05/11/2019 19:00 GMT | Updated 06/11/2019 08:14 GMT

Strictly Come Dancing: Debbie McGee And Joe Sugg Among Stars Returning For Christmas Special

Chizzy Akudolu and Gemma Atkinson will also be returning to the dance floor.

The line-up for this year’s Christmas edition of Strictly Come Dancing have now been revealed.

Six former contestants – including three who made the final but ultimately missed out on lifting the coveted Glitterball Trophy – will all be returning to the ballroom to perform a festive routine in a bid to be crowned this year’s Christmas champion.

Among them will be Debbie McGee and Gemma Atkinson, both of whom finished as runners-up behind Joe McFadden in 2017.

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Debbie McGee at the Strictly red carpet launch in 2017

Debbie said: “I thought all my dreams came true two years ago when I was asked to do the series, but to be one of the rare people to be invited back to do the Christmas Special is the icing on the cake. I can’t wait to be back dancing with my Strictly family.”

Gemma – who gave birth to her first child with Strictly professional Gorka Marquez earlier this year – agreed: “I had the absolute best time on Strictly and it completely changed my life so I am absolutely overjoyed to be returning to the dancefloor this Christmas with a new challenge, and of course to be back with the gang!” 

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Gemma Atkinson

Joining them on the line-up will be last year’s finalist Joe Sugg and Mark Wright, who narrowly missed out on a spot in the grand finale back in 2014.

The former TOWIE star said: “It’s been a while since I was on the dancefloor but I’m very much looking to forward to dusting off the dance shoes for Christmas!” 

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Mark Wright

Meanwhile, YouTube vlogger Joe – who currently hosts the official Strictly podcast, and is in a relationship with his former dance partner Dianne Buswell – has also shared his excitement.

He explained: “Strictly feels like a home away from home for me so I will be giving it my best shot and ending the year on a high.”

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Joe Sugg

Completing the line-up and bringing a sense of festive fun to the proceedings will be Good Morning Britain’s Richard Arnold and actress Chizzy Akudolu, who was the first to leave the competition in 2017.

Chizzy enthused: “I’m still the biggest fan of Strictly so it’s wonderful to be back with old friends, in front of and behind the camera,  and hopefully some new ones for Christmas. Bring on the sparkle, and maybe an odd 10 – it is Christmas after all!”

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Chizzy Akudolu strikes a pose on the Strictly red carpet

Richard added: “I can’t wait to get back out on the dance floor and throw shapes beneath the glitter ball once again. I just can’t promise you’ll recognise them or that they’ll be in any particular order.

“What I can promise is that one of us will be a professional.”

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Richard was a contestant back in 2012, and made it to the halfway point of the show

All four of the Strictly judges will also returning for the festive special, as will presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, although the professional dancers appearing in the episode are yet to be revealed.

Last year’s Christmas special saw Aston Merrygold lift the Silver Star trophy, following his controversial early exit a year earlier.

The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special will air on BBC One on Christmas Day.

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