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Strictly Come Dancing: Bill Bailey and JJ Chalmers join line-up

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Image copyright Getty Images Comedian Bill Bailey and Invictus medallist JJ Chalmers are the latest additions to the Strictly Come Dancing 2020 line-up.Bailey, a stand-up comedian, actor and musician is known for appearances on TV shows like QI and Black Books.Speaking to Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 breakfast show, Bailey said his dance history was…

Bill Bailey

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Comedian Bill Bailey and Invictus medallist JJ Chalmers are the latest additions to the Strictly Come Dancing 2020 line-up.

Bailey, a stand-up comedian, actor and musician is known for appearances on TV shows like QI and Black Books.

Speaking to Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 breakfast show, Bailey said his dance history was a “little patchy”.

Chalmers is a former Royal Marine who became a sportsman, after sustaining injuries while serving in Afghanistan.

“My whole life is defined by facing challenges,” he said. “Strictly is a whole different ball game… but I’m up for an adventure and at least my mum will know where I am!”

Chalmers, who has also helmed TV and radio coverage of the Commonwealth Games and the Paralympics, is the eighth contestant to be confirmed for Strictly’s 18th series, with more names expected later on Thursday.

The 2020 series will begin in October but will be shorter than usual, and judge Bruno Tonioli will have a reduced role amid coronavirus restrictions.

The contestants so far…

This story will be updated as new contestants are unveiled

JJ Chalmers‘ career as a Royal Marine Commando was cut short after he suffered life-changing injuries following an IED explosion in Afghanistan.

The blast crushed an eye socket, burst his eardrums, destroyed his right elbow, blew off two fingers on his left hand and left holes in his legs.

After years of rehabilitation, including more than 30 operations, he went on to compete in the 2014 Invictus Games where he captained the Trike Cycling team and took home three medals.

He later embarked on a career in broadcasting, presenting coverage of the Rio Paralympics and anchoring BBC One’s coverage of the Invictus Games.

Comparing Strictly to his military experience, he told ITV’s Lorraine: “I’m always looking for a challenge, I’m always looking to push myself outside of my comfort zone.”

“And if I wanted to find a challenge in life like climbing Everest or going to the North Pole – of course those things would be difficult but they would be within my comfort zone essentially, because it’s the kind of thing I have been used to doing in my life,” he went on.

“This is completely off the chart, so it’s going to be a huge challenge. I’m looking forward to learning something brand new.”

Despite his injuries, Chalmers said wanted to be treated like “any other contestant” and didn’t want any “special treatment”.

“Whoever I partner with they’ve got their work cut out,” he added.

Comedian Bill Bailey was announced as the seventh star to strap on his dancing shoes.

The offbeat stand-up comedian, comic actor and musician is known for appearances on TV shows like QI, Black Books and Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

“In these strange times we’re living through, it feels right to do something different and take on a new challenge,” he said in a statement.

“I haven’t been to stage school and learnt to dance. I haven’t lived for the dance… I’m not really Lord of the Dance. I’m caretaker of the dance,” he joked. “It’s going to be quite a challenge but then that’s what this is about, taking on a new skill.”

Bailey, 55, made his name on the stand-up circuit before becoming a regular panel show guest, TV and film actor, documentary presenter, and host of the BBC sketch show Is It Bill Bailey?

He is also a classically-trained musician and has published a guide to British birds. On Wednesday, in a review of his first live gig for six months, The Daily Telegraph said he “remains one of the funniest, most brilliantly original comedians in the UK”.

Clara Amfo, who hosts BBC Radio 1’s late morning slot, aid she “couldn’t wait to fully embrace” the experience of Strictly.

In recent years, Amfo has presented coverage of Glastonbury, the Brit Awards, Radio 1’s Big Weekend, the Bafta TV Awards and The Proms.

“As we know this year has been a real challenge and escapism through dancing is something I know we all enjoy,” she said.

“So to be taught by a pro and live a fantasy is something that I can’t wait to fully embrace, see you on the dancefloor!”

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Ranvir Singh is Good Morning Britain’s political editor and occasional host, and also appears on other ITV programmes including Loose Women, Tonight and Eat, Shop, Save. She is about to start co-hosting a new Sunday morning show, All Around Britain.

Singh said she felt “complete terror” at the idea of taking part, likening it to “embarking on a rollercoaster”.

She previously worked as a producer and reporter for the BBC for 12 years, and presented BBC North West Tonight.

Singh said: “The initial feeling of being confirmed for Strictly is one of complete terror – feels like embarking on a rollercoaster, where you really want to do it but you are equally scared.

“Hopefully after the first dance I will feel exhilarated rather than sick!”

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Media captionNicola Adams: Same-sex partner ‘big step’ for Strictly Come Dancing

Olympic boxer Nicola Adams will make Strictly Come Dancing history by becoming the first contestant to be part of a same-sex pairing.

She told BBC Breakfast she was the one who suggested having a female partner when producers asked her to take part.

“I think it’s really important,” she said. “It’s definitely time for change.

Adams won a gold medal for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics, and again in Rio in 2016. She retired from the sport last year.

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Award-winning actress and presenter Caroline Quentin is known for a range of acting roles, including Maddie in Jonathan Creek and DCI Janine Lewis in Blue Murder.

She has also starred in Kiss Me Kate, Life Begins and Life of Riley.

However, arguably her most famous role was playing Dorothy in the hit 90s sitcom Men Behaving Badly.

She recently presented the documentary series Extraordinary Homes for BBC Two.

Quentin said she was “thrilled and terrified in equal measure to be taking part” in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

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Rich Polk

Broadcaster Jason Bell is a former professional American footballer.

He played as a cornerback/safety in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys.

Bell then played for the Houston Texans, where he was named a recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award, one of the league’s highest honours. He finished his professional career with the New York Giants.

Bell now co-hosts The Jason & Osi Podcast with another former NFL star, Osi Umenyiora, and the pair appear as pundits on the NFL Show on the BBC.

“Strictly is the epitome of British television and this year, more than ever, I’m so proud and humbled to be participating,” he said.

“Strictly was the first show I ever watched when I moved to the UK and I’m a massive fan. My six-year-old daughter never got the chance to see me run out on the field at an NFL game but she is very excited about me taking to the dance floor. I hope I can do her proud.”

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Singer and actor Max George shot to fame as a member of boy band The Wanted.

His former bandmate, Jay McGuiness, previously won Strictly Come Dancing in 2015.

George said he was “buzzing to be on Strictly this year”, joking: “I’m not really one for the dance floor, but I take a lot of comfort in the fact that Jay McGuiness set The Wanted’s bar so low.”

The Wanted had two number one singles in the UK – All Time Low and Glad You Came – with the latter reaching the top three in the US Billboard chart.

After The Wanted took a break, Max moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career and starred in the sixth season of Glee as Clint. He recently returned to music as a solo artist.

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