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Full 'Strictly Come Dancing' 2020 line-up: Pairs include show's first same-sex couple

Katie Archer
·Contributor
·6-min read
Picture Shows:  Nicola Adams - (C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston
Picture Shows: Nicola Adams - (C) BBC - Photographer: Ray Burmiston

Strictly Come Dancing has revealed its celebrity and pro dancer pairs for the 2020 series - which includes the BBC show’s first-ever same-sex couple.

Former Olympic champion boxer Nicola Adams had already revealed she will be paired with another woman for the competition, and Strictly fans eagerly tuned in to the launch show to discover who would be coupled up for 2020.

Read more: Strictly’s moving Caroline Flack tribute

Adams has been matched with Katya Jones, which wasn’t a huge surprise to many as the pair had already been spotted leaving training together.

Jones said: “The beauty of this partnership is, it’s never been done before on Strictly so there are no set rules, we can do what we want and play around with it.”

Viewers were thrilled with the news that Adams and Jones would be dancing together.

First to be paired was actor Caroline Quentin, who was matched with Johannes Radebe - and the reveal was a little different this year as to fit in with COVID restrictions the couples were put together in pre-recorded segments rather than the usual studio introductions on launch night.

Radio DJ Clara Amfo was matched next with Aljaz Skorjanec, followed by TV presenter Ranvir Singh who was paired with Giovanni Pernice.

The first male celebrity to be paired was singer HRVY, who was told he would be dancing with Janette Manrara, closely followed by NFL player Jason Bell who was matched with Luba Mushtuk.

HRVY only just made it to the line-up this year after recently testing positive for coronavirus, but luckily he has now recovered.

Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing is back for another series after having crashed out in the launch show in 2019 with a foot injury.

He is the first celebrity ever to have made two line-ups in a row, but this time was paired with Karen Hauer - last year, his partner was Oti Mabuse, who went on to win the show with stand-in celeb Kelvin Fletcher.

Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was matched with Strictly veteran Anton Du Beke, the only pro dancer to have taken part in every series since the show started.

It might be a bit of a different year on Strictly, but one thing never changes - the line-up as usual includes an EastEnders star.

This year’s Albert Square resident taking part is Maisie Smith, who has been paired with Gorka Marquez, back in the main cast after a year out of competing in 2019.

TV presenter and Invictus Games medalist JJ Chalmers found out that his partner would be Amy Dowden, while comedian Bill Bailey was introduced to his dance partner, reigning champion Oti Mabuse.

Strictly 2020’s final celeb Max George has a lot to live up to as his bandmate from The Wanted, Jay McGuiness, won the show in 2015.

George and his professional dance partner Dianne Buswell were the last pair to be announced, before the class of 2020 took to the floor for the first time.

It is the first time a same-sex partnership has competed on the show, but last year professional dancers Johannes Radebe and Graziano Di Prima performed a routine together in one of the Sunday night results shows.

This series sees a reduced number of contestants and episodes as filming was delayed due to coronavirus restrictions on filming.

At the beginning of the episode, hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman explained that the celebrities had been paired with their professional dance partners outside of the studio for the first time and had undergone double rounds of coronavirus testing before forming a bubble together.

They also said that the professional dancers had formed one household in a hotel in order to be able to perform the group dance numbers.

Read more: Strictly stars testing positive for COVID-19 will be disqualified

Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli have all returned as judges, although Tonioli will join the panel remotely for the Sunday night results show and is expected to return to the studio towards the end of the series.

The actual judging table looks a little different this year, as it has been split into individual, socially distanced desks for each judge.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on October 24 at 7.25pm on BBC One.