The cast discovered who they are paired with on the launch show[/caption]
Dusting off their paddles were returning judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke.
Which contestants and pro dancers are paired up?
Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin
Paralympian Ellie is paired with Nikita[/caption]
Paralympic swimming star Ellie Simmonds, who was just 13 when she won gold medals in Beijing in 2008 and became the youngest ever recipient of an MBE a year later.
Ellie, 27, went on to win nine titles and 15 more medals before retiring after the 2020 Tokyo games and was awarded an OBE in 2013.
READ MORE ON STRICTLY
A source said: “Ellie is a real Strictly fan and has been in the studios to watch the live show.
“She can’t wait to get started in rehearsals this month.
“She has always been conscious of how important it is to see disability on TV, and she is keen to be part of that and inspire as many people as possible.
“But she is also hoping to have a lot of fun, and to embrace the challenge of learning to dance.”
She is partnered with experienced ballroom dancer Nikita Kuzmin, who came fifth place with Gordon Ramsay’s daughter Tilly last year.
Nikita is a professional dancer, and six-time Latin and Ballroom National Champion in Italy.
Born in Ukraine, Nikita began dancing at the age of four, before moving to Italy at the age of nine.
He is also a former Let’s Dance Germany professional.
Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe
Funny girl Ellie will dance with Johannes[/caption]
Comedian Ellie Taylor will be swapping her stand-up microphone for the dancefloor.
The actress is best known for her appearances on axed comedy series The Mash Report and 8 Out Of 10 Cats.
She told ITV’s Lorraine: “It is so nice to release it to the universe. I found out a few months ago. I have managed to keep it in.”
Asked how she reacted to being asked to be on Strictly, she revealed: “It was an immediate yes.
“I have wanted to do it for ever and more importantly my mum loves it.”
He made headlines on Strictly in 2019 after performing the first same-sex routine with fellow pro Graziano Di Prima and made history as the first male same sex couple on the hit dance show when he danced with chef John Whaite.
Fleur East and Vito Coppola
Fleur gets new boy Vito[/caption]
Popstar Fleur East appeared on The X Factor in 2014 and went on to launch a pop career.
She appeared on I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here in 2018, and currently presents the breakfast show on Hits Radio with James Barr.
Speaking on Hits radio this morning, Fleur, 34, 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!”
Singer Fleur will be partnered with newbie Italian stallion Vito Coppola.
Last year he won Italy’s version of Strictly, Dancing with the Stars, beating fellow competitor Bianca Gascogine into second place.
In his promotional picture, he is seen posing topless alongside Strictly favourite Karen Hauer.
Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal
Hamza is strutting his stuff with Jowita[/caption]
More 4 viewers have also been following his series, Scotland: Escape to the Wilderness.
He told BBC Radio Scotland: “I’m sure all of the contestants for Strictly this year got a phone call saying that they are going to be on Strictly, whereas for me, I’m the odd one out.
“I got a satellite text message notification from my agent saying in capital letters ‘you are on Strictly woop, woop!’
“For me I was over the moon. I could only celebrate by myself because I couldn’t tell anybody. So it was me and the wildlife just raving it up really!
“It’s been an amazing, amazing experience so far and I’m sure being on the show is going to be even better.
“I honestly can’t wait. I’m over the moon.”
He has teamed up with Polish dancer and choreographer Jowita Przystal, 28.
Helen Skelton and Gorka Marquez
Helen has landed Gorka as her partner[/caption]
She said after the news was confirmed on Claudia‘s BBC Radio 2 show: “I’m really excited to get stuck into a fun adventure.
“My family and friends have always loved the show and can’t wait for me to get started.”
She started her TV career in children’s television, presenting Newsround and Blue Peter on the BBC and went on to front Countryfile, Channel 5’s On The Farm series and is a regular on ITV Tonight.
Helen will be dancing with Gorka Marquez, who shot to stardom after joining Strictly Come Dancing in 2016.
The Spanish dancer was paired with X Factor’s Alexandra Burke in 2017, Former EastEnders star Maisie Smith for 2020 and ex-Coronation Street’s Katie McGlynn last year.
James Bye and Amy Dowden
Soap star James will boogie with Amy[/caption]
EastEnders star James Bye will be swapping Albert Square for the ballroom.
The 38-year-old took over the role of Martin Fowler on EastEnders in 2014, and has been involved in a number of dramatic storylines.
He told Good Morning Britain: “I’ve known for a long time – it’s been hard to keep a secret. I can tell people I’ve lied to – if I’ve lied to you, apologies. It’s not really sunk in.”
Talking of the reaction of his wife Victoria, James added the decision for him to star had been a “team effort.”
He added: “She is really supportive – we talked it all through and it’s a decision we have made together.
“She’s going to be part of the team.”
James then let slip that soap co-star Scott Maslen, who starred on Strictly in 2010, had been giving his some top pointers ahead of his Strictly stint.
The actor is partnered with Welsh pro Amy Dowden, who joined the BBC series in 2017, and in 2019, was a finalist in the seventeenth series with TV presenter Karim Zeroual.
She danced with McFly star Tom Fletcher but were eliminated in eight place.
Jayde Adams and Karen Hauer
Jayde and Karen have been matched up[/caption]
The 37-year-old began her career doing stand-up comedy in 2011 and won her the Funny Women award in 2014.
During a chat with Scott Mills and Chris Stark she said: “Since I watched the first series in 2004, I feel like every step I’ve taken in my career over the last 11 years was to be on Strictly.
“I cannot begin to express the emotions I am feeling, this means so much to me and my family.”
Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington
Loose Women’s Kaye will be put through her paces by Kai[/caption]
The Sun exclusively revealed how Kaye Adams had signed up for Strictly.
Kaye told viewers on the ITV show: “I can’t dance at all; I’ve got two left feet.”
“I’m absolutely terrified, as Nadia says as a supportive friend you can’t dance, it’s absolutely true.
“It will be a journey. I can think of a million reasons not to do this and when these gorgeous dancers came on, I nearly exited from both ends of my body.
“But I thought I would regret it when September comes.”
Kaye will team up with Kai Widdrington, who was partnered with AJ Odudu last year but was forced to pull out after she sustained an injury.
Kai Widdrington, 27, is an English dancer and choreographer who took up dancing aged 9.
By the time he was 14, he became the 2010 World Junior Latin-American champion.
He is dating fellow Strictly pro Nadiya Bychkova.
Kym Marsh and Graziano Di Prima
Kym will be hoping Graziano will take her to the final[/caption]
Kym Marsh is now swapping acting for dancing and is taking part in Strictly 2022.
The 46-year-old originally found fame in the band Hear’Say, which was created as part of ITV talent show Popstars in 2000.
She soon found success in Corrie playing Michelle Connor and became a full-time cast member from April 2006 and now presents Morning Live.
She told the BBC: “I’ve considered doing Strictly for years but the timings never worked out. I’m so delighted that this year they have!
“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!”
Kym will be dancing with Sicilian-born professional dancer Graziano Di Prima, 28, who is an Italian Latin Champion.
He represented Belgium at the World Championships, and made the top 24 at the Latin World Championship Under 21s.
He danced with Judi Love in the 2021 series.
Matt Goss and Nadiya Bychkova
Matt has scored Nadia[/caption]
Their biggest tunes were When Will I Be Famous and I Owe You Nothing, and they released tracks between 1986 and 1992 before disbanding – however they announced a revival in 2017.
Speaking about signing up on the show, he explained that it was so under wraps that he even had his own nickname for producers to use to make sure it wasn’t exposed.
He said: “I’ve been asked to do it before but I think honestly, for me where I am in my life, 11 years in Vegas, all the venues I’ve played – I want to just get out of my own way, let go a little bit and have some fun.
“I’m quite shy off stage, I’m gonna have to face all those demons and just learn.”
He added: “I’m sure I’m gonna get a hard time now and then, but I’m going to do my best.”
This isn’t the first time Matt has appeared on the show, having performed in the Christmas special in 2013 where he danced alongside professional Aliona Vilani.
He is partnered with Ukranian native Nadiya Bychkova, who previously appeared in an international version of Strictly… and Playboy magazine.
She is a two-time World Champion and European Champion in Ballroom and Latin ‘10’ Dance.
The dancer is a multiple-time Slovenian Ballroom and Latin Champion and has taken part in the Bosnian version of Strictly.
She’s previously danced with EastEnders star Davood Ghadami and former BBC presenter Dan Walker.
Molly Rainford and Carlos Gu
Molly is being trained by newbie Carlos[/caption]
Molly Rainford is a 21-year-old singer and CBBC star.
She first found fame aged 11 when she became the youngest ever finalist of Britain’s Got Talent.
Molly told the BBC: “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!”
She will dance with new pro Chinese National Champion Carlos Gu, who has told how he is ready to “shine” in his Strictly journey.
Richie Anderson and Giovanni Pernice
Richie and Giovanni are one of two same sex pairings this year[/caption]
Speaking to the BBC he said: “I don’t know anything at the moment, but I can confirm that I will be doing the all male partnership, which is just so incredible.”
He added that the bosses of Strictly gave him the choice of dancing with a man or a woman, but his partner Dean told him he had to dance with a man.
Richie will be dancing in a same-sex couple with Italian pro Giovanni Pernice, who joined Strictly back in 2015.
The talented dancer won, 32, Strictly last year with first deaf contestant Rose Ayling-Ellis.
Tony Adams and Katya Jones
Tony gets Katya as his professional[/caption]
Footy legend Tony Adams is swapping the pitch for the dancefloor.
He was known for his no-nonsense approach to defending — but not so much for his elegance.
In fact, he famously dropped Arsenal team-mate Steve Morrow after hoisting him up to celebrate his winning goal in the 1993 League Cup final — badly breaking his arm.
He told the BBC: “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.
“Am absolutely thrilled to be giving it my all on this year’s 20th anniversary of Strictly Come Dancing.
“I can’t wait to meet my partner – god help her – and start the dancing.”
Tony has teamed up with Russian dancer Katya Jones , 33.
Away from dancing, she is known for her TV work including Celebrity MasterChef, Celebrity Hunted, and CBBC’s Saturday Mash Up.
Tyler West and Dianne Buswell
Tyler hopes to strike gold with Dianne[/caption]
Tyler West is best known for hosting weekday afternoons on KISS FM.
A role in which he was nominated for a prestigious ARIA for Best New Presenter in 2020.
He began his broadcasting career in children’s television, presenting several programmes across CBBC.
He said in a statement: “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.”
He continued: “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.”
He will be dancing with Australian dancer Dianne Buswell, 33, who is an Australian Open Champion and four-time Amateur Australian Open Finalist.
She came second place with her now boyfriend Joe Sugg in 2018.
Will Mellor and Nancy Xu
Will will team with Nancy[/caption]
Will Mellor shot to fame in the 90s on Hollyoaks, and since then he has seen the acting roles pour in, next best-known role was the character Gaz Wilkinson in Two Pint of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.
“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!”
The actor is partnered with Nancy Wu, a Latin dance specialist and d joined the show for the first time in 2019.
Nancy is no stranger to appearing in a hit TV series, as she was on the Chinese version of So You Think You Can Dance?
In 2021 Nancy partnered Actor and children’s TV presenter Rhys Stephenson.
Strictly Come Dancing continues next weekend, with the first live show on Saturday 24th September on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.