Who are the pro dancers for Strictly 2024?

As Gemma Atkinson appears to let slip that Gorka Marquez will be back, who else is returning to the BBC show's pro cast?

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 18: The cast of Strictly Come Dancing perform at the photocall for the Strictly Come Dancing: The Live Tour 2024 at Utilita Arena Birmingham on January 18, 2024 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)
Who will join the Strictly Come Dancing pro cast in 2024? (Getty Images)

Strictly season might seem a long way off just yet, but the BBC show's pro dancers are in the training room months before the series begins.

Each year, Strictly Come Dancing's professionals have a nervous wait to find out whether they will be invited back to the cast, and if they will make it into the group who get matched with a celebrity partner.

The BBC have stood by Giovanni Pernice following the rumours of a feud with his last celebrity partner Amanda Abbington who quit the show early in 2023. Everyone wants to know whether Pernice has quit Strictly after reports the star has stepped down following nine years on the show.

At this stage, it looks unlikely the star will return to the show. A BBC spokesperson said in a statement responding to the rumours: "The Professional Dancers for Strictly Come Dancing 2024 will be announced in due course."

In April, former contestant Gemma Atkinson appeared to have let slip that her partner Gorka Marquez, who she met while taking part in the 2017 series, will be back in the ballroom this autumn.

Here's what she said about Marquez being in the pro cast, and who else he can expect to be dancing alongside.

Gemma Atkinson and Gorka Marquez met in 2017 when she competed on Strictly Come Dancing. (WireImage)
Gemma Atkinson appeared to reveal Gorka Marquez's Strictly plans. (WireImage)

The Spanish dancer's partner Atkinson seemed to put her foot in it while posting on social media about childcare arrangements for their children Mia, four, and Thiago, 10 months.

In a now-deleted post, she wrote: "Depending on Gorka's partner and whether he has a partner, depending on where they're based, he doesn't know where he is. All the childcare lands on my family because obviously all his family are in Spain."

Marquez was out in the first few weeks of the 2023 series where he partnered Nikita Kanda and in series 17 he was in the pro cast for group dances, but was not given a celebrity partner.

A BBC spokesperson commented: "The professional dancers for 2024 will be announced in due course."

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08: Amy Dowden arrives at the Pride Of Britain Awards 2023 at Grosvenor House on October 08, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Amy Dowden hopes to return to the dancefloor. (WireImage)

Strictly fans are hoping to see Amy Dowden return to the pro cast after she was forced to take a year off in 2023 following a breast cancer diagnosis.

Dowden, who has now finished her chemotherapy, has made no secret that she would love to return to the dancefloor and told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday: "I’ve got amazing friends and family. The oncology unit, the nurses, the breast nurses, and also the public support has been incredible.

"And I think the goal and the dream to be back on the dance floor as well, because I’ve missed it so, so much. I’m working really really hard and getting my body fully back in rehab and physio, I’ve got a brilliant team. So fingers crossed I’ll be back on your screens dancing later this year. If Strictly will have me back, I’ll be back."

She also recently told Lorraine: "I would love to return, to be back with my Strictly family. It’s what makes my dancing heart happy, so that’s the goal. Obviously, we don’t know yet who’s back, but that is the dream."

She continued: "I haven’t danced since May, it’s the longest time. I know it’s going to be a long process to get back on that dance floor, but I know I’ll enjoy every step of the way, too. The Strictly family has and always has and always will hold a special place in my heart."

Nikita Kuzmin and Fern Britton had a tricky relationship in Celebrity Big Brother. (ITV screengrab)
Nikita Kuzmin and Fern Britton had a tricky relationship in Celebrity Big Brother. (ITV screengrab)

He's risen through the ranks to become a pro cast favourite since joining Strictly in 2021 and was one of 2023's stand-out pairings with Layton Williams, but Strictly fans are worried that Nikita Kuzmin's future on the show could be in doubt.

Kuzmin appeared as a contestant in ITV's reboot of Celebrity Big Brother earlier this year and finished as runner-up, but some viewers wondered whether he could be out of the BBC contest's cast after doing reality TV.

There were a few awkward moments with fellow housemate Fern Britton, who Kuzmin struggled to get along with, but he managed to remain relatively controversy-free.

Luba Mushtuk and Jowita Przystal have also said they hope to be back this autumn, but have not yet been handed their contracts.

Przystal said: "Hopefully we are back, we don't know yet. You will have to watch to find out," as Mushtuk added: "Fingers crossed, it's very exciting."

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola are the winners of Strictly Come Dancing 2023 (BBC)
Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola won Strictly Come Dancing 2023. (BBC)

The current reigning champion of Strictly is Vito Coppola, who won the 2023 series with celebrity partner Ellie Leach.

Strictly's 2023 cast pairs were as follows:

  • Vito Coppola and Ellie Leach

  • Nikita Kuzmin and Layton Williams

  • Dianne Buswell and Bobby Brazier

  • Johannes Radebe and Annabel Croft

  • Katya Jones and Nigel Harman

  • Carlos Gu and Angela Scanlon

  • Kai Widdrington and Angela Rippon

  • Lauren Oakley and Krishnan Guru-Murthy

  • Luba Mushtuk and Adam Thomas

  • Graziano Di Prima and Zara McDermott

  • Giovanni Pernice and Amanda Abbington

  • Karen Hauer and Eddie Kadi

  • Jowita Przystal and Jody Cundy

  • Gorka Marquez and Nikita Kanda

  • Nancy Xu and Les Dennis

Neil Jones, Nadiya Bychkova and Michelle Tsiakkas were all in the pro cast too, but did not get matched with a celebrity partner.

Strictly Come Dancing is expected to return to BBC One in the autumn.

Watch: Fern Britton addressed tension with Nikita Kuzmin on Celebrity Big Brother