Gemma Atkinson has shed a whopping three stone since the birth of her first child, daughter Mia, in July. And now it appears that all her hard work was in preparation for something extra special! The actress has been announced as one of the six celebrities taking part in this year's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special – and we can't wait for her return! Gemma last appeared on the show in 2017 when she was partnered with Aljaz Skorjanec, making it all the way to the finals. It is of course, also where she met her boyfriend, and Mia's dad, Gorka Marquez.
Speaking of her involvement in the show, the 34-year-old said: "I had the absolute best time on Strictly and it completely changed my life so I am absolutely overjoyed to be returning to the dancefloor this Christmas with a new challenge, and of course to be back with the gang!” There is no word yet on whether she will be partnered up with her real-life partner, Gorka, with a Strictly spokesperson confirming that "the professional dancers and pairings will be revealed in due course."
Gemma reached the finals in 2017
Other names set to take to the dancefloor include Chizzy Akudolu, Debbie McGee, Joe Sugg, Mark Wright, and Richard Arnold. Joe last appeared on the series in 2018 and has gone on to date his pro partner Dianne Buswell and host the official Strictly Come Dancing 2019 Podcast. Speaking of his return, he said: "I’m really excited to have a go on the strictly ballroom floor again this Christmas. Strictly feels like a home away from home for me so I will be giving it my best shot and ending the year on a high."
Joe and Dianne are now a couple
Chizzy, who was the first celebrity voted off Strictly in 2017 admitted she is hoping to redeem herself this time around. She said: "I am so excited to be coming back to Strictly this year, and being able to get back on the dancefloor once again! I’m still the biggest fan of Strictly so it’s wonderful to be back with old friends, in front of and behind the camera, and hopefully some new ones for Christmas. Bring on the sparkle, and maybe an odd 10 – it is Christmas after all…!" While Debbie, who made it to the finals with Giovanni Pernice in 2017, said: "I thought all my dreams came true two years ago when I was asked to do the series, but to be one of the rare people to be invited back to do the Christmas Special is the icing on the cake. I can't wait to be back dancing with my Strictly family."
Mark, who appeared alongside Karen Hauer in 2014, said: "It’s been a while since I was on the dancefloor but I’m very much looking to forward to dusting off the dance shoes for Christmas! I can’t wait to be back – let’s get going!” And Good Morning Britain's Richard, who appeared opposite Erin Boag in 2012, added: "I can’t wait to get back out on the dance floor and throw shapes beneath the glitter ball once again. I just can’t promise you’ll recognise them or that they’ll be in any particular order. What I can promise is that one of us will be a professional.”
Mark and Karen were partnered in 2014
Each of the six couples will perform a Christmas inspired routine in a bid to be crowned Christmas champions 2019. Hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, the show wouldn’t be complete without the festive foursome on the judging panel: Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Bruno Tonioli and Head Judge Shirley Ballas. The judges will be on hand to score each couple and spread some cheerful joy, yet it will be down to the studio audience to vote for which dancing duo will win the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2019 and lift the famous Silver Star trophy.
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