Everything you need to know about the return of Strictly Come Dancing

Full Strictly Come Dancing line-up. Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire

Full Strictly Come Dancing line-up. Jay Brooks/BBC/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Strictly Come Dancing returns to our screens for a 14th series tonight as 15 nervous celebrities find out which professional dancer will be tasked with teaching them how to dance over the next few months.

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman - (C) BBC - Photographer: JAY BROOKS

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman - (C) BBC - Photographer: JAY BROOKS - Credit: BBC/Jay Brooks/Matt Burlem

Presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will once again bring viewers all the drama from the ballroom as the novice dancers try to waltz and rumba their way to lifting the glitterball trophy in December and follow in the footsteps of Caroline Flack, who spent her earlier years in Thetford.

Craig Revel Horwood, Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli all return to the judging panel and this year will be the last time fans will get to see Len Goodman give out his famous seven and threaten to pickle his walnuts, as he has announced this will be his last year on the panel.

This series also sees the arrival of six new pro-dancers alongside crowd favourites including Anton Du Beke, Brendan Cole and Kevin and Karen Clifton.

The celebrities will take to the dance floor for the very first time this weekend for what will undoubtedly be an unmissable group performance and this will include the debut performance from Norwich City chairman Ed Balls.

Anton du Beke and Ed Balls at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2016 at Elstree Studios in Hertfor

Anton du Beke and Ed Balls at the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2016 at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire. Ian West/PA Wire. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

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But the former shadow chancellor has said he will shun the customary sequins and glitter on the dance floor although that has not stopped his family branding him a 'camp rugby player' when he showed them some of the new moves he had learned.

He said: 'I'm not wearing any sequins, and no glitter, it's all very classical.'

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The 49-year-old admitted that his wife, MP Yvette Cooper, encouraged him to take part in the show in the hope it would help him lose weight.

Asked if he had already dropped a few pounds through training, he said: 'That was a reason Yvette thought I should do it.

'Everybody says you lose weight and that is essential for me. In my mind I feel as if I already have but I'm not looking at the scales.'

He added: 'I showed my family the video of our group dance and they said I looked like a camp rugby player.'

The couple have been reminiscing about their 1998 wedding, getting out the video to watch back their first dance and although his wife has been very supportive he admitted he hasn't received any well wishes from a former political rival.

'If she had said it was a bad idea I wouldn't have done it but she was gung-ho for it, so if it goes wrong I'm blaming her,' he said. 'When you know you're doing it you're unsure how people are going to react but overwhelmingly I've had people say they wish they were doing it.

'I've not had a text from David Cameron but I don't mind as long as he votes for me.'

Full Line Up:


American singer-songwriter best known for multi-platinum selling hit record I'm Outta Love. She has clocked up over 30 million record sales and four headline tours. The 47-year-old is donating her fee to a breast cancer charity after being treated for the disease in 2003 and undergoing a double mastectomy when it returned in 2013.

Claudia Fragapane

Fresh from the Rio Olympics, the 18-year-old gymnast will be bringing her flips and tricks to the Strictly ballroom.

Standing at just 4ft 6in she became as household name after winning four gold medals the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Daisy Lowe

Model and actress, the 27-year-old has appeared on catwalks and in campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the world including Chanel, Burberry and Topshop. She has more recently appeared in a number of films and is in upcoming historical drama, Tulip Fever, which was filmed in Norwich Cathedral.

Danny Mac

Best known for playing Mark 'Dodger' Savage in Hollyoaks, the 28-year-old has won Soap's Sexiest Man at the Inside Soap Awards three times.

He studied acting for two years at Chichester, before getting a scholarship to the Arts Education School where Strictly's very own Darcey Bussell also studied.

Ed Balls

Former Labour MP and shadow chancellor, he now spends his time helping run proceedings at Carrow Road as the Norwich City chairman.

The 49-year-old has admitted that appearing on the show is part of his mid-life crisis after losing his Westminster seat last year.

Greg Rutherford

The long jumper will be trying to add the gillterball trophy to his impressive trophy cabinet which includes two Olympic medals and a World Championship gold. The 29-year-old loves a challenge and previously appeared on the Great Sport Relief Bake Off and The Cube.

Judge Rinder

The blunt-talking 38-year-old barrister is best known for his ITV reality series Judge Rinder which oversees a variety of real life legal cases. He has a keen interest in acting and he met friend Benedict Cumberbatch at university, whose slightly more impressive acting prowess prompted him to change lanes, pursuing a legal career.

Laura Whitmore

She shot to fame in 2008 after winning the Pick Me MTV competition resulting in huge presenting jobs across Europe at some of the biggest music festivals in the world. The 31-year-old, from Ireland, has since gone on to present a number of shows including I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here Now.

Lesley Joseph

The oldest contestant this year at 70, the actress is best known for portraying Dorien Green in the much-loved sitcom Birds of a Feather. She studied ballet as a child, and she owes her fitness levels to regular yoga which has come in handy when performing in West End shows such as Annie and Calendar Girls.

Louise Redknapp

As one third of girl band Eternal, the 41-year-old had huge chart success in the early 1990s netting six Top 20 hits and four BRIT Award nominations. She went solo in 1995 earning more chart success before turning her attention TV, appearing as a judge on So You Think You Can Dance.

Melvin Odoom

The 36-year-old is one half of Rickie & Melvin who present the hugely popular breakfast show ion Kiss FM as well as ITV gameshow Bang On The Money. He has also hosted The Xtra Factor and been team captain on four series of BBC Three's Sweat The Small Stuff.

Naga Munchetty

Following in the footsteps of other BBC Brekfast presenters, the 41-year-old whill hope she can live up to their high standards by lifting the glitterball trophy.

Before becoming a regular on the BBC sofa she worked for Reuters, Bloomberg and Channel 4 then joining the BBC as a presenter on Working Lunch.

Ore Oduba

He has spent the summer reporting on Team GB's success in Rio and now the 29-year-old will want to bring some of the samba skills he picked up in Brazil to the ballroom. He landed his first presenting job on Newsround before stints on Match of the Day: Kickabout and Claimed & Shamed and the Commonwealth Games.

Tameka Empson

Actress and comedian, the 39-year-old is best known for playing the bubbly Kim Fox in EastEnders. After roles in a number of small films her big break came in BBC comedy series 3 Non Blondes.

She has also provided the voice of Tickbird in Tinga Tinga Tales, and appeared opposite Cate Blanchett and Helen Mirren in the film Notes on a Scandal.

Will Young

He became a national star after beating Gareth Gates to the Pop Idol title and has since gone on to win two BRIT Awards and two Ivor Novellos.

The 37-year-old is also quite the actor, starring alongside Judi Dench in Mrs Henderon Presents and he role of Emcee in the West End production of Cabaret in 2013, which earned him an Olivier nomination.

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