Strictly Come Dancing fans, the official countdown is underway! The start date for the 2017 series has been revealed – thanks to celebrity contestant Charlotte Hawkins. The Good Morning Britain presenter revealed on Friday's show that the new season will begin with the launch show on Saturday 9 September. As in previous years, there will likely be a gap until the live shows get underway to allow the celebrity contestants to train with their professional partners – usually, the competition kicks off towards the end of September.
Charlotte was one of the last celebs to be announced for this year's show. Alexandra Burke, Debbie McGee and Jonnie Peacock were the final three to be announced, following Holby City actress Chizzy Akudolu. The star-studded line-up is completed by Simon Rimmer, Joe McFadden, Reverend Richard Coles, Gemma Atkinson, Ruth Langsford, Davood Ghadami and Mollie King.
This will be the first series without Len Goodman on the judging panel; Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel Horwood will instead be joined by international ballroom champion Shirley Ballas in the head judge role.
It has also been confirmed that the late Sir Bruce Forsyth will be honoured during the launch show, with a "heartfelt" dance from the professionals. "We all want to celebrate him and all that he loved about the show," said producer Louise Rainbow. "Sir Bruce was, and always will be, a huge part of Strictly Come Dancing."