Strictly Come Dancing 2022: launch show – live | Strictly Come Dancing

Key events

It’s Fleur and Vito!

Fleur confirms that she sets six alarms because she snoozes through them all. This actually gave me a shiver of anxiety.

Fleur heads to Walthamstow to meet her partner and we discover she’s an Italian newbie pro Vito Coppola. I mean, the E17 is no Naples, but Vito styles it. Fleurito is already making me a little hot under the collar.

It’s James and Amy!

Can I just say it’s SO great to see a full studio audience again. I didn’t realize how much I had missed it until it came back.

James have ZERO dance experience (drink). He is in Albert Square to discover that he has been paired with Amy Dowden, then says that he is incredibly relieved and feels like a winner already. DRINKING.

It’s Helen and Gorka!

Helen tells us she has three young children. DRINKING.

She takes her black labrador (Spiderman, for some reason) to Roundhay Park to discover that she has been partnered with Gorka Marquez, who can certainly understand a Northern accent because he’s engaged to Strictly alumni Gemma Atkinson. He was a surprise Movie Week exit with Katie McGlynn last year, so hopefully he’ll stick around a bit longer this time around.

Helen is truly over the moon. I actually believe her, because it’s GORKA.

let’s meet Hamza Yassin, there is a wildlife cameraman and presenter on the BBC’s Animal Park and Countryfile. He also competes in the Highland Games and rides around Scotland on a motorbike in his spare time.

How long before Hamza turns up in a kilt, we think? Keep a dram of something on standby for Bonus Kilt Bingo.

Hamza Yassin on Strictly
Hamza Yassin on Strictly Photo: Ray Burmiston/BBC

Next is singer-songwriter, TV and radio host Fleur East, best known for being runner-up on The X Factor and then releasing the absolute banger ‘Sax’. She also did I’m a Celeb in 2018 and is traditionally rumored to be the UK’s Eurovision entry every year without fail. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m happy to settle for her being on Strictly instead.

Please keep a bottle on standby for as long as Tess or Claudia say ‘Take to the Fleur’. And the six times after that.

Fleur East on Strictly
Fleur East on Strictly Photo: Ray Burmiston/PA

Time to meet James goodbye is an actor, best known for playing Martin Fowler on EastEnders. The last time I saw EastEnders, Martin Fowler was about eight years old, so a lot has probably happened in the meantime. James is perfectly named for an early exit though, so hopefully he won’t let us down by going all the way.

James Bye on Strictly
James Bye on Strictly Photo: Ray Burmiston/PA

Let’s meet some more celebrities!

Next is Helen Skelton, who is a TV and radio broadcaster, former Blue Peter alumni and now doing a lot of stuff on BBC sport and Countryfile. She’s been rumored for Strictly for so long that I’d kind of convinced myself she’d already done it, but no. Still, better late than never.

Helen Skelton on Strictly
Helen Skelton on Strictly Photo: Ray Burmiston/PA

Let’s meet our four professionals!

While we have lost Aljaz and Oti this year, we have gained FOUR freshmen. So let’s meet European Cup winner Vito Coppola, Chinese national champion Carlos Gu, former British Under-21 national champion Lauren Oakley and Cypriot Latin dance champion Michelle Tsiakkas.

They are all very young and beautiful, and Vito has the air of a man whose shirts inexplicably have no buttons. It must be an Italian thing.

Please note that I have already forgotten all their names. Even four years later, I have to go and look up Graziano every time he appears in a musical interlude.

It’s Will and Nancy!

Apparently Will have seen Anton on the local tip, because they live near each other. If you’ve ever bumped into a Strictly star at a local council facility, let us know in the comments.

He has been linked with Nancy Xu, who made it all the way to the semi-finals with Rhys Stephenson last year. Can she go one better and waltz Will all the way to the grand finale? She has already made it as far as Runcorn.

It’s Kym and Graziano!

Apparently Kym already know all the Strictly pros because they regularly appear on Morning Live, a daytime BBC program she presents. Have I put ‘current project plugging’ on the bingo? Take a bonus drink anyway. She also just became a grandmother for the third time, aged 46. I mean, that’s at least three nana drinks, right?

She has become a partner with Graziano Di Prima, which could be another very good coupling. Last year, Graz collaborated with Judi Love, which makes me want to see her twerk to Sean Paul’s Get Busy again. What a moment.

It’s Tyler and Dianne!

Tyleris mother! Drinking! He has been paired with Dianne Buswell, which finds Tyler DJing in a pod on the London Eye. Is that even a thing?

Dianne immediately calls them Team Ty-Di and I get good vibes from this partnership – last year Dianne was paired with Robert Webb, who decided to leave the show for health reasons quite early.

It’s Ellie S and Nikita!

Ellie (who will henceforth be known as Ellie Sto distinguish her from Ellie T) tells us it means everything to represent not just dwarfism, but disability in general – the prospect of going out there dancing every Saturday night makes her SO proud.

She has been paired with Nikita Kuzmin. Last year Nikita made it to week 10 with Tilly Ramsay – can he do better this year?

OK, I already love this partnership. They are both adorable.

The next thing is that Will Mellor, an actor who I know from playing Jambo in Hollyoaks, although I’ve never actually watched Hollyoaks. He’s also done plenty of other acting, including playing Harvey in Corrie.

My notes also tell me he also had a chart hit in 1998 with a cover of Leo Sayer’s When I Need You. In the spirit of investigative journalism, I went and watched the video for this so you don’t have to, and can confirm that it’s exactly what you’d expect from a 1998 Leo Sayer cover sung by an angsty 20-year-old. I blame Peter Andre personally.

Will Mellor on Strictly
Will Mellor on Strictly Photo: Ray Burmiston/PA

It’s time to meet Kym Marsh, who is best known for her role as Michelle Connor in Coronation Street, for which she won ‘Best Newcomer’ at both the National Television Awards and the British Soap Awards. Unless, of course, you’re over 35, in which case Kym Marsh is best known for being one of the three women in Hear’Say. I consistently mix them up with Liberty X because now apparently I’m my nan.

Kym Marsh on Strictly
Kym Marsh on Strictly Photo: Ray Burmiston/PA

Next up this is tyler west is a television host, radio host and DJ, best known for hosting weekday afternoons on KISS. He also used to do a lot of stuff on CBBC, which seems to be the traditional training ground for an eventual trip around the Strictly dance floor.

Shout out to Tyler’s mom. DRINKING.

Tyler West on Strictly
Tyler West on Strictly Photo: Ray Burmiston/PA

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