Strictly

Your Definitive Guide To Strictly Come Dancing 2022

Here's everything to know about the action-packed series.

by Bustle UK
Updated: 
Originally Published: 
Kym Marsh on 'Strictly Come Dancing'
BBC/Guy Levy

Do you know your pasodoble from your foxtrot? If not, now is the time to learn as Strictly Come Dancing continues to dominate our screens. There are few finer pastimes in life than casting scathing and completely ill-informed judgement on the celebrities who enter telly’s most hallowed ballroom. Sure, the last time you performed a choreographed dance routine might’ve ended in a visit to A&E soundtracked by Britney Spears’ “Oops!...I Did It Again” back in 2009, but when Strictly comes around, we all transform into professional movers.

This year, the annual ballroom competition marked 100 years of the BBC with a special themed week in honour of the British Broadcasting Corporation. During the celebratory episode, each of the 2022 couples danced to a theme from an iconic BBC programme. With the show’s 20th season well underway, here’s everything to know about Strictly Come Dancing 2022.

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 Judges & Hosts

Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, and head judge Shirley Ballas all returned to offer their ballroom expertise on the panel alongside Anton Du Beke, who has permanently replaced Bruno Tonioli. To the delight of longtime fans, Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman also returned as hosts.

Despite announcing his departure from the series back in May, Tonioli is set to make a sensational return to the BBC ballroom. As per the Daily Mail, the former judge will reportedly star in the show’s 2022 Christmas special, but rather than showing off his dancing skills, he will instead put on a festive vocal performance. “Bruno loves to sing. He did an opera album called An Italian Romance back in 2016 and who knows, it might turn into a new career for him,” a source claimed to the outlet. Bustle has reached out to the BBC for comment on Tonioli’s rumoured return.

Meanwhile, the former Strictly Come Dancing pro, Joanne Clifton, joined the team as the permanent host of Strictly: It Takes Two’s Choreography Corner segment, with Rylan Clark and Janette Manrara leading the show. “To be a part of the It Takes Two team is an absolute dream come true and I look forward to seeing the Fab-U-Lous class of 2022 strut their stuff,” Clifton had said about the role before the start of the season.

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 Contestants

Kym Marsh

One of the first celebrity dancers to be announced this year was the actor and TV presenter, Kym Marsh. On Nov. 22, it was announced that Marsh had tested positive for Covid-19, and as a result, is not able to take part in Strictly Come Dancing on the weekend commencing Nov. 26. A BBC spokesperson confirmed that Marsh will have a pass to the following week, however, and should return to the competition if she is well enough to do so.

As per Metro, Marsh burst into the showbiz scene way back in 2001 when she won the reality TV competition series Popstars, forming the short-lived pop group Hear’Say. Recall the band’s debut solo single “Pure and Simple.” Marsh went on to join the cast of Coronation Street as Michelle Connor in 2006, before leaving the soap behind in 2019. She has also landed roles in The Syndicate, is a presenter of BBC’s Morning Live, and has been filming for the upcoming Waterloo Road reboot.

Ahead of her ballroom stint, Marsh told BBC Breakfast, “I'm nervous but I'm really looking forward to it.” She continued, “It's been a long time since I've been on stage, performing in that kind of way, so it's going to be really tricky, but I'm up for the challenge.”

Will Mellor

The actor, singer, and model, Will Mellor, first rose to fame while appearing on the long-running soap opera Hollyoaks as James Bolton between 1995 and 1998. Mellor later starred in the hugely-popular BBC comedy Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps as Gaz Wilkinson from 2001 to 2011. The Strictly contestant has also appeared in Coronation Street as Harvey Gaskell and has released singles including “When I Need You” — which reached a peak of number five in the UK.

Commenting on his Strictly journey, Mellor said he is “chuffed to be taking part” in the new series. “I lost my dad in 2020 and from then I just thought, I've just got to grab life. I've got to create new memories.”

Richie Anderson

Richie Anderson is best known for his work as a TV and radio personality, having appeared on BBC Radio 2 and shows including The Weakest Link and The One Show. Anderson has also previously covered the Eurovision Song Contest and The Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Prior to his work in broadcasting, the television host was a Sunday League football player for Coombs Wood F.C.

Strictly is the ultimate feel-good show, as soon as I hear that iconic theme tune it's just pure escapism,” Anderson said ahead of his appearance on the show.

Anderson is competing in the new series as part of a same-sex couple, becoming the third-ever celebrity contestant to do so after Nicola Adams and John Whaite.

However, after three weeks on the series, he was eliminated in a dance-off against Fleur East. The television host continues to speak of the show fondly, he said: “I totally accept the result on Sunday night. I feel so lucky I got to dance, and I’ve met some incredible people.”

Kaye Adams

Kaye Adams is well known for her long career in broadcasting. Prior to her 2022 Strictly Come Dancing stint, Adams has appeared on BBC Radio Scotland, Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, Scottish Women, and perhaps most notably, ITV’s Loose Women.

On August 5, Adams revealed to her Loose Women co-hosts, and viewers watching at home, that she was officially joining this year’s Strictly lineup. “It’s quite funny because I’m terrified, I’m absolutely terrified,” she revealed on the show.

In a BBC statement, Adams also jokingly asked fans to “pray for me.” She added, “I said I wanted to make the last year of my fifties memorable and I can't think of a better way of doing it than showing the world my two left feet.”

Unfortunately, Adams was the first contestant to get eliminated from the show. She lost to Matt Goss after performing the Charleston, with her partner Kai Widdrington.

Jayde Adams

Comedian Jayde Adams rose to fame following acting and presenting gigs including Snackmasters, Crazy Delicious, and Alma's Not Normal. In 2020, Adams also released her very own Amazon Prime special and fronts a popular Edinburgh comedy show.

“I cannot begin to express the emotions I am feeling,” Adams said in a statement. “I feel like I'm watching myself in a dream and I can't believe I've manifested this. Holding this in has been torture for me!”

The comedian was axed from the dancing show on Oct. 23 following a dance-off with Molly Rainford. Although after her elimination, Adams proudly said, “This has been the best thing I have ever done in my life, and I will carry it to my grave.”

Ellie Simmonds

Paralympian and broadcaster Ellie Simmonds is best known for her gold medal-winning appearances at the Beijing, London, and Rio Paralympic Games. In 2009, Simmonds became the youngest person ever to be awarded an MBE, and, in 2013, she was awarded an OBE for services to Paralympic sport.

“I’m counting down the minutes until it starts; learning to dance, meeting my partner, and everyone else involved in the show. Plus wearing the sequins and all that, It’s going to be a blast,” Simmonds said in a statement ahead of her Strictly stint.

Sadly, on Nov. 6, Simmonds became the sixth celebrity to be eliminated from the show after a dance-off with Molly Rainford.

Tyler West

Radio host Tyler West is best known for his KISS FM presenting gig, and has previously appeared on CBBC, MTV News, HQ Trivia, and hosted the BAFTA Awards Red Carpet Live Show.

Speaking of his appearance on the hit BBC series, West said he is “so gassed” to be part of this year’s lineup. “It’s going to be one crazy incredible journey which will no doubt be SO far outside my comfort zone.” He continued, “It’s a show that means so much to me and my family and I can’t wait to seriously shake a leg on that shiny dance floor… with a side of sequins.”

On Nov. 20, West became the eighth star to exit Strictly, after losing out in the dance-off against Molly Rainford and Carlos Gu.

Matt Goss

Known as one-third of ‘80s boyband Bros, Matt Goss has enjoyed a successful career in music spanning several decades. More recently, Goss won a BAFTA and National Television award for the 2018 documentary After the Screaming Stops.

Speaking ahead of his appearance on the show, Goss said he is “extremely nervous and excited.” He added: “I'm optimistic because I'm very supple from the knees down.”

In the fourth week of the show, Goss was eliminated after a dance-off against Kym Marsh, where the judges unanimously saved the actor.

Ellie Taylor

Actor and comedian Ellie Taylor is a regular face on the comedy panel show circuit, having made many appearances on hit programmes including BBC’s Mock The Week and The Mash Report. Taylor also stars in the award-winning Apple TV comedy Ted Lasso, has penned and performed five stand-up comedy shows, and also released her best-selling debut book, My Child And Other Mistakes, in 2021.

“Well, cover me in fake tan and roll me in sequins! I'm absolutely over the moon to be a part of Strictly 2022,” Taylor said in a statement. “I've watched the show for years, so to be able to take to the dance floor is a dream come true, for both me and mum, who is a Strictly superfan!”

Molly Rainford

In 2012, actor and singer Molly Rainford became the youngest finalist in Britain’s Got Talent history. After graduating from the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School, Rainford went on to star in the hit CBBC show Nova Jones and released two EPs — one of which included the single “Commitment” that has earned more than two million streams as of writing.

“I'm so excited to be part of Strictly Come Dancing, I've watched it for years and can't wait to meet the pros and the others taking part! I can't wait to learn the moves and get dancing,” Rainford said of her ballroom stint.

Tony Adams

Considered a football legend by many, former Arsenal player Tony Adams has swapped the grass turf for the Strictly ballroom. The athlete, who was awarded an MBE in 1999, played for Arsenal for an impressive 19 years, and represented England for 17 of those years.

Of his Strictly appearance, Adams said: “To say I’m excited is an understatement. The lure of the sequins and the call of the salsa has me swapping my battered old football boots for a set of Strictly soft shoes.”

Showing off his sense of humour, he added: “I can’t wait to meet my partner — God help her — and start the dancing.”

Unfortunately, owing to a hamstring injury, Adams withdrew from the competition on November 13. In an interview he said, “It's been getting tough the past couple of weeks I had a bit of a hammy last week, went out and danced, then on Thursday pointing my toe down, bit of retraction, that's not done in football, you know, point your toe — I kind of went ‘ahh!’ so we didn't do anything Friday.”

Fleur East

After finishing in second place on the 2014 series of ITV’s The X Factor, Fleur East went on to enjoy chart success with her debut single “Sax.” Two album releases later followed, as did a 2018 appearance on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. East is also currently the host of the Hits Radio Breakfast Show, and speaking ahead of her Strictly debut, the singer and presenter said she is “excited to learn new skills.”

She continued in a statement: “Unfortunately my dad is no longer with us, but I know he will be watching over the ballroom in spirit. I'm doing this to make him and my family proud, and can't wait to get my dancing shoes on.”

Hamza Yassin

Television presenter Hamza Yassin is best known as being the host of BBC’s Animal Park. Some of his other TV gigs include Countryfile, on which he often appears as a guest presenter. In a statement, Yassin said he was “over the moon” to be part of this year’s line-up.

“I've been watching it for years and I can't believe I'll actually be there dancing live in front of the British public,” Yassin added. “My dance skills are currently at the level of 1970s disco vibe, but I'm ready to work hard and will be shaking it every time I get the chance — shake it 'til you make it!”

James Bye

Actor James Bye has played the character of Martin Fowler on the long-running soap Eastenders since 2014. His portrayal has earned him several nominations at the British Soap Awards — including a win for Best Storyline in 2016.

Away from Albert Square, Bye has also previously appeared in the BBC’s The Great Train Robbery, and films such as Hummingbird, The Hooligan Factory, and Cemetery Junction.

“I’m not known for my shimmy or my twinkle toes — in fact, my kids regularly laugh at my dad dancing, but it’s an honour to be asked and I’m going to give it my best shot,” Bye said ahead of his Strictly appearance. “There are some huge dance shoes to fill and it’s truly exciting to follow in the footsteps of some amazing EastEnders talent. I’d love to do everyone proud.”

Bye was voted off Strictly after losing out in the dance-off on Halloween.

Helen Skelton

Best known for her presenting work on BBC’s Blue Peter and Countryfile. Broadcaster Skelton is a familiar face — and voice — to many. The 39-year-old was recently announced as Laura Whitmore’s replacement on Radio 5 Live, taking over the Love Island host’s morning show slot.

Skelton’s participation in this year’s Strictly was announced by the show’s co-host Claudia Winkleman during her Saturday morning show on BBC Radio 2.

Of completing this year’s line-up, Skelton, who memorably took part in the 2012 Strictly Christmas Special, said: “I’m really excited to get stuck into a fun adventure. My family and friends have always loved the show and can’t wait for me to get started.”

Strictly Come Dancing Schedule Shake-Up

The BBC has announced that Strictly will vacate its prime time Saturday night slot during the show’s Musicals Week in order for the BBC to screen a FIFA World Cup match instead.

Musicals Week coincides with one of the ‘Round of 16’ games from the World Cup that will screen at 7 p.m on Saturday, Dec. 3. In order to accommodate the football match, the Strictly quarter-final episode will now be broadcast live at 8 p.m on Friday, Dec. 2. However, a new slot for Sunday's results show is yet to be announced. Many viewers have commented on the schedule shake-up, with some even asking why the football can’t be moved to another channel, instead.

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