'Strictly Come Dancing' 2018: Here are this year's couples

Katie Archer

Well, the Strictly Come Dancing couples for 2018 might be thoroughly predictable, but there’s one thing we definitely weren’t expecting – an offer from the PM for dancing tips.

Just in case you’d ever wondered what Theresa May likes to kick back in front of on a Saturday night, the answer is quite obviously Strictly as she flagged up to the nation with this tweet.

Could she be looking to her post-Downing Street future already and putting in an early bid for Strictly 2019?

Anyway, back to the dancing. Ok, it’s so incredibly obvious who Anton Du Beke got paired with that we’re not even going to wait for the “who are the couples” section…

Obviously, it goes without saying that Strictly burst back onto our screens in an explosion of glitter and sequins, with Mr Strictly himself Anton Du Beke making quite an entrance to the red carpet.

Who was matched with who?

Kate Silverton and Aljaz Skorjanec

Kate says she “couldn’t be more thrilled” to get Aljaz, and the dancer certainly managed to look like he felt the same as he jumped for joy when his name was announced.

The newsreader later admitted that everyone in the world had been telling her to make sure she got Aljaz, so looks like her year has been made already.

Vick Hope and Graziano Di Prima

We suspected this pairing would happen – Graziano is one tall man, and Vick is pretty leggy herself so they already look good together. Weirdly, Tess Daly couldn’t stop commenting on both of their hair.

Early prediction from us – these two will go far.

Susannah Constantine and Anton Du Beke

However, nothing was as predictable as this couple. From the second the full line-up was announced, we all knew who Anton’s partner would be.

Susannah already seems like great entertainment value though and is determined to embarrass her son as much as possible, which she achieved by announcing “bring on the Strictly curse” as Anton joined her.

Faye Tozer and Giovanni Pernice

Steps star Faye and Giovanni look pretty well matched, and said they were delighted to be put together…but was it just us or did their faces say something different?

Anyway, the demonstration twirl they gave us looked graceful enough, so we’ll see.

Lee Ryan and Nadiya Bychkova

Great casting here as Lee and Nadiya look pretty perfect together and were even jigging about the stage already on being introduced.

Dr Ranj and Janette Manrara

Ok, Dr Ranj had already described himself as “pocket sized”, so there can’t have been a single surprised viewer that Janette was announced as his partner.

The pair are already calling out the familiar refrain “pocket rockets”, reused by every single one of Janette’s partners, ever.

Danny John-Jules and Amy Dowden

At first, Amy’s overly dramatic reaction to getting Danny screamed feigning enthusiasm.

However, when she mentioned she’d danced with him in rehearsal and we saw how well he can move, we’re a little more convinced by the squealing.

Joe Sugg and Dianne Buswell

Vlogger Joe managed to wear the least ballroom-y suit we’ve ever seen on Strictly, and even judge Darcey Bussell looked slightly confused as to who he was and what he was doing there.

Much was made of it being Joe’s birthday, a handy talking point to cover up the elephant in the room that most viewers are still saying “who?”.

However, Dianne looked genuinely excited to be matched with him, so who knows how this pairing will go down with the viewers.

Katie Piper and Gorka Marquez

Poor old Katie is sooo nervous, so we’re really pleased she has got lovely Gorka to show her the ropes.

Lauren Steadman and AJ Pritchard

Again, we’re a little disappointed at how obvious Strictly has been here – matching the youngest contestant with baby-faced AJ.

Lauren’s a champion of her sport, the triathlon, and is expecting to train every bit as hard on the dancefloor so AJ could be the only pro feeling more nervous than their celebrity.

Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton

We are absolutely in love with this pairing already – Stacey and Kevin are the only two who could match each other’s enthusiasm and energy.

This seemed like the couple who were the most genuinely excited to be matched, so we can’t wait to see what they come up with for the first live show.

Ashley Roberts and Pasha Kovalev

Former Pussycat Doll Ashley says she wants to “embrace the sexy” on Strictly, so watch out Pasha and possibly his girlfriend Rachel Riley.

Seriously though, Ashley is going to be amazing, so this is one of the couples to look out for.

Seann Walsh and Katya Jones

Lucky Seann has got last year’s winner Katya, although traditionally the unspoken deal is get the trophy one year, get the dud the next.

Even so, Katya managed to make Ed Balls a must-watch so Seann has still struck gold.

Charles Venn and Karen Clifton

Casualty star Charles looks so cool, calm and collected that we suspect he might be quite good.

Karen looks amazing with her new short crop – so good in fact, that Darcey seems to have copied it.

Graeme Swann and Oti Mabuse

Ex-cricketer Graeme got the awkward role of the evening as the last celeb to be matched and only one pro left, so absolutely no suspense whatsoever.

At least he got the brilliant Oti though, and we were almost impressed by the quality of his flossing.

Who is looking good so far?

Group dance time! It’s traditionally a messy affair, with far too many dancers and far too little time to rehearse.

From what we could make out tonight though, looking really good are Charles Venn, Ashley Roberts, and Faye Tozer – although goodness she’s cheesy, something Craig Revel Horwood is sure to pull her up on.

Looking reasonably good are Lee Ryan, Vick Hope and Dr Ranj, who had some good moves that could be great with a little polish.

Susannah Constantine chatted the entire way through the routine. Anton looked resigned to his traditional fate.

The new pros

The dance introducing the three new pro dancers was enjoyably OTT in the way that only Strictly can be.

Even Graziano looked embarrassed at his extremely dramatic entrance as he strutted across the floor, but he is pretty much the fastest person at spinning on the spot we’ve ever seen.

Apparently, there were also two other dancers introduced – Johannes Radebe and Luba Mushtuk – not that you’d remember it after Graziano’s slow-mo debut.

The judges

We already knew that the judging panel would be the same as last year’s, but rarely has there been such a lacklustre welcome back as the smattering of applause that greeted Shirley Ballas being announced as the returning head judge.

Just in case you didn’t know that Darcey Bussell had been made a Dame, the producers made absolutely sure you do now with a special “royal” entrance.

Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli were both back in pantomime character, so we’re not expecting much to change on that front this series.

Strictly Come Dancing returns on Saturday, September 22 on BBC One.

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