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All you need to know about Strictly Come Dancing

It's that time of year when the night's start to draw in and the TV schedules ramp up their offerings, and the BBC is no exception. 

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Primetime, premier show Strictly Come Dancing is back with a bang this autumn, and here’s everything you need to know about the brand new series.

When does Strictly start again?

Strictly returns to our screens on BBC One at 19:00 this Saturday 9 September, with a brand new launch show. The hour-and-forty-minute spectacle will feature last year’s champions Ore Oduba and Joanna Clifton performing their winning routine, plus music from Shania Twain and Rita Ora.

The launch show also sees hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman announce who the celebrity contestants will be paired up with the rest of the season, before taking to the floor for the very first time in a group showdance. The celebrities and their professional dance partners will then take a three-week hiatus, during which time they’ll be learning the first routine on which they’ll be scored by the judges.

Where can I watch Strictly Come Dancing this year?

Following Saturday night’s launch show at 19:00 on BBC One, Strictly Come Dancing will take a three-week break before returning weekend of 30 October, with exact scheduling to be confirmed. It will then air every Saturday and Sunday on BBC One until the final, which is usually held the week before Christmas.

Zoe Ball will return with sister show It Takes Two on BBC Two every weeknight following the launch.

Which celebrities are appearing on Strictly Come Dancing this year?

The line-up this year features former Holby City star Chizzy Akudolu, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks actress Gemma Atkinson, The X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, comedy star Susan Calman, Radio 4 broadcaster Rev Richard Coles, TV presenter Brian Conley, EastEnders‘ Davood Ghadami, Good Morning Britain anchor Charlotte Hawkins and The Saturdays‘ Mollie King.

Joining them on the dance floor are This Morning and Loose Women host Ruth Langsford, Holby City actor Joe McFadden, JLS’ Aston Merrygold, Paralympian Jonnie Peacock, TV chef Simon Rimmer, and Debbie McGee, whose late husband Paul Daniels previously took part in the show in 2010.

Who are the judges on Strictly this year?

Following the departure of head judge Len Goodman at the end of the last series, champion ballroom dancer Shirley Ballas will now take up the mantle, meaning she’ll have the deciding vote if there are any ties during the dreaded Dance Off.

Alongside Ballas on the panel will be old-timers Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood – who’ll be doubly busy starring in Annie the Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre five nights a week (don’t worry, not Saturdays!) – plus ballerina Darcey Bussell.

Who are the professional dancers this year?

Many of the pro dancers from the last series are returning for another chance at lifting the glitterball trophy this year, including Anton du Beke, Kevin Clifton, Brendan Cole, Karen Clifton, Chloe Hewitt, Katya Jones, Oti Mabuse, Janette Manrara, Gorka Marquez, Pasha Kovalev, Neil Jones, Giovanni Pernice, AJ Pritchard and Aljaz Skorjanec.

Departing this year are Natalie Lowe, Joanne Clifton and Oskana Platero, who will be replaced by newcomers Dianne Buswell, Nadia Bychova and Amy Dowden.

What about Sir Bruce Forsyth?

After the sad news that the legendary Sir Bruce Forsyth, who hosted the show from it’s inception until 2013, passed away earlier this year, it is expected that the new series of Strictly will come out all gun’s blazing with a tribute to the iconic performer and showman.

What about the Strictly Come Dancing Live tour?

That’s right! The Strictly Come Dancing Live tour will be back in 2018, celebrating the very best of the new series up and down the country!

Want to get ahead of the game? You can sign up here for first access to tickets.