First three Strictly Come Dancing couples revealed as new series gets under way
The first three couples competing in the new series of Strictly Come Dancing have been revealed.
The launch programme for the new series is being broadcast on BBC One.
Actress Caroline Quentin, 60, has been partnered with Johannes Radebe.
She said she is “beside herself with joy” to have been paired with the professional dancer.
She also said she dreamed of being a dancer when she was a child.
She said: “I went to ballet school as a little girl, I loved it and my dream was to become a ballerina.
“In truth I wasn’t quite good enough.
“I was a little bit short and a little bit round and I have always had a kind of longing to see if I could be better at it.”
BBC Radio 1 presenter Clara Amfo, 36, has been partnered with Aljaz Skorjanec.
“I am so pleased to be paired with Aljaz, his energy I connect to,” she said.
Television presenter Ranvir Singh, 43, was also been revealed as the partner of Giovanni Pernice.
Singh said: “Giovanni was hand on heart the dancer that I really, really wanted.”
At the start of the programme, professional dancer Anton Du Beke tweeted to say it is a “tremendous achievement” to get the programme back on television screens.
He wrote: “So excited that Strictly series 18 is all systems go – such a tremendous achievement by everyone involved in making this happen!”
Also among this year’s contestants are former home secretary Jacqui Smith and comedian Bill Bailey.
Former boxer Nicola Adams will also form part of the first ever same-sex pairing between a celebrity and a professional dancer on the programme.
The show is taking in front of a socially-distanced audience, and this year’s contestants are subject to strict coronavirus rules.
Either the professional dancer or the celebrity will also be living on their own for the duration of the series as they form an exclusive support bubble.
Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas have returned to the panel but Bruno Tonioli is absent from the launch as he is in the US working on Dancing With The Stars.
The BBC has previously said he will join remotely for the Sunday night results show and is due to return full-time towards the end of the series.