Strictly Come Dancing announces two celebrity contestants for 2022 series

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After seven long months, British popular dancing contest Strictly Come Dancing will be returning to screens next month, with actor Will Mellor and soap star Kym Marsh confirmed as celebrity contestants in this year's star-studded lineup.

Since its debut in May 2004, BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing has remained one of the most favorite TV shows of all time and was named the most successful reality TV format by the Guinness World Records. After eighteen series that draw a massive audience, the show's 2022 season is set to return to screens next month, though the exact date it airs still remains unknown. The show will be pre-recorded at Elstree on Wednesday, September 7 before airing later that month every Saturday, according to The Sun. Strictly's first live show will air one week after the launch, with the dancing couples tangoing across the dance floor twice in two weeks before the first pair walked out of the show.

Strictly 2022 will be extra-special

In a statement, the BBC bosses teased this year's season will be extra-special with the biggest line-up to celebrate the broadcaster's 100th anniversary. They wrote:

'Dust off your dancing shoes, Strictly Come Dancing is back! The stunning 20th series returns, bringing glamour and show-stopping dancing back to Saturday nights on BBC One – and we're extremely excited to be able to welcome an audience back to the studio for this year's shows.'

This year, head judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, and Anton Du Beke have all been confirmed to return. In terms of pro dancers, four new ones have joined the line-up, bringing the total number of professionals to 20 - the biggest in Strictly's history, as reported by The Sun.

Strictly Come Dancing announces two celebrity contestants for 2022 series Katja Ogrin

Just like in previous seasons, the celebrity contestants will be partnered up with their professional dancers. Together, they will work to impress the panel of judges and win the eye-watering £100,000 prize. While several rumors about the line-up have surfaced in recent weeks, only two stars to be joining this season Strictly have been confirmed by the BBC bosses. During Thursday's edition of BBC Breakfast, the broadcaster unveiled that Coronation Street star Kym Marsh and Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps actor Will Mellor are the first two celebrities in Strictly 2022 before more famous faces are announced in due course.

Kym Marsh

In the past, Kym Marsh, who's most famous for her portrayal of Michelle McDonald on Coronation Street until 2019, has been linked to BBC's Strictly multiple times but has never actually made it. However, the For Love Or Money actress is now confirmed as a contestant in this year's Strictly. A source from BBC told the Dailymail:

'We have been keen to sign Kym for a while and approached her many times in the past but it has never worked out. When we approached her this year she was interested, which was very exciting for us. It is a massive coup for us and Kym will be a stellar addition to the cast.'
Strictly Come Dancing announces two celebrity contestants for 2022 series Karwai Tang

Speaking on Breakfast via Zoom in her hotel room, Kym told hosts Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty that her Morning Live co-star Gethin Jones had always asked her if she was intending to take to the dance floor. Jones herself took part in Strictly in 2007, according to the Dailymail. She said:

'I was joking with him and I said 'were you on Strictly because you've never mentioned it!' I think he was always asking me if I was going to do it, and he kept going on about it again over the next few months, and of course I've not spoken to him and I'll probably get a message later saying ''you never told me!''

The 46-year-old actress also admitted that she has long been a huge fan of Strictly and wanted to join the show for 'a number of years'. She said:

'I'm a huge fan of the show and can't believe I'm going to go from watching at home in my pyjamas to actually dancing in front of the judges in a glittery dress, it's unreal!'

In her early career, Kym shot to fame as a member of the British pop band Hearsay, whose debut album Popstars was a great success. Asked whether her musical roots could help her gain an advantage in Strictly, she admitted it is going to be 'tricky' although she had once taken up dancing as a little girl. She said:

'It definitely does not. I haven't done any kind of live dancing performance. It's been a long time since I've been on stage. I'm just very keen to learn watching it, I've done dancing before when I was a little girl, and when I was in Hearsay, my husband is very excited about me being able to teach him, so we can do it when we go to the balls.'

Since leaving Coronation Street in 2019, Kym Marsh has been presenting Morning Live as well as filming on the BBC series Waterloo Road, as written by The Sun.

Will Mellor

Before Kym was unveiled as a contestant, actor Will Mellor, 46, was announced as the first celebrity cast of Strictly 2022. In his acting career, Will is most famous for his role as Gaz Wilkinson in the BBC comedy Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps. In 2021, he joined Coronation Street as villain Harvey Gaskell. Other prominent works with Will's presence include Holby City, Broadchurch, Casualty, and Line of Duty.

Strictly Come Dancing announces two celebrity contestants for 2022 series David M. Benett

Speaking of his ballroom debut, the actor said that Strictly is his mum's favorite show so he'll be doing it to bring some joy to his mother:

'I'm honestly so chuffed to be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this year! Not going to lie, it's totally out of my comfort zone and I know it will be a huge challenge but that's what life is all about. This is also my Mum's favorite show and she's had a really tough few years so I'm doing this is for her as well. Bring it on!'

Will told hosts Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt that he agreed to join Strictly to 'grab life' after suffering mentally from his father's death because of cancer in 2020:

'Excited is one word for it, terrified is another, that's one of the reasons I'm doing it, it's stepping out of my comfort zone. When I said yes to doing it, it was a long way away, but it's going a bit closer it starts settling in and it gets a bit frightening now.'

The star added: 'I lost my dad in 2020, and from then I thought I've just got to grab life and do things and create new memories, and that's one of the reasons I said yes.'

Read more:

Strictly Come Dancing rumored line-up: From football icon to Olympic gold medalist

© Katja Ogrin

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