Strictly Come Dancing 2022 contestants: Who's taking part in the 20th series?

We now know the identities of the 15 celebrities set to step out of their comfort zones and onto the dancefloor for the 20th series of Strictly Come Dancing. Who's your favourite?

By Alex Fletcher Published: 23 September 2022 - 8.50pm
BBC Strictly 2022 celebrity cast

It hardly seems like a few months since Rose Alying-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice were lifting the glitterball at the end of one of the most memorable, and certainly the most emotional, series of Strictly Come Dancing yet, but already a new crop of celebrities are getting ready to follow in her deft footsteps for the 20th series of the BBC entertainment fixture.

This year's celebrity contestants include pop stars, soap stars, sporting legends, stand-up comedians and TV and radio presenters, most of whom will be stepping out of their comfort zone when they step onto the Strictly dancefloor in September.

Discover Strictly's Class of 2022...

Strictly Come Dancing 2022: All you need to know

Meet this year's professional dancers

Strictly 2022: This year's 15 couples revealed

Strictly Come Dancing 2022 confirmed contestants

Helen Skelton

Helen Skelton BBC

Professional dance partner: Gorka Márquez

Odds to win (as of 23 September): 7/2 2nd favourite

The 15th and final celebrity contestant to be confirmed for the 20th series of Strictly Come Dancing is TV and radio presenter Helen Skelton.

Helen started her TV career in children's television, presenting Newsround before spending five years on the Blue Peter team. During this time, the fearless Cumbrian took on a number of daring challenges including competing in the Namibia Ultra Marathon, cycling to the South Pole and kayaking more than 2000 miles down the Amazon river.

Since leaving Blue Peter in 2013, Helen has appeared on Countryfile, presented consumer show Holiday Hit Squad and worked on sporting events for the BBC including the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

She already has Strictly experience, having come second on the show's 2012 Christmas special. As a qualified tap dance teacher, she'll be hoping to translate her hoofing skills to Latin and ballroom this autumn.

“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," she said.

James Bye

James Bye BBC

Professional dance partner: Amy Dowden

Odds to win: 25/1

James Bye - otherwise known as EastEnders' Martin Fowler - is the 14th celebrity confirmed for Strictly 2022.

James has played troubled Martin since 2014, and has been nominated for several British Soap awards, winning one for Best Storyline in 2016.

"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," he said.

"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.”

Hamza Yassin

Hamza Yassin

Professional Dance partner: Jowita Przystal

Odds to win: 30/1

Wildlife cameraman and presenter Hamza Yassin is the 13th confirmed celebrity for Strictly 2022.

Hamza made his TV debut as Ranger Hamza on CBeebies show Let's Go for a Walk, before joining the Animal Park team in 2021.

He has also brought the flora and fauna of his native Scotland to the small screen, first in Scotland: My Life in the Wild, before introducing celebrities such as Martin Clunes and Richard Coles to the wildlife of the country in Scotland: Escape to the Wilderness.

Away from the camera, Hamza has also participated in the Highland Games!

“I am absolutely over the moon to be joining Strictly 2022. Never in a million years did I think I’d be on such a cool show," he said.

"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.

"My dance skills are currently at the level of ‘1970’s 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!”

Fleur East

Fleur East BBC

Professional dance partner: Vito Coppola

Odds to win: 3/1 favourite

Singer and presenter Fleur East is the 12th celebrity to be confirmed for this year's Strictly Come Dancing. 

Fleur was runner-up in the 2014 series of The X Factor, nine years after she'd reached the live shows of the ITV series as part of girl group Addictiv Ladies. Her semi-final performance of the Uptown Funk became the first track by an X-Factor artist to reach No.1 in the iTunes chart.

In November 2018 Fleur appeared in I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, finishing in fourth place behind winner Harry Redknapp. On her return from Australia she released her first single in four years and in 2019 became the co-host of the Hits Radio Breakfast Show.

“I’m equally nervous and thrilled to be part of this year’s Strictly line up. I’m excited to learn new skills and I want to soak up every moment of this magical experience," she said, before sharing a very personal reason for stepping on to the dancefloor.

"It’s such an honour to be on the show after years of watching it with my Father who loved it so much. 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!”

Tony Adams

Tony Adams BBC

Professional dance partner: Katya Jones

Odds to win: 40/1

For many years the first name on the Arsenal team sheet, Tony Adams rounded off the first 11 confirmed celebrity contestants for Strictly 2022.

One-club man Adams played for the Gunners for 19 years before retiring in 2002 with 674 appearances and 49 goals to his name. He won four top-flight titles, three FA Cups, two league cups and a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup with the club, which he captained from the age of 21 until his retirement 14 years later. 

Adams also won 66 caps for England and captained his country on 15 occasions.

“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," he joked.

"I am absolutely thrilled to be giving it my all on this year’s 20th anniversary of Strictly Come Dancing. I can’t wait to meet my partner - god help her - and start the dancing.”

Molly Rainford

Molly Rainford BBC

Professional dance partner: Carlos Gu

Odds to win: 12/1

Singer and actress Molly Rainford is no stranger to Saturday night TV stardom - in 2012, aged just 11, she became the youngest ever finalist in Britain's Got Talent, blowing the judges away with her performance of One Night Only before finishing in sixth place in the grand finale.

Since her BGT success, Molly has released a series of albums and has become a familiar face on CBBC, presenting Friday Download and appearing as Chloe in the channel's sitcom Millie Inbetween before taking on the title role of the intergalactic pop star in the series Nova Jones.

“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," she said.

"I can't wait to learn the moves and get dancing!” 

Ellie Taylor

Ellie Taylor BBC

Professional dance partner: Johannes Radebe

Odds to win: 22/1

Comedian and actor Ellie Taylor is the latest celebrity to be confirmed for Strictly 2022.

Former model Ellie began doing stand-up comedy in her 20s and in 2011 was a contestant on ITV comedy showcase Show Me the Funny before appearing on panel shows including 8 Out of 10 Cats, Mock the Week and QI. She has hosted Live at the Apollo, played Gloria in ITV2 comedy series Plebs and co-presented Channel 4's Great Pottery Thrown Down.

In 2021 her first book, My Child and Other Mistakes, became a Sunday Times bestseller.

“Well, cover me in fake tan and roll me in sequins! I'm absolutely over the moon to be a part of Strictly 2022," she said.

"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 super-fan. At the moment I'm focusing on the excitement and glitter and choosing to ignore the fact that I have the dancing ability of a newly born giraffe. Bring it on!"

Matt Goss

Matt Goss BBC

Professional dance partner: Nadiya Bychkova 

Odds to win: 7/1

Matt Goss, lead singer of 80s boy band Bros, is the eighth confirmed contestant for Strictly 2022. 

Matt shot to fame as one third of the When Will I Be Famous? trio alongside twin Luke and Craig Logan. Their debut album, Push, went quadruple platinum in the UK and stayed in the album top 10 for 54 weeks.

After the band split up in 1992 Matt enjoyed a successful solo career and a long residency on the Las Vegas strip, before reuniting with Luke in 2017 for a one-off show at London's O2 Arena. The trials and tribulations of the reunion were chronicled in the award-winning documentary Bros: After the Screaming Stops.  

“I’m excited, I’m nervous. You have the conversation and then you go about your day and you think, ‘I’ve got to dance’, he told ITV's This Morning.

"I’m eating everything that’s favourable to Spandex. I’ve got to make sure it’s alright, I’m excited.

“I’ve been almost reclusive. I come in [to the country], I work and go back to America. I just thought, ‘You know what, it’s time for me to come home, just do something completely out of my comfort zone'

"I’m quite shy off stage. I just have to face all those demons and just learn.”

Tyler West

Tyler West BBC

Professional dance partner: Dianne Buswell 

Odds to win: 10/1

TV presenter, radio host and DJ Tyler West is the seventh confirmed celebrity contestant for Strictly 2022.

Tyler is best known for hosting the weekday afternoon show on KISS FM, but started his broadcasting career on CBBC and last year began co-hosting BBC Three series Flat Out Fabulous as well as The MTV Movie Show.

“I am so gassed to be joining the Strictly family! As I started writing this I already got cramp," he joked.

"It’s going to be one crazy incredible journey which will no doubt be so far outside my comfort zone. 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.”

Ellie Simmonds

Ellie Simmonds BBC

Professional dance partner: Nikita Kizmin 

Odds to win: 9/1

Paralympic swimming champion Ellie Simmonds has become the latest celebrity contestant to be confirmed for Strictly 2022.

Ellie won the first of her five gold medals at the 2008 Beijing games where, as the youngest British athlete aged just 13, she brought home the 100m and 400m freestyle titles. She added two more golds at the London 2012 games and another in Rio 2016.

In 2009 Ellie became the youngest ever recipient of an MBE, and became an OBE in 2013.

After retiring from the pool in 2020, she has gone on to present for BBC Sport as well as making documentaries such as Ellie Simmonds: A World Without Dwarfism? for BBC One.

"To be asked to be part of the Strictly family is just so exciting and I cannot wait, it’s going to so much fun," she said.

"I’m counting down the minutes until it starts; learning to dance, meeting my partner and everyone else involved in the show. 

"I’ve been watching Strictly from as far back as I can remember; it’s a traditional lead up to Christmas with my family and it’s a genuine privilege to be part of it.”

Jayde Adams

Jayde Adams BBC

Professional dance partner: Karen Hauer 

Odds to win: 20/1

Comedian, actor and presenter Jayde Adams is the fifth celebrity contestant confirmed for Strictly 2022. 

Jayde was nominated for the Best Newcomer award on her Edinburgh Fringe debut in 2016 and her Prime Video comedy special, Serious Black Jumper, was longlisted for an Emmy. As an actress she has appeared in BBC Two comedy Alma's Not Normal, Prime Video's Good Omens and BBC One's The Outlaws.

“Since I watched the first series in 2004, I feel like every step I’ve taken in my career over the last 11 years was to be on Strictly," she said.

"I cannot begin to express the emotions I am feeling, this means so much to me and my family. 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!”

Kaye Adams

Kaye Adams BBC

Professional dance partner: Kai Widdrington 

Odds to win: 50/1 outsider

From Lynda Bellingham and Ruth Langsford to Judi Love, the road between the Loose Women panel and the Strictly dancefloor is certainly well trodden, and one of the show's original anchors, Kaye Adams, will become the latest Loose Woman to don her dancing shoes this autumn.

Kaye revealed on the lunchtime ITV show that she would be taking part, saying that her impending 60th birthday was a factor in her finally taking the plunge.

“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. Pray for me!," she said.

“Actually it’s quite funny because I’m terrified, I’m absolutely terrified because as Nadia [Sawalha] very kindly says, as a supportive friend does - ‘Let’s face it, you can’t dance’, which is true!"

Richie Anderson

Richie Anderson BBC

Professional dance partner: Giovanni Pernice 

Odds to win: 16/1

TV and radio presenter Richie Anderson has become the third confirmed contestant for Strictly 2022.

Richie is best known as the travel news reporter on Zoe Ball's Radio 2 Breakfast Show, and he has also covered the Eurovision Song Contest for the station as well as presenting regular reports on The One Show.

The former Sunday league footballer will be part of an all-male dance partnership on the show and will be hoping to emulate the success of last year's runners-up, John Whaite and Johannes Radebe. 

“Strictly is the ultimate feel good show, as soon as I hear that iconic theme tune it’s just pure escapism," he said.

"I’m going to have to cancel my legendary Strictly launch night kitchen party that I throw every year, I’m sure my friends and family will understand. It’s also a massive honour to be part of an all-male dance partnership, it’s so important we have that inclusion on such a huge show.”

Will Mellor

Will Mellor BBC

Professional dance partner: Nancy Xu 

Odds to win: 6/1

Actor Will Mellor was the first Strictly Come Dancing contestant to be confirmed for the 20th series in August 2022.

After appearing in Children's Ward as a teenager, Mellor was an original cast member in Hollyoaks, playing Jambo. For 10 years he played Gaz in BBC sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, and has since appeared in Broadchurch, No Offence, Line of Duty and in both EastEnders and Coronation Street.

“I'm honestly so chuffed to be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this year," he said.

"Not going to lie, it's totally out of my comfort zone and I know it will be a huge challenge but that's what life is all about. This is also my Mum's favourite show and she’s had a really tough few years so I’m doing this is for her as well. Bring it on!”

Kym Marsh

Kym Marsh BBC

Professional dance partner: Graziano Di Prima 

Odds to win: 16/1

Kym Marsh rose to fame in the 2001 TV talent show Popstars, which won her a place in pop group Hear'Say. She has since achieved success as an actress, playing Coronation Street's Michelle Connor for 13 years as well as appearing in The Syndicate and in the forthcoming return of Waterloo Road.

She is currently presenting BBC's Morning Live after stints on Loose Women and The One Show, as well as hosting her own true crime series Murder at My Door.

Kym has long been linked with a Strictly stint but only now is her schedule allowing her to step onto the dancefloor.

“I’ve considered doing Strictly for years but the timings never worked out," she said.

"I’m so delighted that this year they have! I’m a huge fan of the show and can’t believe I’m going to go from watching at home in my pyjamas to actually dancing in front of the judges in a glittery dress, it’s unreal!”

In Front of the Telly with Kym Marsh: ‘I would love to be in Peaky Blinders’

When does Strictly Come Dancing 2022 start?

The launch show - when we find out which celebrity has been paired with which professional dancer - was filmed on 7 September and was due to be broadcast on Saturday 17 September, but following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and coverage of events ahead her funeral on Monday 19 September, it has been rescheduled for Friday 23 September

The first live show will follow on Saturday 24 September.

Who are the past winners of Strictly? 

Soap star Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice won the hearts of the nation with their moving performances on the dancefloor and beautiful chemistry.

They became the 19th winners of the BBC reality show, when they lifted the Glitterball Trophy in 2021.

Here are all the winning couples so far:

Series 1 - Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole

Series 2 - Jill Halfpenny and Darren Bennett

Series 3 - Darren Gough and Lilia Kopylova

Series 4 - Mark Ramprakash and Karen Hardy

Series 5 - Alesha Dixon and Matthew Cutler

Series 6 - Tom Chambers and Camilla Dallerup

Series 7 - Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan

Series 8 - Kara Tointon and Artem Chigvintsev

Series 9 - Harry Judd and Aliona Viliani

Series 10 - Louis Smith and Flavia Cacace

Series 11 - Abbey Clancy and Aljaz Skorjanec

Series 12 - Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev

Series 13 - Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani

Series 14 - Ore Oduba and Joanne Clifton

Series 15 - Joe McFadden and Katya Jones

Series 16 - Stacey Dooley and Kevin Clifton

Series 17 - Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse

Series 18 - Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse

Series 19 - Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice

Strictly Come Dancing's glitter ball winners in full

Strictly Come Dancing continues every Saturday evening on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.