Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Olympic hero Adam Peaty and Loose Women’s Judi Love join the line-up

  • Adam and Judi join Rose Ayling-Ellis, Nina Wadia, Greg Wise, Tilly Ramsay, Katie McGlynn, Dan Walker and Sara Davies
  • Tom Fletcher, Robert Webb, AJ Odudu, Rhys Stephenson, and John Whaite also form the line-up  

Olympic swimmer Adam Peaty MBE and Loose Women panellist Judi Love have joined the star-studded Strictly Come Dancing line-up. 

The pair were both unveiled on Friday and become the 13th and 14th contestants to join the show.   

Adam was announced first as he appeared on BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat and admitted he’s ‘bricking it’, despite being used to performing under intense pressure.  


Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Olympic hero Adam Peaty and Loose Women’s Judi Love have joined the line-up after being unveiled as the 13th and 14th contestant on Friday 

Wow: The Olympian has just returned from the Tokyo 2020 games, where he made history by becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title

Adam has just returned from the Tokyo 2020 games, where he made history by becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title, after claiming gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics and Tokyo 2020 in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke.

Now the swimmer, 26, is taking on a new challenge and is hoping his competitive nature will serve him well on the dancefloor.   

Adam said in a statement: ‘I think this will come as a surprise to a lot of people, but I’m so excited to finally share the news that I’ll be joining Strictly this year. 

New contestant: Judi Love will appear on this year’s series of Strictly 

‘I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool. I’m hoping my competitive nature is going to compensate for my dancing abilities!’

Speaking on Newsbeat he then admitted he was ‘bricking it’.

He said: ‘I’ve swam for seven years and I’ve gone through the constant cycle of championship, o back to training, go back to the drawing board, another championship… but I’ve never been truly uncomfortable. 

‘This is going to be very interesting, I’m going to be very uncomfortable!

‘The best way about this way and this path is that if I take too much time out of physical training, I get fat, I get big, I have too much muscle on, whereas Strictly is going to keep me fit, it’s a change of stimulus. I’m going to do something I’ve never done before, and hopefully have a lot of fun.’

He then joked that he may not go back to swimming, depending on how good he is at dancing.

He added: ‘I think this will come as a surprise to a lot of people, but I’m so excited to finally share the news that I’ll be joining Strictly this year. I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool. I’m hoping my competitive nature is going to compensate for my dancing abilities!’ 

He added that ‘very few’ people knew about his signing, including his mum, and that Strictly will form part of his break from swimming.

Meanwhile Judi  

It comes after news EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis was unveiled as the 12th Strictly contestant, and is set to make history as the first deaf contestant to take part in Strictly Come Dancing. 

The soap has scored two of their stars to join the upcoming series, with Rose being announced on Thursday night- hours after her former co-star Nina Wadia was revealed as the 11th celebrity to be taking part in the dance competition.

The actress, 30, who plays Frankie Lewis, said she hopes by taking part in Strictly she will ‘break down barriers’ for the deaf community. 

Bring it on: EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis will make history as the first deaf contestant to take part in Strictly Come Dancing

‘To be the first deaf contestant on Strictly Come Dancing is sooooo exciting.. and a little bit scary,’ Rose said. 

‘It is the hardest secret I have ever had to keep so it feels amazing to finally have this out in the open. 

‘I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers. But I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill and even better I get to learn whilst wearing beautiful dresses made especially for me.’

Twinkle toes: The star, who plays Frankie Lewis on the soap, was announced as the 12th celebrity to join the line-up for the new series on Thursday night

The news was first announced on EastEnders’ Twitter page. The post said: ‘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!’ 

Rose is the first ever deaf actor to play a deaf character on the soap. 

She has previously appeared in various stage productions, and her other TV credits include Summer of Rockets and Casualty. Rose use British Sign Language (BSL). 

Raising awareness: Rose is the first ever deaf actor to play a deaf character on the soap (pictured with Dani Dyer)

Woo” The news was first announced on EastEnders’ Twitter page: ‘We’re unbelievably excited to announce that our very own @RoseAylingEllis will be joining the cast of @bbcstrictly 2021’

Jonnie Peacock was the first visibly disabled person to compete on Strictly in 2017. 

Will Bayley, JJ Chalmers and Lauren Steadman have also starred in the show in the following years and raised awareness for disabilities. 

Earlier on Thursday, Rose’s co-star Nina was announced as the 11th celebrity contestant to join the line-up.  

Groundbreaking: Jonnie Peacock was the first visibly disabled person to compete on Strictly in 2017


Skilled: JJ Chalmers (left)  and Lauren Steadman (right) have also starred in the show in the following years and raised awareness for disabilities

The EastEnders actress, 52, was unveiled during Lorraine and admitted the only way she would stand a chance of winning the show is if she ‘blindfolded the judges’. 

Speaking to stand-in host Christine Lampard, the mother-of-two admitted: ‘I am so scared. I like dancing like no one’s watching, so we just need to blindfold the judges and I’m going to win.

‘I think I should do this before I’m too old and can’t walk anymore. I just want to grab life by the horns and just enjoy it.’ 

Double trouble: It comes after EastEnders’ Nina Wadia was announced as the 11th star to join the show

Cheeky: The actress, 52, was unveiled during Thursday’s episode of Lorraine and admitted the only way she would stand a chance of winning the show is if she ‘blindfolded the judges’

One to watch: Nina is best known for playing Zainab Masood in EastEnders , where she won Best Onscreen Partnership and Best Comedy at the British Soap Awards

Talented: The actress also had starring roles in Goodness Gracious Me (pictured) 

Nina is best known for playing Zainab Masood in EastEnders, where she won Best Onscreen Partnership and Best Comedy at the British Soap Awards, before leaving the soap in 2013.

The actress also had starring roles in Goodness Gracious Me and the Open All Hours spin-off Still Open All Hours.   

Meanwhile Sense and Sensibility actor Greg Wise, 55, revealed he finally decided to sign up to Strictly to honour the five year anniversary of his sister Clare’s death from cancer. 

Speaking about his motivation, Greg – who is married to Emma Thompson – explained: ‘Clare was a huge disco diva and we sent her out of this life in a disco ball coffin to banging 80s music.’

New contestant: Emma Thompson’s husband Greg Wise signed up to Strictly in honour of his late sister who loved the show so much she was buried in a glitterball coffin

He continued: ‘She’s prodding me massively to do it. Clare will enjoy watching her little brother do it. She’ll be sitting on my left or right shoulder depending on how well I’m doing 

Clare was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and started a witty and heartfelt blog detailing her battle with the disease. 

She was declared cancer-free in 2014, but in 2015 the disease dug into her bones and she was told it was incurable. There were tumours in her arms, ribs, spine and skull. 

Greg cancelled a family holiday in Greece and moved into his sister Clare’s London flat in the final three months of her life, in order to be her full-time carer, before her death in 2016 aged 51.  

Tragic: Clare was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, was declared cancer-free in 2014, but in 2015 the disease dug into her bones and she was told it was incurable (pictured in 2013)

Cute couple: Greg added that his wife Emma Thompson was ‘stupidly excited’ that he would be appearing on the show (pictured in 2020) 

One to watch: Greg is an actor known for his various film, television and theatre roles, including The Crown (pictured) Cranford and his breakout role in Sense and Sensibility

Greg is an actor known for his various film, television and theatre roles, including The Crown, Cranford, Walking on Sunshine and his breakout role in Sense and Sensibility.  

Also joining the line-up is Matilda ‘Tilly’ Ramsay. The CBBC presenter – who is the daughter of chef Gordon Ramsay – was unveiled during Wednesday’s episode of This Morning and her famous father also made a cameo as he recorded a clip to show to her.

In the video, Gordon, 54, cheekily warned Tilly, 19, not to date any of the dancers, while Tilly admitted she was ‘terrified’ of the challenge that lies ahead.    

Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Gordon Ramsay’s daughter Tilly, 19, was the NINTH contestant announced – as her dad warned her not to date any of the dancers!

Tilly revealed she’ll be fitting in her appearance on the show around her studies, as she starts university in September, but said she’s ‘excited for the challenge’ of making it all work. 

Speaking on the show, Tilly said of the show: ‘It’s slightly terrifying. Obviously my mum and dad knew. 

‘I’ve tried dancing when I was younger, ballet and stuff, but I wasn’t very good so I moved to football camp. 

‘Remembering choreography terrifies me. I’m looking forward to the glitz and the glamour, and learning something new – that’s always fun.’ 

Proud parent: The CBBC presenter – who is the daughter of chef Gordon Ramsay – was unveiled during Wednesday’s episode of This Morning (pictured together in a throwback) 

Katie McGlynn and Dan Walker will also put on their dancing shoes. 

The former Corrie star, 28, and journalist, 44, were announced as being the seventh and eighth stars set to compete on the hit show during Tuesday’s BBC Breakfast.

They will join Dragons’ Den star Sara Davies, Rhys Stephenson, AJ Odudu, GBBO’s John Whaite, Robert Webb and Tom Fletcher for the new series. 

John will also make history as he will form part of the show’s first ever all-male pairing.  


Joining the show! Katie McGlynn (pictured) and Dan Walker were confirmed as celebrity contestants on the 2021 Strictly Come Dancing line-up on Tuesday 

Tragic: Katie is best known for her role as Sinead Tinker in Corrie, for which she was BAFTA nominated and won a National Television Award for Best Serial Drama Performance in 2020

Joining the line-up! Sara Davies was revealed as the sixth contestant set to compete in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing on Monday

From the boardroom to the ballroom! The Dragons’ Den star, 37, (pictured on the show) admitted she’s not too confident about her dancing skills but is excited for the challenge 

Keep dancing! CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson was recently announced as the fifth star on the line-up

Making history: Great British Bake Off winner John will be one-half of the show’s first all-male partnership


Line-up: It comes after the first three names have been announced for Strictly Come Dancing 2021 [pictured McFly’s Tom Fletcher (L) and presenter AJ Odudu (R)]

Starring role: Peep Show actor Robert Webb is also taking to the floor 

The veteran dance show was famously disrupted in 2020 thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

But it seems things are back to normal in 2021 – apart from one or two factors still deemed too tricky to navigate amid the global health crisis.

Show boss Sarah James told The Mirror: ‘We’re so thrilled that Strictly will be returning for a full-length series this year, and know how much viewers are looking forward to getting their full Strictly fix and seeing the return of much-loved specials. 

‘We are all so sad that we won’t be able to get to Blackpool this year but can’t wait to be back dancing at the one and only Blackpool Tower Ballroom in the future.’

The Blackpool episode ordinarily takes place near the end of the series, but was axed last year with restrictions throwing up logistical difficulties on the production. 

STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021: WHO ARE THE CONTESTANTS?

TOM FLETCHER

Age: 36

Profession: McFly musician

Tom says: ‘I’m so pleased the news is out it’s been so hard keeping it secret. Equal parts excited and terrified.’

Fun fact: Tom’s McFly bandmate Harry Judd won Strictly Come Dancing in 2011. Tom’s wife Giovanna Fletcher is the reigning champion of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

 Age: 48

Profession: Actor and comedian

Robert says: ‘It’s very exciting but with a slight undertone of quivering terror.’

Fun Fact: Robert squeezed into a shiny leotard to take the title of Let’s Dance For Comic Relief in 2009, performing What A Feeling from ’80s film Flashdance, beating the likes of Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness to the title. 

RHYS STEPHENSON  

Age: 27

Profession: CBBC presenter  

Rhys says: ‘I have dreamt about being on this show, and I know for a fact that it is going to exceed every expectation’

Fun fact: Rhys has been an actor since the age of ten, performing alongside Matt Smith and Hugh Bonneville. 

 KATIE MCGLYNN

 Age: 28

Profession: Actress

Katie says: ‘I’m really not a dancer, but I’m so excited to learn a new skill on this crazy journey and cannot wait to slip into some sequins along the way.’

Fun fact: Katie, who played Sinead Tinker in Corrie, won a NTA for Best Serial Drama Performance in 2020. 

TILLY RAMSAY

Age: 19

Profession: CBBC presenter

Tilly says: ’I’m going to put my heart and soul into this and can’t wait to get my dancing shoes on!’

Fun fact: Tilly’s father is celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and the pair often star in dancing TikTok videos.

NINA WADIA  

Age: 52

Profession: Actress

Nina says: ‘I think I should do this before I’m too old and can’t walk anymore. I just want to grab life by the horns and just enjoy it’

Fun fact: Nina is a JDRF Ambassador and was awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List 

AJ ODUDU

Age: 33

Profession: TV presenter

 AJ says: ‘I think it’s going to be really challenging. I can’t wait for the sequins, the wigs, the glitz and the glamour.’

Fun Fact: AJ has appeared as a panelist on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two in the past, too.

JOHN WHAITE

Age: 33

Profession: Great British Bake Off Winner and TV chef

 John says: ‘I’m so grateful, excited, and nervous to be joining the Strictly 2021 family… I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth’

Fun Fact: John is set tp be part of the first ever all-male partnering – the first in 17 years of the show

SARA DAVIES 

Age: 37  

Profession:  Businesswoman

Sara says: ‘I’m really nervous because so far the producers keep asking me if I can dance… Truth be told – I haven’t got a clue! I’ve not danced since I did ballet lessons when I was little.’

Fun fact: Sara was the youngest ever dragon on BBC show Dragons’ Den. 

DAN WALKER

Age: 44 

Profession: Journalist

Dan says: ‘I’m enjoying the experience when it starts of learning to dance. I’ll be honest I’m not making room on any shelves in my house for the glitterball.’

Fun fact: Dan recently quit Football Focus after 12 years at the helm and has been covering Tokyo Olympics.

 GREG WISE

Age: 55

Profession: Actor

Greg says: ‘It’s about being out there and exposing yourself as someone who can’t dance, and learning.’

Fun fact: Greg is married to the actress Emma Thompson who he met while filming Sense and Sensibility.       

ROSE AYLING-ELLIS

Age: 30

Profession: Actress

Rose says: ‘I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers. I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill’

 Fun fact: Rose will make history as Strictly’s first deaf contestant 

 

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