Belfast Telegraph

Strictly Come Dancing contestants: What you need to know

Who is expected to sail through to the final?

Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly (Matt Crossick/PA)
Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly (Matt Crossick/PA)

The final list of celebrities ready to cha cha cha in front of the nation has been revealed.

Here is what you need to know about this year’s crop of Strictly Come Dancing contestants.

– The Women

Alex Scott, 34

Best known for: Former England and Arsenal football star-turned-football pundit.

Strictly chances: A favourite to win at 6-1, perhaps after triumphing in last year’s Sport Relief special.

Watch out for: Scott teamed up with Pasha Kovalev for the special but it remains to be seen who she will pair with now the Russian dancer has quit the show.

Anneka Rice, 60

Best known for: Eighties and Nineties TV shows Treasure Hunt and Challenge Anneka.

Strictly chances: An outsider at 25/1.

Look out for: Rice swapping her lurid jumpsuits for something more sparkly, despite claiming she is not a “girly girl” and has a phobia of “flouncy” dresses.

Catherine Tyldesley, 35

Best known for: Her role as Coronation Street’s Eva Price until 2018.

Strictly chances: A favourite alongside Alex Scott at 6/1.

Look out for: Tyldesley does not rate her chances as highly as the bookies do, saying she expects a “bumpy ride” on the dancefloor.

Emma Barton, 42

Best known for: Playing Honey Mitchell in BBC One soap EastEnders.

Strictly chances: 8/1, possibly due to some performing experience in musical Chicago.

Look out for: Some of the fellow EastEnders cast cheering her on.

Emma, Viscountess Weymouth, 33

Best known for: Viscountess Weymouth is married to Viscount Weymouth, whose family runs Longleat safari park.

Strictly chances: Bookies rank her as an outsider, at 20-1.

Look out for: A lot of enthusiasm – the viscountess is embracing the whole opportunity, saying: “I know it will be such an amazing experience from start to finish.”

Michelle Visage, 50

Best known for: RuPaul’s Drag Race judge

Strictly chances: Previous US contestants, such as Anastasia and Ashley Roberts, are yet to win the show. (14-1).

Look out for: Never afraid to speak her mind, outspoken Visage might not take criticism from the judges lying down.

Saffron Barker, 19

Best known for: A YouTube star.

Strictly chances: Barker is expected to sail through the series with odds of 7/1.

Look out for: Staying focused on her footwork – the single star does not want to waste time on romance with a dancing pro, saying, “I haven’t even really thought about that!”

– The Men

Chris Ramsey, 33

Best known for: A comedian who co-presented I’m A Celebrity: Extra Camp.

Strictly chances: 16/1.

Look out for: A more wholesome experience on the show than last year’s comedian Seann Walsh, who was pictured kissing then dance partner Katya Jones.

David James, 49

Best known for: Former England goalkeeper.

Strictly chances: While sportsmen have previously taken home the trophy, the football star is rated by bookies William Hill at just 18/1.

Look out for: Being teamed up with a tall partner – the ex-goalkeeper is a towering 6ft 5in.

Dev Griffin, 34

Best known for: Co-hosting Radio 1’s weekend afternoon show.

Strictly chances: Has experience of a dance competition a long time ago – ranking second at Pontins when he was just 12 (18/1).

Watch out for: Romance – Griffin has quipped that he only joined Strictly because of the “curse”, saying. “I’d be upset if it doesn’t happen.”

James Cracknell, 47 

Best known for: Double Olympic gold medal winning rower.

Strictly chances: A self-confessed “dad dancer”, Cracknell does not rate his prospects too highly (12/1).

Watch out for: Embracing the Strictly wardrobe, having already spent “years mucking around in a rowing boat with big men in tight Lycra”.

Jamie Laing, 30

Best known for: Reality TV series Made In Chelsea.

Strictly chances: Laing could go far but with a net worth said to be £2 million, the heir to the McVitie’s fortune does not have to worry about whether or not he gets the winner’s fee (12/1).

Watch out for: Enjoying the spotlight, Laing studied theatre and performance at Leeds University.

Mike Bushell, 53

Best known for: Sports presenter on BBC Breakfast.

Strictly chances: Despite buckets of enthusiasm, an outsider at 28/1.

Look out for: Mishaps, the gaffe-prone presenter fell into a swimming pool during a live BBC Breakfast interview and has vowed, “I’ll try not to fall over”.

Karim Zeroual, 25 

Best known for: Children’s television presenter on CBBC.

Strictly chances: With his theatre background in shows such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Lion King, he is ranked at 8/1.

Look out for: Being less comfortable with the slow dances because “I just like messing about really”.

Will Bayley, 31

Best known for: World table tennis Paralympic champion.

Strictly chances: Bayley, who suffers from rare congenital joint condition arthrogryposis, said he hopes to inspire others living with a disability during his time on the dancefloor (25/1).

Look out for: Fans can keep an eye out for Bayley’s version of the “Beyonce booty shake” which he previously demonstrated on Twitter.

PA

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