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Tilly Ramsay & stars pair-up with Strictly 2021 pros in glitzy launch night

TILLY Ramsay & Tom Fletcher are among the famous names who took to dancefloor for the first time during Saturday’s Strictly 2021 launch.

Greg Wise was paired with Karen Hauer as the new celebrity contestants and their professional partners were revealed.

The 15 celebrities, who include Olympian Adam Peaty, rugby star Ugo Monye and TV presenter Judi Love, made their debut on the dancefloor during a group number.

Greg, who is married to screen legend Emma Thompson, had fans in hysterics with his Reggae-robot dance during the evening.

And Dan Walker sung the praises of his pro partner Nadiya Bychkova – who patiently waited hours for him as he attended A&E following a head injury.

The BBC news presenter said: “I hope you all get to know Nadiya a bit too. She’s really funny and such a great teacher. We’ve had a real giggle already and the partnership was cemented when she waited for hours for me in A & E the other day.”

Also competing is EastEnders actress Nina Wadia, TV presenter AJ Odudu, Dragons’ Den investor Sara Davies, McFly star Tom Fletcher, Coronation Street actress Katie McGlynn, TV presenter Tilly Ramsay, comedian Robert Webb, CBBC host Rhys Stephenson and actor Greg Wise.

EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis is also be the first deaf contestant to appear in the series.

Follow our Strictly Come Dancing live blog for all the latest updates…

  • ROSE BLOSSOMING

    Strictly’s Rose Ayling-Ellis, Tom Fletcher and Rhys Stephenson and have been predicted to be front runners for the competition.

    That’s according to Betvictor who have generated odds on which celebs are most likely to win before the celebs have even had a chance to break a sweat.

  • GREG WISE’S DAUGHTER GAIA SAYS DAD ‘HAS SIX PACK AND WILL TAKE HIS TOP OFF’ IF NEEDED

    Meanwhile, the couple’s daughter Gaia, 21, added that her dad would be prepared to perform shirtless because he has a six-pack.

    At the Icon Ball for London Fashion Week on Friday night, she said: “He has a six-pack and will take his top off if he is needed to.”

    Greg has asked for advice from last year’s winner, Bill Bailey, 56.

    He said: “Bill was very useful. One of the things he told me is to get my patent leather ballroom shoes ready and wear them around the house.

    “He had a problem with blisters on his heel over the run.”

  • EMMA THOMPSON GAVE HUSBAND GREG WISE A BOX OF CONDOMS – IN CASE HE SUCCUMBS TO STRICTLY CURSE

    Emma Thompson gave hubby Greg Wise condoms in case he succumbs to the Strictly “curse” and cheats with dance partner Karen Hauer.

    The Oscar-winning actress, 62, has confessed she is concerned actor Greg, 55, who starred as Lord Mountbatten in Netflix drama The Crown, could ditch her for the younger Latino champ.

    Emma, who married Greg 18 years ago, said: “I am worried about the Strictly curse, very much so. I have put a packet of Durex into Greg’s good luck card. Just two. But you don’t know, do you?

    “They haven’t got time for a lot of shagging, I hope, they’ll be so exhausted. I am not going to the show every week.

    Karen’s gorgeous, she’s from Venezuela and is only 39.”

  • SHIRLEY BALLAS INSISTS SHE WILL NOT GO EASY ON DAN WALKER

    With eyebrows raised as to whether or not San Walker would get special treatment from Shirley, she insisted she would NOT go easy on him.

    He recalled of their time climbing the mountain: “On one particular occasion Shirley was feeling a bit down and a bit upset.

    “I nicked one of the blankets we were using to keep warm at night and I did a bit of impromptu pasodoble. She laughed her head off.

    “I questioned whether I would’ve got a 10 but she continued to laugh, so I’m not sure the technique was great.”

  • DAN REVEALS CLOSE BOND WITH HEAD JUDGE SHIRLEY BALLAS DURING STRICTLY LAUNCH SHOW

    Dan revealed their close bond at the launch of the new Strictly series this weekend as he “looked forward to seeing” Shirley again.

    “We had some great conversations on that trip. I really got to know her well. I’m looking forward to seeing her,” he explained.

    “We’ve had a few Kilimanjaro reunions. She’s great, talented and knows what she is talking about.”

  • DAN WALKER SAYS HE IS CLOSE FRIENDS WITH SHIRLEY BALLAS

    STRICTLY Come Dancing star Dan Walker has controversially admitted he is close friends with head judge Shirley Ballas.

    The BBC Breakfast star has risked fuelling a favouritism row after admitting the pair have been friends since they met on Comic Relief in 2019.

    Dan, 44, made his debut on Strictly Come Dancing on Saturday night as it was revealed he is to dance alongside pro partner Nadiya Bychkova.

    But the telly host has already risked getting himself in hot water after he admitted he is close pals with one of the Strictly judges.

    He and head judge Shirley, 61, have been friends for two years after they climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania together for Comic Relief.

  • NEW STRICTLY ODD FROM BETVICTOR

    Following last night’s announcements of the celebrity and professional dancer match-ups, Betvictor have updated their odds.

    Since Rose Ayling-Ellis announced she’s paired up with Giovanni Pernice, she is now the clear frontrunner to win the competition.

    The top five favourites are:

    • Rose Ayling-Ellis 4/1
    • Tom Fletcher 7/1
    • Rhys Stephenson 4/1
    • Robert Webb 8/1
    • AJ Odudu 12/1
  • RECAP: WHAT HAPPENED DURING YESTERDAY’S LAUNCH SHOW?

    The 15 celebrities officially revealed their dance partners for this year’s show as part of a glittering launch show yesterday.

    Other key moments from the launch episode include:

    • Anton Du Beke made his debut as a full-time judge and receive a standing ovation from the studio audience.
    • Last year’s winners Bill Bailey and Mabuse revisited their routine to Rapper’s Delight by the Sugarhill Gang
    • Anne-Marie performed her single Kiss My (Uh-Oh)
    • Celebs danced on the ballroom floor with their partners for the first time in group number
  • FURIOUS STRICTLY FANS SPOT CLUE SHOW IS ‘SETTING NINA WADIA UP TO FAIL’

    STRICTLY Come Dancing fans were left enraged after Nina Wadia’s first dance was revealed in last night’s launch show.

    Viewers saw 15 celebrities partner up with their professional dance coaches.

    Some partnerships also shared what the first dance will be in next week’s show. Viewers saw EastEnders actress Nina partner up with Neil Jones.

    Thrilled about the match, Nina told viewers: “I cannot wait to get stuck in and find out what my first dance is.”

    But, when Neil revealed to Nina their first dance was the samba, the audience booed and Nina was left open-mouthed.

    Nina said: “That’s hard isn’t it?”

  • WHO ARE THE FOUR NEW STRICTLY PROFESSIONAL DANCERS?

    There are four new dancers joining the line-up: Kai Widdrington, from the Irish version of Dancing With The Stars, former Let’s Dance Germany professional Nikita Kuzmin, reigning South African Latin champion Cameron Lombard, and The Greatest Dancer winner Jowita Przystal.

  • STRICTLY COME DANCING SERIES LAUNCH SEES VIEWING NUMBERS FALL

    The launch episode of Strictly Come Dancing was watched by an average of seven million viewers, according to overnight ratings.

    This marked a drop in viewing figures from 2020’s launch which was watched by an average of 8.6 million.

    Saturday night’s episode achieved a 44.7% audience share and had a peak of 7.3 million viewers, according to the broadcaster.

    Last year’s series opener, which came during a time of unusually strong ratings amid the pandemic, achieved a lower audience share of 42.2% but a higher peak of nine million viewers.

    The launch saw the 15-strong cohort of celebrity contestants paired up with their professional partner

  • JUDI AND SARA BACKED FOR FIRST STRICTLY ELIMINATION

    JUDI LOVE AND SARA DAVIES are the front runners to be axed first from Strictly Come Dancing with Ladbrokes.

    Comedian Judi leads the betting as the 7/2 favourite to face the first chop of the series, followed closely behind by Dragons Den star Sara.

    Nina is rated as a 5/1 chance, along with Ugo (6/1), Greg (7/1) and Tilly (8/1) next in line.

    Jessica O’Reilly of Ladbrokes said: “Since Judi and Sara were announced as Strictly contestants they’ve received the least amount of bets to win, and now have the largest number of wagers to leave first unfortunately.”

  • JOHN WHAITE SPEAKS ABOUT THE ‘PRIVILEGE’ OF BEING PART OF STRICTLY’S FIRST EVER ALL MALE COUPLE

    pion John Whaite was paired with Johannes Radebe as part of the first all-male couple on Strictly Come Dancing.

    He said: “Everyone has been so lovely with it. I was expecting a little bit of hate, a bit of trolling, but I have had nothing.

    “It really is a privilege and an honour to be in this position because I think if I had seen two lads or lasses in this position when I was a little lad, life would have been that little bit easier.

    “So thank you for letting me a be part of it.”

  • CONCERNS RAISED ABOUT RETURN OF LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE

    Concerns have also been raised about the return of a live studio audience.

    Hundreds of fans will have front-row seats for Strictly’s star-studded 19th series.

     BBC chiefs are already dealing with a Covid crisis after a pro tested positive earlier this week. They have been rushed into isolation with their celeb pairing likely to get a new partner.

    The source added: “Strictly already has to jump through hoops just to be able to broadcast.

    “The dancers who won’t get vaccinated have been a topic of conversation among cast and crew for weeks — even before the positive test. 

    “There were vocal protests from celebrities that they didn’t want to be paired with them. 

     

  • JUDI LOVE PARTNERS WITH GRAZIO DI PRIMA

    Judi is best known for voicing her views on Loose Women, but now is going to let her feet do the talking.

    The daytime TV star and comedian has teamed up with Graziano Di Prima for the show.

    Judisaid she was overwhelmed when Strictly bosses reached out to her and she snapped up the chance.

    She said: “I think I am still in shock that I will be part of this amazing show.”

    Tilly Ramsay & stars pair-up with Strictly 2021 pros in glitzy launch night

     

  • AJ ODUDU PARTNERS WITH KAI WIDDRINGTON

    Presenter AJ Odudu says it’s a “dream come true” to be joining the family-favourite show after almost quitting TV for good.

    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!”

    AJ is partnered with English dancer and choreographer Kai Widdrington.

    In 2012, he reached the final of the sixth series of Britain’s Got Talent.

    Tilly Ramsay & stars pair-up with Strictly 2021 pros in glitzy launch night
  • KATIE MCGLYNN PARTNER WITH GORKA MARQUEZ

    Katie McGlynn has been paired with pro dancer Gorka Marquez – and NOT her former beau Giovanni Pernice.

    The Coronation Street star was seen meeting her dance partner for the first time on the opening show of the BBC ballroom competition on Saturday.

    Tilly Ramsay & stars pair-up with Strictly 2021 pros in glitzy launch night
  • ‘DON’T DATE THOSE DANCERS’

    After Tilly’s place in the new series was confirmed last month, proud Gordon made one of his famously unfiltered outbursts.

    Referencing the Strictly Curse that has seen the marriages of several celebrity contestants fall apart, Gordon warned his daughter off potential suitors, saying: “Don’t date those dancers.”

    Tilly admits she is far from being a natural on the dancefloor, and faces stiff competition from the other contestants including swimmer Adam Peaty, Hollyoaks star Katie McGlynn, and Peep Show actor Robert Webb.

    Despite showing off her moves on TikTok — and sometimes roping in her dad — she rates her dancing ability as a “two out of ten”.

    Plus, when Tilly’s mum Tana, 47, enrolled her in ballet school as a nipper, she quit after one day to join her older brother Jack in football camp. She says she was also always “at the back” of school productions.

  • NIKITA KUZMIN WAS ‘TERRIFIED’ OF TILLY RAMSAY’S DAD GORDON

    Nikita quickly changed the subject, by focusing instead on Tilly’s dance skills – complimenting her as a “good dancer”.

    “And you’ve been training hard. We’re looking forward to showing you our waltz the next weekend,” he told adoring fans watching on their phones.

    The pair cheekily signed off from their online chat by saying they were both off to bed – clarifying that this would be in separate houses.

    On Saturday night, it took just minutes for Gordon, 51, to berate his daughter’s dance partner as they met over the phone. The celebrity chef couldn’t hold back as he met ballroom dancer Nikita – making an awkward comment about his low-cut shirt.

    “Congratulations – and good luck to you both,” he told Tilly and Nikita, before adding: “Nikita, can you do your shirt up? It’s a bit low.”

  • TILLY RAMSAY REVEALS HER STRICTLY PARTNER NIKITA KUZMIN WAS “TERRIFIED” OF HER DAD GORDON

    Strictly Come Dancing star Tilly Ramsay has revealed her pro partner Nikita Kuzmin was “terrified” by her dad Gordon.

    The social media star admitted that the awkward first meeting wasn’t easy on new dancing star Nikita, 23, after they were paired on the show.

    Tilly, 23, revealed that why her professional dance partner has now won the chef’s approval, it wasn’t smooth sailing from the beginning.

    Chatting on an Instagram Live video after the opening Strictly show on Saturday, the young chef teased Nikita over his relationship with Gordon.

    “Nikita, you were scared of dad at first weren’t you?” she joked as he nodded in the background of the social media clip. But it’s fine now, and don’t worry – he likes you,” Tilly comforted Nikita, who was seen meeting Gordon on FaceTime in last night’s Strictly episode.

    Nikita was left terrified meeting dad Gordon for the first time
    Nikita was left terrified meeting dad Gordon for the first timeCredit: BBC

     

  • MCFLY FANS LEFT BAFFLED BY TOM FLETCHER’S BIZARRE INTRODUCTION DURING STRICTLY LAUNCH SHOW

    STRICTLY’S Tom Fletcher shocked fans after he introduced himself as an author before a musician and band member of McFly.

    The hit BBC1 dance show returned last night with a star-studded launch that included the chart-topping All About You singer.

    Tom, 36, was delighted to be paired up with professional dancer Amy Dowden, 31.

    However, viewers noticed something unusual in Tom’s introduction.

    The singer called himself an author before a band member of McFly.

    He said: “I’m Tom Fletcher I’m an author, a musician and probably best known for being one quarter of the band McFly.”

    Tom introduced himself as an author before a musician and band member of McFly
    Tom introduced himself as an author before a musician and band member of McFlyCredit: BBC
  • ROSE AYLIING-ELLIS STRICTLY INCLUSION PRAISED BY DEAF SOCIETY

    EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis was partnered with Giovanni Pernice and is the first deaf contestant to appear on Strictly.

    She said: “When the Strictly news came out the response from the deaf community, saying how much it means to them, that was my proudest moment.”

    Mark Bolton, the National Deaf Children’s Society’s deputy director of young people, said of her pairing: “It’s so important that deaf children and young people see fantastic deaf role models like Rose on TV, because it reminds them that they’re not alone.

    “It also inspires them to believe that there’s no reason why they can’t make it to the very top.”

  • HEAD JUDGE SHIRLEY BALLAS ‘SO EXCITED’ AS STRICTLY 2021 GETS UNDERWAY

    Head judge Shirley Ballas told viewers: “First of all I am so excited. It is such an honour, such a privilege to be back here in this iconic ballroom.”

    Co-hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman then introduced the celebrity cast of 2021, including Olympian Adam Peaty, rugby star Ugo Monye and TV presenter Judi Love.

  • ADAM PEATY DISCOVERS HIS STRICTLY PARTNER DURING SERIES LAUNCH

    Olympic champion Adam Peaty has been paired with Katya Jones during the Strictly Come Dancing launch show.

    The 15 celebrities are discovering which of the professional partners they will be training and performing with during their time on the BBC One series.

    Three-time Olympic champion Peaty, who specialises in breaststroke, signed up following his triumphs at the Tokyo Games over the summer.

    He met Jones for the first time at the London Aquatics Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

    Russian dancer Jones was paired last year with Olympic gold medallist boxer Nicola Adams in the show’s first female same-sex couple. She previously won the show in 2017 with actor Joe McFadden.

  • JOHN WHAITE SPEAKS ABOUT THE ‘PRIVILEGE’ OF BEING PART OF STRICTLY’S FIRST EVER ALL MALE COUPLE

    pion John Whaite was paired with Johannes Radebe as part of the first all-male couple on Strictly Come Dancing.

    He said: “Everyone has been so lovely with it. I was expecting a little bit of hate, a bit of trolling, but I have had nothing.

    “It really is a privilege and an honour to be in this position because I think if I had seen two lads or lasses in this position when I was a little lad, life would have been that little bit easier.

    “So thank you for letting me a be part of it.”



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