When does Strictly Come Dancing 2021 start? Start date, contestants and new judges on this year's dance show

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 is just around the corner – here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming series and when it will be on UK TV screens

By Liv McMahon
Friday, 17th September 2021, 9:34 am

With a dazzling range of contestants set to dance on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing, fans are eagerly awaiting the return of the series on their TV screens.

This year’s Strictly has already made history, with the BBC dance show set to feature the first male couple, the youngest ever contestant and the first deaf contestant on the show.

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When does Strictly Come Dancing 2021 start? Start date, contestants and new judges on this year's dance show (Image credit: BBC/Ray Burmiston)

But when will Strictly Come Dancing air in 2021?

Here is Strictly Come Dancing 2021’s start date, who will be judging on the BBC dance show and what we can expect from this year’s series.

When does Strictly Come Dancing 2021 start?

Strictly Come Dancing 2021 will dance back onto British TV on Saturday 18 September.

The Saturday night launch show will be pre-recorded and air at 7.45pm on BBC One, with live Strictly episodes airing from the 25 September onwards.

Last year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing aired at a slightly later date and had a shorter series duration due to the continuing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but eased restrictions and concerns over Covid and variants this year mean that the show will return in September as usual.

Which celebrities are dancing on Strictly this year?

Among the host of celebrities appearing on Strictly Come Dancing 2021 are Tom Fletcher of McFly fame, Eastenders actresses Nina Wadia and Rose Ayling-Ellis and Emma Thompson’s actor husband, Greg Wise.

The show has made history with its line-up for 2021, with food writer and 2012 Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite set to be partnered up with one of the show’s professional male dancers when it airs later this year.

Other contestants lined up for the show’s 19th series include comedian Robert Webb, Sara Davies of Dragon’s Den, BBC Breakfast star Dan Walker and former Big Brother On the Side presenter AJ Odudu.

Who are the new Strictly Come Dancing judges?

While the scathing Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse will all be returning as judges on Strictly Come Dancing 2021, beloved Italian judge Bruno Tonioli will not be appearing on this year’s BBC show judging panel.

In a shock announcement earlier this year, Tonioli was replaced with veteran Strictly professional dancer, Anton Du Beke for the 2021 series.

The larger-than-life Italian Dancing with the Stars judge said he was “gutted” to not be appearing on the show this year, but described Anton as “Mr Strictly” and “the obvious choice” to replace him on the popular judging panel.

Tonioli said: "Whilst I am gutted to not be on the show this year, there is one person and one person only that could take my place - it's just a shame they weren't available...haha! Darlings I'm kidding, I'm kidding!

"Seriously though, I have to tell you, Anton is Mr Strictly and if anybody is filling in for me, it has to be him. I honestly wouldn't have it any other way and I am so excited to see him waggle his paddle."

Dancer Anton Du Beke said it was a “dream come true” to be stepping into Tonioli’s shoes as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing 2021, as Strictly dancer Oti Mabuse took to Instagram to celebrate the news.

"He made it! JUDGE @mrantondubeke,” Mabuse wrote on Instagram.

She added: "Super proud of you Anton and so happy!"

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