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.
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!”
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!”
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.”
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!”
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.”
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.