We may be in the middle of a heatwave but the autumn television schedules beckon and the Strictly contestants for 2022 are being slowly unveiled.
Former footballer Tony Adams is the older gent donning sequins for (possibly) the first time, but the glitz, glamour and enormous pressure will be familiar territory for former Coronation Street resident Kym Marsh, who found fame in the first ever TV talent show pop band, Hear'Say. They join the likes of former Bros member Matt Goss, actor Will Mellor, swimming star Ellie Simmonds and Loose Women's Kaye Adams. And after winner Rose Ayling-Ellis and runner-up John Whaite won the hearts of the viewers last year, the gang have a tough act to follow.
There are new faces among the pros, too, as replacing Oti Mabuse and Aljaz Skorjanec are four new dancers: Vito Coppola is a European cup winner from Italy; Carlos Gu is a Chinese National Champion; Lauren Oakley is a former Under-21 British National Champion; and the line-up is completed by Latin dance champion Michelle Tsiakkas.
Anton Du Beke, meanwhile, is now a permanent member of the judging panel, alongside Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and head judge Shirley Ballas.
The show is set to return in September, though the date for its BBC One launch show has yet to be confirmed. Watch this space and in the meantime, here is your Strictly line up so far:
Actor Will Mellor was the first celebrity contestant to be confirmed for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing. Mellor, 46, is best known for his roles in Hollyoaks, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Line of Duty and Broadchurch.
On joining the Strictly line-up, Mellor said: “I’m honestly so chuffed to be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this year! Not going to lie, it’s totally out of my comfort zone and I know it will be a huge challenge but that’s what life is all about. This is also my Mum’s favourite show and she’s had a really tough few years so I’m doing this is for her as well. Bring it on!”
Most recently Mellor appeared in Coronation Street as Harvey Gaskell. As well as his acting career, Will reached number 5 in the UK Singles Chart with When I Need You in 1998.
Former Corrie favourite Kym Marsh, 46, was the second celebrity to join the Strictly ranks this year. “I’m a huge fan of the show and can’t believe I’m going to go from watching at home in my pyjamas to actually dancing in front of the judges in a glittery dress, it’s unreal,” she said.
In addition to her television work, Marsh was a member of the band Hear’Say, which she won a place in after appearing on the noughties reality series Popstars. She also released a single studio album, Standing Tall, as a solo artist, which peaked at number 9 in the UK charts.
Marsh is currently a presenter on BBC One’s Morning Live programme, and will soon star in the revival of the BBC’s school-based soap Waterloo Road.
Radio and TV presenter Richie Anderson, 34, said it was a “dream come true” to join the Strictly line-up. Best known for his well-established role on BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show, as well as presenting the travel bulletins and hosting several of his own shows, he added: “Strictly is the ultimate feel good show, as soon as I hear that iconic theme tune it’s just pure escapism. I’m going to have to cancel my legendary Strictly launch night kitchen party that I throw every year, I’m sure my friends and family will understand.”
Anderson, who came out as gay in 2018, and is a former Sunday League footballer, will be competing as part of an all-male partnership. He said: “It’s also a massive honour to be part of an all-male dance partnership, it’s so important we have that inclusion on such a huge show.”
In May, Anderson travelled to Turin in Italy to cover the Eurovision Song Contest for Radio 2. He is also a regular presenter on The One Show.
Loose Women anchor Kaye Adams, 59, was the fourth celebrity contestant confirmed for the latest series of Strictly. Adam said she wanted to “make the last year of my fifties memorable” and joked that there was no “better way of doing it than showing the world my two left feet.”
Adams started her career as a news journalist and has presented programming for various TV channels including STV, the BBC and Channel 5. She started her popular podcast, How To Be 60 with Kaye Adams, earlier this year.
Comedian Jayde Adams, 37, was the fifth contestant confirmed for this year’s series. “I cannot begin to express the emotions I am feeling, this means so much to me and my family,” she said. “I’ve always watched it, apart from a brief hiatus in 2011 as I was relentlessly gigging every weekend (to try and get on Strictly). I’ve been a massive fan of the show for years. I feel like I’m watching myself in a dream and I can’t believe I’ve manifested this. Holding this in has been torture for me!”
Adams has won several comedy awards and was nominated for the coveted Best Newcomer with her Edinburgh Fringe debut stand-up hour. Her Amazon Prime special, Serious Black Jumper, received global critical acclaim, and was released worldwide and was longlisted for an Emmy. As an actor, Adams has starred in the Bafta-winning sitcom Alma’s Not Normal.
Gold medal-winning Paralympic swimmer and broadcaster Ellie Simmonds, 27, was the sixth contest to be confirmed. She said: “To be asked to be part of the Strictly family is just so exciting and I cannot wait, it’s going to so much fun. I’m counting down the minutes until it starts; learning to dance, meeting my partner and everyone else involved in the show. Plus wearing the sequins and all that, it’s going to be a blast. I’ve been watching Strictly from as far back as I can remember; it’s a traditional lead up to Christmas with my family and it’s a genuine privilege to be part of it.”
In 2008, at the age of 13, Simmonds was the youngest member of the British Paralympics team in Beijing. She won gold medals in the100m and 400m freestyle events.
After retiring from competitive swimming in 2020, she presented and offered analysis for BBC Sport, most recently for the broadcaster’s coverage of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Radio presenter and DJ Tyler West, 26, was the seventh contestant to be revealed. He said: “I am SO gassed to be joining the Strictly family! As I started writing this I already got cramp. It’s going to be one crazy incredible journey which will no doubt be SO far outside my comfort zone. It’s a show that means so much to me and my family and I can’t wait to seriously shake a leg on that shiny dance floor… with a side of sequins.”
West is best known for hosting weekday afternoons on the KISS station, for which he was nominated for a prestigious ARIA for Best New Presenter in 2020. He started his broadcasting career in children’s television, presenting various programming across CBBC. He has also hosted MTV News, HQ Trivia and the 2020 EE Bafta Awards Red Carpet Live Show.
Singer-songwriter and actor Matt Goss, 53, was confirmed as the eighth contestant for the series. “I’m extremely nervous and excited, but I’m optimistic because I’m very supple from the knees down,” he said.
As a musician, Goss is best known as the frontman of the band Bros. Their debut album Push, released in 1988, went platinum seven times and remained on the UK top ten music charts for over a year.
Goss enjoyed more success as a solo artist and is due to release an album, The Beautiful Unknown, later this year. Over the last decade, he has held a record-breaking residency on the Las Vegas strip.
Comedian Ellie Taylor was the ninth celebrity contestant confirmed for the new series of Strictly. The 38-year-old said: “Well, cover me in fake tan and roll me in sequins! I’m absolutely over the moon to be a part of Strictly 2022! I’ve watched the show for years so to be able to take to the dance floor is a dream come true, for both me and mum who is a Strictly super fan." She added: “At the moment I’m focusing on the excitement and glitter and choosing to ignore the fact that I have the dancing ability of a newly born giraffe. Bring it on!”
Taylor began her career as a standup comic after appearing on ITV’s Show Me The Funny and has gone on to write and perform five comedy shows, one of which, Cravings, streamed on Netflix as part of Comedians of the World. Ellie is known as a regular on the BBC’s Mock The Week, The Mash Report and Live at the Apollo.
Molly Rainford was the tenth contestant to be announced as part of the new Strictly line-up. On joining the cast, the 21-year-old singer and actress said: “I’m so excited to be part of Strictly Come Dancing, I've watched it for years and can't wait to meet the pros and the others taking part! I can't wait to learn the moves and get dancing!”
Rainford burst onto TV screens at the age of 11 in 2012, when she became the youngest ever finalist of Britain’s Got Talent. Choosing to continue her studies after BGT, Simon Cowell and Sony Music honoured Molly with their first-ever drama school scholarship at internationally renowned Sylvia Young Theatre School. Since graduating, she has taken on the lead role as an intergalactic pop superstar Nova Jones in the CBBC series of the same name.
Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams, 55, was the 11th celebrity contestant confirmed for the 20th series of Strictly. He said: “To say I’m excited is an understatement – the lure of the sequins and the call of the salsa has me swapping my battered old football boots for a set of Strictly soft shoes.”
Adams, who won 66 caps for England, appeared at four major international tournaments. Since retiring as a player, he has managed Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth, Gabala and Granada, as well as working as a pundit and with several charity organisations, including Forward Trust, Saving Faces and School Home Support. He started his own charity, 6 Addiction, for people that can’t afford private mental health services.
Singer-songwriter and TV presenter Fleur East was the 12th celebrity contestant confirmed for the new series of Strictly. East said: “I’m equally nervous and thrilled to be part of this year’s Strictly line up. I’m excited to learn new skills and I want to soak up every moment of this magical experience. It’s such an honour to be on the show after years of watching it with my Father who loved it so much. Unfortunately my Dad is no longer with us but I know he will be watching over the ballroom in spirit. I’m doing this to make him and my family proud and can’t wait to get my dancing shoes on!”
After coming runner-up in the 11th series of The X Factor, East has been a regular face in the world of music and broadcasting. As a singer she has released two albums, with European chart hit single “Sax” reaching number three in the UK singles chart. After appearing on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here in 2018 she became host of the Hits Radio Breakfast show, which she hosts every weekday. She has also appeared as a presenter on the last three series of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and a host of ITV gameshow The Void.
Wildlife cameraman and presenter Hamza Yassin, 32, became the 13th contestant to join the new Strictly line-up. He said: “I am absolutely over the moon to be joining Strictly 2022. Never in a million years did I think I’d be on such a cool show. I’ve been watching it for years and I can’t believe I’ll actually be there dancing live in front of the British public. My dance skills are currently at the level of ‘1970’s disco vibe’ but I’m ready to work hard and will be shaking it every time I get the chance – shake it ‘til you make it!”
Yassin is one of the presenters of BBC’s Animal Park programme and a guest presenter on BBC’s Countryfile where he shares his vast knowledge and camera skills. He is well known to younger viewers under the guise of Ranger Hamza, presenting CBeebies live-action show Let’s Go For A Walk and new series Ranger Hamza’s Eco Quest which is due to air later this month.
Actor James Bye was the 14th celebrity contestant confirmed for the brand new series of Strictly. Best known for playing Martin Fowler in EastEnders, he has been nominated for several British Soap awards, winning one for Best Storyline in 2016. Bye said: “I’m not known for my shimmy or my twinkle toes – in fact my kids regularly laugh at my dad dancing but it’s an honour to be asked and I’m going to give it my best shot. There are some huge dance shoes to fill and it’s truly exciting to follow in the footsteps of some amazing EastEnders talent. I’d love to do everyone proud.”
Bye previously had roles in the BBC One mini-series The Great Train Robbery and films including Hummingbird, The Hooligan Factory and Cemetery Junction. On stage he has starred in several well-reviewed theatre productions.