The nights are drawing in, it’s less than 100 days until Christmas, and that familiar theme tune can only mean one thing – Strictly Come Dancing is back for 2023!
The multi-award winning series (which added a National Television Award for Best Talent Show to its own glittering trophy cabinet recently) launched its 21st series tonight on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, opening with a dramatic performance from Strictly’s troupe of professional dancers, performing alongside the judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Anton du Beke and head judge Shirley Ballas in a truly jaw-dropping routine.
Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman were also on hand to guide us all through the evening’s proceedings and introduce this year’s 15 new celebrities and announce which professionals they were paired with.
The show also included a heartfelt tribute to the late former Strictly judge Len Goodman, as well as a performance from Jessie Ware of ‘Free Yourself’ accompanied by professional dancer Nadiya Bychkova, Johannes Radebe, Michelle Tsiakkis and Neil Jones.
Reigining champion Hamza Yassin and his professional partner Jowita Przystał also returned to the Strictly floor for the final time, performing their week 4 Salsa from last year’s series and reminding viewers exactly why they won the competition! Hamza said, “Strictly was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s changed my life, and taught me so much about myself, and I thought already knew myself pretty well”.
Finally, the class of 2023 were matched up with their professional partners in locations around the UK – ranging from the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom to the set of Eastenders and even Centre Court at Wimbledon!
This year’s pairs are:
Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice
Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima
Jody Cundy CBE and Jowita Przystał
Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Lauren Oakley
Angela Rippon CBE and Kai Widdrington
Layton Williams and Nikta Kuzmin
Nigel Harman and Katya Jones
Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell
Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer
Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe
Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola
Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk
Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu
Nikita Kanda and Gorka Márquez
Les Dennis and Nancy Xu
Finally, all 15 of this year’s contestants and their partners took to the dance floor for their very first group number to a medley of Bee Gees classic, giving us the first opportunity to check out their moves. As always with these first routines it’s a little bit more enthusiasm over technique at this stage, but it’s certainly got potential to be a really exciting series! Now all they have to do is learn their first routines in time for next week’s first live show…
Strictly Come Dancing 2023 continues on Saturday 23rd September at 6.15 PM on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.