'Strictly Come Dancing' 2022 launch date revealed by AJ Odudu

AJ Odudu Strictly
AJ Odudu has announced the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 launch date. (BBC)

Former Strictly Come Dancing star AJ Odudu has revealed that the launch date of the new series is just weeks away, on 17 September.

TV presenter Odudu, 34, announced the news exclusively on Channel 4's The Big Breakfast on Saturday.

Read more: Is this the date Strictly will finally return to Blackpool?

She said: “We do have the exclusive that the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2022 is going to be September 17. How exciting.”

Odudu, who hosts The Big Breakfast with comedian Mo Gilligan, was speaking to one of Strictly's professional dancers, Johannes Radebe, who seemed to confirm the date in his guest appearance on morning TV.

AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan host The Big Breakfast
AJ Odudu and Mo Gilligan host The Big Breakfast. (Channel 4)

He said: “It is exciting, everyone else is waiting for it, we know we can’t face winter without Strictly so I am happy it is back on our screens.”

In the 2021 series, Odudu reached the final with her partner Kai Widdrington but was forced to pull out with just days to go over an injury - the latest point at which any celebrity contestant has had to quit the show.

Rose Ayling-Ellis and her partner Giovanni Pernice went on to win the series, with Radebe and Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite as runners up.

Read more: How to get tickets for Strictly Come Dancing 2022

Radebe and Whaite were the show's first-ever all-male partnership, and presenter Richie Anderson is set to follow in their footsteps this year with an as yet unnamed male partner.

AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington had to drop out of the Strictly final. (BBC)
AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington had to drop out of the Strictly final. (BBC)

The new series couples will be matched and announced during the launch episode, which will be pre-recorded on 7 September.

Live episodes are then expected to begin on 24 September - following directly on from the launch air date named by Odudu which is just a week before.

Strictly usually breaks for two weeks between launch episode and first live episode, suggesting the schedule may have been shaken up a little this year.

Reigning ballroom champion Ayling-Ellis announced on Thursday that she would quit her role as Frankie Lewis in EastEnders later in the year.

She said: “It’s been incredibly special to be EastEnders’ first regular deaf actor. I have loved my time on the show and Frankie has been such an awesome character to play, however now feels like the right time for me to move on and I am excited and ready for new challenges."

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