Strictly Come Dancing 2018: Rumoured line-up, start date, judges and everything else you need to know

Okay, yes, we know it’s still early in the year to be getting excited about Strictly Come Dancing – please don’t judge. But we’ve heard some pretty interesting rumours about the new series and basically, we need to tell someone.

There are some decent names supposedly in talks with BBC bosses about taking part in the show when it returns later this year. While nothing will be officially confirmed until much closer to launch day, there’s no smoke without fire. That’s scientific fact.

Here, we fill you in on everything we know about Strictly Come Dancing 2018 so far. Remember to bookmark this page because we’ll be updating it regularly with every snippet of information that comes our way. Enjoy!

1. Strictly Come Dancing 2018 air date: When does it start?

Traditionally, Strictly kicks off in early September.

Last series, the first episode aired on Saturday, September 9, with the first live show broadcast two weeks later on Saturday, September 23.

The taping of the Strictly Come Dancing launch show, which pairs the celebrity contestants with their professional dance partners, is usually recorded in advance – and this is happening at the end of August. You can apply for audience tickets here.

2. Strictly Come Dancing 2018 lineup: Which celebs are taking part?

After months and months of speculation, the Strictly Come Dancing team have finally announced their first 2018 celebrity contestant.

Enter, Katie Piper.

The news was announced on BBC Breakfast this morning (August 13) with Katie saying: “I’ve known for a while and it’s been really hard to keep it a secret.”

We expect that the rest of the line-up will be announced in the coming days, so for now here’s the list of celebs who are reportedly in talks with BBC bosses.

Joe Sugg

Who? YouTube star and brother of Zoella.

What’s the rumour? This one comes from the Metro. According to a source, “Joe has done extremely well for himself on YouTube and after a lot of negotiation he’s agreed to give Strictly a go.”

Apparently he’s looking to “launch into the mainstream.”

Lee Ryan

Who? Former member of Blue and EastEnders cast member.

What’s the rumour? According to The Mirror, he will be taking part in the new series of Strictly.

Maya Jama

Who? Radio and TV presenter

What’s the rumour? We hear the Beeb was very eager to sign up the rising star, but she revealed during a chat on Good Morning Britain that she turned it down.

“I want to show people who I am a bit more,” she explained. “I don’t want to be the one where they go, ‘who’s that?'”

Michelle Keegan

Who? Our Girl and former Coronation Street actress.

What’s the rumour? Beeb producers are apparently desperate to have her on board.

“Everyone knows that having Michelle Keegan out on the Strictly dance floor would be ratings gold,” a source previously told the Daily Star Sunday. “Everyone behind the scenes thinks she would set the dance floor alight. It’s now a matter of convincing her to sign up.”

But sadly, her husband Mark Wright shut down rumours during an interview with Good Morning Britain.

When asked if she would be signing up, he responded: “Not that I know of… If she’s going to be in some of them grubs in the jungle or dancing on Strictly, she’s doing it without telling me!

“I don’t think so, she’s busy. She’s got a new show coming up at the end of this year that I’m sure is going to be announced very soon.”

Ashley Roberts

Who? Member of the Pussycat Dolls.

What’s the rumour? According to The Sun‘s Bizarre TV column, Ashley is the latest star to have been signed to the 2018 series.

Faye Tozer

Who? From ’90s band Steps.

What’s the rumour? The Sun report that the BBC have signed the star up, despite her years of experience on the West End.

“Few in the past have had quite so much professional performance time as Faye,” a TV insider is reported to have told the publication.

“Everyone expects her to be a strong contender but it will raise more questions over whether it’s fair for someone who has danced professionally to be up against people with no experience.”

Vick Hope

Who? TV presenter and host of Capital FM

What’s the rumour? According to The Sun, Vick is the first official “signing” of the series. The report also claims that bosses have been struggling to bring in big names this year.

Scarlett Moffatt

Who? TV presenter and I’m a Celebrity winner

What’s the rumour? Scarlett left fans convinced she’s taking part in the 2018 series when she took to Twitter and tweeted: “I’ve watched that many [episodes], I’ve choreographed a Charleston in my head.” Why else would she be watching throwback clips and feel the need to tweet about it if she wasn’t trying to tell us something?

Catherine Tyldesley

Who? Corrie actress, who’s just quit the show.

What’s the rumour? Well, now she’s leaving the cobbles behind, rumours are rife that she could be headed to Strictly. But what does Cath say about these wicked whispers? Speaking to OK! magazine recently, she said: “I’ve started going to auditions and I’ve been put up for some really exciting jobs. I’d love to do a gritty drama, but I want to try as many genres as possible.

“I don’t watch much reality TV but the one show I do watch is Strictly Come Dancing. I adore it. That’s the only one I would possibly do.”

Coleen Rooney

Who? WAG married to footballer Wayne Rooney

What’s the rumour? According to reports, Coleen was supposed to take part last year but had to pull out at the last minute after falling pregnant with her fourth child. The Mirror claims she is already in talks with the BBC to try again this series. “This would be one of Strictly‘s biggest signings ever and it would be a ratings sensation,” a source told the publication. “Producers know that they will need to pull out all the stops to land Coleen. But they have been told she is interested.”

Joey Essex

Who? Former TOWIE star

What’s the rumour? Apparently, Strictly has a new celebrity booker and they are a huge fan of reality TV with their sights fixed on Joey. A source told Daily Star Sunday that “Joey Essex has always been and will always be TV gold,” citing his charm and adding: “The mums and the kids love him, and he’d be perfect for a family show like Strictly.”

Les Dennis

Who? Former Coronation Street actor and Family Fortunes presenter

What’s the rumour? Les admitted live on Sunday Brunch that he is very interested in taking part in Strictly 2018. He said: “When I was doing Coronation Street I was approached but we weren’t allowed to do it, we had a policy. I wouldn’t mind doing it, I always like a challenge.”

Rachel Shenton

Who? Former Hollyoaks star and Oscar winner

What’s the rumour? After winning the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short for her film The Silent Child, it’s believed Strictly bosses are keen to sign up the actress, with The Sun claiming that “she ticks all the boxes” for producers.

Piers Morgan

Who? Good Morning Britain presenter

What’s the rumour? Piers started this rumour himself after challenging rival Dan Walker to compete against him on the dance floor. Lord Sugar has offered to donate £25,000 to charity if Piers does take part, and an additional £25,000 if he gets past week five. Piers hinted on GMB that he will be signing up when the series returns later this year – even performing a little practice routine live on air with Anton du Beke – but nothing has been confirmed yet.

Dan Walker

Who? BBC Breakfast presenter

What’s the rumour? After Piers challenged Dan to compete against him when Strictly returns, Anton du Beke appeared on Good Morning Britain and revealed that Dan’s tango is “coming along nicely”. Does this mean he’s already started rehearsing?


Who? Pop star and former X Factor judge

What’s the rumour? Head judge Shirley Ballas admitted she’s keen to sign up the Girls Aloud icon. She said: “I think Cheryl Cole would be amazing.” If the BBC is serious about Chezza then it should probably get her name right. She divorced Ashley Cole eight years ago. It’s just Cheryl now, guys!

Nadiya Hussain

Who? Great British Bake Off 2016 winner

What’s the rumour? After watching one of the live shows last year, where the Strictly crew apparently pulled out all the stops for her as a special guest, the serial star baker reportedly fell in love with the show and mentioned she would like to take part. According to an insider who spoke to The Sun, Strictly bosses “have openly said how much they would like to get Nadiya on the show”.

Gemma Collins

Who? TOWIE star

What’s the rumour? After dropping a potential lawsuit against the BBC following her fall at the Radio 1 Teen Awards, we hear she would definitely consider taking part in Strictly. Commenting on the idea, Craig Revel Horwood said: “Gemma Collins would be fun on the show but it’s not very often that we have reality stars take to the ballroom. We generally have people of a higher calibre than that.” Perhaps The GC will sign up just to prove him wrong.

3. Strictly Come Dancing 2018: Which pros are returning?

Strictly has shared its very first look at the new series, tweeting a snap of the professional line-up on day one of rehearsals. Eee!

Three new professional dancers are joining the show for the 2018 series. The BBC revealed that newcomers Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe and Luba Mushtuk will all be making their way to the dance floor, as part of the biggest cast of pros yet.

Making up an 18-strong line-up, regular faces AJ Pritchard, Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Anton Du Beke, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Janette Manrara, Karen Clifton, Katya Jones, Kevin Clifton, Nadiya Bychkova, Neil Jones, Oti Mabuse and Pasha Kovalev will all be in the mix once again.

Sadly, Brendan Cole won’t be returning. The pro dancer appeared on ITV’s Lorraine at the start of the year, where he revealed that the BBC had not offered to extend his contract, and broke the news to him over the phone.

“It’s quite, actually, hard to talk about,” Brendan said. “The BBC haven’t renewed my contract. We get contracted year upon year.

“They’ve made an editorial decision to not have me back on the show. I’m a little bit in shock. I’m quite emotional, a bit raw about it.

“It’s done via a process of a phone call and stuff. I have had 15 incredible series on the show. I’m very proud of the whole show. It’s a great team.”


4. Strictly Come Dancing 2018: Who are the judges?

Head judge Len Goodman retired in 2016 after 14 series – and we still miss the heck out of him.

We expect that Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood will almost certainly be returning to the judging panel. After Len retired, the Beeb hired his very good friend Shirley Ballas, also known as the ‘Queen of Latin’, to replace him last year and apparently, Len was delighted she got the job.

However, she didn’t get off to a great start last series and was given a rough ride by viewers.

Since then, Shirley has hinted she may not return in 2018. When asked if she wanted to stay on last series, she told The Sun: “Let’s wait and get this season over with first. It’s been an experience. And at 57! It’s been wonderful.”

But in April, rumours started swirling that all four judges, including Shirley, would be back in the ballroom for Strictly‘s 2018 series. The BBC isn’t commenting (and to be fair, they never comment on speculation and it’s still a bit early for a formal announcement, which we’ve been told we can expect “in due course”).

5. Strictly Come Dancing 2018: Will there be same-sex couples?

It’s been a question that we’ve all been asking numerous times over the years, but a spokesperson shut the idea down for another year this week.

The statement said: “Strictly has chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples and at the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples.”

A same-sex couple took part on Israel’s version of the show back in 2010 and America’s Dancing with the Stars made history in 2016 with a same-sex dance – so here’s hoping that it may be considered in the future.

6. Strictly Come Dancing 2018: What about It Takes Two?

We’re pleased to report It Takes Two is 100% coming back. Zoe Ball confirmed that she will be returning to our screens to present the spin-off series.

Speaking on This Morning, she told Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that she’d signed up for another series. However, when the presenting duo pressed her to spill some secrets on the celebs taking part, she suddenly became very tight-lipped: “They never tell me anything, because I have a big mouth. You just have to wait and see.”

7. Will Len Goodman make an appearance on Strictly Come Dancing 2018?

Len was supposed to last series but didn’t, despite hinting that he would. During an appearance on The One Show, the retired judge said he would be be back for sure, just not on the judging panel.

Fingers crossed he decides to grace us with his presence this series. We hope you’re reading this, Len!

8. Where can I see Strictly’s tribute to Bruce Forsyth again?

Strictly Come Dancing paid a moving tribute to former host Sir Bruce Forsyth, who sadly passed away at the age of 89 in August 2017.

Brucie was honoured during Strictly’s 2017 launch show in September, with producer Louise Rainbow originally confirming the news and revealing that the professional dancers would group together for a “heartfelt” dance in his honour.

“The thoughts of everyone here at Strictly are still very much with Sir Bruce’s family,” Louise said in a statement at the time.

“Of course, we will be paying tribute to Sir Bruce at our launch show and this will include a heartfelt performance from our Strictly professional dancers.

“We all want to celebrate him and all that he loved about the show. Sir Bruce was, and will always be, a huge part of Strictly Come Dancing.”

And they did him proud with this tribute, and a routine that moved his long-time co-host and friend Tess Daly to tears.

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