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Strictly Come Dancing unveils more stars for new series

Written by on 5 September 2020

Comedian Bill Bailey says he’s looking forward to a “new challenge” after being announced as one of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing stars.

The award-winning performer said his late mother Madrin was a big fan of Strictly, and he hopes “she’ll be watching” when he appears on the show.

Image:
Tess Daly (left) and Claudia Winkleman will be wrangling the stars as normal

Although the 55-year-old comic has no formal training in dance, he is a classically trained musician and multi-instrumentalist, which he will no doubt be hoping will help him with his moves.

In a statement for the show he said: “In these strange times we’re living through, it feels right to do something different and take on a new challenge…

“My late mum would have loved it – I hope she’ll be watching.”

A regular on panel shows including QI and Never Mind The Buzzcocks, as well as starring in cult comedy Black Books, Bailey will be expected by many to be the comedy contestant – although it’s possible he could surprise the world with his dance moves.

Bailey was confirmed for the 2020 line-up shortly before Made In Chelsea’s Jamie Laing, EastEnders actress Maisie Smith and Invictus Games medallist JJ Chalmers.

More from Bill Bailey

It’s second time lucky for Laing who was forced to withdraw from Strictly 2019 after injuring his foot while pre-recording the group dance for the opening show.

The 31-year-old reality star and sweet entrepreneur also said his mum was a big part of his reason to get involved again. He said: “Here we go again, hopefully this time I can last long enough so my mum can see me dance.

“The reason I’m doing it, is to make my mum proud but all I did last year was make her even more disappointed. Let’s change that this year, can’t wait!!”

Maisie Smith, who plays Tiffany Butcher-Baker in EastEnders, was also announced.

However, her involvement wasn’t a total shock as she’d been prematurely revealed by ITV’s Lorraine during an interview with one of Smith’s co-stars James Bye (who plays Martin Fowler).

While Smith can act and sing, it’s not yet known whether she’s also a triple threat and can dance as well (although as a young actress, it’s probably a pretty safe bet).

Smith said she couldn’t be more excited to be part of the show, saying: “Get me in those sequins, I can’t wait to dive into the Strictly fancy dress box this winter! This is a dream come true.”

Former Royal Marine and Invictus Games medallist JJ Chalmers will also be competing.

The 33-year-old sports presenter – who is a friend of Prince Harry – also talked about his mum in his statement for the show, saying: “My whole life is defined by facing challenges. Whether it’s becoming a Royal Marine Commando, recovering from my injuries sustained in Afghanistan to competing in The Invictus Games.

“Now as a TV presenter I’m lucky enough to witness some of the greatest sporting contests in the world. Strictly is a whole different ball game in respect to the challenges I will face but I’m up for an adventure and at least my mum will know where I am!”

Olympic boxer Nicola Adams, singer Max George, actress Caroline Quentin and former NFl player Jason Bell have also signed up for the show this week.

In a Strictly first, Adams will compete as part of the show’s first ever competing same-sex couple.

Good Morning Britain presenter Ranvir Singh and BBC radio presenter Clara Amfo are also among the celebrities confirmed for the show, with more stars still to be announced.

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This series of Strictly will be shorter than usual due to precautions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

The show would usually return at the end of September, with the final just before Christmas, but its 2020 launch is expected to be slightly delayed.

Judging favourite Bruno Tonioli will be missing from the panel for Saturday night as he is in Los Angeles, on the panel for the US version of the show, Dancing With The Stars, and will not be able to travel back and forth.

But he will still be involved remotely in the Sunday night results show each week and will return to the show full-time towards the end of the series.