Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special 2016: Dancefloor delight with a special line-up of memorable contestants from years past

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 03/12/2016 - Programme Name: Strictly Come Danc

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 03/12/2016 - Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2016 - TX: n/a - Episode: Christmas Special 2016 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Cast of Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2016 - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy - Credit: BBC / Guy Levy

Deck the halls with glitter balls, Strictly Come Dancing is back for Christmas!

The Christmas Special will light up Christmas Day on BBC1 with judges Len Goodman, Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood dishing out festive cheer as they score the dancers.

Returning this year are Denise Lewis (who came second in series two in 2004), Pamela Stephenson (third in series eight in 2010), Melvin Odoom (15th in series 14 this year), Frankie Bridge (runner-up in series 12 in 2014), Ainsley Harriott (12th in series 13 last year) and Gethin Jones (third in series five in 2007). And their professional dancer partners have also been revealed.

Melvin will dance alongside Janette Manrara, Karen Clifton will come back to dance with celebrity chef Ainsley while Pamela will be paired with Pasha Kovalev. The Saturdays singer Frankie will be vying for a second shot at Strictly glory alongside partner Gorka Marquez and Strictly newcomer Chloe Hewitt will partner TV presenter Gethin Jones.

Finally, new dad-to-be Anton Du Beke will take to the dance floor with former Olympian Denise Lewis.


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The one-off episode will see the famous faces competing to win the Christmas Silver Star trophy and will also be Len's final episode on the show after he announced earlier this year that series 14 will be his last.

After 12 years as a judge, Len is hanging up his judge's scoring board and bowing out with his own documentary over the festive period, Strictly Len Goodman.

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He recently announced his all-time favourite celebrity routine was actress Jill Halfpenny's Jive to I'm Still Standing in the series two finale in 2004. Jill and her partner Darren Bennett were the first couple to get 10/10 from all four judges.

'It was the first routine ever to score 40 and that's why it sticks in my mind,' said Len, speaking on his new DVD, The Best of Strictly Come Dancing: Len's Grand Finale. 'It's like when Roger Bannister ran the first four-minute mile; you will always remember the time it happened first.

'This dance also sums up exactly what Strictly is about: somebody coming on this show, working hard with their professional partner and then doing something spectacular like this. Her name might be Halfpenny, but this dance is priceless.'

Len also singled out Matt Baker's Samba with professional dancer Aliona Vilani to Young Hearts Run Free, actor Tom Chambers and former Hollyoaks actor Ricky Whittle whose Foxtrot with Natalie Lowe he described as 'sheer perfection'.

The show will be presented by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman and the result is likely to be determined by the show's studio audience. DJ Melvin will return to the Strictly dance floor just weeks after leaving it. The first contestant voted out of this year's series, he had his last dance to The Beatles' Yesterday. His partner said: 'He's got such a beautiful soul, such a gorgeous smile, an infectious personality and he made this a short but extremely sweet journey amazing for me.'

In this year's Christmas cracker of a show, all six couples will perform in a bid to be crowned Christmas champions 2016. The icing on the cake will be a spectacular music performance from a big star. But who?

This year's Christmas special will air Christmas Day at 6.45pm on BBC1.

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