shows including Thriller Live, Rent, Hairspray and New Adventures.

The actor told The One Show he is ready to go on a “rollercoaster journey with the cast” and “slay the ballroom floor”. Williams added that he had requested to be paired with a male professional dancer as he revealed that he used to be jealous of his female classmates getting “thrown around” when he was at college.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy is the fourth celebrity to join the 2023 Strictly Come Dancing line-up. The journalist is a main presenter on Channel 4 News and has fronted worldwide events including the Omagh bombing of 1998, 9/11 and the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Guru-Murthy said he chose to do the show “for the fun. I love my job. It’s very, very privileged, I go to amazing places. I talk to amazing people, but it’s incredibly serious”.

He added: “It’s quite stressful. It can be quite difficult and sort of the idea of being able to have pure intravenous joy, because I’m going to be doing the news at the same time, is just irresistible.”

Eddie Kadi, the fifth name revealed for the show, is a stand-up comic and was the first British black comedian to headline the O2 Arena in London.

Speaking about the show, Kadi said: “Wow. Anyone who knows me understands that music and dance is so important and central to who I am. I’m so unbelievably proud and honoured that Strictly and the BBC have asked me to join the 2023 team. I promise you, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got. This is going to be a vibe.”

The news that Kadi will star in the upcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing was revealed on the Official UK Afrobeats Chart Show on BBC Radio1Xtra, which is fronted by the comic.

Irish TV presenter Angela Scanlon has been announced as the sixth star to sign up for Strictly Come Dancing 2023. Scanlon whose credits include BBC Two’s Your Home Made Perfect and The One Show, was unveiled on BBC Radio 2’s The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on Monday (7 August).

Scanlon told Gaby Roslin, who sits in for Ball on the Breakfast Show, about her forthcoming debut on the dancefloor, saying: “It’s been in the ether for a number of years, we’ve been close.

“Truthfully, we wanted to have another baby, we were trying to have a baby, I was then pregnant, then I had a very small child and now, it just felt right this year. I believe in feelings and timing and all of those sorts of things. I’m not particularly fit. I have no idea how my pelvic floor is going to react to that level of jumping.

“I’ve never done any of these dances in my life bar a drunken jive at a family wedding, so it certainly feels like there’s room to learn and really push myself.”

Former Love Island star Zara McDermott is the seventh famous face to be announced for the line-up. Appearing on BBC Radio 1, the TV presenter revealed that she has been rewatching previous episodes “analysing everything”.

“I am nervous, excited, every single emotion honestly – I cannot wait,” she added. Since appearing on Love Island in 2018, McDermott has made documentaries about revenge porn, sexual assault and disordered eating for the BBC.

She noted that Strictly is “such a far cry” from her day job and feels this is the furthest she has ever pushed herself out of her own comfort zone.

British actor and TV presenter Adam Thomas is the eighth celebrity contestant confirmed for Strictly 2023.

The 34-year-old, who played Adam Barton in soap Emmerdale and most recently reprised his role as Donte Charles in BBC One’s drama Waterloo Road, appeared in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here in 2016 and went on to co-host the spin-off show I’m A Celebrity: Extra Camp.

Appearing on Hits Radio Breakfast Show to reveal he will be hitting the Strictly dancefloor, Thomas said: “I am so excited to be joining the cast of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing. I’ve been such a big fan of the show for years, I can’t believe I’m actually doing it."

BBC Asian Network’s Breakfast Show host Nikita Kanda is the ninth contestant to be added to the 2023 line-up.

Radio presenter Kanda, who has also fronted The One Show and interviewed stars from Bridgerton actress Kate Sharma to pop star Nick Jonas, said she “can’t believe” she will be starring in this year’s BBC One dancing competition having grown up watching the flagship show.

Announcing the news on her Tuesday morning radio show, she said: “I’m literally shaking, I can’t believe this. I’ve grown up watching this show every single year glued to the TV like many of you at home."

Former Coronation Street star Ellie Leach said “dreams really do come true” as she was announced as the 10th celebrity contestant.

The 22-year-old actress played Faye Windass in the ITV soap for 12 years before leaving earlier this year, with storylines for her character over the years including falling pregnant at 13 and then later reconnecting with the child she gave up for adoption.

She said of the Strictly news, which was announced on BBC Breakfast: “It still doesn’t feel real that I’m going to be doing Strictly!! It’s always been a dream of mine so I guess dreams really do come true!!!!”

Paralympic champion Jody Cundy 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.”

EastEnders actor and model Bobby Brazier 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.”

British actor Nigel Harman 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.”

Former British number one tennis player and broadcaster Annabel Croft said she hopes to swap a tennis ball for the glitter ball trophy as she is 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.”

Comedian, actor and former Family Fortunes presenter Les Dennis was revealed as the final celebrity contestant to hit the dancefloor on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing competition.

The 69-year-old 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, and most famously as the host of ITV’s popular game show Family Fortunes from 1987 until 2002.

Comedian, actor and former Family Fortunes presenter Les Dennis has been revealed as the final celebrity contestant to hit the dancefloor on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing competition.

The 69-year-old 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, and most famously as the host of ITV’s popular game show Family Fortunes from 1987 until 2002.

When can I watch it?

Strictly Come Dancing will make a comeback on BBC One and the BBC iPlayer in the autumn, though the exact air date and time are still to be determined.

The competition usually debuts in September with two launch shows. The first show sees the stars learn who their dance partners for the series will be, with the first live performances in front of the studio audience usually airing the weekend following the initial launch episode, if not two weekends later.

In previous years, the initial launch episode has aired on the second or third weekend of September. Typically, the finale airs in December.

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