Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas teases 2023 line-up will be the best ever

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Strictly Come Dancing 2023 could feature a number of high-profile stars from various professions, including a famous ex-footballer and a famous TV chef.

Strictly Come Dancing is one of the most popular TV shows in the UK, and fans are eagerly anticipating its return later this year. The 2023 series is set to be another exciting one, with a rumored line-up of stars set to take to the dancefloor with their professional partners. Here, we take a closer look at the potential celebrity contestants.

Sophie Morgan

One of the most exciting rumored contestants is TV presenter Sophie Morgan, who will reportedly be the first wheelchair user to take part in the competition. Sophie is a TV presenter and journalist, best known for her work on Channel 4's Paralympic Games coverage, and for hosting the BBC Three series Unreported World.

If she does join the show, she will reportedly be the first wheelchair user contestant in Strictly's history. This will be a great step towards inclusivity for the show, and we can't wait to see what Sophie brings to the dancefloor.

Although she has yet to confirm the news, Sophie did comment on a headline for The Sun which read Cha Cha Chair, adding: 'First wheelchair contestant.'

Amy Nuttall

Amy Nuttall, who played Chloe Atkinson on Emmerdale and Ethel Parks in Downton Abbey, is reportedly in talks to join Strictly 2023. The 40-year-old recently split from her partner, actor Andrew Buchan, and a source told the Mirror that an appearance on Strictly would be a fresh start for her.

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas teases 2023 line-up will be the best ever David M. Benett

According to the Mirror, Amy has been inspired by Strictly 2022 finalist Helen Skelton, who took part in the dance competition after splitting from her rugby player husband Richie Myler.

Emma and Matt Willis

Emma and Matt Willis are another rumored couple set to take part in the show. In an unusual move for Strictly, bosses are reportedly keen to have their first celebrity husband and wife to compete against each other on the show since Gabby and Kenny Logan in series four. The pair were originally reported to be involved in the 2022 show but weren't able to make it work due to schedule conflicts, reports Hello!.

Gino D'Acampo

This Morning star Gino D'Acampo is also rumored to be taking part in the show. He has appeared on numerous cooking shows, including This Morning and Saturday Kitchen, and has published several bestselling cookbooks.

Gino has been a staple on every predictions list since the show began, and this year is no different. The chef and restauranteur is at the top of our list for taking part in the show, particularly following the recent news that he won't be taking part in the next Road Trip series.

Peter Crouch

Former footballer Peter Crouch is another potential contestant. A former professional footballer, Crouch played for a number of top flight clubs during his career, including Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Stoke City.

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas teases 2023 line-up will be the best ever Gareth Barry

At 6ft 7in, he could be the tallest Strictly contestant ever. He's tipped to be taking part in the competition and will need one of the taller dancing pros to partner up with.

Steph McGovern

Steph McGovern, who previously declined the offer to take part in Strictly due to her young daughter, may be ready to participate this year. She revealed in 2022 that it wasn't the right time for her, but now that her daughter is older, it could be her year. The journalist and TV presenter is best known for hosting the BBC's Breakfast programme and her own daytime show, Steph's Packed Lunch.

Shirley Ballas may not return to Strictly

While the show may feature a constellation of high-profile contestants, it may as well lose an iconic face who's been a fixture for years. Shirley Ballas has been the head judge on Strictly Come Dancing for the past couple of years, but her future on the show is uncertain.

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas teases 2023 line-up will be the best ever david levenson

In a recent interview with The Mirror, she revealed that she struggled with her mental health during last year's series due to online trolling. While appearing on This Morning to talk about her new book, Murder on the Dance Floor, Shirley was asked whether she would be returning to the show. She did not confirm nor deny the report, saying:

'Well, we're waiting for that invitation and once it gets there and we sort out... I love the job, I love the actual critiquing. I love to get tips and help people along the way, to move forward to be beautiful dancers and all that they can be.'

She continues detailing her struggle with media trolls:

'This year, I've got a wonderful gentleman called Harry Surplus who is doing my social media and he's getting rid of any of those messages. I felt the abuse snowballed out of control and impacted me in such a negative way. I'm a pretty stoic person, and I tend to hold everything in. When it all kicked off, it seemed like it was larger than anything else'

Read more:

Gordon Ramsay eyes Strictly Come Dancing after being inspired by daughter

Strictly Come Dancing: When does the 2022 edition of the show premiere?

Strictly Come Dancing spin-off: Co-hosts confirmed

© Dave J Hogan

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