With the sun having set on the ‘Love Island’ villa for another year, attention is already turning to which TV show is going to fill the huge void it has left in our lives.
Luckily, a brand new series of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ is fast approaching, with a fresh batch of celebrities getting ready to throw on their dancing shoes on every Saturday night.
With details about the 16th series now steadily starting to flow in, here’s everything we can tell you so far...
When does ‘Strictly’ 2018 start?
‘Strictly’ traditionally kicks off with a special launch show where the new bunch of contestants are paired up with their professional partners, before they go off to train for a couple of weeks ahead of the competition starting.
There’s no word from the BBC yet, but if the dates follow the same pattern as 2017, we should expect ‘Strictly’ to launch on Saturday 8 September, before the first live show kicks off on Saturday 22 September.
Who are the judges?
It is highly likely the panel will remain the same as last year, which saw new Head Judge Shirley Ballas join Craig Revel-Horwood, Darcey Bussell and Bruno Tonioli on the panel, replacing Len Goodman who stepped down in 2016.
We’re still waiting official confirmation, but Shirley seemingly let the cat out of the bag that she had been asked to return when her agent tweeted an article published by The Sun that quoted a source as saying she would be back.
She has also spoken on the record about her hopes that the BBC addresses the gender pay gap on the show.
Who is presenting?
When can we expect to find out about the line-up?
The contestants are always revealed in dribs and drabs over a two week period to build anticipation for the new series.
This year, they kicked off on Monday 13 August, with Katie Piper being the first to be unveiled on ‘BBC Breakfast’.
Who is on the line-up?
Confirmed so far for ‘Strictly’ 2018 are:
- Model, campaigner and TV personality Katie Piper
- Steps singer Faye Tozer
- Actor Danny John-Jules
- YouTuber Joe Sugg
- Capital Radio host Vick Hope
- Cricketer Graeme Swann
- TV medic Dr Ranj
- Documentary presenter Stacey Dooley
- Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts
Rumours are currently swirling about who else will be taking part in the new series, including Radio 1 presenter Maya Jama, former ‘EastEnders’ actress Samantha Womack, ‘Great British Bake Off’ winner Nadiya Hussain, Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan and 90s TV star Anneka Rice.
It has also been claimed bosses have put a ban on reality stars from competing on the show, thus squashing Gemma Collins’ hopes of appearing as compensation for her on-stage fall at the Radio 1 Teen Awards last year.
Which professional dancers are returning?
In alphabetical order, AJ Pritchard, Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Anton Du Beke, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Janette Manrara, Karen Clifton, Katya Jones, Kevin Clifton, Nadiya Bychkova, Neil Jones, Oti Mabuse and Pasha Kovalev will all be back for another year on the dance floor.
However, two people who won’t be are Brendan Cole and Chloe Hewitt.
Brendan was axed from the show earlier this year after 15 years, following reports of a feud with new Head Judge Shirley Ballas.
Chloe has also left after three series, during which time she was never assigned a full-time celebrity partner.
Who are the new pros?
In Brendan and Chloe’s place, the BBC are bringing in not two, but three new professional dancers in the form of Johannes Radebe, Luba Mushtu and Graziano Di Prima.
Russian-born Luba has been part of ‘Strictly’ since 2016, when she joined as an assistant choreographer, working on the group routines. She’s the four-time winner of the Italian Dance Championship and Italian Open Latin Show Dance champion, was ranked 2nd in the European 10 Dance Championships, and also performed as part of dance company ‘Burn The Floor’ with Giovanni Pernice and Kevin and Karen Clifton.
Graziano is an Italian Latin champion, who has represented Belgium at the World Championships and also been part of ‘Burn The Floor’, while two-time South African Latin Champion Johannes has been a professional dancer on his home country’s version of ‘Strictly’ for two seasons, reaching the final both times.
Will there be any same-sex pairings this year?
While some ‘Strictly’ fans have long called for same-sex pairing to be introduced, it has been confirmed 2018 will not be the year we see it happen.
A spokesperson has said: ”‘Strictly’ has chosen the longstanding ballroom dancing format of mixed-sex couples and at the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples in the competition.”
Judge Craig Revel Horwood was the first permanent member of the ‘Strictly’ family to call for the inclusion of same-sex pairings on the show, which was more recently reiterated by presenter Claudia Winkleman.
Will ‘It Takes Two’ be back?
No official word yet, but we’d say it was a safe bet to assume the popular spin-off show will be returning to accompany the new series, with Zoe Ball serving up all the best gossip, interviews and behind-the-scenes info from the main show.