Yes, it's that time of year again; Strictly Come Dancing is on its way back to our screens. There's no official launch date just yet but the series usually kicks-off in early autumn, around the beginning of September.
With the countdown officially on, it's believed BBC bosses have pretty much finalised the celebrity line-up. As usual, they'll be keeping extremely tight-lipped over who they have recruited until much closer to the time – but certain names have already been leaked to the media. Nothing has been confirmed just yet, but here are the stars that are currently tipped to be competing in Strictly Come Dancing 2017.
1. SAMANTHA WOMACK
Who? EasteEnders star
What's the rumour? EastEnders fans were not happy when Samantha's character Ronnie Mitchell was killed off. The BBC are apparently desperate to make it up to viewers by signing the actress up for Strictly. While we can't confirm anything for sure, this would undoubtedly be a ratings hit
2. RITA SIMONS
Who? EasteEnders star
What's the rumour? Not only do the Beeb allegedly want Samantha to take part in Strictly, we hear they're also trying to recruit her on-screen sister Rita aka Ronnie Mitchell. She was killed of the soap on New Year's Day earlier this year and fans have missed her character in Albert Square. Hopefully, she'll be back on the channel in the not too distant future if producers get their way.
3. OLLY MURS
Who? Popstar and former X Factor contestant
What's the rumour? His former X Factor co-host Caroline Flack did it, so why not Olly? We know that he's already got some pretty slick moves (you just have to watch his X Factor audition to know that), so he could actually be a very impressive Strictly contestant, right?
Olly himself has said he's always been a fan and would quite like to do the show just to wind up Simon Cowell (ouch) and after performing on the 2016 launch show he joked: "They were trying to get me to sign a contract for next year." We wouldn't rule it out, frankly.
4. RUTH LANGSFORD
Who? Loose Women and This Morning presenter
What's the rumour? Ruth has reportedly been in talks with Strictly bosses for weeks, and now, reports claim that she's officially signed up after admitting she's wanted to compete on the series for years. We wonder what ITV will say about that!
5. MARTINE MCCUTCHEON
Who? Former EastEnders actress
What's the rumour? Beeb producers are allegedly mega keen on recruiting Martine and have reportedly offered her a six figure sum to sign up. She's currently in the process of working on her music comeback and a stint on Strictly would obviously work wonders for album sales.
6. DANNY-BOY HATCHARD
Who? EastEnders star
What's the rumour? Alright, so this one might be a wee bit tenuous but stick with us. Basically, Children In Need fans started calling for Danny-Boy – aka Lee Carter – to take part in Strictly after seeing his astonishing moves in the EastEnders cast's performance for charity. That doesn't seem like a massively solid foundation for a rumour, but with his exit from EastEnders imminent, producers might be listening to what viewers want – and hey, Danny-Boy could get some tips from his (former) on-screen mum Kellie Bright, couldn't he?
7. JESSICA ENNIS-HILL
Who? Olympic athlete
What's the rumour? Jessica's a bit of a Team GB legend, what with her gold medal and all. And given that Greg Rutherford and Claudia Fragapane were both hits on the latest series of Strictly, we wouldn't be surprised if bosses wanted to add to their haul of sporty folk. Jessica has already announced her retirement from athletics, so she'll be looking for something to fill her time – and long hours of training in a dance studio could fit the bill very nicely indeed.
8. NIGEL FARAGE
What's the rumour? Ol' Nigel seems to have a bit of time on his hands now he's no longer UKIP leader (or at least, wasn't at the time of writing). He was linked to the 2016 series of I'm A Celebrity, but quickly ruled that out… though after seeing Ed Balls's success, could he fancy giving waltzing a whirl?
In fact, while Nigel pretty quickly smacked down that Jungle speculation, when asked about Strictly he said things like he "wouldn't rule anything out" and that classic: "Never say never." Strap yourselves in, folks…
9. MARY BERRY
Who? TV chef extraordinaire
What's the rumour? Look, we'll level with you – this rumour all started because Mary Berry went to a Strictly live show and was spotted in the audience. Hardly a signature on a dotted line… but wouldn't we all love it? If anything, the nation has clung Mary even closer to their hearts after her decision to stay with the BBC instead of following The Great British Bake Off to Channel 4.
The BBC is obviously going to fling show after show at her, quite rightly, and we kind of like the idea of Mary being on absolutely everything: Songs of Praise, University Challenge, Countryfile, Crimewatch, Pointless, Watchdog, Antiques Roadshow, Happy Valley… why not Strictly, eh? Why not? (Or the Beeb could really piss off Channel 4 and sign up Paul Hollywood…)
10. JERMAIN DEFOE
What's the rumour? Well, this one has come from the horse's mouth. Jermain appeared on ITV's Lorraine at the beginning of April and admitted he'd love the chance to take part in Strictly. He said: "I did an interview not too long ago and they asked me the question and I was like, yeah why not! I've always enjoyed dancing, I come from a West Indian background so you never know. So if they want me, give me a call." Will the Beeb pick up the phone?
11. SCARLETT MOFFATT
Scarlett sent fans into meltdown by posting a throwback snap of her in ballroom gear on Instagram. She captioned the pic: "Throw back Thursday to my dancing day #Latin #dance #tbt #throwback #throwbackthursday." Is Scarlett hinting she'll soon be slipping back into one of these sparkly numbers? Or is this much ado about nothing? Only time will tell...
12. JOE MCELDERRY
Who? Former X Factor winner
What's the rumour? The singer has been made no secret of wanting to be cast on the BBC series. Most recently, he appeared on ITV's Lorraine and admitted that he would love to be part of this year's series and thinks he wouldn't do a bad job given his experience in West End musicals.
13. JOE WICKS
Who? Celebrity body coach
What's the rumour? The This Morning regular mentioned that he is planning to clear his schedule in case he's invited to be appear on Strictly. Now, sources have come forward to allegedly confirm Joe has been in talks with the BBC and producers are eager to get him signed up as soon as possible.
14. TIM PEAKE
Who? Actual astronaut
What's the rumour? This rumour has been floating around the ether for some time (much like Tim Peake, ho ho ho). Tim was linked to Strictly before the 2016 series even kicked off, though we always knew he wouldn't be involved in that one because he had to actually get used to gravity again (no joke).
His intensive physiotherapy and readjustment will presumably be over in time for the 2017 episodes, and given that Buzz Aldrin took on Dancing with the Stars in the US, it's not out of the realms of possibility, especially as Tim's apparently a Strictly fan. Given it's been announced he's lining up another space mission the likelihood of this has probably gone down – but get working on the moonwalk jokes now. Just in case.
15. CARLEY STENSON
Who? FormerHollyoaks star
What's the rumour? Carley's not just a Hollyoaks star – she also happens to be the fiancée of Strictly 2016 finalist Danny Mac! According to reports, she wants to follow in his footsteps and give the dancing thing a go... and who could blame her after she's watched all the fun from the audience each week? Presumably Danny would be able to give her some tips, and wouldn't it be nice to have him back supporting her each week?
16. JOEL DOMMETT
What's the rumour? We wouldn't put too much stock in this one just yet. Joel was always going to get linked to new reality shows after his successful stint on I'm a Celebrity, which saw him finishing in the runner-up spot. He's certainly won over the public, and now rumours have suggested Strictly bosses are after him for – and we quote – the "hunk factor". We're not quite sure how that nudie tape and the recent open letter from his penis would go down with Strictly's viewers, mind.
17. MATT GOSS
Who? One of Bros' duo of heartbreaker twins
What's the rumour? The latest tabloid reports claim that the boy bander has actually signed up for this series of Strictly, although the BBC describes it as just "speculation" at this point. If Goss does sign on the dotted line with the Beeb, his casting could be controversial, since he has some previous experience in the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom. The '80s popstar impressed the Strictly judges back in 2013 when he was paired with professional Aliona Vilani for the annual Christmas special – which was ultimately won by Rufus Hound.
18. ELLIE SIMMONDS
What's the rumour? Jessica isn't the only athlete already being tipped for a Strictly stint. According to reports, Strictly recently invited medal-winning swimmer Ellie to the studios for the semi-finals, and she's apparently a big fan of the show. We can imagine Ellie being a brilliant addition to the line-up, and producers have apparently been saying that she's their "number one choice". But would she say yes to an offer?
19. JASON DURR
Who? Casualty actor
What's the rumour? Jason, who plays nurse David Hide, recently wowed Casualty fans by performing a salsa dance after Charlie and Duffy returned to Holby following their honeymoon. Afterwards, fans were encouraging him on Twitter to sign up for Strictly – and he tellingly retweeted those messages. Now, he's given us more reason to think that hey may be a contender for the 2017 Glitterball trophy. When asked by The Sun about the possibility of him competing, he said; "It's a massive Saturday night show, just like Casualty, so I'm sure it would be huge fun to do. You'll have to watch this space…"
20. CHARLOTTE HAWKINS
Who?Good Morning Britain presenter
What's the rumour? Strictly loves its breakfast TV presenters, and this year, its' reported that bosses have their eye on Charlotte. She's hinted before that she would be interested in taking part in the show. We guess we'll watch this space.
21. MARK 'THE BEAST' LABBETT
Who? Good Morning Britain presenter
What's the rumour? The Beast absolutely smashed it on Let's Sing and Dance for Comic Relief (much to everyone's surprise) and now, he's admitted he'd love to do Strictly. Is anyone else thinking the Chaser could be the new Ed Balls?
Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC One in 2017.
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