Match made in dance heaven: See Strictly 2016’s pairings
Ed Balls will be strutting his stuff with a “fierce and fabulous” new Russian dancer, Daisy Lowe is set to cha-cha-cha with previous victor Aljaz Skorjanec and Laura Whitmore will step out with newly single Giovanni Pernice in the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.
The celebrities and dancers discovered who they are paired with as Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman kicked off the ballroom dancing show on Saturday night.
The launch saw the 15 celebrities step on to the Strictly dance floor for the first time.
Irish presenter Laura’s Strictly partner, Italian dancer Giovanni, has just come out of a relationship with Georgia May Foote – with the actress having recently announced their split on Twitter. They met when they were partnered on the dancing show in 2015 and Georgia recently tweeted about a girls’ night out she’d been on with Laura, fellow Strictly star Caroline Flack and Ashley Roberts.
Former shadow chancellor Ed is partnered up with Katya Jones, a young Russian dancer who is new to this year’s show and describes herself as “intense, fierce and fabulous”.
Model Daisy is with Aljaz Skorjanec, who won Strictly with model Abbey Clancy in 2013.
Brendan Cole, who has been on Strictly since the first series, will be waltzing his way on to the dance floor with US singer Anastacia while Anton du Beke, who has also been there since the beginning, is with Birds of a Feather actress Lesley Joseph.
The other pairings are Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton and BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty and Pasha Kovalev, who is in a relationship with Rachel Riley after meeting her on the BBC One show.
TV star Judge Rinder is with Oksana Platero, while Olympic gymnast Claudia Fragapane is with fellow new Strictly pro dancer AJ Pritchard.
The other pairings are singer Will Young and Karen Clifton, Olympic athlete Greg Rutherford with Natalie Lowe, Hollyoaks hunk Danny Mac is with Oti Mabuse, former Xtra Factor presenter Melvin Odoom is with Janette Manrara, sports presenter Ore Oduba is with Joanne Clifton, and actress Tameka Empson with Gorka Marquez.
Saturday night’s pre-recorded show, with judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel Horwood, also featured performances from Olly Murs and Rebecca Ferguson.