Strictly Come Dancing fans finally found out who would be dancing with whom in the new series with the launch show airing. The launch was initially postponed following the death of Britain’s longest reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II but the show aired this evening (September 23). A total of 15 famous faces took to the dance floor for the first time as they met their dance partners.
Paralympian champion Ellie Simmonds will be dancing with Ukrainian professional Nikita Kuzmin after he joined in 2021.
Ellie told host Tess Daly: “It means everything, to represent not just dwarfism but disability in general, for me to go out of my comfort zone and do something that I’ve never done before.
“Dancing is for all, yes, I’m going to have to adapt, I’m going to have to see what it’s like, but to be out there every Saturday night dancing… I’m so so proud.”
While Nikita added: “For me, the goal for this season is for Ellie to have the best time of her life!”
Second to be announced was award-winning radio presenter and Kiss FM DJ Tyler West, who will be dancing with Australian professional Dianne Buswell.
Tyler said his mother was a huge Strictly fan and was pleased he would be with, saying: “Oh absolutely! I don’t actually think she’s come here tonight to see me; she’s come to see her!”
Coronation Street star and singer Kym Marsh will be showing off her dancing skills with Graziano Di Prima who joined in 2018 as the third pairing revealed on the show.
Kym found out about her pairing while on the set of Morning Live, admitting how “my stomach was churning, but I was delighted!”.
After learning who her partner was, Kym’s Morning Live co-host Gethin Jones said she was a “nightmare” to work with.
Come in as the fourth pairing is singer and actor Will Mellor, who has been partnered with Nancy Xu after she was introduced in 2019.
He revealed he had an unusual connection judge Anton Du Beke, saying: “I’ve seen Anton about because he lives near the same village as me, I saw him at the tip!”
Nancy told presenter Claudia Winkleman: “We match well… I’m like an excitable puppy and so’s she!”
Will revealed his wife has issued a warning to him before he takes to the dance floor for the first time.
Countryfile and former Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton is joining forces with seasoned Strictly professional Gorka Marquez who has been part of the show since 2016.
Reflecting on facing the often harsh criticism of judge Craig Revel Horwood, Helen said: “I’ve got three little kids so I don’t think there’s any tantrum you can throw at me that I haven’t already seen.”
She added about what she was looking for in a dance partner: “They need to be fun, patient, they probably need to be good with dogs and kids and understand a Northern accent!”
In the sixth pairing announcement, EastEnders star James Bye will be dancing with Amy Dowden this year with the Welsh professional first joining in 2017.
The soap star said: “For me, coming into the unknown is what’s scary, I’ve got zero dance experience… and then I met my dance partner, and he/she was amazing and completely made me feel at ease.”
Adding: “I’m so relieved and I couldn’t be happier, I feel like the winner already!”
X Factor star Fleur East will hit the dance floor with Vito Coppola, who is one of the four newcomers joining Strictly this year.
Fleur said: “I’ve got six alarms that I set, because I snooze all of them. I’ll be up at 4.30am waking everyone up and then dancing at night!”
Vito also spoke about his teaching style, saying “behind this smile I’m very tough but I’m sure that she’s going to be alright because she’s a hard worker too!”
CBBC presenter and cameramen man Hamza Yassin is going to be showing off his fancy footwork with Jowita Przystal with the professional previously winning The Greatest Dancer back in 2020.
Jowita hailed Hamza, saying how “he is just fearless, I can see that, which is very helpful for me! He’s strong and he’s also patient, that’s really important. So, I just cannot wait to go and start rehearsals!”
Eighties icon Matt Goss has been partnered with Nadiya Bychkova, whose previous partners have included Davood Ghadami and Dan Walker.
Matt couldn’t hold back his excitement, saying: “I want to be rolled in sequins and glitter!”
With Nadiya saying: “I can’t wait to start teaching him and I can’t wait to start dancing with him.”
Ted Lasso and The Great Pottery Throw Down just Ellie Taylor will be learning her moves from fan-favourite and South African dancer Johannes Radebe.
Ellie joked: “I like showing off at things I can do, this is awful!” She also said how she always wanted Johannes to be her partner.
Johannes said: “I’m really chuffed to be partnered with Ellie, meeting her has been joyous and to see her excited about the season ahead makes me excited!”
Next up, actor, singer and presenter Molly Rainford will be learning some new moves with Carlos Gu, another newbie to Strictly.
She said: “I can’t wait to get dancing and get learning some stuff, I feel like it’s going to be electric!”
However, admitted her farther’s loyalties were divided this year: “Obviously he’s going to have to vote for me but if it was his choice, he’s a football fan, Tony Adams might get his vote.”
BBC Radio 2 presenter and TV host Richie Anderson is going to be partnered with Giovanni Pernice, last year’s Strictly professional champion who lifted the Glitterball Trophy with Rose Ayling-Ellis.
He explained about his partner requirements: “As the great 80s philosopher Sinitta said, ‘he’s got to be big and strong and enough to…’ whirl me around the dance floor!”
Adding: “Could you get anyone better than Mr Giovanni? I feel like I’m the envy of the British public right now!”
Comedian and actor Jayde Adams will be two-stepping with Karen Hauer, marking her 11th Strictly partner.
Jayde confessed: “I feel like it’s not real, I feel like someone made a Strictly themed birthday party and I’m in the middle of it!” She went on to say of her parnter: “Karen IS Strictly”.
Karen, too, seemed to be chuffed: “I’m absolutely excited, I have so many ideas, too many ideas, this is going to be a golden moment for me.”