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Strictly returns with most diverse line-up in show’s history

The new series boasts a same-sex dancing couple while one-third of the contestants are non-white.

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The socially distanced desks for the judges on the new series of Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy/PA)

The socially distanced desks for the judges on the new series of Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy/PA)

The socially distanced desks for the judges on the new series of Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy/PA)

This year’s Strictly Come Dancing line-up is the most diverse since the show began.

One third of the BBC One show’s contestants are non-white – the same record-breaking proportion as last year.

But in addition, 2020 sees the first ever same-sex couple take to the dance floor.

Former Olympic champion boxer Nicola Adams has said she will be paired with another woman.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

She has been photographed leaving Strictly rehearsals with professional dancer Katya Jones, who was partnered last year with sports presenter Mike Bushell.

The youngest of this year’s contestants, actor Maisie Smith, is 19 years old, while the oldest – actor Caroline Quentin – is 60.

The gap between them is 41 years: the same span of ages as last year, when the youngest and oldest contestants were also aged 19 (Saffron Barker) and 60 (Anneka Rice) respectively.

It is only the fourth time in Strictly history that there has been a contestant still in their teens.

The others were Louisa Lytton in 2006 and Claudia Fragapane in 2016, along with Barker in 2019.

By contrast, Quentin becomes the 23rd contestant to have taken part in Strictly while aged 60 or over.

The oldest ever participant was Johnny Ball in 2012, who was 74.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

The average age of this year’s contestants is 39: one year older than in 2019.

In total, 249 contestants – including this year’s line-up – have participated in Strictly Come Dancing since the show began in 2004.

There have been 69 actors, 65 TV or radio presenters, 44 sport stars (including 14 Olympians or Paralympians), 32 musicians or singers, 11 comedians, seven chefs, seven models, four politicians, two fashion specialists and two YouTube stars.

There has also been an astrologer, a businesswoman, a garden designer, a magician, a lawyer and a vicar.

This year’s series will return on October 17 for the launch show.

Online Editors