Strictly Come Dancing 2022 Launch Show live: Helen Skelton, Tony Adams and more meet their partners

Strictly turns 20

Can you believe it? The ballroom contest doesn’t look a day over 15. And yet this is the 20th series of Strictly Come Dancing, which sent its first celebrities nervously shimmying onto the dance floor back in May 2004. That debut year actually saw two series, with a second swiftly following in October, and the show has heralded the start of autumn every year since.

Delayed by a week out of respect for the mourning period following the death of the Queen, the (pre-recorded) 2022 launch show now airs just a day before the start of the actual competition, which kicks off tomorrow night at 6:45pm on BBC One. And, befitting a 20th edition, it’s a blockbuster Strictly: the biggest troupe ever, with 20 professional dancers in all, 15 of whom will be paired up with celebrities on tonight’s introductory episode.

Anton Du Beke returns – and so does Blackpool

The pro-turned-judge has retained his seat on the panel for a second year (in place of Bruno Tonioli). Once again, he’s joining Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and head judge Shirley Ballas to dispense ballroom wisdom and occasionally unfathomable scores. Also back are presenting duo Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, while Janette Manrara and Rylan Clark continue to host Strictly’s weekday sister show, It Takes Two, which begins on BBC Two at 6:30pm on September 26. 

The theme weeks are back – Movie Week, Musicals Week, Halloween Week – and so is the school trip up to Blackpool, the latter for the first time since Covid, as is the full studio audience, merrily clapping out of time. We will also see a special BBC 100 theme week this series, with contestants dancing to a theme tune from a BBC programme or paying tribute to one of its most-loved services. A Shipping Forecast foxtrot, anyone?

Follow along with us as the new celebrities, including Helen Skelton, Matt Goss, Fleur East and Tony Adams, meet their all-important professional partners. The launch show takes to the floor tonight at 7pm on BBC One.

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