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Strictly Come Dancing - 2009 line-up announced

Anton du Beke and Erin Boag

Story by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AT LAST the wait is over. The BBC has announced the line-up for the new series of the hugely popular Strictly Come Dancing, which is due on screen next month.

And they are:

HollyoaksAli Bastian and her professional dance partner Brian Fortuna.

Actress Lynda Bellingham, who recently appeared on the West End stage in Calendar Girls, and her professional dance partner Darren Bennett.

Boxer Joe Calzaghe and his professional dance partner Kristina Rihanoff.

Former EastEnder Natalie Cassidy and her professional dance partner Vincent Simone.

Irish jockey Richard Dunwoody and his professional dance partner Lilia Kopylova.

Ricky Groves, EastEnders‘ hapless mechanic Garry Hobbs, and his professional dance partner Erin Boag.

Former tennis ace Martina Hingis and her professional dance partner Matthew Cutler, who won the competition in 2007 with his celebrity partner, Alesha Dixon.

BBC Breakfast presenter Chris Hollins and his professional dance partner Ola Jordan.

Athlete Jade Johnson and her professional dance partner Ian Waite.

Craig Kelly, Coronation Street‘s factory boss Luke Strong, and his professional dance partner Flavia Cacace.

Zoe Lucker, Footballer’s Wives‘ scheming Tanya Turner, and her professional dance partner James Jordan.

Laila Rouass, Footballer’s Wives‘ Amber Gates, and her professional dance partner Anton du Beke.

Former cricketer Phil Tufnell and his professional dance partner, newcomer Katya Virshilas.

Hollyoaks heart-throb Ricky Whittle and his professional dance partner, newcomer Natalie Lowe.

Crimewatch presenter Rav Wilding and his professional dance partner, newcomer Aliona Vilani.

And Jo Wood, the estranged wife of The Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood, and her professional dance partner Brendan Cole, who won the competition in 2004 with Natasha Kaplintski.

This year, judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood will be joined by Alesha Dixon (winner in 2007) and guest judge, ballerina Darcey Bussell. It’s a move that courted controversy and accusations of ageism against the BBC who it’s thought dropped former judge Arlene Phillips in favour of a younger person.

However, both Bruce Forsyth (rumoured to be taking a pay cut) and Tess Daly will be back hosting the series.