Boxer Nicola Adams has been confirmed as one of the celebrity contestants on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing and will dance in the show’s first same-sex pairing.
The 37-year-old Olympic gold-medal winner joins Good Morning Britain presenter Ranvir Singh, Men Behaving Badly star Caroline Quentin, Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo, former professional American footballer Jason Bell and Max George of boyband The Wanted as the first stars officially confirmed to be taking to the dance floor for the 18th series of the BBC show this year.
Adams said: “I’m really excited to be joining this year’s incredible line-up for Strictly Come Dancing. I’m a huge fan of the show and am thrilled to be part of something that holds such a special place in so many people’s hearts.
“People might know me from work in the ring, but I'll be every bit as passionate and dedicated on the dance-floor too.
“I also wanted to thank the BBC for supporting me and making me the first ever all-female pairing, and it’s amazing to be a part of the movement for change, diversity and breaking boundaries in the entertainment industry.”
Discussing the dance competition on GMB with co-presenters Susanna Reid and Richard Arnold, who have both taken part in the show themselves, Singh revealed she does a lot of Punjabi dancing at family weddings and believes she has “rhythm”.
The journalist and mother-of-one also admitted “I am single” when teased by Piers Morgan about the “Strictly Curse”, which has seen many contestants fall for their professional dance partners in the past.
Singh said she did not believe she was going to have to live in a bubble in order to take part in this year’s socially distanced series as she has an eight-year-old son to take care of at home.
And she revealed that she had not been told that a “chemistry test” group dance was planned this year to match celebrities with their professional partners.
Radio presenter Amfo, 36, said: “As we know this year has been a real challenge and escapism through dancing is something I know we all enjoy, so to be taught by a pro and live a fantasy is something that I can’t wait to fully embrace, see you on the dancefloor!”
Also competing for the glitterball this year will be 60-year-old Jonathan Creek actress Quentin, who said: “I am thrilled and terrified in equal measure to be taking part.”
Retired American-football player Bell, 42, is the estranged husband of Girls Aloud’s Nadine Coyle, with whom he has a six-year-old daughter, Anaiya.
He said: “Strictly was the first show I ever watched when I moved to the UK and I’m a massive fan.
“My six-year-old daughter never got the chance to see me run out on the field at an NFL game but she is very excited about me taking to the dance floor. I hope I can do her proud.”
The Wanted’s George follows in the footsteps of bandmate Jay McGuiness, who won Strictly in 2015.
The 31-year-old singer and actor said: “Not really one for the dance floor, but I take a lot of comfort in the fact that Jay McGuiness set The Wanted’s bar so low....”
Strictly Come Dancing 2020 will be a shorter series, starting in October instead of September. It is still not known if it will be possible to have a live studio audience or even a live band, due to restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The professional dancers have all begun living in quarantine in a hotel together for two weeks before filming begins, to enable them to dance together within social-distancing restraints.