Strictly Come Dancing is back

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Competing in this year’s series, the aspiring Fred Astaires are Hairy Biker Dave Myers, Casualty star Patrick Robinson, fashion designer Julien Macdonald, Hollyoaks’ Ashley Taylor Dawson, former England rugby union player Ben Cohen, and British golf legend Tony Jacklin.

Our ballroom babes are model Abbey Clancy, singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Countdown maths whizz Rachel Riley, Dragons’ Den investor Deborah Meaden, BBC Breakfast presenter Susanna Reid, journalist Vanessa Feltz, former Bond girl Fiona Fullerton and Natalie Gumede, aka Kirsty from Corrie.

Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly. Pic: BBC

Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly. Pic: BBC

We also know who’s been paired with which professional dancer - Ashley Taylor Dawson was clearly pleased with the draw, going into a fake swoon when he discovered he’d be sharing a training room with Ola Jordan.

But one big question remains; are they any good?

It was rather difficult to work out from the group opening number, and as Lisa Riley proved last year, when it comes to innate dance talent, looks can be deceptive.

Abbey Clancy may look like she’s in great shape, but she insists: “My fitness levels are horrendous. I’m strong but I’ve got no stamina. I get out of breath so easy. That’s one of the things I’m looking forward to the most, because I don’t train or go to the gym, so just getting my fitness up, toning, and feeling good.”

Deborah Meaden admits to some previous experience, but insists it doesn’t mean she’s got an advantage. “I did ballroom dancing at school, but I was atrocious! I was distracted, I didn’t like it - in honesty I was looking at the boys more than anything else as that’s what you do as a teenage girl!”

The men are equally self-effacing, with Dave Myers rating his ability as two or three out of a possible 10. “It’s funny, I can go to a party and strut my stuff and fling myself around and not get too knackered, but I went on a cruise a couple of years ago and went to a few of the ballroom dancing nights and felt really inadequate.”

But now we’re about to discover who was being self-deprecating and who was telling the truth, as the competition begins in earnest.

Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly reveal which six celebs will take to the floorthis evening, while the rest of the class of 2013 will be strutting their stuff tomorrow.

There’s no public vote this weekend, but the scores from judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Darcey Bussell do count and will be carried over to next week.