Strictly Come Dancing 2020 contestants, release date, news and rumours


SEVEEENN! Strictly Come Dancing wrapped in December 2019, and news about this year’s series is finally starting to come out. Fortunately the pandemic has not stopped the show, and celebrities will still be taking to the dance floor this year.

But who will be on series 18 of Strictly? When will it air? And most importantly, will it be fab-u-lous?! Find out all below: 

When does Strictly Come Dancing start?

Strictly Come Dancing series 18 doesn’t yet have a confirmed start date, but the Radio Times has reported that the show will kick off later than usual this year. The rumoured start date is Saturday 24 October 2020. 

Who will the contestants be?

The full line-up is now fully confirmed – and there will be twelve celebrities competing this year. 

Clara Amfo – BBC Radio 1 Presenter
Ranvir Singh – Good Morning Britain Presenter
Caroline Quentin – Actress and Presenter
Jason Bell – Broadcaster and former American Football Player
Max George – Singer and Actor
Nicola Adams – Olympic Boxer
Bill Bailey – Comedian, Actor and Musician
JJ Chalmers – Broadcaster for the Paralympics 
Jamie Laing – Made in Chelsea star
Maisie Smith – EastEnders Actress and Singer
HRVY – Musician
Jacqui Smith – Former Home Secretary 

We won’t find out the professional pairings until closer to the launch date. 

Who are the judges?

We’ll see Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and 2019’s new judge Motsi Mabuse all return. We also expect that Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will return as the main hosts, and that Zoe Ball and Rylan Clark-Neal will present the It Takes Two show. 

However, it has been confirmed that Bruno Tonioli will miss part of the series due to his involvement with the US sister show, Dancing With the Stars and living in America. He’ll be absent from most Saturday live shows – and will zoom in for some Sunday results shows. There’s been no confirmation yet on whether another judge will replace him – we’ll update this article if this changes. 

Which professionals are returning?

The full list of returning professionals has now been announced – and the lineup is missing veteran dancer and former champion, Kevin Clifton, as well as A.J. Pritchard. 

Aljaž Škorjanec
Amy Dowden
Anton Du Beke
Dianne Buswell
Giovanni Pernice
Gorka Marquez
Graziano Di Prima
Janette Manrara
Johannes Radebe
Karen Hauer
Katya Jones
Luba Mushtuk
Nadiya Bychkova
Nancy Xu
Neil Jones
Oti Mabuse
Changes to Strictly Come Dancing 2020

Due to the ongoing pandemic, there will be some major changes to this year’s edition of Strictly. The BBC has stated that the series will be shorter than usual, there will allegedly be no studio audience at all, and there will be a skeleton crew to minimise the number of people within the ballroom.

In addition, there may be no musical acts, and many professional group dances will be recorded at least a month in advanced. 

But not all the big changes are due to the pandemic. For the first time, Strictly will feature a same-sex celebrity and professional pairing. Boxer Nicola Adams signed up to the show and suggested the move to the producers. It’s a huge step forward for the show, and comes after Dancing On Ice featured the first same-sex pairing back in 2019. 

As far as we’re aware, everything else will stay the same. We’re almost guaranteed to see a return of the Halloween, Movies and Musicals episodes, as well as the ‘couples choice’ category, which allowed each pairing to choose one style to dance out of contemporary, jazz and street.

What other Strictly shows will be on?

If you can’t just wait until every Saturday night to get your fix of steps and sequins, then Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two will likely return once the show kicks off, airing every weekday evening on BBC Two. This show features interviews with contestants and judges, as well as training room footage and more. 

We’ll also hopefully see a return of the Strictly podcast, Strictly Confidential. Hosted by former Strictly finalist Joe Sugg and Strictly producer Kim Winston, this show includes real behind-the-scenes action from the stars of the show, and reveals information on the crew behind the glitz and glamour. It’s a must for any Strictly fanatic. You can listen to 2019’s episodes over on BBC sounds. 

Who won Strictly Come Dancing 2019?

Former Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse managed to snag the glitterball trophy, fending off fierce competition in the finale from CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden and EastEnders actress Emma Barton and Anton Du Beke. Fletcher was a last-minute replacement for Jamie Laing, who injured himself in the launch show. 

How to watch outside of the UK

As always, Strictly Come Dancing will be shown on BBC One, with pre-recorded shows to begin with followed by live shows as the competition heats up. You can watch on your TV as the episodes air, or on BBC iPlayer on most internet-connected devices, whether that’s a laptop, tablet or phone, or perhaps a media streamer or games console.

You’ll also be able to watch it on BBC iPlayer if you missed the episode and want to catch up. If you’re outside of the UK, there are ways to watch BBC iPlayer abroad such as using a VPN (virtual private network) like NordVPN. Find out more about how to do that here.

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