Strictly Come Dancing 2021 launch LIVE: Tom Fletcher, Tilly Ramsay & more swing into action with pro-dancers TONIGHT

STRICTLY Come Dancing's new celebrity contestants will be paired with their professional partners during the launch show on TONIGHT.

The 15 celebrities, who include Olympian Adam Peaty, rugby star Ugo Monye and TV presenter Judi Love, will make their debut on the dancefloor during a group number in tonight's launch show at 7.45pm.

Meanwhile, Dan Walker revealed he was taken to A&E after bumping his head.

The TV presenter, 44, has been training for the BBC show ahead of tonight's launch show, and said he hit his head on a "big glass window" on Thursday and was taken to hospital a day later after "feeling a little wobbly".

Also competing will be EastEnders actress Nina Wadia, TV presenter AJ Odudu, Dragons' Den investor Sara Davies, McFly star Tom Fletcher, Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn, TV presenter Tilly Ramsay, comedian Robert Webb, CBBC host Rhys Stephenson and actor Greg Wise.

EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis will be the first deaf contestant to appear in the series.

Follow our Strictly Come Dancing live blog for all the latest updates…

  • Sarah Tetteh

    WINNER WINNER

    Strictly's Tom Fletcher could WIN with his 'secret moves,' his McFly bandmate Harry Judd has said.

    The hit BBC1 dance show returns tonight with its star-studded launch show including the chart-topping All About You singer.

    Tom has been tipped to win the showCredit: PA
  • Sarah Tetteh

    NOT LONG NOW

  • Sarah Tetteh

    ONE HOUR KLAXON

    Stricly is back on tonight at 7.45pm on BBC One.

    It will see each celeb partnered with one of the professionals.

  • Sarah Tetteh

    NOT SO LIVE-LY?

    Concerns have also been raised about the return of a live studio audience.

    Hundreds of fans will have front-row seats for Strictly’s star-studded 19th series.

     BBC chiefs are already dealing with a Covid crisis after a pro tested positive earlier this week. They have been rushed into isolation with their celeb pairing likely to get a new partner.

    The source added: “Strictly already has to jump through hoops just to be able to broadcast.

    “The dancers who won’t get vaccinated have been a topic of conversation among cast and crew for weeks — even before the positive test. 

    “There were vocal protests from celebrities that they didn’t want to be paired with them. 

  • Sarah Tetteh

    STRICTLY CHAOS

    Strictly has been rocked ahead of tonight’s new series after two pro dancers refused to get Covid jabs — leaving some celebrities reluctant to be paired with them.

    The pair are the only professionals out of 18 to not be vaccinated for the latest run of the BBC hit, hosted by Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly.

  • Sarah Tetteh

    BAILEY'S BACK

    Fans can hardly wait for last year's winner to get his twinkle toes into gear for one last hurrah.

    Bill Bailey, how we've missed you.

  • Sarah Tetteh

    JOKES ON YOU

    So who will be the 'joke' act this year?

    Come on, make it a good one.

    It's been a while since we've had the likes of Katya and Ed Balls doing the salsa to Gangnam style.

    Classic!

  • Sarah Tetteh

    OTI'S BACK

    After winning with Bill Bailey last year -and lifting the nation's spirits -we can't wait to hear who the golden girl will be paired up with this time.

    It's all go!

  • Sarah Tetteh

    TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT

    Strictly fans are finally going to find out who is partnered with who.

    Wonder if there's going to be any chance of romance, or will that dreaded 'curse' strike again?

    Oo-er!

  • Joseph Gamp

    HOW TO WATCH STRICTLY COME DANCING ON TV TONIGHT

    Strictly Come Dancing will begin on September 18, 2021, on BBC One at 7.45pm.

    The launch show will see celebrities paired with their professional dancers.

    The first live show airs at 7pm on Saturday, September 25, 2021, on BBC One.

    No one will be axed after the first live show.

    The shows will also be put on BBC iPlayer as each episode airs.

  • Sarah Tetteh

    KEEEEEP DANCING!

    Oh how we've missed saying that.

    Tess and Claudia better come out sparkling tonight – because Strictly is back on BBC1 tonight.

    And we can hardly wait.

  • Joseph Gamp

    STRICTLY’S GIOVANNI PERNICE SHARES VIDEO OF CELEBRITY PARTNER’S BATTERED FEET

    STRICTLY fans can’t wait to find out who is paired with who on tonight’s big launch show.

    One thing we do know though, whoever Giovanni Pernice’s celebrity partner is, they have been put through gruelling rehearsals by the pro dancer.

    The hunky star, 31, revealed the battered and bruised feet of his mystery partner.

    Taking to Instagram he shared the sore toes of his star dancer.

    Giovanni – who has been on Strictly since 2015 – wrote across the short clip: “Welcome to Strictly partner”.

    Credit: Rex
  • Joseph Gamp

    WHO IS IN THE STRICTLY 2021 LINE UP?

    The celebrities taking part in Strictly started to be announced in August 2021.

    The full line-up:

    • Robert Webb
    • AJ Odudu
    • Tom Fletcher
    • Nina Wadia
    • Greg Wise
    • Tilly Ramsay
    • Judi Love
    • Adam Peaty
    • Dan Walker
    • Katie McGlynn
    • John Whaite
    • Rose Ayling-Ellis
    • Rhys Stephenson
    • Sara Davies
    • Ugo Monye

    ANTON DU BEKE TO TAKE ON FULL TIME JUDGING ROLE

    Anton Du Beke will swap his dance shoes for a full-time role on the judging panel.

    The 55-year-old professional, who judged for a two-week stint during the 2020 series, will join Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas on the panel.

    He will take over from Bruno Tonioli, who remains unable to take part due to travel uncertainty caused by the pandemic, because he lives in the US and is a judge on American series Dancing With The Stars.

    DAN WALKER REVEALS MOTIVATION BEHIND SIGNING UP FOR STRICTLY COME DANCING

    TV presenter Dan Walker has said he signed up to do Strictly Come Dancing to do something “fun” and have a “giggle” after reporting on difficult news stories during the pandemic.

    He will continue to host BBC Breakfast and The NFL Show while competing on the popular BBC One dancing series, which returns to screens on September 18.

    Walker has hosted the BBC morning programme for the last five-and-a-half years alongside Louise Minchin, who presented on the show for the final time on Wednesday.

    He said: “I cover a lot of news and the last 18 months has just been grim story after grim story. So I thought, an opportunity to do something that’s fun, that’s very different, that doesn’t involve reading headlines about awful stuff, and just have a bit of a giggle, and to learn a new skill.

    “And I don’t think there are any opportunities in anything I’ve ever done before, where you get to learn from people who are literally the best on the planet. So with regards to that, I might be terrible, but at least I’ll be learning from someone who’s excellent at it.”

    • Joseph Gamp

      STRICTLY COME DANCING STARS PREPARE TO BE PAIRED UP DURING LAUNCH

      Strictly Come Dancing’s latest celebrities will be paired with their professional partners during the launch show on Saturday night.

      The 15 celebrities, who include Olympian Adam Peaty, rugby star Ugo Monye and TV presenter Judi Love, will make their debut on the dancefloor during a group number.

      Also competing will be EastEnders actress Nina Wadia, TV presenter AJ Odudu, Dragons’ Den investor Sara Davies, McFly star Tom Fletcher, Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn, BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker, TV presenter Tilly Ramsay, comedian Robert Webb, CBBC host Rhys Stephenson and actor Greg Wise.

      EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis will be the first deaf contestant to appear in the series.

      Former Bake Off winner John Whaite will take to the dancefloor as half of an all-male pairing, in another first for Strictly.

      The professionals include returning fan favourites such as Oti Mabuse, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez and Katya Jones.

    • Joseph Gamp

      MORE COUPLES FOILED?

      Dragon’ Den star Sara Davis was seen hugging professional ballroom dancer Aljaz Skorjanec between rehearsals on Friday afternoon.

      While eagle-eyed viewers of the ballroom show were certain McFly front man Tom Fletcher had given away his partner in a snap of her FEET.

      Viewers of the BBC One dancing show are sure that the pair of feet in the photo next to the pop band frontman belong to Amy Dowden.

      While they also think that BBC Breakfast star Dan may have already foiled who his partner is due to the length of her slender legs.

      The mystery dancer opted for blue leggings and woolly leg warmers and matching jazz shoes – pointing her toe towards the camera.

    • Joseph Gamp

      STRICTLY’S SHIRLEY BALLAS OPENS UP ON THE DEATH OF HER FATHER

      In April, Shirley Ballas’ father Andy died aged 83.

      He had left the family home when she was just two years old — but they grew closer after her brother David took his own life in 2003, aged 44.

      Shirley said: “My father and I weren’t overly close. He’s been a bit sporadic throughout my 61 years shall we say. There were a lot of things when he was gone that were unsaid. It’s all right for his family members to say to me, ‘Oh he loved you’.

      “But at the end of the day I really needed to hear that from him. It’s a little box that will never completely have closure. It is heartbreaking for me, there was a lot that I wished I was able to sit with him one on one.”

      Read our exclusive interview with Shirley here.

    • Joseph Gamp

      STRICTLY SET TO MAKE DAZZLING COMEBACK AFTER LAST YEAR’S SHORTENED SERIES

      A TV staple since it first hit the screens in 2004, Strictly Come Dancing will return to the box for a brand new series.

      The hit BBC show is set for an astounding comeback after a shortened series in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Read more here.

    • Joseph Gamp

      STRICTLY COME DANCING STARS PREPARE TO BE PAIRED UP DURING LAUNCH

      Strictly Come Dancing’s latest celebrities will be paired with their professional partners during the launch show on Saturday night.

      The 15 celebrities, who include Olympian Adam Peaty, rugby star Ugo Monye and TV presenter Judi Love, will make their debut on the dancefloor during a group number.

      Also competing will be EastEnders actress Nina Wadia, TV presenter AJ Odudu, Dragons’ Den investor Sara Davies, McFly star Tom Fletcher, Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn, BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker, TV presenter Tilly Ramsay, comedian Robert Webb, CBBC host Rhys Stephenson and actor Greg Wise.

      EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis will be the first deaf contestant to appear in the series.

      Former Bake Off winner John Whaite will take to the dancefloor as half of an all-male pairing, in another first for Strictly.

      The professionals include returning fan favourites such as Oti Mabuse, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez and Katya Jones.

    • Joseph Gamp

      DAN WALKER REVEALS MOTIVATION BEHIND SIGNING UP FOR STRICTLY COME DANCING

      TV presenter Dan Walker has said he signed up to do Strictly Come Dancing to do something "fun" and have a "giggle" after reporting on difficult news stories during the pandemic.

      He will continue to host BBC Breakfast and The NFL Show while competing on the popular BBC One dancing series, which returns to screens on September 18.

      Walker has hosted the BBC morning programme for the last five-and-a-half years alongside Louise Minchin, who presented on the show for the final time on Wednesday.

      He said: "I cover a lot of news and the last 18 months has just been grim story after grim story.

      "So I thought, an opportunity to do something that's fun, that's very different, that doesn't involve reading headlines about awful stuff, and just have a bit of a giggle, and to learn a new skill.

      "And I don't think there are any opportunities in anything I've ever done before, where you get to learn from people who are literally the best on the planet.

      "So with regards to that, I might be terrible, but at least I'll be learning from someone who's excellent at it."

    • Joseph Gamp

      STRICTLY'S JOHN WHAITE: SAME-SEX ROLE MODELS WILL GIVE KIDS HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

      John Whaite has said he hopes having same-sex role models on Strictly Come Dancing will give children watching the show "a little bit of hope for the future".

      The former Great British Bake Off winner follows in the footsteps of boxer Nicola Adams, who last year danced in the first same-sex partnership with professional Katya Jones.

      The 32-year-old said the reaction to him being in the first all-male partnership on the dancing competition has been "so positive" and hopes it will "break down that notion of toxic masculinity".

      He said: "The reaction has been so positive.

      "Because I'm doing the first all-male partnership, I genuinely did think that I was going to receive a fair bit of hate because you do as a gay man, you get a lot of hate.

    • Joseph Gamp

      ROSE AYLING-ELLIS ATTRACTS STRONG SUPPORT FOR STRICTLY

      Rose Ayling-Ellis has attracted strong support with bookmaker Coral ahead of the launch of Strictly Come Dancing tomorrow evening. The actress is the 5-1 joint-favourite with the firm for the 2021 series.

      Just over 70% of the outright bets with Coral on the series this year has been for the Eastenders actress.

      Tom Fletcher also sits at the top of the betting at 5-1, Rhys Syephenson is 7-1, while Robert Webb is 8-1.

      “Rose Ayling-Ellis has been one of the most popular contestants we have seen in our betting ahead of the launch of a series. Many punters believe she is going to go all the way,” said Coral’s John Hill.

    • Joseph Gamp

      HOW MUCH DOES SHIRLEY BALLAS GET PAID FOR BEING A STRICTLY JUDGE?

      Head judge Shirley began on £180k when she joined the show in 2017.

      Since then she has negotiated a pay rise, bringing her Strictly salary up to £500,000 per series.

      She's also earning money from doing Panto each year.

      Her income also comes from teaching at a dance school in Streatham, South London.

    • Joseph Gamp

      HOW MUCH DOES OTI MABUSE EARN THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA?

      Two-time ballroom champion Oti Mabuse, 31, is also winning when it comes to social media earnings.

      Thanks to her 589,000 followers, the South African dancer is able to ask more than £2,000 per sponsored post.

      She joined Strictly back in 2015 and has gone from strength to strength, winning last year with comedian Bill Bailey.

      Away from dancing, Oti has worked with Sketchers, Premier Protein and Green Chef UK to create Instagram ads for them. When not using her social media to top up her earnings, she makes extra cash on tours and through interviews, radio and TV appearances.

      She was a dance captain on The Greatest Dancer and has done stints on BBC's Morning Live and Channel 4's Steph's Packed Lunch.

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