Entertainment & Arts

Strictly Come Dancing stars to hit the dancefloor

Paul Daniels and Anne Widdecombe
Image caption Paul Daniels and Ann Widdecombe are two of the stars hoping to find their dancing feet

The celebrities competing in this year's Strictly Come Dancing are preparing to take to the dancefloor in the first live show.

After three weeks of training, seven of the 14 stars will perform with their professional dance partners on BBC One on Friday at 2100 BST.

The other half will strut their stuff on Saturday at 1800 BST.

The stars taking part in this eighth series include Ann Widdecombe, Gavin Henson, Patsy Kensit and Paul Daniels.

'Sour grapes'

During the hour-long live Friday and Saturday shows, the couples will be hoping to wow the judges with a waltz or a cha cha cha.

There will be no results show this Sunday, allowing viewers two weeks to decide on their favourite couple before voting.

Former EastEnders actress Kara Tointon and presenter Matt Baker are being tipped as the bookmakers' favourites.

Image caption Former EastEnder Kara Tointon is being widely tipped as the favourite to take the Strictly crown

Former Conservative MP and broadcaster Ann Widdecome is likely be a hit with the viewers and she is not happy that former judge Arlene Phillips has described her as a joke too far for the show.

"She also said I looked as if I had eaten too many bagels," she said. "Well I would say to her, maybe Arlene, just maybe you've had too many sour grapes."

Others taking part are former Destiny's Child star Michelle Williams, ex-England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, ex-Coronation Street star Tina O'Brien and EastEnder Scott Maslen.

Completing this year's line-up are comic and psychologist Pamela Stephenson, DJ-turned-actor Goldie, film actor Jimi Mistry and actress Felicity Kendal.

The new series launched on 11 September, where the couples were paired off for the first time.

This year, the number of couples has been cut from 16 to 14, and Bruce Forsyth will not be presenting the Sunday night results shows.

He will be replaced by Claudia Winkleman, who also hosts Strictly's spin-off show, It Takes Two.

There is also no dance-off on the results show, which means viewers have a greater say over who stays and who goes.

More than one million people applied to be in the Strictly Come Dancing audience this year.

Last year, the competition was won by BBC sports presenter Chris Hollins and his dance partner Ola Jordan.

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