Strictly Come Dancing 2017: everything you need to know from the contestants to the start date
The popular BBC One dance show returns to screens on 9 September
Time to dust off your sequins and slip into your dance shoes because it's that sparkly time of the year again when Strictly Come Dancing prepares to waltz onto our screens. The BBC hit dance show will return for its fifteenth series next week, with a fresh batch of celebrities joining the 2017 dance class. Read on for everything you need to know, from the start date to the new judges and professionals…
When will Strictly Come Dancing 2017 start?
The show will return to BBC One on Saturday 9 September at 7pm – tune in to see who's been paired with who this series. The celebrities will take to the floor for their first group dance, while 2016 champions Joanne Clifton and Ore Oduba will also return to perform their winning jive. Shania Twain and Rita Ora will also grace the stage.
When do the live shows start?
The first live show will take place on Saturday 23 September, with the ballot for audience tickets open until 7 September. Other big dates to note are Blackpool Week scheduled for Saturday 18 November, and the grand finale for Saturday 16 December.
This year's Strictly judges with newcomer Shirley Ballas
Who are this year's judges?
Regulars Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood are all returning to the panel this year. Newcomer Shirley Ballas, the 'Queen of Latin', will replace head judge Len Goodman meaning she will have the power to give the casting vote in the dance-offs. The experienced ballroom dancer was considered one of the outsiders to take on the position, with many fans assuming the role would go to a former Strictly dancer. But Shirley, 56, is said to have impressed BBC bosses with her vast experience as a dance coach and her work on hit US show Dancing With The Stars.
Who's presenting this year?
Dream team duo Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will reprise their roles as Strictly Come Dancing co-hosts. The pair have been working together since 2014 when Claudia replaced the late Bruce Forsyth.
Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly return to host
Will there be a tribute to Sir Bruce Forsyth?
Following the sad passing of Sir Bruce in August, the BBC announced they will be paying tribute to the King of Saturday Night Entertainment in the first episode. A special group routine has been arranged. Executive producer Louise Rainbow released a statement, saying: "The thoughts of everyone here at Strictly are still very much with Sir Bruce's family. Of course, we will be paying tribute to Sir Bruce at our launch show and this will include a heartfelt performance from our Strictly professional dancers. We all want to celebrate him and all that he loved about the show. Sir Bruce was, and always will be, a huge part of Strictly Come Dancing."
Davood Ghadami and Ruth Langsford are two of the 15 contestants
Which celebrities are in the confirmed Strictly celebrity line-up for 2017?
This year's dance class of 2017 was announced over two weeks. Mollie King was the first of 15 celebrity contestants to be revealed, followed by Davood Ghadami, Ruth Langsford, Gemma Atkinson, Reverend Richard Coles, Joe McFadden, Simon Rimmer, Aston Merrygold, Susan Calman, Brian Conley, Charlotte Hawkins, Chizzy Akudolu, Alexandra Burke, Debbie McGee and Jonnie Peacock.
This year's female professional dancers
Who are the new professional dancers?
This year three new dancers will join the professionals, vying to lift the glitterball trophy at the end of the season. Dianne Buswell, 28, from Australia, Nadiya Bychkova, 28, from Ukraine and Amy Dowden, 26, from Wales will all be paired with male contestants, replacing last year's winner Joanne Clifton, Oksana Platero and Natalie Lowe.