Strictly Come Dancing 2020 contestants: All the confirmed celebrities - The full list
The 12 celebrities competing for the Strictly Come Dancing glitter ball now know the identity of their professional partners. But who are they and when will they hit the dancefloor?
We’ve been robbed of many things in 2020, but one show defying the global pandemic is Strictly Come Dancing.
The BBC is determined that we’ll have our regular helping of celebrity dancing to dazzle us on Saturday nights this autumn, which is fantastic news for the show’s millions of fans.
All 12 celebrities have now been revealed and they include the usual array of popstars, soap stars, former politicians and comedians.
Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will kick off with the first live show on Saturday, October 24th on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
It will be our first chance to see which of this year's celebrity contestants are movers and shakers, and which are dancefloor disasters.
Strictly 2020 couples revealed
This year's Strictly partnerships have been revealed:
Caroline Quentin and Johannes Radebe
Clara Amfo and Aljaž Skorjanec
Ranvir Singh and Giovanni Pernice
HRVY and Janette Manrara
Jason Bell and Luba Mushtuk
Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer
Nicola Adams and Katya Jones
Jacqui Smith and Anton Du Beke
Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez
JJ Chalmers and Amy Dowden
Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse
Max George and Dianne Buswell
Strictly Come Dancing 2020 celebrity contestants: The full cast
Rt Hon Jacqui Smith
Famous for: Former Home Secretary and political broadcaster.
Jacqui says: "I was speechless with excitement at being asked to join Strictly - and that’s very rare for me. Fifty years ago, I got a bronze medal for Scottish Highland Dancing and it feels about time to return to dancing.
"I couldn’t be in better hands with the Strictly team and I’m going to throw myself into the challenge. Watch out!”
The former politician is best known as being the UK’s first female Home Secretary in 2007. Jacqui is now the Chair of the largest NHS trust in England in Birmingham and a Children’s Trust in Sandwell.
She has become a regular political commentator on TV and radio and also has a weekly award winning podcast called For the Many that she presents with broadcaster Iain Dale.
Famous for: A popstar.
HRVY, real name Harvey Leigh Cantwell, said: "Being on Strictly is going to be such an amazing experience and I’m so thankful to be taking part this year. I think my mum is more excited that she’ll be able to see me every Saturday night now.”
21-year-old popstar HRVY has over a billion combined streams to his name and a social following of over 10 million globally. He has sold-out two UK and European tours including headline shows at Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo and a now postponed London Palladium show, plus shows in Asia, Australia and America.
HRVY performed at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in 2019, has shared the stage with Jonas Blue at Capital FM’s Summertime Ball and Jingle Bell Ball.
Born in Kent, HRVY first rose to fame after uploading his music videos to Facebook. He signed to Virgin EMI in 2017 and his debut album is out this year. He has previously presented on CBBC's Friday Download.
Famous for: EastEnders actress
"Get me in those sequins, I can’t wait to dive into the Strictly fancy dress box this winter! This is a dream come true," said soap star Smith.
Maisie made her acting debut playing a young Elizabeth in feature film The Other Boleyn Girl alongside Scarlett Johansson and Eddie Redmayne.
That same year, Maisie stormed into Albert Square as Tiffany, daughter of Bianca and now member of the long established Butcher family.Maisie has won numerous awards for her portrayal of Tiffany including ‘Best Dramatic Performance from a Young Actress’ at the British Soap Awards and ‘Best Young Actor’ at the Inside Soap Awards.
As well as acting, Maisie has released two singles in 2016 and 2017 under an independent record label.
Famous for: Made In Chelsea star
TV personality and entrepreneur Jamie Laing was due to strut his stuff on the Strictly dancefloor last year, but a foot injury led to him quitting the competition two days before the launch show. His replacement, Kelvin Fletcher, went on to win the series, but Jamie's only ambition this year is to make the first week.
“Here we go again, hopefully this time I can last long enough so my mum can see me dance," he said.
"The reason I’m doing it is to make my mum proud but all I did last year was make her even more disappointed. Let’s change that this year, can’t wait!”
Jamie has appeared in the award-winning television series Made in Chelsea since 2011.
Following his debut on the show, Jamie starred in BBC Three’s Murder in Successville, Channel 4’s In Bed with Jamie and hosted his own Saturday show on Heat Radio. His podcast Private Parts, which he co-hosts with Francis Boulle, has featured guest such as Jack Whitehall and Elizabeth Day.
Earlier this year saw the launch of Jamie’s new BBC Sounds podcast 6 Degrees from Jamie and Spencer, which he co-hosts with Spencer Matthews. Jamie is an ambassador for the YoungMinds organisation and regularly supports children’s charity Barnardos and their work in fundraising events to help vulnerable children. Other credits include Channel 4’s Celebrity Hunted for Stand Up to Cancer and BBC One’s Comic Relief documentary Famous, Rich and Hungry. As well as his media presence, Jamie is also a successful businessman, having founded the sweets brand Candy Kittens in 2012.
Famous for: Award-winning comedian, musician and actor
"In these are strange times we're living through, it feels right to do something different and take on a new challenge," said Bailey.
"So I am delighted to be a part of this year's unique Strictly Come Dancing. My late mum Madrin would have loved it - I hope she'll be watching.”
Bill Bailey is a comedian, musician, author, documentary-maker and keen outdoors enthusiast best known for his live comedy and for the TV shows Black Books, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and QI.
Bill is constantly in demand as an internationally touring comedian, and his live shows always feature ingenious and original musical elements drawing on Bill’s skills as a classically trained musician and multi-instrumentalist.
His unique ability to entertain and educate was brilliantly demonstrated in his award-winning show, Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide To The Orchestra, where he performed with the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Famous for: Television presenter, former Royal Marine and Invictus Games medallist
"My whole life is defined by facing challenges. Whether it's becoming a Royal Marine Commando, recovering from my injuries sustained in Afghanistan to competing in The Invictus Games," said Chalmers.
"Now as a TV presenter I'm lucky enough to witness some of the greatest sporting contests in the world. Strictly is a whole different ball game in respect to the challenges I will face but I'm up for an adventure and at least my mum will know where I am!”
JJ Chalmers is a TV presenter with a remarkable back story. The career of the former Royal Marine Commando was cut short after he suffered life-changing injuries following an IED explosion in Afghanistan.
After years of rehabilitation, JJ went on to compete in the 2014 Invictus Games where he captained the Trike Cycling team and took home three medals. As a spokesperson for this inaugural Invictus Games JJ got an insight into TV and embarked on a career in broadcasting.
He hit the ground running in 2016 with a studio presenter role for the Rio Paralympics and has anchored BBC One’s coverage of the Invictus Games since 2017. Other presenting highlights for BBC Sport include The Commonwealth Games and The London Marathon.
As part of the BBC's ceremonial team, JJ commentates on The Lord Mayor's Show and was involved in the D-Day 75 memorial programming in 2019. Other BBC credits include The One Show, BBC Breakfast, Getaways, The People Remember and Radio 5 Live’s From Helmand And Back. JJ is an ambassador for both Help For Heroes and The Invictus Games.
Famous for: Olympic gold-medallist boxing champion
Nicola will make Strictly Come Dancing history by becoming the first celebrity to be part of a same-sex pairing.
The boxing champion, who is openly bisexual, was the one who suggested having a female partner when producers asked her to take part. She told BBC Breakfast: "I think it's really important. It's definitely time for change."
Of joining the line-up, she said: “I’m really excited to be joining this year’s incredible line-up for Strictly Come Dancing. I’m a huge fan of the show and am thrilled to be part of something that holds such a special place in so many people’s hearts.
"People might know me from my work in the ring, but I’ll be every bit as passionate and dedicated on the dance floor too. I also wanted to thank the BBC for supporting me and making me the first ever all female-pairing; and it’s amazing to be a part of the movement for change, diversity and breaking boundaries in the entertainment industry.”
Nicola became the first female amateur boxer to win an Olympic gold medal at London 2012 and by winning a second gold medal win at Rio 2016 she became the first female boxer to retain an Olympic title. Having also become World Amateur Champion in May 2016 she secured a grand slam of titles, and is the only female boxer in the history of the sport to have won every major title available to her: Olympic, World, European and Commonwealth.
In recognition of her services to boxing, Nicola was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list and made an OBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list.
She recently retired from the sport with an undefeated record and held the WBO female flyweight title in 2019.
Famous for: BBC Radio 1 DJ
Clara said: “As we know this year has been a real challenge and escapism through dancing is something I know we all enjoy, so to be taught by a pro and live a fantasy is something that I can’t wait to fully embrace, see you on the dancefloor!”
Clara Amfo is a broadcaster best known for her 10am – 1pm show on BBC Radio 1, home of the Live Lounge. Her credits as a television presenter include One World: Together at Home (BBC One), ITV2’s coverage of The BRIT Awards and the BBC’s coverage of Glastonbury Festival, Radio 1’s Big Weekend, and The Proms.
Clara is part of the Bafta TV Awards presenting team and is a recurrent presence on the judging panel for the Mercury Prize. She’s a regular on the red carpet, hosting European and world film premieres for Elton John’s Rocketman, The Crimes Of Grindelwald, Marvel’s Black Panther, Birds of Prey and The Royal European Premiere of Disney’s The Lion King.
Clara appeared on the September 2020 Activism Now cover of British Vogue, and was named as a contributing editor to Elle magazine. She is also the host of Sony Music and Spotify podcast This City.
Famous for: Political Editor on ITV's Good Morning Britain
Ranvir said: “The initial feeling of being confirmed for Strictly is one of complete terror – feels like embarking on a rollercoaster, where you really want to do it but you are equally scared. Hopefully after the first dance I will feel exhilarated rather than sick!”
Ranvir was born and raised in Preston. Following her time at Lancashire University, she spent 12 years at the BBC as a producer, reporter and presenter. She co-presented BBC North West Tonight and in 2010 was awarded ‘Best On Screen Talent’ at the Royal Television Society’s North West Awards. As a regular newsreader on ITN news and anchor for ITV’s Tonight, 2019 was a very busy year for Ranvir, culminating in interviewing some of the top political leaders ahead of the General Election.
Ranvir has fronted several ITV primetime factual series including Eat, Shop, Save, and has co-presented The Martin Lewis Show Live. She also recently presented Loose Women. Alongside her television work, Ranvir has hosted various shows for BBC 5 Live.
Famous for: Boyband star in The Wanted
He becomes the second member of boyband The Wanted to take part in the dance competition and the pressure will be on George. His bandmate Jay McGuinness won the series with pro dancer Aliona Vilani.
Max said: "Buzzing to be on Strictly this year. Not really one for the dance floor, but I take a lot of comfort in the fact that Jay McGuiness set The Wanted’s bar so low...”
Max shot to fame as a member of The Wanted. The band had two number one singles in the UK and reached the top 3 in the US Billboard charts. After The Wanted took a break, Max moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career and starred in the sixth season of Glee as Clint. More recently he has returned to music as a solo artist.
Famous for: Actress in Men Behaving Badly, Jonathan Creek
The award-winning actress and presenter was the first celebrity confirmed for the 2020 series.
"I am thrilled and terrified in equal measure to be taking part", she said.
A broadcaster and national treasure, Caroline Quentin is well known for a wide range of acting roles including Maddie in Jonathan Creek, DCI Janine Lewis in Blue Murder, plus star roles in Kiss Me Kate, Life Begins and Life of Riley.
Best known for starring as Dorothy in hit sitcom Men Behaving Badly, Caroline has also presented a number of documentaries, as well as two very successful series of Extraordinary Homes for BBC Two. She recently performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2019.
Famous for: American Football star
Jason Bell was confirmed for the brand new series of Strictly Come Dancing on The One Show.
"Strictly is the epitome of British television and this year, more than ever, I’m so proud and humbled to be participating," said Bell.
"Strictly was the first show I ever watched when I moved to the UK and I’m a massive fan. My six-year-old daughter never got the chance to see me run out on the field at an NFL game but she is very excited about me taking to the dance floor. I hope I can do her proud."
A former professional American footballer, Jason played as a cornerback/safety in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys. He then played for the Houston Texans, where he was named a recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award, one of the league's highest honors. He finished his professional career with the New York Giants.
Jason now co-hosts The Jason & Osi Podcast with fellow NFL alum Osi Umenyiora. Alongside Osi he presents the NFL Show on BBC.
He is also known for his relationship with Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle, who is the mother to his daughter Anaìya.
Who are the Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers in 2020?
The professional line-up is… Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Anton Du Beke, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Janette Manrara, Johannes Radebe, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk and Oti Mabuse.
Graziano Di Prima, Nadiya Bychkova, Nancy Xu and Neil Jones will not have celebrity partners, but will be available as backup and as part of the group dance routines.
Former Strictly favourites Kevin Clifton and AJ Pritchard are not returning for the 2020 series.
All the former Strictly Come Dancing winners
2004 - Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole
2004 - Jill Halfpenny and Darren Bennett
2005 - Darren Gough and Lilia Kopylova
2006 - Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy
2007 - Alesha Dixon and Matthew Cutler
2008 - Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup
2009 - Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan
2010 - Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev
2011 - Harry Judd and Aliona Vilani
2012 - Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace
2013 - Abbey Clancy and Aljaž Škorjanec
2014 - Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev
2015 - Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani
2016 - Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton
2017 - Joe McFadden and Katya Jones
2018 - Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton
Reigning Champions 2019 - Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse
When does Strictly Come Dancing start?
Due to Coronavirus and restrictions on the cast and professional dancers, the celebrities didn't meet the pros on the dancefloor at the launch show, as in previous series.
Instead the partnerships were revealed in pre-recorded videos on Saturday, October 17.
The first live show airs at 7.25pm on Saturday, October 24.
Watch the live shows on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.