'Strictly Come Dancing' announces first four contestants for the new series

Strictly Come Dancing logo
Strictly Come Dancing returns for 2021. (Image credit: BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing fans have been waiting eagerly to find out who'll be taking to the dancefloor for the 2021 competition. But the wait is finally over, as the first four contestants have been confirmed with more to follow in due course.

One contestant was revealed on Zoe Ball’s Thursday morning Breakfast show on BBC Radio 2, where Matt Lucas was filling in, where the Bake Off presenter announced that TV chef and author John Whaite would be competing this year.

Speaking about the opportunity, John said: “I’m so grateful, excited, and nervous to be joining the Strictly 2021 family. I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth. 

John will be competing alongside a male dancer, who has not yet been confirmed, and added that he was looking forward to being part of the first all-male duo. He added: "What’s more exciting for me, is that I’m going to be one half of the first all-male partnership, which is a great step forward in representation and inclusion. Whoever it is I’m paired with, I hope they are up for a challenge as I want our routines to include lots of spectacular lifts!"

Strictly Come Dancing contestant John Whaite

TV chef John Whaite will be taking to the dancefloor in an all-male partnership. (Image credit: BBC)

The other three contestants were revealed on Wednesday's episode of The One Show, where it was confirmed that TV presenter AJ Odudu, Peep Show star Robert Webb and musician Tom Fletcher would also be taking part.

In a statement, AJ said: "I am beyond chuffed that I am going to be on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing and I'm so glad I can finally tell my mum. Her face will be a picture, she’s going to be over the moon! I absolutely love the show and am fully committed to making the most of every second of the Strictly experience. Bring it on!"

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Robert Webb added: "I am ludicrously excited to be taking part in Strictly this year. It’s a big, generous, joyful show and I can’t wait to get packed into a spandex onesie and fired from a glitter cannon directly at Claudia Winkleman. At least I think that’s what happens. My goal is to try and survive from week to week without causing serious injury to myself or innocent bystanders. I know it’s going to be a challenge. To do well in this competition is a test of character, although mainly it’s a test of dancing."

Finally, Tom Fletcher had this to say about his participation in the series: "I think the fact that I’m actually going to be dancing on Strictly this year has only just started to sink in while I’m writing this! I’m incredibly excited, of course, but also totally terrified! My kids were excited too until I started showing them my best dad-dancing in the kitchen. I’m not sure how far they’ll get me in the competition but I can’t wait to add some new moves to my embarrassing dad-dancing repertoire."

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 is on BBC1 later this year.

Lucy Buglass
Senior Staff Writer

Lucy joined the WhatToWatch.com team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.

She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress