The Glitterball is back! On the 9th September, just one week away, the new series of Strictly Come Dancing begins. Anyone following this blog will remember my weekly posts last year as I followed the progress of the 2016 class ending with a closely fought final between Danny Mac, Louise Redknapp and the ultimate winner Ore Oduba.
So there will be a few changes this year that we already know about. Len Goodman will no longer be head judge and his replacement is Shirley Ballas. She hails from my neck of the woods in Merseyside so she's likely to be as tough as nails with the contestants. She specialises in Latin so the contestants will need a bit more than glitter and sequins when it comes to impressing her. The rest of the judges remain the same with the nicey nice Darcey Bussell, the flamboyant and overdramatic Bruno Tonioli and the Mr Nasty Craig Revel-Horwood.
There are a few new professionals lined up but I've not read much about them up to now. I know there are three new girls to replace Oksana Platero, Natalie Lowe and Joanne Clifton, all of whom are not returning this year. Not heard anything about the changes in the male professionals but all will be revealed no doubt next week on the launch show.
So onto the
Mollie King: Pop star and member of the group The Saturdays
Davood Ghadami: Actor, currently in Eastenders
Ruth Langsford: TV presenter, co-host of This Morning with her husband Eamonn Holmes and also a regular panellist on current affairs show Loose Women
Gemma Atkinson: Actress, previously in Emmerdale
Reverand Richard Coles: Church of England Priest and former member of pop group The Communards with Jimmy Somerville
Joe McFadden: Actor, currently in Holby City
Simon Rimmer: TV Chef and host of Sunday Brunch
Aston Merrygold: Pop star and former member of the group JLS
Susan Calman: Comedienne
Brian Conley: Comedian
Charlotte Hawkins: Journalist and newsreader
Chizzy Akudolu: Holby City actress
Debbie McGee: Wife of late magician Paul Daniels and was his assistant
Jonnie Peacock: Paralympic athlete, Strictly's first contestant with a disability (he is a below the knee amputee)
Alexandra Burke: Singer, was a winner of The X-Factor in 2008
So there we have our line up. Let's hope this series is as exciting and entertaining as last years. Let's hope we have a lot more dancing and a lot less cringing (yes Ed Balls I'm talking to you Gangnam Style)
On a final note, it was with great sadness to read last month of the passing of Bruce Forsythe who was the original and definitive host of Strictly Come Dancing. An all-around singer, dancer, comedian and TV host, Bruce had been entertaining the British public for over 75 years. His wonderful catchphrase 'Nice to see you, to see you nice' is one I shall always remember and if anyone remembers my post last year about The Muppet Show you will recall that his episode is one of my all-time favourites. Bruce passed away aged 89 on 18th August 2017 from pneumonia. RIP Brucie, may you always be remembered fondly and keep dancing.
(All images except my sig courtesy of BBC)