claudia winkleman and tess daly on strictly

The one big change Strictly Come Dancing made in their celebrity reveals this year

The first contestants have already been announced

Ainhoa Barcelona

The first contestants set to join Strictly Come Dancing this year have already been announced and by way of a change, the stars were revealed much earlier than normal. The BBC usually unveils its first celebrity in early to mid-August but this year, the big reveal came on 31 July.

Katie Piper was the first star to be announced on 13 August in 2018, and the year before that, Mollie King was unveiled live on air on 7 August during Nick Grimshaw's BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show. In 2016, Ed Balls was the surprise first contestant to be revealed on 8 August.

David James was the first contestant to be announced

This year, however, fans were given an early treat as not one but three celebrities were announced on Wednesday's episode of The One Show. Hosts Matt Baker and Alex Jones' stand-in Stacey Dooley announced that former England goalkeeper David James, comedian Chris Ramsey and EastEnders star Emma Barton will be strutting their stuff on the dancefloor in September, all hoping to be the one to lift the Glitterball trophy.

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Speaking on the show, David said previous contestant Mark Foster convinced him to do Strictly after he'd been asked so many times to appear. David said: "I've been asked to do this quite a number of times and I said, 'no it's not my kind of thing'. But Mark said it's amazing so this time round I said yes. I've had to keep it secret for so long… I told my mum, but she forgot."

YouTuber Saffron Barker has also joined the line-up

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On Thursday morning, the fourth Strictly contestant was revealed – 19-year-old YouTube star Saffron Barker. Saffron, who has over four million subscribers on social media, said: "I am really excited to go on the Strictly journey and am feeling very grateful for the opportunity! I'm looking forward to learning all of the dances, finding out who my partner is, getting to wear the costumes and to just experience this once in a lifetime opportunity."

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