Strictly Come Dancing 2019: When does it start? Who are the celebrities? Who are the judges? All you need to know

The Glitterball Trophy is being polished ready for the start of the next series. Find out when it starts and who's likely to be stepping out onto the dancefloor.

By Katie Archer Published: 8 January 2020 - 3.22pm
BBC Strictly Come Dancing judge Motsi Mabuse

It’s that time of year again – the celebrities are being spray-tanned, the sequins are being stitched to costumes, and the dancers are tapping their toes in anticipation of a new contest.

Strictly Come Dancing is returning for a 17th series and the excitement is building to find out who will be taking part, who will be matched with which professional, and who will be in the final.

Here’s all we know so far about Strictly 2019.

When is Strictly Come Dancing back on TV?

Although we think of it as a winter series, the Strictly machine starts gearing up in the summer.

The celebrity contestants will be revealed, one or two at a time, from August in preparation for the launch show at the start of September, when we’ll see the couples matched with their professional partners.

Strictly then takes a break for a couple of weeks while the dancers get rehearsing, ready for the live shows to begin on Saturday evenings on BBC One with a pre-recorded results show aired on Sundays.

If the series follows the schedule of previous years, we’d expect the launch show to air on September 7 and then the live shows to begin from September 21.

Who are the judges and presenters?

The biggest story so far in Strictly 2019 is who will replace judge Darcey Bussell.

Ballerina Darcey announced in April that she planned to leave her role after seven years on the panel, leaving a coveted spot on one of the biggest shows on TV open.

The woman taking her seat has been revealed as Motsi Mabuse, sister of Strictly favourite Oti, a fellow ballroom dancer and judge on Let's Dance, the German version of Strictly. 


Anyone who's worried that the sisters might find it awkward with Motsi judging Oti should know that Oti has competed in two seasons of Let's Dance with her sister on the judging panel, and certainly received no favours from her sister, who scored her three out of 10 for one routine.

Former judge Alesha Dixon ruled herself out of the running, as did Motsi's sister Oti despite her recent turn as a judge on The Greatest Dancer. Pro dancer Anton Du Beke was touted as one of the strongest contenders for the job, but he will be back in a performance role for another year.

Darcey’s ex-colleagues Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood, and head judge Shirley Ballas will all be returning.

We’re also expecting to see popular duo Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman back to front the programme.

Which celebrities are taking part?

It’s usually a closely-guarded secret until the big reveals happen in August, but as ever, the rumour mill is in full swing about who has signed up.

Radio DJ Chris Evans had openly said on both TV and radio that he was doing Strictly this year and had a contract, but a recent story claimed that he had had to quit, leaving producers scrabbling to find a replacement.

BBC newsreader Huw Edwards has also spoken about being approached for the series after reading out the terms and conditions in an episode last time, but has said he thinks he might be too shy to take part.

Gogglebox star and I’m a Celebrity winner Scarlett Moffatt has expressed an interest in taking part, but having won many dance trophies as a child, could she have a little too much experience to be regarded as an amateur?

Comedian Alan Carr has also said he’d love to take part, and there are rumours that DJ Fearne Cotton, football manager Sam Allardyce and model Tamara Ecclestone could also be signed up.

Other names in the mix include Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya, cleaning obsessive Mrs Hinch, and Spencer Matthews’ wife Vogue Williams.

Which professional dancers are returning?

A cast list of 17 pro dancers has been announced, although it isn’t yet clear who will get a celebrity partner and who will be part of the larger troupe.

There are no new names added to the list this year – in fact, the only change is that Pasha Kovalev isn’t included after announcing earlier in the year that he was quitting after eight years competing on the series.

Here are the dancers taking part for 2019:

AJ Pritchard

Karen Clifton

Katya Jones

Kevin Clifton 


Luba Mushtuk

Nadiya Bychkova

Neil Jones

Oti Mabuse 

Aljaž Škorjanec

Amy Dowden

Anton Du Beke

Dianne Buswell

Giovanni Pernice 


Gorka Marquez

Graziano Di Prima

Janette Manrara

Johannes Radebe

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One in the autumn.