SEVEEENN! Strictly Come Dancing is back for its latest season with a star-studded lineup, as well as some changes to the professionals and judges. But when will it air? Who will be on it? And most importantly, will it be fab-u-lous?! Find out all below:
When does Strictly Come Dancing start?
As usual, the series will kick off with the pre-recorded launch show, which is currently rumoured to air in early September (filming will take place on August 25). This won't involve any judged dances from the contestants, but it is certain to have lots of group numbers, special performances and of course will reveal the pairings of the celebrities and professionals.
The official date of the show hasn't yet been announced, however typically the competition starts a few weeks after the launch, so we're placing on our bets on Saturday, September 21 as the first live show. But of course, take our guess with a pinch of salt. We'll probably see it go head-to-head with X Factor as per usual, and if everything stays the same as previous years, we'll probably see Strictly beat it in the ratings.
Who are the contestants?
This year we have a real mixed bag of contestants from all kinds of backgrounds, which should make for some interesting partnerships. The 15 Strictly stars are set to be:
- Broadcaster Anneka Rice
- Olympic rower James Cracknell
- Radio 1 DJ Dev Griffin
- Former Arsenal and England footballer Alex Scott
- Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing
- RuPaul's Drag race judge Michelle Visage
- Table tennis Paralympic champion Will Bayley
- Businesswomen, chef and model Emma Thynn, Viscountess Weymouth
- CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual
- BBC sports news presenter Mike Bushell
- Former Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley
- Social media star Saffron Barker
- EastEnders actress Emma Barton
- Former England goalkeeper David James
- Comedian Chris Ramsey
Who are the judges?
Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Shirley Ballas will be returning to the panel, however there's one crucial difference to the lineup. Earlier this year, Dame Darcy Bussell announced that she would be stepping down from her duties. The ballerina will be replaced by South African dancer Motsi Mabuse, sister of one of the pros, Oti. Mabuse has also previously acted as a judge on the German equivalent of Strictly, Let's Dance.
Which professionals are returning?
As far as we know, all but one professional dancer are set to return to the ballroom. Former champion Pasha Kovalev announced he was leaving the show after eight years to focus on pasturers new. He and his girlfriend Rachel Riley - star of Countdown - are expecting a baby this year.
His departure does however make way for a new professional. Nancy Xu will become the show's first ever Chinese dancer, and has previously starred in China's version of So You Think You Can Dance and Burn the Floor on West End and Broadway.
Otherwise, you can expect to see all the usual favourites. Kevin Clifton, Janette Manrara and of course the Strictly veteran himself, Anton du Beke (will he ever get a partner that he can win with? Only time will tell...).
Our predictions for Strictly Come Dancing 2019
Though no formal announcements have been made about the structure of the latest series, we're almost guaranteed to see a return of the Halloween, Movies and Musicals episodes, as well as the new 'couples choice' category, which allowed each pairing to choose one style to dance out of contemporary, jazz and street.
We also believe that we'll see another competitive group dance later on in the series. Last year, the couples took part in a Lindy Hop-a-thon. But what style will it be this year? Previously the show has had Swing, Waltz, Paso Doble and Quickstep. So perhaps something latin-based is due, like Salsa or Cha Cha Chaaarr? Only time will tell.
Former footballer Alex Scott is currently tipped as one of the favourites to lift the glitter ball trophy after winning the Strictly Comic Relief special last year with Pasha Kovalev. However, the bookies odds aren't always right, as many dancers improve throughout the show and underdogs often end up reaching the top.
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 be returning on weekdays after the first live show on BBC Two. This show features interviews with contestants and judges, as well as training room footage and more. Zoe Ball will be returning as the host, but this year she will be joined by a new co-presenter, TV personality Rylan Clark-Neal.
We also hope that we'll be seeing the return of the official Strictly podcast, Strictly Confidential, which debuted last year. Hosted by Scott Mills and Amy Elizabeth, we got to see some real behind-the-scenes action from stars and learn more about the crew behind the glitz and glamour. We're keeping our cuban heels crossed! (Is that a thing? It is now.)
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 holidaying 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.