The new series of Strictly Come Dancing may still be a little way off, but rumours about who will be taking part are already in full swing.
A number of famous faces have been listed as potential contestants in the press, ahead of the 19th series of the hit BBC ballroom show.
Excitingly, Strictly will be staged as usual in 2021, after the pandemic forced a number of changes to regular proceedings last year – but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few changes, too.
Among these are the fact that Anton Du Beke won’t be competing as a professional dancer for the first time, instead taking a seat on the judging panel occupied by Bruno Tonioli, while Janette Manrara will also be making the move to spin-off show It Takes Two.
It’s been reported that bosses are hoping to stage the series as normal – including a studio audience, the return of Strictly’s Blackpool special and a full 13-week competition – after the pandemic forced a number of changes the the regular proceedings in 2020.
As excitement for the new series builds, let’s take a closer look at all the names currently in the mix for Strictly 2021...
In July, The Sun named Ugo Monye as the “first official contestant” taking part in the forthcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Throughout his career in rugby, Ugo has played for the Harlequins, and played twice for the British & Irish Lions during their tour to South Africa in 2009.
Sports fans can look forward to Ugo appearing as a panellist on the new revamped series of A Question Of Sport.
The former host of Big Brother and The Circle said that work commitments have always stood in the way of her place on Strictly when BBC bosses have come knocking.
However, she’s said she’d “do it in a heartbeat” if her schedule allowed, with Emma noting that if The Voice isn’t able to go ahead in 2021, she’ll definitely give Strictly the thumbs up.
Best known for presenting Naked Attraction, Anna Richardson has said she’s always turned reality shows down in the past, commenting she’s “just too old” for “anything that involves getting injured or ritual humiliation”.
However, she also told The Sun: “I think Strictly as a whole is a different ball game because you’re learning, you’re doing a skill and I think that would be an incredible opportunity.”
With Changing Rooms and Can I Improve My Memory? currently in the pipeline, could she be adding Strictly to her CV too?
Another sports star linked with a spot on Strictly this year is Peter Crouch.
Not only would he be following in the footsteps of his wife, former winner Abbey Clancy, Crouchy would also make history as the tallest celebrity to ever grace the Strictly dance floor (he’s 6ft 7in, for anyone wondering).
Admittedly, the former BBC host and GB News chairman was not a name we anticipated seeing on a list of Strictly Come Dancing rumours – but The Sun reported bosses were “desperate” to sign him up for 2021.
All we’re saying is that he is currently on a break from GB News, so it’s not out of the question that he could be getting in some dance lessons before the series gets underway.
Louise is something of an anomaly among her BBC Breakfast colleagues in that she’s never taken part in Strictly – but that could be about to change.
The broadcaster – who recently announced she was leaving the daytime show – told Carol Kirkwood on the podcast Her Spirit: “The other day on Breakfast Dan [Walker] mentioned [Strictly] and I said the line that I’ve said for many years, that I’m on a ‘lifetime ban’ from my family. And my husband texted and said ‘ban lifted’.”
The actor was propelled to new levels of fame in 2021 after taking a central role in the most recent series of Line Of Duty as bad cop and organised crime group member Ryan Pilkington.
According to The Sun, his name is on a shortlist of stars bosses are hoping to sign up for the new series of Strictly, with the tabloid claiming he would be a “dream signing”.
The Gogglebox star recently announced his departure from the hit Channel 4 show after deciding to “explore new opportunities”.
Tom has plenty of dance credentials, as he has been a professional break dancer since he was 14, and even appeared in a Strictly opening number as one of the B-Boys.
He recently told the Daily Express he would “love” to do Strictly, saying: “If the opportunity came up to go on Strictly as a contestant, I’ve never done Ballroom in my life, so it’d be interesting to see how as someone who breaks, I’m used to dancing upside down, how those two worlds could come together.
“And, how I could use skills from breaking in Ballroom or if there is even anything you can use from breaking in Ballroom.”
If he does end up taking part, Tom would make history as the first Goggleboxer to ever appear on the Strictly dance floor.
It was recently reported Strictly bosses were hoping to secure a high-profile name who has aided the nation through the coronavirus crisis for the new series.
According to The Sun, Chris, who is the Chief Medical Adviser to the UK Government, was “top of the list”.
Chris’ colleague JVT was previously linked to a role on Strictly, but appeared to rule himself out during an interview with ITV News earlier this year.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer said: “I think it would be rather like watching Jumbo [the elephant] on ice. But I don’t want to spoil the bookmakers’ books, so I’ll say no more than that.”
However, he has the backing of professional dancer Janette Manrara, who told Channel 5′s Jeremy Vine: “If we had Ed Balls, we’ve had Ann Widdecombe, then why not? Bring him on.
“It comes down to height and styles. I feel like he could be really good in ballroom because he’s quite elegant.”
The Good Morning Britain presenter became one of the most-talked about figures of the year when he stood up to Piers Morgan on the ITV breakfast show in March.
The Sun later claimed BBC bosses were keen to sign Alex up for Strictly, with the presenter later addressing the rumours on Twitter.
“Do I need to brush up on my 2 step and shuffle?” he tweeted.
However, given that Strictly is yet to cast a former Dancing On Ice contestant, we’d say his chances of taking part were actually pretty slim.
Alex’s fellow GMB star Laura has also been rumoured for the upcoming series, with The Sun reporting that both of their names were “in the mix”.
Strictly has a long history of casting political figures past and present, and this year it looks like they are courting the former Commons speaker for the new series.
The Sun claimed bosses had approached him about taking part in the past, but are keen to convince him to say yes this year.
Maya’s name has long been attached to Strictly Come Dancing, and last year she revealed she’d turned the show down on a number of occasions in the past.
However, in an interview with Hello! magazine, the Glow Up host admitted she “loves a dance” and “wouldn’t say no forever”, so could 2021 be her year?
Martin and Roman Kemp
The Spandau Ballet musician recently revealed he’s keen to take part in Strictly, telling The Jonathan Ross Show: “I think it’s one of the best shows on television, I absolutely love it.
“Would I do it? Maybe, but I’d only last one round. My knees are so bad. I’m sure I’d be out first round.”
His son Roman was less keen after previously auditioning, with the Capital Radio DJ saying: “I would like to do it, they did ask me. I ended up going, it’s like an audition… if I’m totally honest, I had a great time, but it’s too much effort. It’s so hard. It’s so hard.”
We’ve already seen YouTubers like Joe Sugg and Saffron Barker pave the way for a different kind of celebrity on Strictly, and the show’s star booker recently revealed she is now looking at TikTok as a hunting ground for potential contestants.
Talent executive Stefania Aleksander told The Mirror: “In order to do my job is just knowing a broad range of celebrities. It’s not just about actors, actresses.
“In order to entertain all genres, it’s about investing some time in learning about them.
“Social media is a whole world that I immersed myself into to learn about.”
Drag Race queens
Their report included former finalists The Vivienne and Baga Chipz, while highlighting that Drag Race US competitor Courtney Act had enjoyed huge success when she competed on the Australian version of Dancing With The Stars.