Strictly Come Dancing: 2023 contestants line up for BBC show with Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Layton Williams

The first famous faces for the annual ballroom extravaganza have been revealed!

The first contestants for the upcoming season of Strictly Come Dancing have been revealed, including broadcaster Angela Rippon, who will be the show's oldest contestant at 79 when the programme is filmed.

The first group of well-known faces who will compete on the 21st season of the dancing competition were revealed on BBC One's The One Show on Friday night (4 August) , with actress Amanda Abbington and Bad Education actor Layton Williams announced alongside Rippon.

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Krishnan Guru-Murthy was later revealed to be the fourth celebrity to join the 2023 Strictly Come Dancing line-up by Claudia Winkleman on BBC Radio 2.

Who's in the Strictly 2023 lineup?

Of the names announced so far, Angela Rippon perhaps has the most dance experience. She hosted Strictly predecessor Come Dancing between 1988 to 1991, and famously danced as part of a sketch on the 1976 Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show, just a year after she became the first regular female news anchor on the BBC.

Appearing on The One Show, Rippon revealed the first thing she asked the BBC show when they approached her was “why didn’t they ask me 10 years ago”.

She added: “The serious reason behind doing it is because I’ve been advocating ever since I did a series called How To Stay Young with Chris van Tulleken where we demonstrated as part of the programme that dance is the complete full mind and body exercise for everybody, regardless of your age, but particularly for people as they get older.

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After Johnny Ball, who competed in 2012 at the age of 74, Rippon will be the show's oldest contestant when the programme is filmed.

“As I’m now 78, and will be 79 when we’re actually doing the programme… it would be wonderful if I could last long enough, a few weeks, and demonstrate that even at my age that it genuinely is possible for people that are older to be able to dance, to keep fit and strong and help with their posture and balance and to feel a million dollars.”

Clockwise from top left: Angela Rippon, Amanda Abbington, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, and Layton Williams will take part in this year's Strictly Come Dancing (Photos: BBC)Clockwise from top left: Angela Rippon, Amanda Abbington, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, and Layton Williams will take part in this year's Strictly Come Dancing (Photos: BBC)
Clockwise from top left: Angela Rippon, Amanda Abbington, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, and Layton Williams will take part in this year's Strictly Come Dancing (Photos: BBC) | BBC

Rippon is joined on the line-up by Amanda Abbington, whose acting credits include playing Mary Morstan in Sherlock alongside her former long-term partner Martin Freeman who she shares two children with – a son Joe and a daughter Grace.

The actress has also featured in Mr Selfridge, Wolfe and Desperate Measures, and the 2022 biographical film The Lost King. After the news was revealed, she joked on The One Show that the main reason she wanted to do it was to embarrass her teenage children.

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The third contestant to be announced is Layton Williams, who is best known for playing Stephen Carmichael in the sitcom Bad Education.

The 28-year-old rose to fame as a child playing the title role in Billy Elliot The Musical on London’s West End and from 2019 he played the title character in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. He has also performed in the stage shows including Thriller Live, Rent, Hairspray and New Adventures.

The actor told The One Show he is ready to go on a “rollercoaster journey with the cast” and “slay the ballroom floor”. Williams added that he had requested to be paired with a male professional dancer as he revealed that he used to be jealous of his female classmates getting “thrown around” when he was at college.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy is the fourth celebrity to join the 2023 Strictly Come Dancing line-up. The journalist is a main presenter on Channel 4 News and has fronted worldwide events including the Omagh bombing of 1998, 9/11 and the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

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Guru-Murthy said he chose to do the show “for the fun. I love my job. It’s very, very privileged, I go to amazing places. I talk to amazing people, but it’s incredibly serious”.

He added: “It’s quite stressful. It can be quite difficult and sort of the idea of being able to have pure intravenous joy, because I’m going to be doing the news at the same time, is just irresistible.”

When can I watch it?

Strictly Come Dancing will make a comeback on BBC One and the BBC iPlayer in the autumn, though the exact air date and time are still to be determined.

The competition usually debuts in September with two launch shows. The first show sees the stars learn who their dance partners for the series will be, with the first live performances in front of the studio audience usually airing the weekend following the initial launch episode, if not two weekends later.

In previous years, the initial launch episode has aired on the second or third weekend of September. Typically, the finale airs in December.

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