Strictly Come Dancing 2011: what we know so far
Your handy guide to series nine - the facts and the rumours
As the launch of Strictly Come Dancing series nine approaches it’s time to get out the sequins and spray tan and make sure you’re up to date on the latest news and gossip.
Here is what we know so far:
Launch show: Saturday 10 September (recorded on Wednesday 7 September. Yes, I’ll be there as usual). This is when the celebrities are introduced to their professional partners for the first time in a slightly bizarre Blind Date-esque arrangement. Dolly Parton is the guest singer on the show.
First competitive round: The show will be broadcast on Friday September 30 as part of a double bill, the second show following on Saturday 1 October.
The final: This will be at Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom and will be broadcast in 3D
Brucie bonus: The show on November 19 will come from Wembley Arena. An audience of 6,500 will make it the biggest Strictly show ever.
The ballot for audience tickets for series nine has already been and gone. I hope you get lucky this year.
Main show: Tess Daly and Sir Bruce Forysth
Results show: Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman
Head judge Len Goodman (look out for Len on a forthcoming episode of BBC's Who Do You Think You Are?), Alesha Dixon, Craig Revel Horwood (who got British citizenship this year), Bruno Tonioli.
It Takes Two
The BBC2 show will be on every weekday once the competition starts. Hosted by Zoe Ball. She replaces Claudia Winkleman who is doing only the results shows following the recent birth of a baby boy.
The professional dancers
This part of the line-up was announced back in June.
The male dancers are: reigning champion Artem Chigvintsev, Brendan Cole, Anton Du Beke, James Jordan, Vincent Simone, Robin Windsor and, new this year, Pasha Kovalev.
The female dancers will once again be Erin Boag, Flavia Cacace, Ola Jordan, Natalie Lowe, Kristina Rihanoff, Aliona Vilani and Katya Virshilas.
The official celebrity line-up
Not revealed yet.
Last year we in the media received an embargoed press release which neatly led to everyone publishing the official list at the same time: just after midnight on the Tuesday before the recording of the launch show on the Wednesday
So if the BBC does the same thing this year you should look out for the news early on Tuesday September 6. We’ll have it all on MSN, of course.
The rumoured celebrity line-up
The good old rumour mill has not exactly been working the same amount of overtime as it has in previous years but names have been surfacing and towards the end of this week it all began to hot up nicely. Here is how we see it:
Less likely: Chris Tarrant, Ricky Hatton, Geoff Hurst, Gregg Wallace and John Torode (can’t have one without the other), Robbie Savage
Always rumoured, never on it: Richard Madeley, Alan Titchmarsh
Robbie Savage was viewed as quite likely for a brief moment but he confirmed some of his work was moved around to accommodate a show on ESPN, not for him to do Strictly.
That prompted us to demote him from the Possibles list to the Less Likely list. And then a few days ago he tweeted this:
Could that include being in the Strictly line-up? Maybe, maybe not.
Anyone else: Even if all the stars in our possibles list are on the show that still leaves room for a few surprises. Pippa Middleton? Cheryl Cole? Henry Winkler? Fern Britton? A current big UK soap star? Someone the show’s younger viewers identify with? And will there be any sportsmen or sportswomen to join the line-up?
Update Saturday 2:44pm
A report in The Sun suggests the line-up will include: Lulu, Harry Judd, Chelsee Healey, Rory Bremner, Edwina Currie, Dan Lobb, Nancy Dell'Olio, Jason Donovan, Alex Jones, Russell Grant, Holly Valance, Anita Dobson and possibly Audley Harrison who has yet to sign up. That would make 13 so there would still be another slot to fill.
The reports also claims the celebrity line-up will be revealed on The One Show on Tuesday which strikes me as a rather odd way to do it, particularly if One Show presenter Alex Jones is in it.
Update Monday 11:55am
On Daybreak this morning Kate Garraway dropped a big hint that co-presenter Dan Lobb would be in the celeb line-up for Strictly Come Dancing series nine. During a song by John Barrowman, cameras panned to the crew dancing and Kate mentioned Dan would be doing [wink] "more dancing soon".
Ah, Kate Garraway...remember her on Strictly? My favourite moment was after one particularly poor performance when her professional dance partner Anton said: "Any time you want to join in the choreography do let me know."
Update Monday 11:41pm
The Sun reported today that Robbie Savage has signed up.
And a search on the Rex Features site appeared to show him turning up at training with other celebs.
On Twitter Robbie denied he has retired from a radio talk show to appear in Strictly and stated that if he were in the 2011 celeb line-up he would have confirmed it first:
I discussed the rumoured celebrity line-up on BBC Radio Five Live at 10:25am on Sunday. If you missed it you can catch up via the BBC iPlayer. Forward to 55 minutes to hear the Strictly part of the Double Take show.
For more inside tips and Strictly Come Dancing news check back to this blog throughout series nine.
You can also follow me on Twitter where I'll be sharing fast and fun updates every day. You can find me here: twitter.com/thisismattball. I'll tweet on my way to the launch event on Wednesday and, as usual, I will be respecting the embargo that prevents media from reporting who is dancing with whom until the launch show on Saturday ends. I expect like last year I will be able to share straight away stuff the contestants tell me that doesn't relate to revealing their dance partner.
Have your say
Are you looking forward to Strictly 2011?
Which of the rumoured celebs would you like to see the most?
I can't stand Alesha Dixon, i think they should bring back Arleen Phillips after all she knows what shes talking about. Alesha Dixon don't know what shes talking about half the time Alesha always agree with the judges all the time
Yayyyyyyyyyy the show is on its way back. I love it. Unfortunately there is always a downside though:( Aliesha is back and judging. She can be so patronising, sorry to say. With her "Babes" all through and "I would have like to have seen.........................." She is not a trained dancer and does not know or have the experience to be able to judge. Sorry folks, thats my own opinion.
But funnikly enough I do like Aliesha.
omg can they not let a few young ones from the soaps im sure they would do very well at danceing .Who wants to look at edwin curry make a fool of herself like Ann last year poor
Anton hope he dont have to suffer again
Another season of the Forsyth Saga, more sarcasm, more tiresome past the sell by date jokes more of the same old pathetic dance to start the show, more of the self importance Bruce Forsyth Show. God knows what will happen when he can't read the Auto Q Why Oh wye don't the TV Bosses listen to the viewers. Now they have made him a Sir we won't ever hear the end of it. I for one won't be watching it anymore until they get rid of this has been he has ruined the show. It was great last year when he was off sick.
Well despite some of the comments on here (must be X Factor trash!), I am really looking forward to it. I hope to enjoy the mishaps, tantrums and OTT dresses (the less the better).
Yes, I think Aleisha should go in favour of a return of Arlene (that was ageist) and the usual dodgy 'celebs' will be on show. But as a piece of escapist fun - you can't beat it.
Brucie would not have to push and shove anyone if they could find the spot themselves that they are supposed to stand on. It's all marked on the floor for them.
Up with Brucie and down with poofty presenters.
Long live Brucie !!!
Fade into oblivion, perhaps! This is the nightmare that some celeb's have.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and that includes you. This is a forum to discuss matters and give an opinion, and just because you don't agree with other peoples opinion dosn't give you the right to verbally abuse them It has nothing to do with X Factor and I am certainly not trash, you don't even know me so keep your nasty comments to yourself because all it does is show what sort of person you really are, you hide behind a false name but I would say it fits
Why don't they bring back 'Come Dancing' that was an excellent show.
Would Bruce Forsyth do those of us with discerning good taste a favour and retire - please.
His smutty inuendo and his constant handling of any woman who gets close enough is so very tiresome. Please bring back Arlene. As pleasant as Alesha is, she knows nothing about dancing - especially when compared to Arlene.
However, Long Live Strictly, bring back Arlene and ditch the boring Alesha Dixon who knows naff all about dancing, send her back to her lousy singing!
Another cheer for Bruce, hip hip hoorah!
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