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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Charlotte Tutton

Strictly 2022 couples in full - as bookies' fave Helen Skelton's professional partner revealed

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 announced the pairings for the first time on Friday night, during a launch show that saw the full celebrity line-up find out which professional dancer they would be sharing their show journey with.

Celebrities including Helen Skelton, Kym Marsh, Molly Rainford and Richie Anderson finally learned who they would be performing with for the next few months - if they remain in the competition that is.

One by one, the Strictly launch show detailed each pairing in a pre-recorded episode.

Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman were back in the studio, along with judges, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Anton Du Beke - who has replaced former judge Bruno Tonioli permanently. Here's the full list of couples for 2022...

Five-time Paralympic gold medalist Ellie Simmonds learned she would be dancing with Nikita (BBC/Ray Burmiston)
Tyler West and Dianne Buswell (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin

Five-time Paralympic gold medalist Ellie Simmonds learned she would be dancing with Nikita on the show.

When asked by Tess about what it meant to her to be representing people with dwarfism on Strictly, she said: “It means everything, to represent not just dwarfism but disability in general, for me to go out of my comfort zone and do something that I’ve never done before.

"Dancing is for all, yes, I’m going to have to adapt, I’m going to have to see what it’s like, but to be out there every Saturday night dancing… I’m so so proud.”

Nikita added: "For me, the goal for this season is for Ellie to have the best time of her life!”

Tyler West and Dianne Buswell

KISS FM DJ Tyler West was paired up with show favourite Dianne, who has already come up with a team name for them both.

When asked about whether his Mum, a huge Strictly fan, was pleased with who he’d be partnered with, he answered, “Oh absolutely! I don’t actually think she’s come here tonight to see me; she’s come to see her!”

Kym Marsh and Graziano Di Prima (BBC/Ray Burmiston)
Will Mellor and Nancy Xu (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Kym Marsh and Graziano Di Prima

Coronation Street actress and Morning Live host Kym Marsh was next up to find out who her partner was, with it soon revealed to be Graziano.

Joining host Tess on the dancefloor, she revealed she knew all the Strictly professionals well due to them frequently appearing on Morning Live.

Both Kym and Graziano were ecstatic to be paired up together with Kym admitting: “My stomach was churning, but I was delighted!”.

Will Mellor and Nancy Xu

Actor Will Mellor was the next star to find out who he was being partnered up with on the show.

Hollyoaks, Corrie and Casualty star Will was thrilled to be paired up with Nancy, telling host Claudia they were a great match.

He said: "We match well… I’m like an excitable puppy and so is she!"

Will also revealed he had an unexpected connection to Anton, saying: “I’ve seen Anton about because he lives near the same village as me, I saw him at the tip!”

Anton admitted, “We love the tip! It’s so cleansing, my favourite place in the world!”

Helen Skelton and Gorka Márquez (BBC/Ray Burmiston)
James Bye and Amy Dowden (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Helen Skelton and Gorka Márquez

Countryfile presenter Helen Skelton was next to learn who she was dancing with, and learned it would be series favourite Gorka.

The former Blue Peter presenter couldn't hide her excitement over the news, having previously said her partner had to be "fun, patient, good with dogs and kids" and "needed to understand a Northern accent.”

Helen isn't worried about facing judge Craig either, joking: "“I’ve got three little kids so I don’t think there’s any tantrum you can throw at me that I haven’t already seen.”

James Bye and Amy Dowden

EastEnders actor James Bye follows a long list of Walford stars heading to the ballroom, including last year's winner Rose Ayling-Ellis

In the launch episode, James discovered he would be paired up with Amy Dowden - and it's safe to say he was pretty happy about it.

James said to the hosts: "I’m so relieved and I couldn’t be happier, I feel like the winner already!”

He went on: “For me, coming into the unknown is what’s scary, I’ve got zero dance experience… and then I met my dance partner, and she was amazing and completely made me feel at ease.”

Fleur East and Vito Coppola (BBC/Ray Burmiston)
Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Fleur East and Vito Coppola

The X Factor and I'm A Celebrity star Fleur East was next to find out who her dance pro was for the series.

Hits Radio Breakfast Show host Fleur was paired up with newcomer Vito Coppola, who teased he would be tough on the singer.

He said: "Behind this smile I’m very tough but I’m sure that she’s going to be alright because she’s a hard worker too!"

Hamza Yassin and Jowita Przystal

Wildlife expert and presenter Hamza Yassin was up next, and he was paired up with new dancer Jowita Przystal.

He was thrilled with the choice, as was Jowita who said: "He is just fearless, I can see that, which is very helpful for me! He’s strong and he’s also patient, that’s really important. So, I just cannot wait to go and start rehearsals!”

Matt Goss and Nadiya Bychkova (BBC/Ray Burmiston)
Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Matt Goss and Nadiya Bychkova

Singer and member of Bros Matt Goss was introduced to his professional dancer partner Nadiya Bychkova at the 02 arena, as shown in the episode.

Revealing his excitement for the series ahead, he spilled: "I’m ready to put my heart and soul into this!”

Nadiya added: "I can’t wait to start teaching him and I can’t wait to start dancing with him.”

Ellie Taylor and Johannes Radebe

Comedian Ellie Taylor was next to hit the dancefloor, and she was paired up with fan favourite Johannes Radebe.

She'd previously revealed the pro was her dream choice to be partnered up with, so was delighted to realise it had worked out.

Johannes told her and the hosts: "I’m really chuffed to be partnered with Ellie, meeting her has been joyous and to see her excited about the season ahead makes me excited!”

Molly Rainford and Carlos Gu (BBC/Ray Burmiston)
Richie Anderson and Giovanni Pernice (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Molly Rainford and Carlos Gu

BGT child star CBBC star Molly Rainford met her professional dance partner during the show, and was introduced to Carlos Gu.

Molly said, “I can’t wait to get dancing and get learning some stuff, I feel like it’s going to be electric!”.

She also joked she’s not sure where her Dad’s loyalty lies when it comes to the voting, adding: “Obviously he’s going to have to vote for me but if it was his choice, he’s a football fan, Tony Adams might get his vote.”

Richie Anderson and Giovanni Pernice

Richie Anderson is half of one of the show's two same-sex couples this series.

The Radio 2 host was paired with professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, and it was the perfect choice for him.

He said: "Could you get anyone better than Mr Giovanni? I feel like I’m the envy of the British public right now!"

Giovanni was also pleased saying, “He’s got A LOT of energy, I’m very very happy!”

Jayde Adams and Karen Hauer (BBC/Ray Burmiston)
Tony Adams and Katya Jones (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Jayde Adams and Karen Hauer

Jayde Adams and Karen Hauer were announced to be the second same-sex couple of the 2022 series.

The comedian confessed she was a superfan of the show, before sharing her joy at getting Karen as a pro partner.

She said: "Karen IS Strictly”, as Karen replied: "I’m absolutely excited, I have so many ideas, too many ideas, this is going to be a golden moment for me.”

Tony Adams and Katya Jones

The penultimate couple to be announced was former England and Arsenal player Tony Adams, and his pro partner Katya Jones.

Katya told him: “We’re going to tackle some dancing, we’re a team now, we’ll work together.”

Tony wanted a winner and that's exactly what he got, as Katya won the series with Joe McFadden in series 15, back in 2017.

Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington

Kaye Adams and Kai Widdrington (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

The final star of the night to learn who their partner was was Loose Women's Kaye Adams.

Kaye discovered her pro dancer partner for the series was Kai Widdrington, and she was happy with this decision.

She said: "Can I just say to Mrs Widdrington, you have done an amazing job with this guy, he’s such a lovely man, he really is, I’m so happy to be with Kai!”

Strictly Come Dancing returns live on Saturday at 6:45pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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