Strictly Come Dancing 2021 LIVE – Rhys Stephenson becomes latest contestant to join John Whaite and Robert Webb

FIVE names have been announced for Strictly Come Dancing 2021 so far. And, they've all got their eyes on the prize…

The most recent name to take to the dancefloor is children's TV broadcaster Rhys Stephenson as he becomes the fifth contestant announced for the show this year.

Other contestants were announced yesterday and they include Bake Off winner John Whaite, McFly legend Tom Fletcher, Peep Show actor Robert Webb and presenter AJ Odudu were all unveiled this week.

The Sun understands the BBC will continue to reveal the line-up for the 2021 series in the coming days and weeks – with further names expected imminently.

Read our Strictly Come Dancing live blog for the latest updates...

  • Joseph Gamp

    RHYS STEPHENSON 8/1 TO WIN STRICTLY COME DANCING

    Rhys Stephenson has been tipped as an 8/1 shot with Ladbrokes to win Strictly Come Dancing.

    The presenter is the fifth name to be announced for the upcoming series of the hit BBC show, and the bookies make him as likely as AJ Odudu to go all the way and win the Glitterball Trophy.

    Elsewhere, Tom Fletcher remains 5/1 favourite in the betting, with John Whaite out at 12/1 and Robert Webb way back at 20/1.

    Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: "Rhys Stephenson could be one to watch on this year's Strictly if the latest odds are anything to go by.

    "Obviously Tom Fletcher remains the one to beat, though, with punters seemingly convinced he'll follow in Harry Judd's footsteps."

  • Joseph Gamp

    STRICTLY’S JANETTE MANRARA ON WHY HUSBAND ALJAZ ŠKORJANEC HAS ‘TO MOVE OUT’

    Janette Manrara is the Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two’s new host and she’s opened up on having to separate from her husband ahead of the new season.

    She’s taking over as presenter alongside Rylan Clark-Neal after Zoe Ball left the spin off.

    Janette’s husband Aljaz has to temporarily move out while she films the show. In an interview with OK!, she told them: “Because COVID is still an issue, in order for the show to continue moving forward with the professional numbers, the professionals and the production team have to isolate to rehearse and film all the pro dances, which means Aljaž will have to move out of our home”.

    While the couple won’t be able to live together, she’s confirmed that being separated from her hubby won’t be “as long as last year”.

  • Joseph Gamp

    WHO IS AJ ODUDU?

    AJ Odudu is a TV presenter who has seen her star soar in the world of telly.

    She is the host of ITV2’s Apocalypse Wow.

    Speaking about joining Strictly, she told The One Show: “I am beyond chuffed that I am going to be on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing and I’m so glad I can finally tell my mum.

    “Her face will be a picture, she’s going to be over the moon!

    “I absolutely love the show and am fully committed to making the most of every second of the Strictly experience. Bring it on!”

  • Milica Cosic

    STRICTLY’S JOHN WHAITE QUITS TWITTER

    Strictly Come Dancing’s John Whaite has deleted his personal Twitter account after being announced for the new series.

    The Bake Off winner will dance in the show’s first ever all-male partnership and was inundated with supportive messages after it was confirmed he was be taking part.

    “I’m so excited to be on Strictly. It’s a dream come true and it’s even more of a dream to be doing the first all male partnership.

    “There will be kids watching thinking it’s OK to be who you are. So thanks for all the messages”.

  • Milica Cosic

    RECAP: WHO WON STRICTLY COME DANCING LAST YEAR?

    Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse won Strictly Come Dancing 2020 beating HRVY, Maisie Smith and Jamie Laing in the grand final.

    The 55-year-old comedian made history as he became the oldest contestant to take home the Glitterball trophy.

    And Oti became the first-ever professional dancer to win the show two years in a row.

    On winning, Bill Bailey said: "It feels surreal, extraordinary and wonderful.

    "I never thought we would get this far. I never thought we'd get to the final."

    Read more here.

    Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse embrace each other after winning the Glitterball trophy
  • Milica Cosic

    EXPLAINED: WHO IS RHYS STEPHENSON?

    The actor is best known as the face of the BBC's children’s television channel CBBC.

    Rhys has also presented Blue Peter and Saturday Mash-Up!, and appeared on The Dengineers and Newsround.

    Outside of presenting, Rhys is an ambassador for Place2Be, a charity which provides mental health services in schools. 

    Now he's ready to take on the biggest challenge of his career – learning to dance in front of the nation.

    He cannot contain his excitement and has said : “I am BUZZING to be a part of Strictly Come Dancing 2021. I have dreamt about being on this show, and I know for a fact that it is going to exceed every expectation."

  • Milica Cosic

    HOW MIGHT YOU KNOW JOHN WHAITE

    Whaite became a household name after winning the third series of Bake Off.

    After his success he has gone on to become a TV regular, taking up the role of resident chef on ITV’s Lorraine, hosted by Lorraine Kelly. 

    He has also appeared on This Morning, What’s Cooking?, The Alan Titchmarsh Show and Sunday Brunch. 

    In 2016, Whaite started co-presenting Chopping Block, a daytime cookery competitive show on ITV, with Rosemary Shrager. 

    And now he will be showing his moves on Strictly Come Dancing.

    He told BBC Radio 2 that he “was born to be on that dance floor”. 

    Whaite will make history as one half of the first male partnership on Strictly. 

  • Milica Cosic

    WHO IS ROBERT WEBB?

    Robert Webb is an English comedian, actor and writer – and he’s one half of the comedy double act Mitchell and Webb.

    Speaking about joining Strictly he told The One Show: “It’s exciting but with a slight undertone of quivering terror.

  • Milica Cosic

    EXPLAINED: WHEN DOES STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021 START?

    The BBC has not yet confirmed when Strictly Come Dancing 2021 will start.

    The 2020 series started in mid-October, a month later than usual due to the Covid pandemic – but it remains to be seen whether the new series will go back to the regular September start.

    The 2020 series ran for nine weeks instead of the usual 13.

  • Milica Cosic

    WHAT ARE STRICTLY FANS SAYING SO FAR?

    Fans are flooding to Twitter to express their joy that the new season will be back, and soon.

    One person thinks that we don't even need to watch the show and 'already have a winner' writing: "Is there anything Tom Fletcher can't do tho he can sing, play instruments, write songs, draw. But can he dance… we will soon find out."

    Others have expressed their joy at the fact that we've got another same sex couple this year: This is HUGE! Strictly’s first ever male same sex couple!! Another step in the right direction of Diversity and inclusion".

  • Milica Cosic

    STRICTLY'S JANETTE MANRARA ON WHY HUSBAND ALJAZ ŠKORJANEC HAS 'TO MOVE OUT'

    Janette Manrara is the Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two's new host and she's opened up on having to separate from her husband ahead of the new season.

    She's taking over as presenter alongside Rylan Clark-Neal after Zoe Ball left the spin off.

    Janette's husband Aljaz has to temporarily move out while she films the show. In an interview with OK!, she told them: "Because COVID is still an issue, in order for the show to continue moving forward with the professional numbers, the professionals and the production team have to isolate to rehearse and film all the pro dances, which means Aljaž will have to move out of our home".

    While the couple won't be able to live together, she's confirmed that being separated from her hubby won't be "as long as last year".

  • Milica Cosic

    WHO IS JOHN WHAITE AND IS THE STRICTLY STAR MARRIED?

    John Whaite is an English baker, who rose to fame after winning The Great British Bake Off in 2012. 

    He works as a chef, television presenter and author. He was born in Lancashire and grew up on a farm. 

    He got into Oxford but decided to study law at Manchester to be closer to home, he got a first-class degree after sitting his exams while filming Bake Off. 

    He decided not to pursue a career in law, and to follow his passion of cookery, taking classes at Le Cordon Bleu. 

    Whaite has written four cookery books, John Whaite Bakes, John Whaite Bakes At Home, Perfect Plates In 5 Ingredients, and Comfort: Food To Soothe The Soul. 

    He has also written columns for The Daily Telegraph and Heat magazine. 

    Whaite has suffered from depression and battled bulimia in the past. 

  • Milica Cosic

    WHO IS AJ ODUDU?

    AJ Odudu is a TV presenter who has seen her star soar in the world of telly.

    She is the host of ITV2’s Apocalypse Wow.

    Speaking about joining Strictly, she told The One Show: “I am beyond chuffed that I am going to be on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing and I’m so glad I can finally tell my mum.

    “Her face will be a picture, she’s going to be over the moon!

    “I absolutely love the show and am fully committed to making the most of every second of the Strictly experience. Bring it on!”

  • Milica Cosic

    INSIDE NEW STRICTLY CONTESTANT AJ ODUDU’S CLASSY HOME

    The 33-year-old TV presenter was confirmed alongside McFly’s Tom Fletcher, and Peep Show’s Robert Webb – with Bake Off’s John Whaite added to the line-up this morning.

    And while all of the stars no doubt have a gruelling couple of months ahead, AJ at least has an incredibly stylish abode to relax in during her down time.

    The star lives in a chic three-bedroom Victorian maisonette, which she proudly shows off on social media – and we can definitely understand why.

    The pad has been kept simple with bright and airy white walls, but bright colours add a quirky touch.

    AJ has added an attention-grabbing orange carpet to her hallway and staircase, and has a stand-out deep blue sofa in her living room – complete with bold cushions.

  • Milica Cosic

    EXPLAINED: WHO IS STRICTLY PRO KATYA JONES?

    The fiery dancer was paired up in the show's first ever same-sex couple in 2020, until coronavirus forced her off the show after just three weeks.

    Since announcing her split from husband Neil Jones, Katya has kept her romantic life under wraps.

    This comes after it was revealed that the Russian dancer was pictured kissing dance partner Seann Walsh. Katya and her husband Neil Jones split ten months after that. She and Seann were married since 2013.

    In 2020, she was partnered with Nicola Adams and together they made Strictly Come Dancing history by becoming the first celebrity to perform in a same-sex pairing.

    Eyes peeled for who she's paired with this year.

  • Milica Cosic

    WATCH AS STRICTLY'S JOHN WHAITE OPENS UP ABOUT BEING LEFT SUICIDAL AND QUITTING FAME TO LIVE ON A FARM AFTER BAKE OFF

    Strictly’s John Whaite was left suicidal and quit fame to live on a farm after Bake Off

  • Milica Cosic

    SHIRLEY SPILLS THE BEANS

    The news comes after Strictly judge Shirley Ballas teased details about this year’s line-up for the popular BBC One series.

    Ballroom expert and choreographer Shirley, 60, returns to the judging panel alongside Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, and Strictly professional dancer-turned-judge Anton Du Beke.

    She told ITV’s Loose Women that “of all panels, you have never seen such celebrities as you are going to see on this particular show”.

  • Milica Cosic

    WHO IS STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021 CONTESTANT TOM FLETCHER?

    Tom Fletcher was born on July 17, 1985, and grew up in Harrow, North West London.

    The 35-year-old attended the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School, in Marble Arch.

    Tom’s younger sister, singer Carrie Hope Fletcher, starred as Eponine in Les Miserables – and is now producing vlogs for YouTube.

    Tom’s first big break came when he was 10 – and starred in Oliver! at the London Palladium.

    In the past, the dad-of-three has struggled with eating disorders – and has been diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder.

    Tom Fletcher is a popular musician, author and YouTube star
  • Milica Cosic

    STRICTLY'S KATYA JONES SPOTTED IN HER SLIPPERS GRABBING COFFEE AS STAR-STUDDED SERIES IS ANNOUNCED

    The ballroom star was seen running errands in London as the BBC show starts to announce their celebrity line-up.

    The Russian beauty looked a far cry from how she looks on the Strictly dancefloor, dressed in a red puffer jacket with matching trousers.

    Katya wore her long hair loose and went make-up free for the outing.

    As well as grabbing a cuppa, she also was seen carrying a bag of groceries.

    Read the article here.

    Katya was dressed casually in her red puffer and matching trousers
  • Milica Cosic

    THE STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021 PROFESSIONAL DANCERS (CONTINUED…)

    Nadiya Bychkova – Nadiya also made her debut in 2017 and made it to week 11 with EastEnders star Davood Ghadami.

    Neil Jones – Neil Jones has been a Strictly dancer since 2016. However, Neil only got his first celeb partner in 2019 with ex-footballer Alex Scott.

    Nancy Xu – Nancy  joined Strictly in 2019. However, 2021 could mark the first year in which she is given a celebrity partner.

    Oti Mabuse – 2020 is Oti's sixth year on the show. She lifted the trophyin 2019 and again in 2020 with partner Bill Bailey.

    Jowita Przystal – Jowita won BBC show The Greatest Dancer in 2020 – mentored by Oti – and bagged the prize of performing on Strictly Come Dancing.

    Kai Widdrington – Kai danced on Britain’s Got Talent when he was 16 and 2012, making it to the final. He's been a professional dancer on Strictly's Irish spin-off since 2018.

    Nikita Kuzmin – Ukranian-born Nikita was a pro dancer on Let’s Dance, Germany’s version of Strictly Come Dancing.

    Cameron Lombard – Cameron a finalist on South Africa’s Got Talent, said: "Thank you Strictly Come Dancing for this life changing opportunity…. Not only is this a dream come true but a challenge I am accepting with both hands."

  • Milica Cosic

    THE STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021 PROFESSIONAL DANCERS (CONTINUED…)

    Graziano Di Prima – Graziano joined the Strictly crew in 2018, where he made his debut with DJ Vick Hope.

    Janette Manrara – Janette first joined Strictly in 2013. She has been paired with the likes of Jake Wood, Peter Andre and Aston Merrygold over the years.

    Johannes Radebe – Johannes is a two-time Professional South African Latin Champion and three-time South African Amateur Latin Champion.

    Karen Hauer – Karen is Strictly's longest serving female pro dancer, first hitting the dance floor in 2012. Jamie Laing was her 2020 partner and the pair made it all the way to the final.

    Katya Jones – The Russian pro was previously married to Strictly professional Neil Jones. But she became widely known after THAT kiss with 2018 dance partner Seann Walsh. She had made history by being part of the show's first same-sex pairing with Nicola Adams.

    Luba Mushtuk – Luba officially joined Strictly in 2018. She remained as a pro backing dancer in 2020 despite not being paired with a celeb.

  • Milica Cosic

    WHO ARE THE STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021 PROFESSIONAL DANCERS?

    Aljaž Škorjanec – Aljaž joined the Strictly crew in series 11 and stormed to victory with Abbey Clancey. Since then, he's been partnered with Alison Hammond, Helen George and Daisy Lowe.

    Amy Dowden – Amy made her Strictly debut in 2017 with celeb partner Brian Conley. Last year, she was partnered with JJ Chalmers in 2020 and the pair went on to reach the quarter-finals.

    Anton Du Beke – Star of the original 2004 line-up, Anton Du Beke, is returning for his seventeenth series. The Strictly legend has danced alongside Laila Rouass, Patsy Palmer, Jan Ravens, Jerry Hall, Judy Murray and Gillian Taylforth.

    Dianne Buswell – Dianne made her debut on Strictly in 2017, when she was partnered with Reverend Richard Coles. Dianne has also starred on So You Think You Can Dance Australia and Dancing With The Stars Australia.

    Giovanni Pernice – Despite only joining the show five years ago, Giovanni has managed to get to the final three times!

    Gorka Marquez – Gorka joined Strictly back in 2016. A year later, the pro dancer made it to the final with partner Alexandra Burke. In 2020 he was paired with EastEnders actress Maisie Smith and the pair made it to the final and finished runners-up.

  • Milica Cosic

    RUMOURED: STRICTLY CELEBRITIES REVEALED (CONTINUED…)

    Maya Jama – The TV presenter was rumoured to be taking part in Strictly 2020, and is now tipped for the 2021 line-up. Speaking to Hello about the possibility of joining Strictly in the future, Maya said: "I always say, 'I don't know'.

    Lucy Fallon – She actress was approached do the BBC dance show in 2018 but was unable to while still working on Corrie. However now she has left, the door is wide open and she’s made no secret of being a huge fan of the show.

    Tina Barrett – Tina is hoping to follow her former S Club 7 bandmate Rachel Stevens on to the Strictly dancefloor. She said: "I love Strictly and I’d like to do it. I haven’t been asked to, so if ­any­one at Strictly is ­reading, please let me go on."

    Ben Shephard – Ben's GMB co-stars Susanna Reid, Kate Garraway and Charlotte Hawkins have all done Strictly. The TV presenter has admitted that he is desperate to do the show – but his wife "doesn't want him to have an affair".

  • Milica Cosic

    RUMOURED: STRICTLY CELEBRITIES REVEALED

    Vicky McClure – Line Of Duty actress Vicky McClure has been rumoured to be joining the Strictly line up. She wouldn't be out of place, as the actress has revealed that she used to love ballet as a child.

    Micah Richards – Former footballer, turned pundit, Micah Richards, has been touted as a potential contestant on Strictly Come Dancing 2021.

    Tom Malone – Former Googlebox star Tom Malone quit the show in March 2021 to focus on new opportunities, one of which could be appearing on Strictly. The 27-year-old has been a professional break dancer since he was 14 and danced in an opening number on Strictly as one of the B-Boys.

    Ralf Little – Ralf has enjoyed a long career on TV, after he first burst on to the screen in 1998 in the BBC's The Royle Family. Ralf has revealed he has been asked to do Strictly before, and apparently now he would consider it.

  • Milica Cosic

    EXPLAINED: WHY HAS THE BLACKPOOL WEEK BEEN CANCELLED AGAIN?

    Bosses have axed Blackpool week for a second year running. A full-length series will return this Autumn after it was pushed back to October last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Executive producer Sarah James told the paper: “We’re so thrilled that Strictly will be returning for a full-length series this year, and know how much viewers are looking forward to getting their full Strictly fix and seeing the return of much-loved specials.”

    She added: “We are all so sad that we won’t be able to get to Blackpool this year but can’t wait to be back dancing at the one and only Blackpool Tower Ballroom in the future.”

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