Strictly Come Dancing 2021 launch LIVE: Dan Walker in A&E with head injury as celebs & dancers to partner up TONIGHT

STRICTLY Come Dancing's latest celebrities will be paired with their professional partners during the launch show on TONIGHT.

The 15 celebrities, who include Olympian Adam Peaty, rugby star Ugo Monye and TV presenter Judi Love, will make their debut on the dancefloor during a group number in tonight's launch show at 7.45pm.

Meanwhile, Dan Walker revealed he was taken to A&E after bumping his head.

The TV presenter, 44, has been training for the BBC show ahead of tonight's launch show, and said he hit his head on a "big glass window" on Thursday and was taken to hospital a day later after "feeling a little wobbly".

Also competing will be EastEnders actress Nina Wadia, TV presenter AJ Odudu, Dragons' Den investor Sara Davies, McFly star Tom Fletcher, Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn, TV presenter Tilly Ramsay, comedian Robert Webb, CBBC host Rhys Stephenson and actor Greg Wise.

EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis will be the first deaf contestant to appear in the series.

Follow our Strictly Come Dancing live blog for all the latest updates…

  • Joseph Gamp

    ANTON DU BEKE SAYS STRICTLY 2021 LINE UP IS THE BEST YET

    New Strictly judge Anton Due Beke says he is impressed by this year's celebrities.

    He said: "I think it's the best line-up, I know we always say this, but I genuinely think it's an absolutely wonderful line-up.

    "I think it's a brilliant line-up.

    "I mean, it's [like] somebody's come up with a wish list, and it's all come true."

  • Joseph Gamp

    CRAIG REVEL HORWOOD ADMITS HE AND LEN GOODMAN THOUGHT FIRST SERIES 'WAS AN ABSOLUTE DISASTER'

    STRICTLY Come Dancing fans can't wait for the show to kick off tonight – but one of the judges has admitted he thought the series would never make it past the first season.

    Veteran judge Craig Revel Horwood – who has been on the show since it started back in 2004 – has revealed he believed the show would get axed.

    Tonight will see the 19th series of Strictly get underway, with stars like Tom Fletcher and AJ Odudu competing for that coveted Glitterball trophy.

    The show has been hugely successful for the BBC over the last 17 years.

    But speaking on The One Show, Craig revealed how both he and former judge Len Goodman thought the first series was an "absolute disaster".

    Craig Revel Horwood is back for the 19th season of Strictly – but says he never thought it would make it past series 1Credit: PA
  • Joseph Gamp

    TOM FLETCHER FAVOURITE TO WIN STRICTLY 2021 – CORAL

    Tom Fletcher is the 4-1 favourite in bookmaker Coral’s betting for Strictly Come Dancing this year, as the celebrities continue to rehearse ahead of the show’s return to TV in a few weeks time.

    Rose Ayling-Ellis is now the 11-2 second favourite, with Rhys Stephenson (7-1), AJ Odudu and Robert Webb (both 8-1) the other early front runners in the market.

    “Tom Fletcher will be the favourite to win the Glitterball Trophy when the stars take to the Strictly dancefloor for the first time this series and we are expecting him to be the star of the opening few shows,” said Coral’s Harry Aitkenhead.

  • Joseph Gamp

    DAN WALKER REVEALS MOTIVATION BEHIND SIGNING UP FOR STRICTLY COME DANCING

    TV presenter Dan Walker has said he signed up to do Strictly Come Dancing to do something "fun" and have a "giggle" after reporting on difficult news stories during the pandemic.

    He will continue to host BBC Breakfast and The NFL Show while competing on the popular BBC One dancing series, which returns to screens on September 18.

    Walker has hosted the BBC morning programme for the last five-and-a-half years alongside Louise Minchin, who presented on the show for the final time on Wednesday.

    He said: "I cover a lot of news and the last 18 months has just been grim story after grim story. So I thought, an opportunity to do something that's fun, that's very different, that doesn't involve reading headlines about awful stuff, and just have a bit of a giggle, and to learn a new skill.

    "And I don't think there are any opportunities in anything I've ever done before, where you get to learn from people who are literally the best on the planet. So with regards to that, I might be terrible, but at least I'll be learning from someone who's excellent at it."

  • Joseph Gamp

    ROSE AYLING-ELLIS ATTRACTS STRONG SUPPORT FOR STRICTLY

    Rose Ayling-Ellis has attracted strong support with bookmaker Coral ahead of the launch of Strictly Come Dancing tomorrow evening. The actress is the 5-1 joint-favourite with the firm for the 2021 series.

    Just over 70% of the outright bets with Coral on the series this year has been for the Eastenders actress.

    Tom Fletcher also sits at the top of the betting at 5-1, Rhys Syephenson is 7-1, while Robert Webb is 8-1.

    "Rose Ayling-Ellis has been one of the most popular contestants we have seen in our betting ahead of the launch of a series. Many punters believe she is going to go all the way," said Coral's John Hill.

  • Joseph Gamp

    ANTON DU BEKE TO TAKE ON FULL TIME JUDGING ROLE

    Anton Du Beke will swap his dance shoes for a full-time role on the judging panel.

    The 55-year-old professional, who judged for a two-week stint during the 2020 series, will join Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas on the panel.

    He will take over from Bruno Tonioli, who remains unable to take part due to travel uncertainty caused by the pandemic, because he lives in the US and is a judge on American series Dancing With The Stars.

  • Joseph Gamp

    WHO ARE THE FOUR NEW STRICTLY PROFESSIONAL DANCERS?

    There are four new dancers joining the line-up: Kai Widdrington, from the Irish version of Dancing With The Stars, former Let's Dance Germany professional Nikita Kuzmin, reigning South African Latin champion Cameron Lombard, and The Greatest Dancer winner Jowita Przystal.

  • Joseph Gamp

    STRICTLY COME DANCING STARS PREPARE TO BE PAIRED UP DURING LAUNCH

    Strictly Come Dancing's latest celebrities will be paired with their professional partners during the launch show on Saturday night.

    The 15 celebrities, who include Olympian Adam Peaty, rugby star Ugo Monye and TV presenter Judi Love, will make their debut on the dancefloor during a group number.

    Also competing will be EastEnders actress Nina Wadia, TV presenter AJ Odudu, Dragons' Den investor Sara Davies, McFly star Tom Fletcher, Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn, BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker, TV presenter Tilly Ramsay, comedian Robert Webb, CBBC host Rhys Stephenson and actor Greg Wise.

    EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis will be the first deaf contestant to appear in the series.

    Former Bake Off winner John Whaite will take to the dancefloor as half of an all-male pairing, in another first for Strictly.

    The professionals include returning fan favourites such as Oti Mabuse, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez and Katya Jones.

  • Joseph Gamp

    STRICTLY STAR DAN WALKER TAKEN TO A&E AFTER BUMPING HIS HEAD

    Strictly Come Dancing star Dan Walker revealed he was taken to A&E after bumping his head.

    The TV presenter, 44, has been training for the BBC show ahead of Saturday's curtain raiser, which will see the stars teamed up with their professional partners. Walker said he hit his head on a "big glass window" on Thursday and was taken to hospital a day later after "feeling a little wobbly".

    And he thanked his Strictly partner, who will remain a mystery until Saturday's pre-recorded show is broadcast, for making sure he was OK.

    Alongside a selfie from hospital, Walker wrote: "Bit of head-based drama today! After whacking my noggin on the big glass window yesterday I got sent to A & E today because I was feeling a little wobbly. A lovely nurse at Barnet Hospital called Karina checked my vitals and 6ft 9 Consultant Erik Witt gave me a CT scan to check for a bleed on the brain. Thankfully… all ok.

    "I've got to rest for a couple of days – so I'll be a bit behind – but ready to dig in again next week."

  • Joseph Gamp

    HOW TO WATCH STRICTLY COME DANCING ON TV

    Strictly Come Dancing will begin on September 18, 2021, on BBC One at 7.45pm.

    The launch show will see celebrities paired with their professional dancers.

    The first live show airs at 7pm on Saturday, September 25, 2021, on BBC One.

    No one will be axed after the first live show.

    The shows will also be put on BBC iPlayer as each episode airs.

  • Joseph Gamp

    WHO IS IN THE STRICTLY 2021 LINE UP?

    The celebrities taking part in Strictly started to be announced in August 2021.

    The full line-up:

    • Robert Webb
    • AJ Odudu
    • Tom Fletcher
    • Nina Wadia
    • Greg Wise
    • Tilly Ramsay
    • Judi Love
    • Adam Peaty
    • Dan Walker
    • Katie McGlynn
    • John Whaite
    • Rose Ayling-Ellis
    • Rhys Stephenson
    • Sara Davies
    • Ugo Monye

    WHO ARE THIS YEAR'S JUDGES?

    Shirley Ballas will return as head judge for the 2021 series.

    Craig Revel Horwood will also take up his role as judge – which he has been doing since the show's inception in 2004.

    Motsi Mabuse is also returning for a third series.

    They are all joined by Anton Du Beke who replaces long running judge Bruno Tonioli.

    Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will also be returning to their duties as co-hosts.

    WHEN DOES STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021 START?

    Strictly Come Dancing 2021 starts on Saturday, September 18, 2021.

    The 19th series will kick off at 7:45pm on BBC One.

    The launch show will involve celebrities in the likes of Ugo Monye, Tom Fletcher, Katie McGlynn and Tilly Ramsay, among others, being paired up with their professional dancer.

    The live shows are then set to begin on Saturday, September 25.

    Dan Walker originally broke the news by mistake on BBC Breakfast on Thursday August 2 – but this was also confirmed by the BBC themselves a day later, August 3.

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