Strictly Come Dancing pairs confirmed – Bill Bailey scores with champ Oti Mabuse


The Strictly Come Dancing pairings have been confirmed for the first time, ahead of next weekend’s glitzy launch.

In tonight’s pre-series episode, each of the celebrities were introduced to their professional partners, who will be bubbling with them for the next couple of months.

With a slightly different format this year, only 12 couples will be taking to the dancefloor, cutting the series shorter than usual in order to comply with the Covid-19 guidelines.

The professionals had all been isolating together in a hotel so they could pre-record each of the group dances, which will air at the beginning of each episode throughout the series.

Strictly returns with Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman as hosts, but this time round they won’t be allowed to touch each other and must stay two metres apart.

Here are all the confirmed couples hoping to lift the Glitterball Trophy in 2020…

Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse

(Image: BBC)

2019’s Strictly reigning champion Oti has landed funnyman Bill Bailey for this year’s series – but can she whip him into shape?

Bill, 55, is already the bookies’ favourite to leave first, and admitted himself he’s incredibly uncoordinated and his signature move is ” a kind of elegant side-shuffle, a shimmy such as a crab might make”.

Oti, meanwhile, lifted the Glitterball Trophy last December alongside Kelvin Fletcher, who stepped in as the back-up celebrity at the last minute when Jamie Laing injured himself at the Strictly red carpet launch.

Caroline Quentin and Johannes Radebe

(Image: BBC)

Johannes made waves last year with his joyful and moving dance with fellow pro Graziano di Prima, who made history with their first same-sex performance ever aired on Strictly.

Comedy actress Caroline has said she’s most nervous about getting stage fright, telling the Mirror : “It really takes me quite a long time to get rid of the shakes and I can get quite nauseous. So that might be a hurdle.”

Clara Amfo and Aljaž Škorjanec

(Image: BBC)

Radio presenter Clara is teaming up with Strictly legend Aljaž and couldn’t be more thrilled.

Clara has said she’d love to win Strictly in memory of her dad, who died five years ago.

She lost dad Emmanuel to a heart attack while she was in Paris to do a half marathon.

HRVY and Janette Manrara

(Image: BBC)

YouTuber HRVY – pronounced Harvey – has already caused quite the stir behind the scenes after he tested positive for coronavirus with mild symptoms.

He’s been paired with Aljaž’s wife Janette, who is yet to get close to the finals.

Jacqui Smith and Anton Du Beke

(Image: BBC)

Anton has landed himself former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who lost her parliamentary seat in 2010.

She has already admitted the Strictly stars are “suffering” because of the gruelling rehearsals, telling GMB last week: “The main use of alcohol as far as I’m concerned at the moment is rubbing it into my aching feet because my poor old body is taking a battering.”

Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer

(Image: BBC)

Jamie has already made it further in Strictly than this time last year, when he gave himself a nasty injury by landing awkwardly at the show’s red carpet launch. He was forced to pull out of the competition and was replaced by Kelvin at the last minute – who went on to win with Oti.

This time round he’s been partnered up with newly single Karen Hauer – the ex-wife of Kevin Clifton – but has vowed not to fall foul of the Strictly Curse because he’s loved up with girlfriend Sophie.

Jason Bell and Luba Mushtuk

(Image: BBC)

Russian dancer Luba joined the Strictly cast in 2018, but during her first pairing last year, she and partner James Cracknell were the first couple to be eliminated.

No doubt she’ll be hoping she fares better this year with hunky Jason.

JJ Chalmers and Amy Dowden

(Image: BBC)

TV presenter JJ – who counts Prince Harry among his close friends – has already survived a tour of Afghanistan as a Royal Marine Commando, where he was caught up in an explosion that robbed him of two fingers and injured his elbow and face.

He’ll be cheered on from home by his wife Kornelia Chitursko and their four-year-old daughter Hayley.

Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez

(Image: BBC)

Ex-EastEnders star Maisie is already the bookies’ favourite to win, thanks to her young fanbase bolstered by her popular TikTok videos.

She and Gorka will be hoping to make it as far as possible in the competition in the hopes of lifting that Glitterball.

Max George and Dianne Buswell

(Image: BBC)

Having found herself both a spot in the 2018 final and love with partner Joe Sugg, Dianne will be hoping to replicate her success in the ballroom with singer Max.

Nicola Adams and Katya Jones

(Image: BBC)

Making history as the first same-sex couple, Olympic boxer Nicola and Russian dancer Katya couldn’t be more excited to get their glitter on.

Nicola is being cheered on at home by girlfriend of two years Ella Baig.

Boxers have not typically been high achievers on the Strictly dancefloor.

Anthony Ogogo was the second to be booted off from his series while Audley Harrison was the sixth to leave in 2011.

Ranvir Singh and Giovanni Pernice

(Image: BBC)

Good Morning Britain host Ranvir is following in her colleague Susanna Reid’s footsteps by going on Strictly, but is already dreading the sleep deprivation that comes from juggling both shows.

“I’m worried about doing a full time job at GMB, and then doing all the training,” she recently admitted.

“I think the stamina and tiredness might be the biggest thing to deal with for me.”

*Strictly Come Dancing launches next Saturday at 7.25pm on BBC1

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