Strictly Come Dancing announces professional line-up for 2021

Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Oti Mabuse WILL return despite quitting rumours while Anton Du Beke continues his reign as longest-serving dancer as the pro line-up is revealed

Strictly Come Dancing has announced its professional line-up for the 2021 series with reigning double champion Oti Mabuse returning to the show.

The BBC has confirmed the 16 dancers who will hit the dance floor this Autumn, with fan favourites such as Anton Du Beke, Johannes Radebe and Dianne Buswell all back.

It comes after it was reported that BBC bosses were ‘worried’ that Oti, 30, would leave the show after landing a new judging job on ITV’s The Masked Dancer.

But it’s now clear that Oti will be back in the ballroom when the new series kicks off in the autumn after being crowned the champion of the 2020 show with Bill Bailey following her 2019 win with Kelvin Fletcher.

She’s back! Strictly Come Dancing has announced its professional line-up for the 2021 series with reigning double champion Oti Mabuse returning to the show (pictured in 2020)

While Anton, 54, is to continue his reign as Strictly Come Dancing’s longest-serving professional dancer by marking his 19th season on the show.    

Making up the female pros are Oti, Janette Manrara, Amy Dowden, Dianne Buswell, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova and Nancy Xu.

While Aljaž Škorjanec, Anton Du Beke, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe and Neil Jones make up the male pros. 

Sarah James, Executive Producer of BBC Studios said of the news: ‘We are so thrilled to be welcoming back our incredible line-up of professional dancers for 2021. 

Yay! The BBC has confirmed the 16 dancers who will hit the dance floor this Autumn, with fan favourites such as Anton Du Beke marking his 19th season on the show (pictured in 2020)


Fan favourites: Johannes Radebe and Dianne Buswell (L-R in 2020) will also be returning to the hit BBC One dance show

‘Their passion and dedication for Strictly shone through more than ever last year as they all sacrificed so much to deliver an unforgettable series during unprecedented and challenging times. 

‘With so much talent returning to the ballroom, the 2021 series promises more show-stopping choreography, memorable performances and world class dancing.’

Despite 16 pros being announced for the new series, the 2020 show saw just 12 celebrities take to the dance floor instead of the usual 15. 

Here come the girls! Making up the female pros are Amy Dowden, Oti, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova, Dianne Buswell, Janette Manrara, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones and Nancy Xu  (pictured L-R in 2020) 

Pros: Anton Du Beke, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Neil Jones, Aljaž Škorjanec, Giovanni Pernice and Johannes Radebe make up the male pros (pictured L-R in 2020) 

There are normally a number of reserve dancers who perform in the group dances and step in if another pro is unwell or injured. 

The 2020 series saw Nancy, Nadiya, Graziano and Neil act as reserve dancers, the three latter stars have previously had celebrity partners on the shows while Nancy, who joined in 2019, is yet to have a pairing. 

While reigning double champion Oti was paired with Bill, Janette with HRVY, Amy with JJ Chalmers, Dianne with Max George, Karen with Jamie Laing, Katya with Nicola Adams and Luba with Jason Bell.

Aljaž was paired with Clara Amfo on the 2020 series, Anton with Jacqui Smith, Giovanni with Ranvir Singh, Gorka with Maisie Smith and Johannes with Caroline Quentin.

No celebrities for the 2021 series have been announced yet although it was recently reported that Stacey Solomon had been approached to join the upcoming show.

Claims: It comes after it was reported that BBC bosses were ‘worried’ that Oti, 30, would leave the show after landing a new judging job on ITV’s The Masked Dancer (pictured in 2019)  


Two time winner! Oti has won the Glitterball Trophy twice, once with Kelvin Fletcher in December 2019 (right), and again with Bill Bailey in December 2020 (left)

Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Who are the pros?

ALJAŽ ŠKORJANEC

Joined the show: Series 11 (2013)

Celebrity Partners include: Alison Hammond, Helen George, Daisy Lowe, Viscountess Emma Weymouth and Clara Amfo

Best Result: Won with Abbey Clancy in 2013  

AMY DOWDEN

Joined the show: Series 15 (2017)

Celebrity Partners: Brian Conley, Danny John-Jules, Karim Zeroual and JJ Chalmers

Best Result: 2nd Place with Karim Zeroual in 2019 

ANTON DU BEKE

Joined the show: Series 1 (2004)

Celebrity Partners include: Ann Widdecombe, Nancy Dell’Olio, Judy Murray, Ruth Langsford and Jacqui Smith 

Best result: 2nd Place with Emma Barton in 2019 

DIANNE BUSWELL

Joined the show: Series 15 (2017)

Celebrity Partners: Rev Richard Coles, Joe Sugg, Max George and Dev Griffin

Best Result: 2nd Place with Joe Sugg in 2018 

GIOVANNI PERNICE

Joined the show: Series 13 (2015)

Celebrity Partners: Georgia May Foote, Laura Whitmore Debbie McGee, Faye Tozer, Michelle Visage and Ranvir Singh 

Best Results: 2nd Place with Georgia May Foote (2015), Debbie McGee (2017) and Faye Tozer (2018) 

GORKA MARQUEZ 

Joined the show: Series 14 (2016)

Celebrity Partners: Tameka Empson, Alexandra Burke, Katie Piper and Maisie Smith 

Best Result: 2nd Place With Alexandra Burke in 2017, he also made the final with Maisie in 2020  

GRAZIANO DI PRIMA  

Joined the show: Series 16 (2018)

Celebrity Partners: Vick Hope

Best Result: 12th Place with Vick Hope in 2018 

JANETTE MANRARA

Joined the show: Series 11 (2013) 

Celebrity Partners Include: Jake Wood, Peter Andre, HRVY and Aston Merrygold

Best Result: Making the final with HRVY in the 2020 series 

JOHANNES RADEBE 

Joined the show: Series 16 (2018)

Celebrity Partners: Catherine Tyldesley and Caroline Quentin

Best Result: 8th place with Caroline in 2020 

KAREN HAUER

Joined the show: Series 10 (2012)

Celebrity Partners: Nicky Byrne, Mark Wright, Simon Rimmer, Charles Venn, Chris Ramsey and Jamie Laing 

Best Results: Making the final with Jamie on the 2020 series

KATYA JONES 

Joined the show: Series 14 (2016)

Celebrity Partners include: Ed Balls, Seann Walsh, Mike Bushell and Nicola Adams 

Best Result: Won with Joe McFadden in 2017 

LUBA MUSHTUK

Joined the show: Series 16 (2018)

Celebrity Partner: James Cracknell and Jason Bell 

Best Result: 11th place with Jason Bell in 2020

NADIYA BYCHKOVA

Joined the show: Series 15 (2017)

Celebrity Partners: Davood Ghadami, Lee Ryan and David James

Best Result: 6th Place with Davood Ghadami in 2017 

NANCY XU 

Joined the show: Series 17 (2019)

Celebrity Partner: TBC

Best Result: TBC 

NEIL JONES 

Joined the show: Series 14 (2016)

Celebrity Partner: Alex Scott

Best Result: 5th Place with Alex Scott in 2019 

OTI MABUSE 

Joined the show: Series 13 (2015)

Celebrity Partners: Danny Mac, Anthony Ogogo, Graeme Swann, Jonnie Peacock, Kelvin Fletcher and Bill Bailey 

Best Result: Won with Kelvin in 2019 and was crowned the champion in 2020 with Bill

 

It was recently reported that BBC bosses were ‘worried’ that Oti would leave the show after landing a new judging job on ITV’s The Masked Dancer.

Yet Strictly is now said to be ‘delighted’ that Oti has decided to take part in the 2021 series.  

A source said: ‘There was genuine worry that she might be tempted elsewhere as she’s so in demand. But Oti has agreed to take part this year, at least, and the bosses are delighted. 

‘She’s one of the most sought-after talents in telly at the moment. She’s looking forward to taking part and hopefully getting her hands on the Glitterball trophy once again.’ 

2021 line-up? No celebrities for the 2021 series have been announced yet although it was recently reported that Stacey Solomon had been approached to join the upcoming show (pictured in October)  

Earlier this month, the dancer addressed the rumours during an appearance on  Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4.   

When asked by Steph McGovern what was ‘going on’, Oti said: ‘Do you know what, some of these conversations obviously I have never been a part of – they are above my pay grade.

‘I can’t say yes as to whether I’m going back or not. So, everybody will have to wait and see to find out what is going on. But it is nice to be spoken about…right?’

Steph then asked about the claims the bosses for both shows were ‘fighting over [her]’ to which Oti simply said: “I’m a little dot. These are big shows!”

Delight: Strictly is said to be ‘delighted’ that Oti has decided to take part in the 2021 series after bosses were reportedly  worried’ that she would leave the show after landing a new judging job on ITV’s The Masked Dancer (pictured after her win with Bill in December) 

It came after it was claimed that the reigning Strictly champion had not yet put pen-to-paper for the next series of the BBC dancing show, which is said to have left producers feeling ‘uneasy.’

A source told The Sun: ‘Oti has been inundated with offers. Her profile has really blown up since she joined Strictly and she has had ideas pitched from a number of major channels.

‘The BBC are now growing increasingly worried that her time on Strictly is numbered.’

The insider explained that on top of running her own dance school, Oti is now ‘batting off’ numerous TV offers, having presented on BBC Morning’s Live and Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4.

Thoughts: Strictly star Oti addressed rumours she will be leaving the show for The Masked Dancer earlier this month, as she claimed the decision ‘is above her pay grade’

‘Throw the commitment of The Masked Dancer into the mix and suddenly her year might look quite different, as Strictly is a big undertaking. Producers fear she’s outgrown the show,’ added the source.

It is widely known that professional dancers are all paid the same fee to appear on Strictly, no matter how high their public profile.

The wage cap is thought to have contributed to the reason a number of popular stars have quit the series in recent years, including AJ Pritchard, 26, and Kevin Clifton, 38.

MailOnline contacted Strictly Come Dancing and Oti Mabuse’s representatives for comment at the time. 

Strict: Strictly introduced an array of strict measures to ensure that the 2020 series could go ahead during the coronavirus crisis after it was shortened to just nine weeks (the pros pictured in 2020) 

Strictly introduced an array of strict measures to ensure that the 2020 series could go ahead during the coronavirus crisis after it was shortened to just nine weeks, 

Celebrity contestants and their professional partners ‘bubbled up’ and were tested regularly, with cast and crew told to isolate should they contract the virus.  

The professional dancers pre-recorded their group performances after isolating together in a hotel.  

The show’s annual trip to Blackpool was also cancelled with judge Bruno Tonioli unable to appear alongside his co-stars Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse due to travel concerns.

Amazing: Katya Jones was part of the show’s first-ever same-sex couple during the 2020 series, as she danced with boxer Nicola until they had to withdraw after she contracted coronavirus  (pictured in October) 

Tragic: Strictly bosses confirmed Nicola and Katya’s departure in a statement they posted on social media in November 

Elsewhere, Katya was part of the show’s first-ever same-sex couple during the 2020 series, as she danced with boxer Nicola until they had to withdraw after she contracted coronavirus.

Bill beat Maisie, HRVY and Jamie to the glitterball in December, with his professional partner Oti, who made history after becoming the first pro to win the accolade twice in a row.

The victory turned Oti into Strictly’s first ever back-to-back champion after she first won the show in 2019 with Kelvin Fletcher. 

She praised her celebrity partner for being ‘a friend, father figure and brother,’ after they beat HRVY, Maisie and Jamie in the final. 

Strictly Come Dancing returns later this year on BBC One. 

Bubble: Celebrity contestants and their professional partners ‘bubbled up’ and were tested regularly, with cast and crew told to isolate should they contract the virus 

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