From Hertfordshire to the Strictly dancefloor: 7 Strictly Come Dancing contestant from the county
- Credit: BBC / Nick Eagle
Glitter, fake tan and sequins at the ready as the new Strictly Come Dancing series is set to waltz onto our TV screens again in September.
The BBC have not confirmed an official start date yet – but with a full series planned, the celebrity line-up is likely to be revealed in the coming weeks.
The celebrity show is made at Hertsmere's Elstree Studios – the set takes over George Lucas Stage 2 for the duration of the series – and we already know the new 2021 judging line-up.
A guest judge last year, professional Anton Du Beke will be stepping into Bruno Tonioli shoes for series 19, swapping the dancefloor to join Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse on the judging panel.
Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will once again present the Saturday night entertainment show, while Janette Manrara will be taking over hosting duties on Strictly spin-off It Takes Two, joining Rylan Clark-Neal on BBC Two’s week-night sister show.
As for this year's pro dancers, expect to see Oti Mabuse, last year's pro winner with comedian Bill Bailey, Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Katya Jones, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe, Karen Hauer, Dianne Buswell, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova, Nancy Xu and Neil Jones.
Joining them will be confirmed new pros Cameron Lombard, The Greatest Dancer winner Jowita Przystał, Kai Widdrington and Nikita Kuzmin.
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As we await the Strictly Come Dancing celebrity class of 2021 to be revealed, here's 7 former Strictly contestants with links to Hertfordshire who have appeared on the hit BBC One show.
1. Alesha Dixon
Now a judge on ITV's Britain's Got Talent, Welwyn Garden City's Alesha Dixon lifted the coveted Glitterball trophy on Strictly Come Dancing back in 2007.
The Scandalous and The Boy Does Nothing singer won series 5 with professional dancer Matthew Cutler.
They beat EastEnders' Matt Di Angelo, partnered by Flavia Cacace, in the final.
Former contestant Alesha later joined the show's judging panel, sitting alongside Len Goodman and Co for three series from 2009 to 2011.
2. Lisa Snowdon
There was another contestant from Welwyn Garden City the following year, with model, TV and radio presenter Lisa Snowdon also reaching the 2008 final of Strictly series 6 with professional dancer Brendan Cole.
They scored a maximum 40 from the judges – four 10s – for both their Foxtrot and Cha-Cha-Cha in the final.
However, they eventually finished third behind runners-up Rachel Stevens and pro Vincent Simone, and champion Tom Chambers with Camilla Dallerup following the showdance.
The Welwyn Hatfield Times newspaper even featured briefly on Strictly that year for its SOS appeal – 'Save Our Snowdon' campaign to get residents to back the WGC celeb.
After the final, Lisa said: "Being involved in Strictly Come Dancing has been the most incredible experience.
"We made it through to the final. I'll never forget this experience ever."
Lisa returned to the ballroom in the 2015 Christmas special, this time partnered by Pasha Kovalev.
3. Victoria Pendleton
Born in Stotfold and raised in Hitchin, the Olympic sprint track gold medal-winning cyclist swapped her bike for the ballroom in 2012 when she competed in series 10.
Dancing with pro Brendan Cole, former Letchworth schoolgirl Pendleton finished eighth as fellow Olympian, gymnast Louis Smith, took Strictly gold that year.
4. Jake Wood
It was the turn of Tewin's EastEnders bad boy Jake Wood – aka Max Branning in the BBC One soap – to try his luck on the Strictly dancefloor in 2014.
Soon nicknamed 'Snake Hips' for obvious reasons, Jake and pro partner Janette Manrara stunned judges with their superb Salsa to Mambo No5 in only week two.
They later scored 38 out of 40, with two 10s, for their Samba to the Macarena.
The couple eventually made it through to series 12's semi-finals.
The series was won by Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev.
Jake pulled on his dancing shoes again to partner Luba Mushtuk in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special in 2018.
Having now left Albert Square, Jake is set to appear alongside Lily Allen in supernatural play 2:22 A Ghost Story at the Noël Coward Theatre in London's West End.
5. David James
The former England, Watford, Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham United, Manchester City and Portsmouth goalkeeper from Welwyn Garden City lined up with Nadiya Bychkova in the 2019 series of SCD.
They didn't last long, being the fourth couple eliminated with James' fancy footwork on the dancefloor not as strong as his goalkeeping skills.
6. Alex Scott
Series 17 also featured former Arsenal footballer and England international Alex Scott MBE, who lived in Welwyn Garden City during her professional playing career with the Gunners.
Partnered by Neil Jones – and Kevin Clifton for weeks 6 and 7 when Neil was injured – Oaklands College alumna Alex was eliminated at the quarter-final stage.
Alex is currently presenting BBC's coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and has been confirmed as the new face of Football Focus on the channel.
7. Mike Bushell
The BBC Breakfast sports presenter who grew up in north Herts partnered Katya Jones in the 2019 series of Strictly.
Mike, who went to school in Stevenage and Ashwell, scored a best of 32 for his quickstep to Come On Eileen.
However, Mike and Katya went out in week 8, just missing out on the trip to Blackpool.
Who will be following in their dance steps in this year's Strictly series 19? The Strictly Come Dancing 2021 line-up of contestants is due to be announced in the coming weeks.