Strictly Come Dancing lineup 2021 – EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis named 12th contestant as covid chaos stops filming

THE latest person to join the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 lineup was revealed as EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis this evening.

The historic announcement was made tonight on EastEnders' social media just after the latest episode of the BBC1 soap, which sees her play Frankie Lewis, who is also the show’s first deaf character.

The news comes as Strictly was hit by a Covid crisis – just days into filming of the new series.

Professional dancer Nadiya Bychkova tested positive for the virus in the first week of filming preparations – meaning many of the cast and crew must isolate for 10 days.

Despite the majority of pros and celebs being double jabbed, there are now fears of further cases.

Read our Strictly Come Dancing live blog for the latest updates...

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    NINA SAYS SHE SHOULD DO STRICTLY ‘BEFORE SHE’S TOO OLD’

    Speaking of her reveal as the 11th Strictly contestant, Nina this morning said: “I think I should do this before I’m too old any more.

    “I think this is last year I’m ever wearing heels. I think I think there’s a lot happened in the last couple of years and I just want to grab life by the balls.”

    Addressing the outfits worn on the show, she said: ” I’ve always been a little bit of a tomboy, so this is going to be a bit of a struggle for me.

    “And everyone keeps talking about a lot of sequins and a lot of tanning, but it should be fun, I’m looking forward to it.”

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    EASTENDERS’ NINA WADIA BECOMES 11TH NAME TO JOIN STRICTLY LINE UP

    EastEnders star Nina Wadia is the 11th star to join the line-up of Strictly Come Dancing.

    The actress was unveiled on ITV’s Lorraine, and said: “I like dancing like no-one is watching so we just need to blindfold the judges.”

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    STRICTLY STAR AJ ODUDU REVEALS SHE NEARLY QUIT TV BECAUSE OF ABUSE OVER HER ‘DODGY ACCENT’

    STRICTLY’s AJ Odudu has revealed how she nearly quit TV for good after being branded “the black girl with the dodgy accent” left her traumatised.

    AJ, who endured constant racist slurs as a child growing up in Blackburn, was hit by a barrage of online hate following her TV debut on Big Brother’s Bit On The Side.

    The abuse, which focused on her Northern accent, was so intense that Channel 4 staff advised her to get elocution lessons to help “soften” her voice.

    AJ recalled: “It was brilliant but with that exposure comes a lot of pressure and a lot of criticism. I remember people tweeting, ‘Who is that black girl with that dodgy accent’ and, ‘Why does she sound like that?’ That made me feel so insecure (because) people were commenting on things I had no real control over.

    “And it didn’t help that someone internally said, ‘AJ, we think you should get some help with your voice. Maybe you can speak clearer and we could soften your accent’.”

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    ROSE AYLING-ELLIS JOINS CAST

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    INSIDE DRAGON’S DEN MILLIONAIRE SARA DAVIES’S DURHAM MANSION AS SHE SIGNS UP TO STRICTLY

    DRAGONS’ Den star Sara Davies is getting ready to swap the boardroom for the dancefloor.

    But when the businesswoman, 37, isn’t busy being a money-making entrepreneur, she enjoys a life of luxury at home with her husband Simon Davies and their children. Sara is a businesswoman who founded her craft supplier company, Crafter’s Companion, in 2005 while studying for a business degree at York University.

    It was her ground-breaking product called The Enveloper that she designed and marketed that put her on the map – selling over 8,000 in the first 24 hours of being debuted on shopping channel Ideal World.

    By the time she had graduated with her degree – with first-class honours no less – she had a business with a turn over of over half a million pounds.

    Sara is now worth a staggering £37M, and has the lifestyle and mansion to prove it.

    Read more here.

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    EASTENDERS’ ROSE AYLING-ELLIS TO MAKE HISTORY AS STRICTLY COME DANCING’S FIRST EVER DEAF CONTESTANT

    The historic announcement was made tonight on EastEnders' social media just after the latest episode of the BBC1 soap, which sees her play Frankie Lewis, who is also the show’s first deaf character.

    The Twitter post read: "We’re unbelievably excited to announce that our very own @RoseAylingEllis will be joining the cast of @bbcstrictly 2021! Take a look at our exclusive interview with @EmmaBarton and Rose. Good luck from all of us at #EastEnders, Rose!"

    Strictly's Twitter account added: "Making #Strictly 2021 her next big role. @BBCEastEnders actor Rose Ayling-Ellis joins our all-star cast!"

    It comes after Strictly became the first TV show to feature an all-female pairing, ex-boxer Nicola Adams and pro Katya Jones, in 2020.

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    EXPLAINED: WHO ARE THE STRICTLY PROFESSIONAL DANCERS?

    Gorka Marquez – Gorka joined Strictly back in 2016. A year later, the pro dancer made it to the final with partner Alexandra Burke.

    Graziano Di Prima – Graziano joined the Strictly crew in 2018. He made his debut with DJ Vick Hope, but left the competition in the fifth week.

    Janette Manrara – Janette first joined Strictly in 2013. She has been paired with the likes of Jake Wood, Peter Andre and Aston Merrygold over the years.

    Johannes Radebe – Johannes got his first celebrity pairing in 2019 with Coronation Street star Catherine Tyldesley.

    Karen Hauer – Karen is Strictly’s longest-serving female pro dancer, first hitting the dance floor in 2012.

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    EXPLAINED: WHEN DOES STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021 START?

    The BBC has not yet confirmed when Strictly Come Dancing 2021 will start.

    The 2020 series started in mid-October, a month later than usual due to the Covid pandemic – but it remains to be seen whether the new series will go back to the regular September start.

    The 2020 series ran for nine weeks instead of the usual 13.

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    NINA WADIA WOULD ‘VOTE FOR ROBERT WEBB’ AS SHE THINKS PEEP STAR SHOW ‘AMAZING’

    CBBC host Rhys Stephenson and former Bake Off winner John Whaite will also take to the dance floor in the BBC One series, with Whaite set to compete as part of the show’s first all-male pairing.

    Wadia said she has already picked her winner, adding: “I love Rob Webb.

    “I think he’s amazing and I’d want to vote for him.

    “I just think he’s an incredible performer.

    “And when I saw him do his Flashdance thing for Comic Relief, that was me done, thinking ‘No one can top that’.”

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    EXPLAINED: WHY IS GREG WISE DOING STRICTLY?

    Greg explained that he is honouring his late sister Claire, explaining: “My beautiful sister was a huge disco queen. She left our world almost exactly five years ago in a glitter ball coffin. This is for her.

    “My gorgeous Diva sis, who would have been insane with excitement that her little bro was doing this. I will channel her, as her bro can’t dance – but I’m thrilled to be dipping my toes, knees, hips and arms into this wonderful world, and hope to make her proud, and obviously make her laugh…”

    Read more here.

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    STRICTLY COME DANCING PROFESSIONALS AT WAR OVER WHO GETS SAME-SEX PAIRING

    MALE Strictly pros are enraged by the prospect of Bake Off star John Whaite being paired with newcomer Kai Widdrington – because at 6ft 2ins he’s the show’s tallest dancer.

    There’s been a scramble to be in the BBC1 contest’s all-male duo as they know their performances are likely to be the most closely watched of the upcoming series.

    There’s been an expectation that tall John, 32, would be paired with some of the pros including Aljaz Skorjanek, 31, Johannes Radebe, 34, and Graziano di Prima, 27, who are all around 6ft tall.

    A TV insider said: “Producers are keen to pair up John with the right dancer and that means ensuring he has someone of a similar height – and Kai fits the bills perfectly.

    “Kai also has experience of being in a same sex pairing as last year he was coupled with Big Brother star Brian Dowling on Ireland’s version of Strictly. But there’ll be disappointment felt, in particular, by Johannes and Graziano as two years ago they blazed a trail by performing the show’s first all-male dance routine on the show.”

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    NINA WADIA 25/1 TO WIN STRICTLY

    Nina Wadia is among the outsiders to be crowned as Strictly champion this year.

    The Eastenders actress has been installed as a 25/1 shot to emerge as the winner of the 2021 glitterball trophy.

    Tom Fletcher still leads the way as the 4/1 favourite, but he’s facing stiff competition from Tilly Ramsay who’s proving a popular bet at 6/1.

    Jessica O’Reilly of Ladbrokes said: “Unfortunately for Nina the odds suggest she may struggle on Strictly, but on the plus side she won’t have far to go between the Elstree studios.”

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    STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021: GORDON RAMSAY’S DAUGHTER TILLY JOINS LINE-UP

    STRICTLY Come Dancing have confirmed Gordon Ramsay’s daughter Tilly as the latest contestant for the 2021 series.

    The exciting announcement was made live on This Morning today, one year after 19-year-old Tilly was ruled out of the 2020 series because she broke her arm.

    A source revealed at the time that Tilly had been “excited” to compete on the BBC show, and her injury came as a “huge blow”.

    Appearing on This Morning today, the TikTok star, who has over nine million followers on the app, was surprised with a video message from her parents – where Gordon warned: “Don’t date those dancers!”

     

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    ACTOR JOINS STRICTLY COME DANCING LINE-UP IN TRIBUTE TO LATE SISTER

    Greg Wise has joined the line-up of Strictly Come Dancing in tribute to his late sister.

    The actor is best known for roles in Sense And Sensibility, in which he starred opposite his wife Dame Emma Thompson, Johnny English, Cranford and The Crown.

    Wise, 55, said he will take part in the show in tribute to his sister Clare, who died five years ago.

    He said: “My beautiful sister was a huge disco queen. She left our world almost exactly five years ago in a glitter ball coffin. This is for her. My gorgeous diva sis, who would have been insane with excitement that her little bro was doing this.

    “I will channel her, as her bro can’t dance – but I’m thrilled to be dipping my toes, knees, hips and arms into this wonderful world, and hope to make her proud, and obviously make her laugh.”

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    EXPLAINED: WHO IS STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021 STAR TILLY RAMSAY?

    Nineteen-year-old Tilly was born on November 8, 2001.

    Like her dad she is a TV chef best known for presenting the BBC cooking show Matilda and the Ramsay Bunch on CBBC alongside her family.

    She has made numerous television appearances including This Morning, Blue Peter, Master Chef Junior Friday Night Jazz and The Late Late Show with James Corden.

    Her parents are Gordon and Tana Ramsay, a cookery book author, and Gordon Ramsay, a celebrity chef.

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    MATT WILLIS REVEALS WIFE EMMA’S STRICTLY COME DANCING AMBITIONS

    Busted star Matt Willis has tipped McFly singer Tom Fletcher for success on Strictly Come Dancing as he revealed his wife Emma is keen to do the show.

    The musician said TV presenter Emma dreams of the couple taking part in the BBC dancing series together.

    Asked if he would like to join the line-up, he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I don’t know. You’d have to ask my wife.

    “She wants to do it so bad. I think it’s in the cards one day. She watches it and she can’t stop her feet from moving.

    “She wants us to go on it together and me and her be separate.”

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    EMMA WILLIS WILL NOT BE JOINING STRICTLY THIS YEAR SAYS HUSBAND

    Asked about rumours Emma Willis might be part of the cast this year, husband Matt replied: “It’s a spoiler but she’s not going on this year.”

    McFly star Fletcher, who is also an author, was the first star to be announced for the 2021 line-up and Willis said: “He’s one of my best mates, he did tell me about it.

    “I knew about it for a little while. I said go for it, it’s one of those shows that comes around and if you get asked, before long you’re not going to get asked.”

    Asked if he and Fletcher are good dancers, Willis said: “No, we’re terrible!

    “Me and Tom both went to theatre school together, we’ve known each other since we were kids, and we were both the terrible chubby kids at the back.”

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    NINA SAYS SHE SHOULD DO STRICTLY ‘BEFORE SHE’S TOO OLD’

    Speaking of her reveal as the 11th Strictly contestant, Nina said: “I think I should do this before I’m too old any more.

    “I think this is last year I’m ever wearing heels. I think I think there’s a lot happened in the last couple of years and I just want to grab life by the balls.”

    Addressing the outfits worn on the show, she said: ” I’ve always been a little bit of a tomboy, so this is going to be a bit of a struggle for me.

    “And everyone keeps talking about a lot of sequins and a lot of tanning, but it should be fun, I’m looking forward to it.”

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    EXPLAINED: WHAT IS THE STRICTLY CURSE?

    The “curse” is a phenomenon that hits celebrities and their dance partners during their time on Strictly Come Dancing.

    Due to the harsh schedules, sexy dance moves and close quarters with their partners, their off-screen romances sometimes suffer as a result.

    Stars who are said to have fallen victim to the curse over the years include Katya and her husband Neil Jones,  Jamie and Louise Redknapp, Karen and Kevin Clifton.

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    EASTENDERS STAR JOINS LINE-UP OF STRICTLY COME DANCING

    EastEnders star Nina Wadia is the 11th star to join the line-up of Strictly Come Dancing. The actress is best known for playing Zainab Masood in the BBC soap. She has also starred in Goodness Gracious Me and Open All Hours spin-off Still Open All Hours.

    She was unveiled on ITV’s Lorraine yesterday and said: “I’ve always danced like nobody’s watching, so if we blindfold the judges I could actually win Strictly 2021.”

    She added: “I think I should do this before I’m too old any more. I think this is last year I’m ever wearing heels. I think there’s a lot happened in the last couple of years and I just want to grab life by the balls.”

    Addressing the outfits worn on the show, she said: ” I’ve always been a little bit of a tomboy, so this is going to be a bit of a struggle for me.

    “And everyone keeps talking about a lot of sequins and a lot of tanning, but it should be fun, I’m looking forward to it.”

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    STRICTLY WAS ROCKED BY COVID CRISIS LAST YEAR

    This is not the first time Strictly has faced a Covid crisis.

    Despite all pros and celebs being made to isolate for a fortnight prior to filming, and being made to test twice weekly, boxer Nicola Adams and her partner Katya Jones were forced to leave in 2020 after the Russian pro dancer tested positive.

    Singer HRVY also caught the virus days before the launch show aired last October. Judge Motsi Mabuse was forced to self-isolate for two weeks after making an emergency trip back to Germany.

    Last night, a BBC spokesman declined to comment.

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    STRICTLY’S KATIE MCGLYNN IN COVID SCARE AFTER SHOW IS SHUT DOWN AS BEST FRIEND TESTS POSITIVE JUST DAYS AFTER SEEING HER 

    KATIE McGlynn was caught up in a Covid scare last week when her best friend tested positive – just days after seeing her.

    The 28-year-old enjoyed a series of nights out with Lee Bennett before he realised he was unwell and was forced to isolate. The news comes as the whole show has been shut down after pro dancer Nadiya Bychkova caught Covid.

    A source told The Sun: “Katie and Lee are joined at the hip and had been out just days before his positive test result. 

    “She was gutted when she found out he  had Covid. Of course she was really worried about him, but she knew it could put her place on the show in jeopardy.

    “She took a test and has been given the all clear – but it was a shock amid the chaos of the show just days before they had to shut down.”

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    STRICTLY’S COVID CRISIS

    Despite the majority of pros and celebs being double jabbed, there are now fears of further cases.

    A source told us: “This isn’t exactly the dream start. Obviously BBC bosses are panicking.

    “They are taking every caution to be Covid secure, and keep everyone safe, but can’t control everything. Nadiya tested positive during one of the first meet-ups, during the studio rig.

    “Thankfully none of the celebs have started training yet, but it still means anyone who came into contact with her has been told they must isolate.”

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    BBC ANNOUNCES 11TH STRICTLY CONTESTANT ON TWITTER

    Former EastEnders star Nina Wadia, who played Zainab Masood on the long running soap, is the latest name to join Strictly 2021.

    The official @bbcstroctly account tweeted: “She’s an actress, presenter and producer.

    “We couldn’t be happier to welcome Nina Wadia to #Strictly 2021! @Nina_Wadia.”

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    NINA SAYS SHE SHOULD DO STRICTLY 'BEFORE SHE'S TOO OLD'

    Speaking of her reveal as the 11th Strictly contestant, Nina this morning said: "I think I should do this before I'm too old any more.

    "I think this is last year I'm ever wearing heels. I think I think there's a lot happened in the last couple of years and I just want to grab life by the balls."

    Addressing the outfits worn on the show, she said: " I've always been a little bit of a tomboy, so this is going to be a bit of a struggle for me.

    "And everyone keeps talking about a lot of sequins and a lot of tanning, but it should be fun, I'm looking forward to it."

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