It would be fair to say that 2020 has been the strangest year in modern history. With a global pandemic taking its toll and expansive restrictions in place, many thought we wouldn't see a series of Strictly Come Dancing at all this year.

Fortunately for the millions of fans that tune in every 12 months, the show WILL be making a return. Here's everything we know about Strictly 2020 ahead of its premiere!

Who are the celebrities taking part in Strictly Come Dancing 2020?

The ballroom will play host to 12 famous faces this year, including former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, EastEnders star Maisie Smith, newsreader Ranvir Singh and acting royalty Caroline Quentin.

Star of The Wanted, Max George will be hoping to follow in his bandmate Jay McGuinness' shoes, after the latter took home the Glitterball trophy back in 2015.

He's got stiff competition in double Olympic gold medallist boxer Nicola Adams, as well as singer and YouTube star HRVY and award-winning comedian, musician and actor, Bill Bailey.

Rounding out the cast is Made In Chelsea star Jamie Laing, BBC sports presenter JJ Chalmers, BBC Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo and former NFL star Jason Bell.

Who are the judges making up the judging panel on Strictly Come Dancing 2020?

After seeing their incredible chemistry in the past, it would have been criminal not to have these fab four return for another turn behind the judging panel!

Unfortunately, due to filming commitments in America, where he works on Dancing With The Stars, Bruno Tonioli will be unable to take part in scoring each of the couples on Saturday nights.

He will however still be taking part in Sunday night results shows via video link, giving his verdict on who he loved and who he thinks need some improvement.

That means there will be just three judges physically on the set, taking part this year: Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood.

Who are the professional dancers taking part in Strictly Come Dancing 2020?

A whopping 16 professional dancers will be taking part in Strictly this year, though that does mean four of them - Nancy Xu, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima and Neil Jones - won't have celebrity partners.

Amy Dowden, Dianne Buswell, Janette Manrara, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk and Oti Mabuse are the female pros being paired with celebs this time round.

Meanwhile Aljaž Škorjanec, Anton Du Beke, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez and Johannes Radebe will also be coupled up with one of the competing stars.

When does Strictly Come Dancing 2020 start?

This year, Strictly Come Dancing kicks off with a launch show on Saturday, October 17th 2020 at 7.50pm on BBC One.

As well as finding out which celebrities and professional dancers will be paired up, there will be performances from DJ Joel Corry and critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter MNEK.

The professional dancers have also put together a couple of routines to showoff their skills ahead of the competition officially kicking off!

There'll even be a reunion between last year's winners Oti Mabuse and Kelvin Fletcher!

Nicola Adams will make history in Strictly's first same-sex pairing

Following the first same-sex coupling on ITV's Dancing on Ice - where Ian "H" Watkins and Matt Evers coupled up to compete - Strictly 2020 will follow suit.

Olympian Nicola Adams will be partnered with a female dance professional, which is sure to add another layer of intricacy to their dance routines.

Whilst an outpouring of love and support has been seen following the announcement, there has also been some backlash.

Former head judge Len Goodman said the move would "turn off" older viewers, whilst BBC chat show host Graham Norton questioned if the pairing would "muddy the waters" when it came to judging.

Norton did later tweet about those comments, apologising for the "throwaway" remark before writing, "Big up @NicolaAdamsOBE and her partner!!"

What about coronavirus restrictions?

One of the most notable changes to the show will be the placement of the judges. They'll now be socially-distanced, so they can all remain in the studio whilst giving their scores to each of the dancing couples.

Avid fans will also notice that the usual 13 week run has been shortened slightly, with less celebrities taking part.

There will also be a heavily-reduced live studio audience!

Both the contestants and professional dancers will be taking part in twice-weekly coronavirus testing, to make sure they are healthy enough to compete and safe to be around others when filming the show.

Anybody diagnosed with coronavirus following the pre-recorded launch show will be automatically eliminated.

The show's professionals have been isolating together in a hotel for the last few weeks, to make sure they can perform in group numbers together.

Once the pros and celebs have been paired up, they'll no longer be able to mix with other partnerships throughout the competition.

With all of that said, we're sure the cast and crew behind-the-scenes are doing their all to ensure the Strictly magic is still very much a part of this year's series!

Strictly Come Dancing 2020 launches on Saturday, October 17th at 7.50pm on BBC One.


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