Stars like Abbey Clancey, Ore Oduba and Rose Ayling-Ellis have become synonymous with Strictly Come Dancing thanks to their triumphant turns on show – but there are also plenty of former contestants you’re likely to have forgotten about too.
Over the 19 years it has been on air, nearly 300 celebrities have twirled, shimmied and botafogoed their way across the ballroom floor, and it’s fair to say even the most ardent of Strictly fans would have a hard time remembering them all.
With a new series almost upon us, let’s take a a flick through the Strictly history books to remind ourselves of those appearances that had actually slipped our minds…
Tishy Dean – aka EastEnders’s camp icon and Queen of the Square Sharon Watts – taking to the Strictly floor should be burned into our brains forever, but somehow it had totally slipped our minds that she’d taken part before. She proved to be a serious competitor too, finishing fourth on the 2007 series.
Perhaps even better than her stint on the show, however, is the fact she later released a Strictly-inspired fitness DVD (!)… *adds to Amazon basket immediately*
Brookside legend Claire took part in the very first series of Strictly, which came less than a year after the Channel 4 soap’s demise in 2003.
The soap actor, who can now be seen in action in Coronation Street, was eliminated fourth, although it should be noted that the first series only had eight celebrities in the starting line-up, so she actually made it to the midpoint.
We quite often think, “wouldn’t it be nice if Vorders gave Strictly a go?” only to realise that she actually took to the floor way back in the second series in 2004.
She was eliminated second, following this performance of the Rumba.
Appearing in the same year as Vorders, the legendary comic made it all the way to the grand final in Blackpool with partner Erin Boag, finishing in third place behind Denise Lewis and eventual winner Jill Halfpenny.
Yes, that’s correct – one third of actual Destiny’s Child once twirled around the Strictly ballroom with Brendan Cole.
Michelle appeared on series eight in 2010 – which also featured the likes of Ann Widdecombe, Matt Baker and Kara Tointon – and was eventually eliminated sixth.
Now known as Holly Candy, the former Neighbours actor-turned Kiss Kiss singer took to the floor in 2011, where she was paired up with Artem Chingvintsev.
She wound up being eliminated in the semi-final, with Jason Donovan, Chelsee Healey and eventual winner Harry Judd progressed to the final.
Antiques expert David took part in the very first series of Strictly in 2004, where he was the second star ever to be voted off.
Sadly, it was so long ago that any video footage of him performing has seemingly disappeared from the internet, so this still of him in a mesh shirt will have to suffice. What a bobbydazzler.
These days, Colin is behind the bar of the Queen Vic in EastEnders playing landlord George Knight, and while he had an illustrious acting CV prior to joining the soap, what you might not recall is his stint on Strictly in 2012.
Colin, who danced with Kristina Rihanoff, was voted off in week five of the competition – just a week after Albert Square alum Sid Owen, aka Ricky Butcher.
Here he is dancing to Seal’s Kiss From A Rose, and in a funny turn of events, the track has since been used heavily in the return-from-the-dead storyline of his EastEnders on-screen wife Rose Knight/Cindy Beale.
Emma remains the only Spice Girl to ever appear on the UK version of Strictly Come Dancing, taking to the floor in the fourth series way back in 2006, where she finished third with partner Darren Bennett.
Her bandmates, Mels B and C, did take part in the US version in 2007 and 2021 respectively, with the former even hosting Dancing With The Stars in Australia for a season in 2012.
You might have been under the impression that Strictly only recently began casting names from ITV soap Coronation Street, but actually Tina – aka Sarah Platt – was the second star from t’cobbles to take part back in 2010 – although, admittedly she was not on the soap at the time.
Tina’s former on-screen step-father Brian Capron, who played the murderous Richard Hillman, was the first Corrie actor to appear on the show in 2007.
Way before EastEnders’ Kathy Beale came back from the dead, Gillian signed up for Strictly in 2008, where she was partnered with Anton Du Beke.
As was the case with many of Anton’s partners around the time, let’s just say she wasn’t a complete natural on the dancefloor and found herself voted off second. A real shame.
It was a Walford double header in 2008, as Kat Slater herself – aka Jessie Wallace – was also cast on the series alongside Gillian.
She fared only slightly better than her castmate, however, with Jessie and partner being Darren Bennett voted off fourth – but not before performing this fabulous Salsa.
Responsible for some of the most memorable hits of the 90s, Heather signed up for Strictly in 2008, where she was paired up with Brian Fortuna.
The couple made it past the halfway point of the series, but were voted out before we were robbed of watching Heather dancing to any of her M People songs.
Former cricketer Tuffers is much better known for his stint in the I’m A Celebrity jungle than his time on the Strictly dancefloor, but he signed up for the BBC show five years after being crowned King Of The Jungle.
Sadly for Phil, he couldn’t quite replicate the success he achieved on the rival ITV show, as he and partner Katya Virshilas became the ninth couple to be voted off.
Gregg’s appearance on Strictly in 2014 was particularly short-lived, as he was the first celebrity to be voted out of his series, which also included the likes of Alison Hammond, Scott Mills, Jake Wood and the late Caroline Flack on the line-up.
The fact we never got a Showdance to Buttery Biscuit Base remains a tragedy, tbh.
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