Strictly Come Dancing: Graeme Swann joins line-up


Graeme Swann celebrates winning the Ashes in 2009Image copyright
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Graeme Swann celebrates winning the Ashes in 2009

Cricketer Graeme Swann will be trying for a different kind of spin now that he’s signed up to take part in Strictly Come Dancing.

The ex-England bowler will be hoping to emulate the success of Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash, Strictly champions in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

Swann, who retired from the sport in 2013, is the sixth celebrity contestant lined up for this year’s series.

Capital FM DJ Vick Hope and YouTube vlogger Joe Sugg are also taking part.

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His other successes include winning Celebrity Mastermind in 2016

The other stars confirmed to date are broadcaster Katie Piper, Steps’ Faye Tozer and Red Dwarf actor Danny John-Jules.

Swann said he was worried about waxing his chest.

“It gives me clammy palms just thinking about it. It is going to be horrific,” the 39-year-old said.

“I’ve never been taught how to dance, I don’t know anything.”

Swann said he hoped to follow in the footsteps of cricketers like Phil Tufnell and Michael Vaughan who took part in previous series of the BBC One ratings hit.

Swann’s decision to retire – which came in the middle of an Ashes tour – shocked the world of cricket.

The former Nottinghamshire player is currently seventh on the list of England wicket-takers, with 255 in 60 Tests.

The stars so far

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Vick Hope, who hosts the Capital FM breakfast show with Roman Kemp, became the fifth confirmed participant on Wednesday morning.

“It’s a bit of a turn-up for the books to be honest,” she told listeners.

“I’m a fan of the show and I feel very honoured to be a part of it. I promise you I’m going to work so, so hard – I’m so excited.”

Each of this year’s contestants has been given the name of a type of cheese as a codename to protect their identities in the run-up to the show.

Hope said her cheese-related alias had been Wensleydale – because she is “Northern and creamy”.

The 28-year-old presenter, who was born in Newcastle and studied at Cambridge, also hosts Sky One’s Carnage.

Her other roles include digital reporter for ITV shows The Voice and The Voice Kids.

“I don’t really know what I’m doing to be honest,” said the 26-year-old Joe Sugg after his identity was revealed on Tuesday.

“I know it will be a huge challenge but that’s what life is all about I guess.”

Joe’s main YouTube channel, featuring pranks, dares and impressions, has more than eight million subscribers.

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Faye Tozer, whose involvement was confirmed on Monday, said being on Strictly was “a dream come true” and that she would “relish every moment”.

The 42-year-old said her participation represented “everything my nine-year-old self ever wanted from showbiz”.

The singer, actress and TV presenter rose to fame in 1997 as one of three female co-lead singers in British pop outfit Steps.

After Steps disbanded in 2001, Tozer began a theatrical career before rejoining Steps for their 2011 reunion.

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Danny John-Jules, 57, said he was “absolutely delighted” at the prospect of performing in “glittery spandex”.

He said he has was looking forward to “getting into something more comfortable” after spending the last few months “on two wheels motorcycling around South America in pink leathers”.

The British actor is best-known for playing Cat in the cult-sci-fi comedy.

His other recognisable roles include the policeman Dwayne Myers in the long-running BBC crime drama Death In Paradise and Barrington in the BBC comedy Maid Marian And Her Merry Men.

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Former model Katie Piper claimed she lacked “natural rhythm” and said it was “a bit daunting” to be taking part in the programme.

The 34-year old also admitted that when she told her husband about it, “he just thought I was joking”.

Piper was the victim of an acid attack in 2008 that left her blind in one eye.

She has since presented programmes including Channel 4’s Bodyshockers and has set up a charity to help people those with facial disfigurements, burns or scars.

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Brendan Cole said he was “shocked” to be dropped from the show

The new series of Strictly will kick off with a launch show on BBC One in September, with the full series returning later on in the autumn.

It will be the first without dancer Brendan Cole, who confirmed he had been axed from the show earlier this year.

Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will return to host, with Shirley Ballas once again heading up the panel of judges.

Bruno Tonioli, Darcey Bussell and Craig Revel Horwood complete the line-up of experts.

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