Belfast Telegraph

Gemma Atkinson and Gorka Marquez to make Strictly debut as couple

There will be two real-life partners on the Strictly dance floor this Christmas Day, with Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell also appearing together.

Gemma Atkinson and Gorka Marquez to make Strictly dancing debut (Ian West/PA)
Gemma Atkinson and Gorka Marquez to make Strictly dancing debut (Ian West/PA)

By Lucy Mapstone, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Gemma Atkinson will make her dance floor debut with her real-life partner Gorka Marquez in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.

The festive episode of the BBC One show will have another romantic pairing as Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell will also be reunited.

Former soap star Atkinson did not dance with Marquez when she took part in Strictly in 2017 as she was paired with Aljaz Skorjanec while he was partnered with singer Alexandra Burke.

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Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell (Aaron Chown/PA)

Despite not being an official Strictly couple, they struck up a relationship behind the scenes and in July this year welcomed their first child together, daughter Mia.

YouTube star Sugg and Buswell made it to the Strictly final last year and the loved-up pair will be hoping to go one step further and win in the seasonal edition.

They confirmed their romance after last year’s finale.

The other pairings for this year’s Strictly Christmas special have been confirmed, with Debbie McGee dancing with Kevin Clifton and Chizzy Akudolu dancing with Graziano Di Prima.

Mark Wright will dance with Janette Manrara and Richard Arnold has been matched with Luba Mushtuk.

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Debbie McGee (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Broadcaster McGee was originally partnered with Giovanni Pernice and Holby City actress Akudolu was previously paired with the now-departed Pasha Kovalev when they took part in Strictly in 2017.

Presenter and former The Only Way Is Essex star Wright, who was part of the Strictly line-up in 2014, previously danced with Karen Hauer.

Good Morning Britain showbiz reporter Arnold was partnered with former pro Erin Boag in 2012.

The programme will be hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, with Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Bruno Tonioli and head judge Shirley Ballas dishing out the critiques.

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

PA

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