Football bad boy Savage to join Strictly line-up

Former soccer bad boy Robbie Savage, Jason Donovan and One Show host Alex Jones have been confirmed to be slipping into sequins for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.

They will be among 14 stars who will battle it out for the glitter-ball trophy when the show returns later this month.

Also taking part in the BBC1 show will be boxing champion Audley Harrison, former MP Edwina Currie and the actress-turned-singer Holly Valance.

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Viewers will see how their training is progressing when they take to the floor for a group dance during the launch show for the ninth series of the BBC1 hit on Saturday.

Other names taking part include TV astrologer Russell Grant – who has already shed several stone in preparation for the series – and ex-EastEnder Anita Dobson, famed for many years as put-upon Queen Vic landlady Angie Watts.

Singer Lulu and impressionist Rory Bremner will also be showing off their moves, while the inclusion of presenter Dan Lobb will ensure the dance show will be a regular discussion point on ITV1 breakfast show Daybreak.

At the more youthful end are Harry Judd – drummer in chart band McFly – and actress Chelsee Healey, one of the stars of BBC1 drama Waterloo Road. Her colleague Lucien Laviscount is currently appearing in Celebrity Big Brother.

Nancy Dell’Olio, the former partner of Leicester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, completes the line-up.

Judd and Valance have already emerged as the joint favourites, according to bookmakers William Hill. They have been given figures of 4-1 to win.

Savage’s move from the football pitch to the ballroom will raise a few eyebrows among football fans who knew him as one of the most aggressive figures in the game.

He was once dubbed the dirtiest player in the Premiership.

Savage has since carved out a career as a Radio 5 Live broadcaster, picking up a Rising Star prize at the Sony Radio Academy Awards earlier this year.

This year’s series will feature the biggest scale live programme so far, with a broadcast from Wembley Arena in front around 6,500 fans for Children In Need.

BBC bosses have also revealed that the final – T the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool – will be screened in 3D for the first time.

Sir Bruce Forsyth will return as host, alongside Tess Daly, with Claudia Winkleman co-hosting the Sunday night results show.

Judges will be Len Goodman, Alesha Dixon, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli.