Strictly Come Dancing: First crop of celebs are revealed

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Chris Ramsey, Saffron Barker, Emma Barton and David James are the first celebs to be announced

Former England goalkeeper David James, EastEnders actress Emma Barton, comedian Chris Ramsey and YouTuber Saffron Barker will compete on the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Three appeared on The One Show on Wednesday night in a reveal featuring last year’s winner Stacey Dooley.

Barker was announced as the fourth on Heart Radio’s breakfast show earlier.

James said he was persuaded by a former contestant, swimmer Mark Foster, who had an “amazing experience”.

He added he was “really excited” to be chosen and had “some big shoes to fill” following previous appearances by sports stars.

Ramsey – who starred as Jack Pearson in the BBC Two sitcom Hebburn – said he was “really buzzing” about the opportunity.

He said: “You will not find me on the dancefloor at parties, you will find me at the buffet table. All night.

“At my wedding I danced with my wife; that one song took about six months practice, and I definitely stood on her feet a couple of times.”

Barton, who plays Honey Mitchell in EastEnders, is a fan of Strictly and said she was “over the moon” to be asked to appear in series 17.

Teenage social media star Barker, whose book Saffron Barker Vs Real Life, topped the Sunday Times bestseller list said she was “very grateful for the opportunity”.

“I’m looking forward to learning all of the dances,” she added. “Finding out who my partner is, getting to wear the costumes and to just experience this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Speaking to former Pussycat Doll and 2018 finalist Ashley Roberts, Barker said: “I’m actually most excited to find out my partner, although I know I’ve still got to wait another month to find out.”

She said she was inspired by the success of another of last year’s finalists, YouTuber Joe Sugg.

“I’m excited to follow in his footsteps,” she said. “He did absolutely amazing… I’ve got a lot to live up to.”

This year’s series will see the return of judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood and Bruno Tonioli, but Dame Darcey Bussell will be replaced by Motsi Mabuse – sister of Strictly professional Oti.

Latin dancer Nancy Xu will replace the outgoing Pasha Kovalev as a professional dancer on the show.

Xu, a dancer on the West End show Burn The Floor, has been a finalist on the competition series So You Think You Can Dance? in China.

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