Celebrities, dancers and judges returning to Strictly to celebrate two decades

The BBC will celebrate Strictly Come Dancing’s 20th anniversary with a special programme.

The 75-minute episode will feature highlights from the past two decades as well as interviews with past celebrity stars, professional dancers and judges.

The show, which first aired on May 15 2004 as a new incarnation of the professional dancing series Come Dancing, won the best entertainment Bafta for the third time on Sunday.

Kalpna Patel-Knight, head of entertainment at the BBC, said: “Strictly Come Dancing is more than just a TV show, it has become an integral part of British culture, bringing families together and inspiring viewers of all ages to embrace the joy of dance.

“Throughout its 20-year history, the show has launched careers, sparked trends and touched the hearts of millions with its dazzling performances, emotional journeys and unforgettable moments and we will be showcasing it all in this very special programme.”

More details, including broadcast information for the untitled special one-off programme, will be confirmed in due course.

When the series first began, Tess Daly and Sir Bruce Forsyth presented the show together and Len Goodman, Dame Arlene Phillips, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli were the judges.

Daly has co-hosted with Claudia Winkleman since 2014, while the judging line-up currently includes Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and former Strictly professional dancer Anton Du Beke.

BAFTA TV Awards 2024 – London
Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman after winning the best entertainment award for Strictly Come Dancing (Ian West/PA)

Suzy Lamb, managing director of BBC Studios Entertainment said: “From glittering Ballroom numbers to high-energy Latin routines, the show continues to push the boundaries of dance and entertainment and we want viewers to join us in raising a toast to 20 years of sparkle and shine in the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom.”

Celebrities, politicians and sportspeople have competed on Strictly over the years including former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe, former Labour MP Ed Balls, comedian Bill Bailey, actress Patsy Kensit, Spice Girl star Emma Bunton and singer Lulu.

It was first won by journalist Natasha Kaplinsky and New Zealand dancer Brendan Cole.

The last to lift the glitterball trophy in the main series was former Coronation Street actress Ellie Leach and Italian dancer Vito Coppola.

Strictly is set to return later this year.