Belfast Telegraph

Pictured: Strictly stars show off sparkles as new series draws near

The stars of this year's Strictly Come Dancing have put their glad rags on for their first official photoshoot of the competition.

The new series is set to kick off on Saturday, September 5 with 15 celebrities competing for the Glitter Ball Trophy.

Among the line-up is This Morning presenter Ruth Langsford, singer Alexandra Burke, former JLS star Ashton Merrygold and ex-Emmerdale actress Gemma Atkinson.

Ruth - wife of Belfast born presenter Eamonn Holmes - said she has entered Strictly Come Dancing to win it.

Speaking ahead of the show kicking off, she said: "I'm absolutely going in to this to win it because why would you not?

"In my diary, all those dates are filled in until I lift the Glitterball Trophy. There's no point going into this thinking, 'oh you know I'll probably go out in week three'.

"I don't want to go out, I want to stay, I want to learn all the dances and who knows, I might turn out to be brilliant!"

Meanwhile, Gemma Atkinson said taking part in Strictly will give her the opportunity to try something a bit more "girly".

The actress said while she is comfortable when it comes to the gym, "anything to do with girly stuff, I'm not".

She added: "I'm taking part because I want to challenge myself in any way possible really.

"To be in a sparkly frock with heels on, learning to dance live on a dancefloor is way out of my comfort zone."

The Strictly judging panel will see the arrival of Shirley Ballas, who will make her debut as head judge following Len Goodman's exit from the show.

Ballas will take her seat at the judging podium with returning judges Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood.

The 56-year-old, who dominated the world of professional Latin American dance in the 1980s and 1990s, has said she will be "the four Fs: fun, firm, feisty and fair".

She added: "I can also be strict - if I ask them to do something and they don't deliver it the following week I'm not going to tell them that it's OK, I'm not that kind of judge."

Strictly Come Dancing returns for the launch show on BBC One at 7pm on September 9 with Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman.

Strictly Come Dancing 2017: The Celebrities

Alexandra Burke

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Alexandra Burke (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Winner of the 2008 series of The X Factor and West End star

Simon Rimmer

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Simon Rimmer (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Celebrity chef best known for Something for the Weekend.

Ruth Langsford

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Ruth Langsford (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? This Morning presenter and Loose Women panelist.

Aston Merrygold

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Aston Merrygold (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Former member of JLS.

Brian Conley

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Brian Conley (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Comedian, TV and singer.

Mollie King

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Mollie King (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Former member of The Saturdays.

Chizzy Akudolu

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Chizzy Akudolu (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Actress best known for playing Mo Effanga on Holby City.

Debbie McGee

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Debbie McGee (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Wife of late magician Paul Daniels.

Rev Richard Coles

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Rev Richard Coles (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Musician and priest, best known for being part of The Communards band.

Joe McFadden

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Joe McFadden (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Actor best known for playing Raffaello Di Luca on Holby City.

Charlotte Hawkins

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Charlotte Hawkins (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Good Morning Britain presenter.

Davood Ghadami

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Davood Ghadami (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Actor best known for playing Kush Kazemi on EastEnders.

Susan Calman

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Susan Calman (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Scottish comedian.

Jonnie Peacock

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Jonnie Peacock (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Paralympic gold medal winner.

Gemma Atkinson

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Gemma Atkinson (Ray Burmiston/PA Wire)

Who? Actress best know for playing Carly Hope on Emmerdale.

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