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'Strictly Come Dancing' 2021 lineup, start date, judges, dancers and everything you need to know

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 logo BBC
Strictly Come Dancing 2021 is set to return to BBC1 this autumn.

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 is heading to BBC1... and now the professional dancers have been confirmed.

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 may seem a little while off, but it's never too early to start thinking about the dancing show. Before we know it, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will be back on our screens with a brand new celebrity line up, all ready to show off their fancy footwork on the dance floor.

We wonder who'll we will be adding to our Strictly Come Dancing winners list?!

But before the sequins and fake tans return, here is everything we know about Strictly Come Dancing 2021 so far...

Strictly Come Dancing Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman

Claudia and Tess will bring all the glitz and glamour back to our Saturday nights this autumn. (Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 release date 

Strictly traditionally starts in September however, due to the pandemic, the 2020 series started a month later than usual with the launch show airing on 17th October and the live shows starting on 24th October.

The 2020 series also ran for nine weeks instead of the usual 13.

At this point it unclear if Strictly 2021 will follow the traditional September start and 13 week run, or whether a shorter series will be aired as in 2020, however Shirley Ballas has hinted that the show could return to the usual 13 episodes.

The head judge told celebrity website Cameo: "Just a little something, I heard they're trying to do all thirteen episodes this year.

"Last time we had nine. We're trying to get 13 shows on. I think they're getting used to the Covid thing."

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 line up 

While it might feel like the new series of Strictly is a little way off, you can be rest assured that the production team are working away in the background, putting together another star-studded line up.

As fans already know, the Strictly rumour mill never stops, and there have already been some big names mentioned in connection with the 2021 series...

Baga Chipz and The Vivienne

According to an insider, the BBC is looking to shake up the normal partnerships on their hugely popular ballroom show by signing a celebrity drag act. Both Baga Chipz and RuPaul's Drag Race UK Season 1 winner The Vivienne are apparently in the running for the new series.

An insider revealed the rumour to The Sun. They said: “There’s been a real shift in thinking on this in recent years, with contests having same-sex partners appearing more and more. But Strictly producers always try to do things a little bit differently, so they want to introduce a drag artist to shake up perceptions even further.”

Chris Whitty 

It has been reported that Chief Medical officer Chris Whitty is top of the list to join the show for the new series. A source reportedly told The Sun: "Chris is top of the list, and discreet enquiries will be made over the next few weeks. However, any decisions would depend on the rate of Covid infections in the country."

Ralf Little 

Death in Paradise star Ralf Little also told Hello Magazine he would always be open to joining Strictly: "Never say never! I think it is very easy to be dismissive of these things. I think people who participate and do well in Strictly are learning a real skill, an art form, and there's something really rewarding about that."

Maya Jama

Former Radio One star Maya Jama has also been linked to the dancing show. She told Hello Magazine: "I always say I don't know. I'd never say never to all these things but I've got a lot going on at the moment."

Tina Barrett

S Club 7 star Tina Barrett is also very interested in taking part, and she's even publicly asked if she'd be considered. She told The Sun: “I love Strictly and I’d like to do it. I haven’t been asked to, so if anyone at Strictly is reading, please let me go on. It would be amazing. I am a bit of a Glitterball girl.”


Former footballer Rio Ferdinand, Busted star Matt Willis, actress Lucy Fallon, Good Morning Britain presenter Ben Shephard, reality TV star Dan Osborne and TV presenter Angelica Bell have also been mentioned in connection to the show.

More: Strictly Come Dancing winners - can you remember them all? 

Strictly Come Dancing judges

There is nothing better to brighten up our autumn weekends than Strictly Come Dancing.

Who are the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 judges?

Strictly Come Dancing judges on the panel

Motsi, Shirley and Craig are set to return for Strictly 2021, but will Bruno be joining them? (Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

It's likely that Shirley Ballas will return as head judge with Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood joining her on the panel for another series.

It is hoped that Bruno Tonioli will be able to return for the next series, having missed out on the 2020 shows due to travel restrictions in place during the pandemic.

Who are the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 professional dancers? 

TV tonight Strictly Come Dancing

The professional group dances are always a highlight of each series. (Image credit: BBC)

The 2021 professional line up has been officially announced with Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Anton Du Beke, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova, Nancy Xu and Neil Jones all returning to the show.

Oti Mabuse will also be returning in a bid to defend her Strictly champion title after becoming the first dancer in the show's history to win two consecutive series. Not only did she win in 2019 with actor Kelvin Fletcher, but she also won in 2020 with Bill Bailey.

However, the professional dancer has revealed that Strictly 2021 could be her last year. She told "I love to dance and love bringing joy to so many people, but I think Strictly 2021 will be the last. Honestly, as a woman I can't be dancing forever."

Sarah James, Executive Producer of BBC Studios, says: "We are so thrilled to be welcoming back our incredible line-up of professional dancers for 2021.

"Their passion and dedication for Strictly shone through more than ever last year as they all sacrificed so much to deliver an unforgettable series during unprecedented and challenging times.

"With so much talent returning to the ballroom, the 2021 series promises more show-stopping choreography, memorable performances and world class dancing."

It Takes Two presenters 

Janette Manrara Strictly Come Dancing.

Janette will be swapping dancing for presenting as she replaces Zoe Ball on It Takes Two.  (Image credit: BBC)

In a shake up on Strictly Come Dancing spin off show It Takes Two, the legendary Zoe Ball has left her presenting role after ten years and now professional Strictly dancer Janette Manrara has hung up her dancing shoes as she joins Rylan Clark-Neal on the sofa. Because of her new presenting role, it means Janette won't be dancing on Strictly Come Dancing 2021, however she has promised that she will continue with her passion. She told the BBC: "I am still going to be seeing my fellow pros all the time and I will keep dancing, as they say." 

Zoe Ball announced her departure from the show last month with a post on her social media pages. She said: "Dancer lovers, after 10 joyous years I am walking away from It Takes Two. As a massive @bbcstrictly fan I have loved spending my Autumn teatimes with the celebrity dancers, the gorgeous and awesome pro dancers, the judges, my girl Vicky Gill, Rylan, Gethin and of course my main man Ian Waite. Time now for some new cha cha challenges."

Who won the last series of Strictly Come Dancing?

Bill and Oti lift the litter ball trophy in 2020

Bill danced his way to victory with partner Oti Mabuse in 2020. (Image credit: BBC / Guy Levy)

Strictly Come Dancing 2020 was a huge hit, giving fans some much-needed escapism and entertainment on their Saturday night.

The final saw EastEnders star Maisie Smith, comedian Bill Bailey, Made in Chelsea's Jaime Laing and singer HRVY all battle it out over the glitterball trophy.

In the end it was Bill Bailey and his dance partner Oti Mabuse who were crowned winners, making Oti the first Strictly professional dancer to win two years in a row.

We will update this article as and when new information is released about Strictly Come Dancing 2021.

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One later this year.