The most diverse Strictly Come Dancing line-up ever revealed in full

Anneka Rice is the final Strictly Come Dancing contestant confirmed
Anneka Rice is the final Strictly Come Dancing contestant confirmed
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Anneka Rice is the final contestant to join the most diverse line-up in the history of Strictly Come Dancing.

The veteran broadcaster, 60, joked that she has not “got a shimmy in me” as it was revealed she is the 15th star to join the line-up.

Five of the 15 contestants this year are non-white, the highest proportion so far.

READ MORE: Sports presenter Alex Scott joins Strictly Come Dancing line-up

She joins rower James Cracknell, former football stars Alex Scott and David James, Made In Chelsea’s Jamie Laing, RuPaul’s Drag Race star Michelle Visage, Paralympic champion Will Bayley and ex-Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley.

Also competing this year are EastEnders star Emma Barton, comedian Chris Ramsey, YouTube personality Saffron Barker, Radio 1 DJ Dev Griffin, chef and socialite Emma, Viscountess Weymouth, BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell and children’s TV host Karim Zeroual.

After she was announced on BBC Radio 2, Rice said: “I have never danced in front of one member of my family or anyone who knows me.

“I haven’t danced since I was seven, since I was sacked from ballet because I looked like a big pudding, a rice pudding, that was my nickname.

“She sent me home because I was plain and podgy, so I haven’t danced since because I’ve had a complete thing about it.

“My sons said it’s a joke but this is the year for me, my last son has just left university.

“I’m feeling reckless, I’ve done two reckless things this year, I did stand-up for the first time and I took part in the Sky Arts portrait artist of the year competition, having never drawn a head before.”

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At 60, Rice will be the oldest contestant this year, while Barker will be the youngest at 19.
Rice said she attempted a Zumba class in 2011, but it was a “disaster” and that she could not follow it at all.

The TV stalwart, known for flitting across the country in colourful jumpsuits on Channel 4 gameshow Treasure Hunt and then her own series Challenge Anneka in the 1980s and 1990s, said she was not a “girly girl” and was concerned about wearing “flouncy” dresses on the dance floor.

Rice followed double Olympic gold medal-winning rower Cracknell, who was confirmed as the 14th star on the Strictly line-up earlier on Wednesday.

The sports star, who was unveiled on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, said that his ex-wife Beverley Turner had previously banned him from taking part in the show because of the so-called Strictly curse.

The former rowing world champion said of his family’s response to him joining this year: “They’re really embarrassed for me!

“Bev was supportive and the kids went ‘no’.”

“My 15-year-old said ‘you’ve got to do some dad dancing’. That is my dancing!”

In a major departure from tradition, there are no musicians or singers among the contestants.

It is the first time this decade that those professions have not been represented on the show.

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