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17 Strictly Come Dancing contestants you forgot were on the show

Naga Munchetty, Alex Jones and others have graced the ballroom before  

Naga Munchetty, Jerry Hall and Alex Jones pose for Strictly portraits
Francesca Shillcock
Francesca ShillcockSenior TV & Film Writer
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Strictly Come Dancing fever is in the air. With the first live show of 2023 taking place on Saturday, the excitement is palpable, and we cannot wait to see the series 21 line-up take to the ballroom for the first time.

The buzz for Strictly this year has made up take a trip down memory lane and look back at some of the other big names from television who have previously appeared on the BBC Ballroom and Latin competition. Here are 17 names that have joined the line-up in the past who you may have forgotten about…

Naga Munchetty

Naga Munchetty arrives for the launch of 'Strictly Come Dancing 2016'© Chris Jackson
Naga Munchetty arrives for the launch of 'Strictly Come Dancing 2016'

In 2016, BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty appeared alongside Pasha Kovalev to take part in series fourteen of Strictly. However, her journey was cut short after the TV star was eliminated third after failing to make it through the dance-off. As well as Naga, other stars who appeared in series 14 included Melvin Odoom, Daisy Lowe and Ore Oduba – who would go on to win that series.

Emma Bunton

Emma Bunton attends The Grand Prix Ball 2023© David M. Benett
Emma Bunton

Baby Spice wowed with her moves on the Strictly dancefloor back in 2006 for series four. Emma was teamed with Darren Bennett and made it all the way to the semi-finals coming in third place. That year, England cricketer Mark Ramprakash won alongside Karen Hardy.

Aston Merrygold

Aston Merrygold attends the 'Strictly Come Dancing 2017'© Mike Marsland
Aston Merrygold attends the 'Strictly Come Dancing 2017'

JLS singer Aston Merrygold took part in Strictly series 15 which aired in 2017. Aston was partnered alongside Janette Marara and quickly became favourites to win but, sadly, after falling short in the dance off in week 6, the pair were sent home by the judges – far too early in our view!


Anastacia arrives for the Red Carpet Launch of 'Strictly Come Dancing 2016'© Karwai Tang
Anastacia arrives for the Red Carpet Launch of 'Strictly Come Dancing 2016'

American singer Anastacia joined series 14 of Strictly in 2016 and was paired with former professional partner Brendan Cole, but had the opportunity to dance with then-newbie Gorka Marquez in week five. The I'm Outta Love hitmaker made it to week six. That year, Ore Oduba was crowned the winner alongside professional, Joanne Clifton.

Alex Jones

Alex Jones During The Launch Show For Strictly Come Dancing© John Phillips
Alex Jones During The Launch Show For Strictly Come Dancing

TV favourite and host of The One Show Alex Jones joined series nine of Strictly in 2011. The TV presenter from Wales, who gave birth to her second baby in May of this year, was partnered up with former professional on the show James Jordan. 

The two proved a popular pair and were voted through to the semi-finals of week 11, during which the two performed two numbers, the waltz and the salsa, before being eliminated in the dance-off. Although the pair just missed out on lifting the iconic glitterball trophy, they earned commendable scores from the judges, collecting many eights and nines during the competition. We LOVED seeing Alex show off those moves!

Carol Vorderman

Carol Vorderman in red dress© Mike Marsland
Carol Vorderman

Countdown legend Carol Vorderman put on her dancing shoes in 2004 to take part in the second series of the BBC show. Teaming up with her pro-partner Paul Killick, the queen of numbers impressed audiences with the waltz in week one and the rhumba for week two.

But it was her performance of the rhumba that led to a lower score (it later emerged that Carol suffered a torn cartilage during the performance) and the two were eliminated in the second week. Her elimination occurred far earlier than we'd hoped – we would have loved to see Carol cha-cha her way to the final!

James Martin

James Martin on Loose Women© Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock
James Martin on Loose Women

TV chef James Martin joined the Strictly line-up in 2005 for the show's third series and was partnered with Camilla Dallerup. The Saturday Kitchen host and the professional partner made a great partnership and were even rumoured to be an item during the show.

It seems ballroom was his forte as he scored 33 for his foxtrot, his best-scoring dance, although their steamy salsa made headlines. James didn't always receive the highest of scores from the judges, but the two were popular with the viewers and were voted through to week nine, becoming semi-finalists in the process.

Kate Garraway

kate garraway at ntas in white suit © Getty
Kate Garraway

Newsreader and host on Good Morning Britain Kate Garraway teamed up with the King of Ballroom himself, Anton du Beke, for Strictly's fifth series 2007. Kate suffered an injury to her ankle shortly before the show started but the TV presenter powered through and was determined to continue in the competition.

Although Kate didn't receive the highest scores for her Latin and ballroom numbers, rarely scoring above 20, the audience and viewers loved her all the same and the two were voted through to week seven without having to compete in a single dreaded dance-off prior – go Kate!

Jerry Hall

Jerry Hall Arriving For The Launch Of Strictly Come Dancing 2012© John Phillips
Jerry Hall Arriving For The Launch Of Strictly Come Dancing 2012

American model and actress Jerry Hall took to the ballroom with her pro-partner Anton Du Beke for the show's tenth series in 2012. The wife of Rupert Murdoch, and ex of Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger, performed both Latin and ballroom numbers with Anton during her stint on the show.

She may not have overly wowed the judges or landed at the top of the leaderboard, but she definitely dazzled the audience with her cha-cha-cha, quickstep and foxtrot. Jerry and Anton were voted out in week three and although she left the competition early, the blonde beauty certainly put her own stamp on the show.

Penny Lancaster

Penny Lancaster's head© Gareth Cattermole
Penny Lancaster

In 2007 it was Penny Lancaster's turn to embrace the glitter and glam for series five of Strictly Come Dancing. The wife of rocker Rod Stewart took to the ballroom and was partnered with pro Ian Waite.

The former model and TV personality impressed the judges with her quickstep, samba and the foxtrot, which earned her highest score of 35. The pair wowed judges and viewers for five weeks before being eliminated in the dance-off against Matt Di Angelo and Flavia Cacace. We would have loved to see her shimmy and shake for a few more weeks…

Fern Britton

Fern Britton Arriving For The Launch Of Strictly Come Dancing 2012© John Phillips
Fern Britton Arriving For The Launch Of Strictly Come Dancing 2012

Morning TV legend Fern Britton graced the Strictly dancefloor for its tenth series in 2012, two years after competing in the Christmas Special. Fern was paired with former champ Artem Chigvintsev and the two made a great team, learning Latin and ballroom favourites such as the American smooth, the Charleston and the salsa.

Fern may not have received the best scores from the judges, but the public were clearly wowed and voted her through until week six. We think she left far too soon!

Christine Lampard

Christine Lampard head shot© getty
Christine Lampard attends The Sun's Who Cares Wins Awards

TV presenter and wife of footballer Frank, Christine Lampard (then Bleakley), swapped reading the news for sequins and shimmies when she joined the BBC show for its sixth series in 2008. Christine was partnered with the then Strictly champ Matthew Cutler (Matthew won the previous series with Alesha Dixon).

The two made a great pair learning Latin and ballroom routines that impressed the audiences and judges, gaining a few eight and nine scores in the process. The two were voted through to week 11 after dazzling viewers with their jive, foxtrot and more. Christine may have just missed the final but she certainly brought glam and class to the ballroom.

Matt Baker

Matt Baker During A Photocall For The Strictly Come Dancing© John Phillips
Matt Baker During A Photocall For The Strictly Come Dancing

Former Blue Peter presenter Matt Baker cha-cha-cha'd his way into the ballroom in 2010 for the eighth series, partnering up with Aliona Vilani. The two earned consistently high marks from the judges, often scoring well into the 30s.

While it may have slipped your mind that the former The One Show presenter once donned sequins and open shirts for the BBC competition, who could forget those hips? Matt and Aliona's snake-hipping samba earned a near-perfect score in week eight at the Blackpool Tower ballroom and they performed it again in the final, in which the two became runners-up to Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev. We'd LOVE to see Matt's shaking hips again, a Christmas special perhaps?

Simon Webbe

Kristina Rhianoff and Simon Webbe attend a photocall to launch the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour 2015© Tony Woolliscroft
Kristina Rhianoff and Simon Webbe attend a photocall to launch the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour 2015

Blue singer Simon Webbe joined the competition in 2014 for series 12 and was immediately tipped as a potential finalist. Simon was partnered with Russian beauty Kristina Rihanoff and the pair rarely scored below 30 fr their dazzling routines. Simon and Kristina were also a hit with the voting viewers and waltzed all the way to the final.

You may have forgotten Simon appeared on the show, but his performances were certainly memorable – remember THAT Argentine tango in week eight that placed him at the top of the leaderboard for the first time? In the grand finale, Simon and Kristina reprised their amazing Argentine tango, received a perfect score of 40 and secured their worthy place as runners-up.

Rachel Stevens

Rachel Stevens© Lia Toby
Rachel Stevens

S Club 7 beauty Rachel Stevens joined series six of the BBC show in 2008, partnering up with Vincent Simone. It seems learning those S Club dance routines came in handy for the former pop star as the two earned top marks from the judges week after week, including 10s for their rhumba, foxtrot and argentine tango.

And the viewers loved her just as much as the judges as they were voted through each week, sailing all the way to the final. Although the singer just missed out on the top spot to winner Tom Chambers, she certainly proved herself to be a true Strictly star and worthy runner-up.

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams attends the 'Strictly Come Dancing' Series 8 Launch Show© Mike Marsland
Michelle Williams attends the 'Strictly Come Dancing' Series 8 Launch Show

Yes, that's right! Destiny's Child legend Michelle Williams took part in series eight of Strictly Come Dancing in 2010. The American singer and best friend of Beyoncé was partnered with professional dancer Brendan Cole to tackle the tango, jive, foxtrot and others. Michelle's hard work paid off and even secured her a few eights from the judges.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing, however, as the singer scored a four from Craig Revel Horwood for her Paso Doble in week seven, which then saw them end up in the bottom two and voted off by the judges. Michelle didn't quite make it to the iconic Blackpool Tower ballroom, but certainly brought some Bootylicious magic to the show. We wonder if she could convince Beyoncé to take part one day…

Kara Tointon

kara tointon © Photo: Getty Images
Kara Tointon

EastEnders beauty Kara Tointon waltzed onto the Strictly dancefloor for series eight in 2010 and was paired up with pro dancer Artem Chigvintsev. Kara and Artem wowed the judges earning consistently high scores and were frequently top of the leaderboard.

Crowds and audiences were wowed too with their Argentine tango, Viennese waltz, salsa, and more, and they were voted through week after week. Kara and Artem became an item during the show and dated for a few years after but ended up splitting in 2014. During the competition, the pair sailed through to the final and became the lucky couple to lift the coveted glitterball trophy in the series' grand finale. Well deserved!

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