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Strictly Come Dancing couples strike a pose in new official photos – see here

The BBC dance show resumes this weekend

strictly come dancing 2019
Ainhoa Barcelona
Content Managing Editor
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aj pritchard and saffron barker strictly© Photo: BBC

Ahead of the first Strictly Come Dancing live shows on Saturday, the professional dancers and their celebrity partners have posed for new official photos. The snaps were released by the BBC on Tuesday and show the 2019 couples all striking a pose, while revealing their ultra-glam looks. As ever, there are sparkles and sequins galore in this year's class of Strictly, which comprises 15 celebrity contestants and their partners. Meet the couples…

AJ Pritchard and Saffron Barker

Fan favourite AJ Pritchard has been paired with YouTube sensation Saffron, 19. The pro dancer previously revealed that he would like to be matched with her during an appearance on The One Show, so it's hardly surprising they ended up together! "I've been in semi-final three years in a row. As they say fourth year's a charm," said AJ. "Straight to the final. I've got so many show ideas but it's never happened for me just yet. I think Saffron… we can make it to the final. There it is. I've thrown it out there."

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oti mabuse and kelvin fletcher strictly© Photo: BBC

Oti Mabuse and Kelvin Fletcher

Oti was originally paired with Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing, but the reality TV favourite sadly had to drop out due to an injury. Ex-Emmerdale actor Kelvin, who played Andy Sugden on the show, replaced him. "Is this really happening?!" he said at the time. "It's been the most surreal week of my life! I'm a massive fan of Strictly so it's incredible. I'm so happy that I can be a part of it. But at the same time it's quite bittersweet! I'm coming in on the back of Jamie's injury – I keep thinking about him! I can't imagine going through all this excitement and then having to pull out. My thoughts are with him – he seems like a fantastic guy and I hope he's doing okay."

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katya jones and mike bushell strictly© Photo: BBC

Katya Jones and Mike Bushell

The 2018 Strictly champion has been partnered with BBC Breakfast presenter Mike Bushell. What did Mike have to say about his involvement in the hit show? He explained: "It feels like a weird dream. I am flying the flag for dad dancers." We're sure that Katya will soon have him strutting his stuff in no time!

Keep clicking for more photos!

neil jones and alex scott strictly© Photo: BBC

Neil Jones and Alex Scott

For the first time ever, Neil Jones has been given a celebrity partner, and this year he'll be waltzing around the dance floor with footballer Alex Scott.

Speaking to HELLO! and other journalists about her biggest concern appearing in the competition, Alex revealed: "I'm the bookie's favourite. I know that because my friends keep messaging me and I'm like, 'Got to ignore that.' My worry is that I'm not good in heels. I have a lot of injuries as a footballer so my ankles don't like being in a flex position so I think that's my main worry going into the show. Your partner wants you to be in shoes all the time, but I just can't!" She added: "But apart from that it's a show I've wanted to be in, I'm like a kid at Christmas!"

karen hauer and chris ramsey strictly© Photo: BBC

Karen Hauer and Chris Ramsey

The comedian has already been providing us with lots of laugh, so we can't wait to see what he'll pull out of the bag for the live shows. Chris, who is dancing with Karen Hauer, has previously quipped why he would never fall victim to the 'Strictly curse'. He and his wife Rosie host a weekly podcast in which they discuss "life, relationships, arguments, annoyances, parenting, growing up and everything in between", and it's so successful, he won't let anything or anyone jeopardise it!

"We discussed (the curse) in the podcast," Chris told HELLO! and other reporters. "I've been married for five years, we have a kid, but more important than that, the podcast I do with my wife is one of the top in the country, and I'm not jeopardising that for anything! It's a career highlight!"

emma viscountess and aljaz skorjanec strictly© Photo: BBC

Viscountess Emma Weymouth and Aljaž Skorjanec

The hot-footed Aljaž Skorjanec, who is married to fellow pro Janette Manrara, is known for his speedy steps, so we'll sure he'll have Viscountess Weymouth whizzing around the dance floor in no time! "I'm really thrilled they've put us together," Emma told HELLO! 

"Aljaz is a brilliant, hardworking dancer and I'm so excited to be taught by somebody who has got such incredible experience. We get on, our personalities match, and it will be good to train with someone who has a similar energy and sense of humour."

dianne buswell and dev griffin strictly© Photo: BBC

Dianne Buswell and Dev Griffin

This year's fan favourite Dianne Buswell has been partnered with DJ Dev Griffin. Last year Dianne and her boyfriend Joe Sugg reached the show's final, but could 2019 be the year she actually takes the glitterball home? We'll have to wait and see – but we definitely have a good feeling about it.

janette manrara and will bayley strictly© Photo: BBC

Janette Manrara and Will Bayley

This year fan favourite Janette Manrara has been paired with Paralympian Will Bayley. The couple have been having a blast in rehearsals, but had to cut their time together short. Will explained: "Soooo so happy! What a great last day dancing with @jmanrara. Can't wait to perform it on the 21st! Now I'm off to Sweden for the European Cup! Let's go!!!" Will is competing in the European Championships in table tennis.

kevin clifton and anneka rice strictly© Photo: BBC

Kevin Clifton and Anneka Rice

Kevin famously lifted the glitterball trophy in 2018 with his dance partner and now girlfriend Stacey Dooley, so will he be able to do the same this year? Kevin from Grimsby has been paired with TV star Anneka Rice, who was sadly missing from the first group dance due to an injury.

amy dowden and karim strictly© Photo: BBC

Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden

CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual was in shock when he received the call. "This is the first time I got the call – shocked me!" he told HELLO! and other journalists. "As if I'm even on your radar! I'm a kid's presenter, but I guess I've got that demographic. I don't know if that's why I got the call but it was a shock to me and a privilege."

Karim, who will be dancing with Amy Dowden, also said of the sparkles and sequinned costumes: "That is something I'm well excited for! It's one of the reasons I joined up, I have no inhibitions and love messing about and trying new things. The widest of flares, the Cuban heels, the tan, bring it on! It would be boring if you didn't get a flamboyant costume!

anton de beke and emma barton strictly© Photo: BBC

Anton du Beke and Emma Barton

The veteran Strictly dancer, who has been on the show since its launch in 2004, will be dancing with EastEnders actress Emma Barton. The star will continue to play Honey Mitchell on the soap, while fitting in rehearsal time. Emma said she has no dance experience and was looking to be paired up with someone with a sense of humour. Her strengths are listening and taking directions whilst her weakness "is probably getting the step right".

catherine tyldesley and johannes strictly© Photo: BBC

Catherine Tyldesley and Johannes Radebe

The former Corrie star has been wanting to do Strictly for ages, and this year, Catherine will be taking to the dancefloor with Johannes Radebe. Speaking to HELLO!, Catherine said: "To get to Blackpool would be the dream. I used to go most years to see the illuminations, it was a huge part of my childhood. My dad has said, 'If you get to Blackpool I'll be happy', and I said 'Let me just get to week two first!'" The actress added: "I am really hoping to do well for Johannes as this is his first year with a celebrity, and I am determined to make him proud."

luba mushtuk and james cracknell strictly© Photo: BBC

Luba Mushtuk and James Cracknell

James Cracknell OBE will be dancing with Luba Mushtuk, and he's determined to reach week number four for a very special reason. The double-Olympic gold medallist explained that it's his eldest child's 16th birthday. "My girlfriend has gone 'well, I would ask for a ticket but you won't be in long enough!' That's what the assumption is. So folks will go and watch week one, but… my oldest is sixteen on the fourth week and you have to be sixteen to go so it's a kind of – it would be nice," he told HELLO! and other reporters.

michelle visage and giovanni pernice strictly© Photo: BBC

Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice

The Italian stallion and the RuPaul's Drag Race judge are sure to provide a lot of entertainment on the show. And who knows, RuPaul himself might even turn up to the live shows. "Are you kidding me? He's so excited," Michelle told HELLO! "He comes to see whatever he can, when he has time, so will hopefully be in town when we're filming and if he is he'll be here – he absolutely wouldn't miss it. Yeah, I'd love it. I'd love there to be a night I can do a Ru song as well, so we'll see… it's all about the timing like the stars have to be aligned for that."

nadiya and david james strictly© Photo: BBC

Nadiya Bychkova and David James

The decorated goalkeeper, who has been paired with Nadiya Bychkova, admitted that he has actually turned down Strictly a few times before. "As an ex-footballer, I didn't feel I was a celebrity. But I was kind of trying to distance myself, I didn't want my football to be the reason why I was getting into things, so therefore I wasn't interested in many shows," he told HELLO! and other journalists.

But with a little persuasion from former contestant and swimmer Mark Foster, David turned a corner. "When Mark explained that wasn't the basis of the show, this it is a dancing show, yes of course celebrities are involved, but it's a dancing show, you learn new skills."

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