Belfast Telegraph

Susannah Constantine jokes about Strictly curse as 2018 series launches

The BBC’s flagship entertainment show returned this weekend.

Susannah Constantine joked “bring on the Strictly curse” as she was partnered with Anton Du Beke during the launch show.

The 16th series of the BBC One dancing series returned with 15 celebrities from the worlds of sport, comedy and music.

Fashion guru and TV presenter Constantine told the show’s host Tess Daly: “I’m so happy I cannot tell you.

“I wanted someone with an evil sense of humour, and he has it. Bring on the Strictly curse is all I can say now I’m with Anton.”

The so-called Strictly curse has seen marriages and relationships ruined when celebrities fall for their dance partners on the programme.

The launch show saw all of the celebrities find out who they were paired with,  with Steps singer Faye Tozer being paired with Giovanni Pernice and Capital Breakfast show host Vick Hope partnered with one of Strictly’s new professional dancers, Graziano Di Prima.

“If they dance together as good as they look, they’ll go far”, Daly quipped.

This year’s celebrity line-up also features TV presenter and author Katie Piper, who rose to fame after sharing her story about surviving an acid attack in the documentary Katie: My Beautiful Face. She will dance with Gorka Marquez.

Other pairings include Blue singer Lee Ryan and Nadiya Bychkova, while former England cricketer Graeme Swann was partnered with Oti Mabuse.

Head judge Shirley Ballas returns alongside judges Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Dame Darcey Bussell.

Revel Horwood said he thought the line-up looked “fabulous” while Dame Darcey said the celebrities should “let their professionals help them get over their nerves”.

BBC News presenter Kate Silverton will dance with professional Aljaz Skorjanec and This Morning’s medical expert Dr Ranj Singh with Janette Manrara.

The remaining pairings include Red Dwarf actor Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden, YouTuber Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell, Paralympic triathlete Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard and BBC Three documentary presenter Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton.

Singer Ashley Roberts, who found fame as part of The Pussycat Dolls, will dance with Pasha Kovalev, who spun her around as their pairing was announced.

Stand-up comic Seann Walsh will dance with last year’s winning professional Katya Jones and joked: “I got the champion.”

Jones won the 2017 series of Strictly with actor Joe McFadden.

This year’s series also welcomed three new professionals, of which Di Prima is the only one paired with a celebrity partner.

All of the celebrity hopefuls and the professionals closed the show by joining together for their first group dance to It Takes Two.

Music performances during the launch included Nile Rodgers and Chic, singer Craig David and rapper Stefflon Don.

The celebrities will now have two weeks to rehearse for their first live performance when the show returns on September 22.

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