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24 September 2014
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Strictly Come Dancing
Carol Vorderman and Paul Killick

Strictly Come Dancing is back

The celebrities

Carol Vorderman MBE (professional partner is Paul Killick)

Countdown presenter famed for her IQ of 154, Carol received an MBE in 2000.

Earlier this year she was voted runner-up in a poll of Thinking Man's Crumpet and has presented a variety of other shows including Better Homes and Stars And Their Lives.

Carol says:"I'd been saying to friends how I'd wanted to take dance lessons for some time but couldn't fit it in with work so this is the best of both worlds!


"I love dancing but I've never had any training before and I'm sure Paul will be a fantastic teacher."

Diarmuid Gavin (professional partner is Nicole Cutler)

Sometimes dubbed the bad boy of gardening, Dublin born Diarmuid has presented several shows on the BBC, including Home Front In The Garden and Gardener Of The Year.

He says: "I think it'll be great fun and a very disciplined way of getting fit but I'm not sure how good our chances are!"

Esther Rantzen OBE (professional partner is Anton Du Beke)

Esther presented BBC show That's Life! for over 20 years and invented the concept of Childline which now has ten counselling centres across the UK and answers more than 1.5 million calls a year.

She has also presented a wide range of other programmes including her own talk show, Esther.

She says: "I think this is a brilliant show and the most enormous fun. I was gob smacked when I was invited and I'm thrilled to be working with Anton".

Strictly Come Dancing Julian Clary and Erin Boag

Julian Clary (professional partner is Erin Boag)

Julian has appeared in many shows including Friday Night Live and Room 101.

He has also presented various music, quiz and game shows such as Prickly Heat and All Rise For Julian Clary, and has been presented with 'the big red book' by Michael Aspel for This is Your Life.

When asked why he chose to take part in Strictly Come Dancing, Julian replied: "It was the prospect of dancing with a woman for a change!"

Sarah Manners (professional partner is Brendan Cole)

Sarah plays receptionist Bex in BBC ONE show Casualty.

Her career started on the BBC daytime show Doctors and she's also been voted one of FHM's Hot 100 Sexiest Women.

On her reasons for taking part, Sarah said: "I came down to the studio for some of the last series and I thought, 'That looks wicked, I'll have a bit of that!'"

Aled Jones (professional partner is Lilia Kopyova)

Famed for his amazing voice, Aled was discovered at a young age and has performed all over the world including at a private performance for the Prince and Princess of Wales.

He now has a varied career including presenting BBC ONE's Songs Of Praise.

He says his inspiration for doing the show is, "the opportunity to make a fool of myself, live on the BBC!"

He added that even his two-year-old daughter laughs at him when he tries to dance.

Denise Lewis OBE (professional partner is Ian Waite)

One of Great Britain's most successful athletes, Denise won a gold medal in the Heptathlon at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and was awarded her OBE shortly afterwards.

She said: "I watched the last series avidly and have always wanted to be involved in something like this.

"When I was asked to be involved all my childhood fantasies came together so it was a definite 'yes please' from me!"

Roger Black MBE (professional partner is Camilla Dallerup)

Silver medal Olympian Roger Black had planned to go to university before training with Kris Akabusi who made him realise how good he was at the 400 metres.

The highlight of his athletics career was winning a silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and achieving a personal best of 44.37 seconds.

He currently presents Athletics Focus on the BBC.

Asked what made him take part in the show, he replied: "I just thought, 'Why not?'

"But I wouldn't have done it if I didn't think it would be a real challenge and an opportunity to learn a great new skill because I really can't dance".

Jill Halfpenny (professional partner is Darren Bennett)

Jill, who plays Kate Mitchell in EastEnders, started her acting career at the age of six and landed the role of Nicola Dobson in the children's drama Byker Grove when she was 13.

Jill was a big fan of the last series of Strictly Come Dancing, saying: "I always used to watch Come Dancing as a little girl and thought the last series looked amazing fun.

"I said to my boyfriend that if I was asked to be involved I would say yes without a doubt."

Quentin Willson (professional partner is Hazel Newbury)

A man who knows everything about motoring, Quentin started his TV career on BBC's Top Gear programme and currently presents a series called Britain's Worst.

Quentin says his wife was a major factor in him choosing to compete: "She said it would be fantastic. I think she's hoping it'll make me less clumsy and stop me stepping on the dog. I really am the worst dancer!"

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