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Wales Online
Wales Online
Rachael Davis, PA Entertainment Features Writer & Dominic Picksley

Glitterballs, gowns and dancing shoes: Meet the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 contestants

Dust off those mirrorballs, dig out the sequins and shine those dancing shoes: Strictly Come Dancing is back.

The 20th series of the dance competition will, as ever, see another assortment contestants take to the floor as they waltz, quickstep, jive and tango their way towards that sought-after Glitterball Trophy. Taking to the dancefloor this series are Will Mellor, Kym Marsh, Richie Anderson, Kaye Adams, Jayde Adams, Ellie Simmonds, Tyler West, Matt Goss, Ellie Taylor, Molly Rainford, Tony Adams MBE, Fleur East, Hamza Yassin, James Bye and Helen Skelton – and they’re all raring to go, if slightly daunted by the whole ordeal.

Competing on Strictly is no small task, whether the celebs are starting off with twinkle toes or two left feet – so why did this year’s dancers want to get involved? Loose Women’s Kaye Adams, 59, said: “I had two lightbulb moments.

“One was on holiday after two Aperol Spritz, and I thought: ‘What the hell?!’ The other was standing in my kitchen and thinking: ‘If I’m here at the end of September watching this on telly, will I be thinking: Why did I turn that down?’

“And I thought: ‘Yeah, I will’.”

Loose Women's Kaye Adams says she would have been kicking herself if she had turned Strictly down (PA Photo/BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet of Crisps and Coronation Street’s Will Mellor also says he wanted to grab life by the horns and take on the Strictly challenge, and for a very heartwarming reason. The 46-year-old actor, whose father died in 2020, said: “Losing my dad has changed everything.

“He was my hero and my best mate, and it just changes you, it really does. I would easily say no to stuff just because I’d be so worried about what everyone else would think, and then you realise all that’s nonsense when you lose someone like that.

“Just thought: I’ve got to say yes to more things and create memories. That’s what life’s about, get out of your comfort zone.”

Meanwhile, former footballer Tony Adams, 55, revealed: “I’ve been asked a few times. I had a mental breakdown when I was 49 and working too hard in China, and I’ve just got time now.”

While it hasn’t yet been announced who will be dancing with who this series, it has been revealed that TV and radio personality Richie Anderson will be dancing with a male partner, following in the footsteps of John Whaite and Johannes Radebe who made history in 2021 as the first all-male couple on the show.

“When they called me and offered it to me, they said we want you on the show, and it’s up to you whether you dance with a man or a woman – which I thought was amazing,” Anderson, 34, says. “I went home and I spoke to my other half, and October is our 10-year anniversary, and he said: ‘On our 10-year anniversary, you have to dance with a man’.”

The fancy footwork on Strictly is made all the more captivating by the fantastic costumes worn by the dancers, from glittery gowns to twirling tutus, sharp tuxedos to deep V-neck shirts. It goes without saying that many of the gorgeous outfits are a far cry from what our celebs would wear in everyday life, but that doesn’t seem to faze them.

“Anything to get me away from double denim and the market stall,” smirks EastEnders actor James Bye, 38, who plays Martin Fowler in the soap. “It’s all about just jumping in and immersing yourself in the glitter and the sequins and the fake tan.”

“Bring it all on,” agrees wildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin, 32, who has long dreadlocks. “With all this fabulous mane of mine, if glitter gets in there I’m going to be sparkling for the rest of my life!”

The Strictly Come Dancing 2022 contestants. Pictured: James Bye; Kym Marsh, Hamza Yassin; Tyler West; Tony Adams; Kaye Adams; Jayde Adams; Helen Skelton; Fleur East; Richie Anderson; Molly Rainford; Matt Goss; Ellie Simmonds; Will Mellor; Ellie Taylor (PA Photo/BBC/Ray Burmiston)

With such a wide range of dances being performed on Strictly, the contestants have to be ready for anything. But some of the celebs have revealed some particular favourites, ones they’re really looking forward to learning – and ones that they’re really nervous about.

“It’s all about the Argentine Tango for me,” says comedian Jayde Adams, 37. “It’s my favourite dance, but it’ll also be the one I’m worst at, so it’s like my Everest.”

TV presenter Helen Skelton, 39, said: “I want to do the fast and the fun ones. I like the jives and the jumping about and all that.”

Comedian Ellie Taylor, 38, added: “I’d like to do a jive and a Charleston. To be in a beautiful dress, doing a lovely foxtrot or something would be lovely.”

Strictly Come Dancing launches on BBC One at 7pm on Friday September 23, with the first live show following on Saturday September 24 at 6.45pm.

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