Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC One and BBC iPlayer in Autumn 2023 as the Presenters, Judges, Professional Dancers and much more besides are confirmed for the 21st series of the nation’s favourite dancing show.
Made by BBC Studios Entertainment Productions, the multi award winning Strictly Come Dancing promises to entertain the nation once again following the last series which concluded in December 2022, receiving three BAFTA TV Award nominations.
Presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will be back in the ballroom overseeing proceedings each weekend as a host of brand new celebrity contestants take to the floor in a bid to lift the coveted Glitterball Trophy.
Behind the judges desk once again will be the acid tongued adjudicator Craig Revel Horwood, Let’s Dance Germany judge Motsi Mabuse, NTA Award winning judge Anton Du Beke and The Queen of Latin Shirley Ballas who will return as head judge.
Onto the dancefloor itself and viewers can look forward to seeing some of the most talented Latin and Ballroom professional dancers from all across the globe as Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Gorka Marquez, Luba Mushtuk, Giovanni Pernice, Jowita Przystal, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington, Nancy Xu, Carlos Gu, Lauren Oakley, Michelle Tsiakkas and Vito Coppola all take to the floor once more, promising viewers an abundance of spectacular routines.
In addition to all this, Dave Arch and his wonderful band will once again provide the soundtrack to Saturday and Sunday nights all across the UK once plus there is so much more for viewers to look forward to, including unforgettable group routines, world class music acts, theme weeks and of course the much anticipated annual trip to the iconic and much loved Tower Ballroom in Blackpool.
Sarah James, Executive Producer, BBC Studios says: “Excitement is already building for the 21st series of Strictly and we are so lucky to have the best team in the business both on and off camera. Our amazing presenters, incredible panel of judges and world class professional dancers are ready to bring the sparkle back to your screens this Autumn. We can’t wait!”
Whilst the Presenters, Judges and Professional Dancers have now been officially confirmed, the Class of 2023 won’t be revealed until later this year, when they are dipped in glitter and made ready to start dancing. Further announcements, information and broadcast details regarding the 21st series of Strictly Come Dancing will be confirmed in due course.
Strictly Come Dancing is a BBC Studios production for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The Executive Producer is Sarah James, the Series Editors are Jack Gledhill and Robin Lee-Perrella and the Series Producer is Nicola Fitzgerald. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Jo Wallace.
Strictly Professional Dancers 2023 Biographies
Amy began dancing at the age of eight, is a four-time British National Finalist and went on to become British National Champion, making her one of the highest-ranking Ballroom and Latin dancers in the UK. Amy grew up watching Strictly Come Dancing from her hometown of Caerphilly, South Wales and in 2017 joined the series as a professional dancer. In 2019 she danced all the way to the final with CBBC’s Karim Zeroual and most recently she partnered EastEnders star James Bye.
Chinese National Champion Carlos Gu is a multiple world semi-finalist, placed 3rd at the German Open Championship and was Amateur Latin Rising Star Runner Up at the 2017 UK Open. He joined the Strictly Come Dancing pro line up in 2022 and was partnered with CBBC star Molly Rainford. Together they reached the final and were runners up alongside Fleur East and Helen Skelton.
Dianne Buswell is an Australian Open Champion and four-time Amateur Australian Open Finalist. She was a professional dancer on the Australian version of Strictly Come Dancing before joining the UK series in 2017. Dianne reached the Strictly final with her dance partner Joe Sugg in 2018. Since then, she has danced with Radio DJ Dev Griffin, Max George from the Wanted and last series made it all the way to Blackpool with DJ Tyler West.
Italian Champion Giovanni Pernice is the longest-serving male professional amongst the current line-up of Strictly dancers, having joined the show in 2015. His celebrity partners have included Georgia May Foote, Debbie McGee, Faye Tozer and Michelle Visage. In 2021, he was partnered with actress Rose Ayling-Ellis and together they lifted the Strictly Glitterball trophy giving Giovanni his first Strictly win. His most recent partner was Radio 2’s Richie Anderson.
Gorka Marquez began dancing at the age of 12. He represented Spain in the World Latin Championships in 2010 and reached the semi-finals of the 2012 WDSF World Cup. After touring the world with dance show Burn the Floor, Gorka joined Strictly in 2016 and has danced in three finals, with Alexandra Burke in 2017, Maisie Smith in 2020 and most recently with Helen Skelton in 2022.
Graziano Di Prima
Italian Latin champion Graziano Di Prima joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2018. His celebrity partners have included Vick Hope and Judi Love and in 2021, Graziano was crowned Strictly Christmas Champion with celebrity partner Anne-Marie. Most recently, Graziano made it all to way to the Quarter Finals with his partner Kym Marsh. Before Strictly, as well as competing for his home country, Graziano also represented Belgium at the World Championships and made the top 24 at the Under 21 Latin World Championships.
Johannes Radebe is a two-time Professional South African Latin Champion and a three-time South African Amateur Latin Champion. He competed on Strictly Come Dancing South Africa twice, reaching the final both times. He joined the UK show in 2018 and in 2021 was partnered with celebrity baker John Whaite in the show’s first all-male partnership. Together they reached the final and became the series’ runners-up. His most recent partner was actress and comedian Ellie Taylor.
Polish Open Latin Champion Jowita Przystal ended her competitive career in 2015 to join the cast of touring dance company, ‘Burn the Floor’ where she stayed for four years before moving to the UK in 2019 to pursue her dancing dreams. Jowita won the BBC’s ‘The Greatest Dancer’ in 2020, which gave her the prize of performing in the Strictly ballroom, and in 2021 she officially joined the Strictly professional line-up. Last series, she was given her first celebrity partner Hamza Yassin and they both went on to lift the trophy, making Jowita the current reigning Strictly champion.
Southampton born Kai Widdrington was set to follow in his dad’s footsteps by becoming a professional footballer but aged 9 he decided to take up dancing instead. By the age of 14, he became World Junior Latin champion. Kai joined the professional dancer line-up of Strictly in 2021 and his first celebrity partner was TV presenter AJ Odudu. The pair danced all the way to the Strictly final, but sadly had to pull out due to an injury. Last series, Kai was partnered with Kaye Adams and also went on to be crowned Strictly Christmas champion alongside his Christmas partner actress Alexandra Mardell.
Originally from Venezuela, Karen moved to the US when she was eight years old and there became American Rhythm Rising Star Champion, Professional World Mambo Champion and appeared in the television series So You Think You Can Dance. Karen is the longest serving Strictly dancer of the current pro line up, returning for her twelfth series. Over the years she has enjoyed many memorable partnerships including with Jeremy Vine, Mark Wright, Chris Ramsey, Jamie Laing, Greg Wise and most recently comedian Jayde Adams.
World Champion Latin dancer Katya Jones was born in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. Competing for England, she became World Professional Latin Showdance Champion, three-time World Amateur Latin Champion, and four-time undefeated British National Professional Champion. Katya is also a Strictly Come Dancing champion, having won the series with Joe McFadden in her second year on the show. Some of her other Strictly students include Ed Balls, Nicola Adams, Adam Peaty and most recently footballing legend Tony Adams.
Birmingham-born Lauren Oakley started dancing at just 2 years old and began competing soon after. Early successes include becoming Juvenile Champion at the prestigious Blackpool Dance Festival, winning across both Ballroom and Latin disciplines. Lauren was also crowned Under 21 British National Champion before exploring a career on stage. She has toured all over the world and joined the Strictly Come Dancing family in 2022.
Luba Mushtuk, originally from Russia, is a four-time winner of the Italian Dance Championship and is also an Italian Open Latin Show Dance champion and Latin European Championship finalist. Luba was part of the Strictly Come Dancing family for several years as an assistant choreographer, before becoming a professional dancer on the programme in 2018. She has danced with two celebrity partners in the main series: James Cracknell in 2019 and Jason Bell in 2020.
Latin dance champion Michelle Tsiakkas first started dancing at the age of 6 in her home country of Cyprus. There she became an undefeated champion, winning national titles consecutively from 2001-2011 before moving to London to study. Whilst in the UK she continued to compete, representing England at major international championships. Michelle joined the pro line up of Strictly Come Dancing in 2022 dancing in the show’s group numbers and music acts.
Nadiya Bychkova is a highly decorated dancer originally from Ukraine. She is a two-time World Champion and European Champion in Ballroom and Latin ‘10’ Dance. Nadiya joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2017 and has danced with celebrity partners including Davood Ghadami, Lee Ryan, David James and Dan Walker. Last series, she danced with Matt Goss.
Nancy Xu is a world-class Latin dancer who was a finalist in the Under 21 World Championships in 2010. She was also a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance in her home country of China. Nancy joined Strictly in 2019, performing in the show’s group routines and music acts. Nancy has reached the semi-final of the competition with both of her celebrity partners, CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson in 2021 and actor Will Mellor in 2022.
Neil Jones is a four-time undefeated British National Professional Champion and three-time winner of the World Amateur Latin Championships. In 2015, he was crowned World Professional Latin Showdance Champion and has won over 45 titles around the world during his competitive career. Neil has been a Strictly professional since 2016 and his celebrity partners include professional footballer Alex Scott and actress and comedian Nina Wadia.
Nikita moved to Italy aged 9 from his home country of Ukraine and there became a six-time Italian Champion. In 2020 he competed on Let’s Dance, Germany’s version of Strictly Come Dancing before joining the UK series in 2021. His first celebrity partner in the UK was Tilly Ramsay and they made it to week 10 of the competition. His most recent partner was Paralympian swimmer Ellie Simmonds.
11-time Italian Latin American Champion Vito Coppola began dancing at the age of 6 and by the age of 10 was winning national championships. His career highlights include being a 3-time World Championship finalist and European Cup Winner. In 2021 he left the competition world and joined the Italian version of Strictly Come Dancing, where he won in his very first year. He came to Strictly Come Dancing in 2022 and was partnered with Fleur East making it all the way to the Strictly final. Vito and Fleur were runners up alongside Helen Skelton and Molly Rainford.