All the Strictly Come Dancing celebrity and professional pairings as the 2023 series kicks off
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Strictly Come Dancing kicked off on Saturday night as all 15 celebrities took to the floor for their first routines.

The 2023 series will see the stars battle it out each week to see who will lift the Glitterball trophy in December.

Hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman the BBC1 show saw the return of judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and Shirley Ballas.

But which celebrities and paired with which professional dancers this year?

Here MailOnline tells you everything you need to know about the Strictly pairings: 

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice 

Sherlock actress Amanda, 49, is paired with veteran Giovanni who is much loved by the show’s loyal audience.

In a career spanning over thirty years on stage and screen, her most prominent roles include Josie Mardle in Mr Selfridge and Mary Morstan in Sherlock.

Meanwhile Giovanni has previously raised the Glitterball Trophy with partner EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis. 

Asked by Claudia how happy she was with the partnership, Amanda previously said: ‘I’m ecstatic, we get on really well, same sense of humour and dedicated to working hard’. 

When asked about Amanda’s reaction to the reveal, her partner Giovanni replied: ‘That was a reaction, I have to be honest…and also there was screaming that I enjoyed very much…very very happy days.’

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice 

Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima

Zara, 26, who said she was ‘probably the most nervous I’ve been in my life’ ahead of being paired up was picked to be with pro Graziano.

After working for the Department for Education as a policy advisor, Zara became a contestant on the fourth series of Love Island and subsequently appeared on The X Factor: Celebrity and Made in Chelsea. 

The reality star said ahead of the show: ‘I’m not a natural born performer or extrovert, so this is the biggest challenge of my life!’ 

Graziano said to Zara: ‘The sky is the limit! Be positive all the way’.

Graziano and Zara’s first dance was Cha Cha Cha. 

Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima

Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima 

Jody Cundy and Jowita Przystał

English cyclist and former swimmer Jody and reigning professional champion Jowita were picked to be in a partnership for the dancing show.

When asked by Tess whether the athlete would find Strictly easy, Paralympian Jody, 44, replied: ‘I’d like to think so, but I don’t think it’s going to be. 

‘I’m a complete newbie at this, I had years and years of practice at the other ones so we’ll see what happens…let’s shoot for the stars!’

After the pairing Jowita admitted she was nervous, saying: ‘I need to admit I’m actually a bit nervous because I don’t want to let him down, but I have a lot of ideas.’

Jody is an English cyclist and former swimmer. He has represented Great Britain at seven Summer Paralympics winning eight Gold, one Silver and three Bronze medals across swimming and cycling events. 

Jody Cundy and Jowita Przystał

Jody Cundy and Jowita Przystał 

Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Lauren Oakley

Krishnan was paired with Lauren for the 2023 series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy is a British journalist and broadcaster. He is the lead presenter of Channel 4 News and also presents Unreported World, a foreign-affairs documentary series. 

The presenter was extremely pleased and said of his pairing on the launch show: ‘Oh it’s brilliant and she gets me immediately’.  

This is the first celebrity partnership for Lauren, who said: ‘It might be the first time that I’m partnered with somebody, but I know it’s a big ask for the celebrities to go out there and dance. 

‘So I think I need to be kind and give you confidence to have fun, but when it’s time to be strict I know how to be strict, don’t worry about that!’

Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Lauren Oakley

Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Lauren Oakley 

Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington 

Angela, 78, was paired with the popular Kai for the series this year. 

Angela is a television journalist, newsreader, writer and presenter. 

Rippon presented radio and television news programmes in South West England before moving to BBC One’s Nine O’Clock News, becoming a regular presenter in 1975. 

Kai said of the pairing: ‘When I saw it was Kai I couldn’t have been happier I promise you.’

Kai said: ‘I am absolutely delighted to have Angela , I think we are going to be fabulous.’

Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington

Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington 

Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin

Layton has been paired with Nikita Kuzmin who has been on the show for two years now as a professional dancer.

Layton is best known for playing the role of Stephen Carmichael in the television series Bad Education and his work in the West End theatre. 

His first job was at the age of twelve playing the title role in Billy Elliot the Musical on London’s West End.

When talking about the partnership Layton said: ‘He is going to whip me into shape, and keep me on the straight and narrow because I do like to think I know what I am doing and do the most, but I really don’t have a clue!’

Claudia said to Nikita: ‘Layton has previous dance experience, do you unpick that or do you build on it?’ 

Nikita replied: ‘Ballroom and Latin are completely different to anything Layton has done so far, the technique, posture and especially to co-ordination is completely different, he has a lot to learn and I can’t wait to teach him.’

Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin

Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin 

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones

Actor Nigel, 50, was picked to be paired with Katya who has been on the show for years.

Nigel is best known for his role as Dennis Rickman in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, Bradley Dawson in Sky One’s Mount Pleasant and Max Cristie in the BBC medical drama Casualty.

Claudia told Nigel that Katya could be quite strict on the launch show and asked if he was ready.

Nigel replied: ‘Everyone keeps telling me this and every time they tell me this I get more and more terrified, but I am pretending I’m really calm about it.’ 

When asked about what Katya has in store for Nigel, she said: ‘Idea’s will come as we get to know each other’.

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones 

Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell

Bobby, 20, was paired with red-haired Dianne who is also much loved by fans on the show. 

In 2022, Bobby rose to prominence after joining the cast of the BBC One soap opera EastEnders as Freddie Slater, for which he received a National Television Award.

Bobby said of his pairing on the launch show: ‘I am so pleased!’ while Dianne added: ‘I am so happy I have already adopted Bobby as my little brother.

‘I already care so much about him, I just want him to have the best time ever.’

Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell

Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell 

Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer

Eddie was paired with with longest serving professional Karen.

Eddie is a British-Congolese comedian, presenter and actor. 

Eddie said of his pairing: ‘She’s a little bit like kryptonite…she’s got a sound ‘ta ta’, when you get something a little bit wrong ‘ta ta’ I’m like oh my God, I’ve got to get used to ‘ta ta’.

Karen added: ‘He will be cracking the jokes, but I’m going to be cracking the whip.’

Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer

Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer 

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe

Annabel was paired on Wimbledon’s centre court with Johannes.

Annabel is a former professional tennis player and current radio and television presenter. 

As a tennis player she won the WTA Tour event Virginia Slims of San Diego and represented Great Britain in the Fed Cup and the Wightman Cup 

On the pairing she said: ‘I’ve got the best partner I could possibly have wished for, honestly he’s so special, you really are so special, it’s such an honour and a privilege to be dancing with you, thank you.’ 

When Claudia asked about Johannes’ plans for the first week, he told Annabel: ‘I am going to take you through your paces my darling but the most important thing is that we are going to have fun.’

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe 

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola

Actress Ellie was paired with Vito this year who joined the show two years ago.

Ellie, 22, is best known for portraying Faye Windass on the ITV soap opera Coronation Street between 2011 and 2023. 

When asked by Claudia about her pairing she said: ‘I’m over the moon that Vito is my partner, honestly I’m so excited I think we are going to have so much fun’. 

Vito said: ‘I am just going to have the best time with Ellie, I want to have the best journey and have fun.’ 

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola

Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk

Adam and Luba were paired together on the launch show for Strictly Come Dancing last week.

Adam is an actor known for his roles as Donte Charles in the BBC One school-based drama series Waterloo Road and Adam Barton in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale. 

He has also appeared as a contestant on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!.

Discussing the pairing he said: ‘I’m loving life…what is not to love? I’m on Strictly Come Dancing and I’ve got this Russian princess, I’m buzzing, absolutely over the moon.’

Luba continued: ‘I’ve never been this happy…so I am extremely excited and cannot wait to dance with you.’

When asked by Claudia how much he is looking forward to learning how to dance, Adam replied: ‘I can’t wait… this is why we do this show, it’s to learn how to dance.’

Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk

Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk 

Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu

Angela was paired with Carlos on the launch show.

Angela is an Irish television presenter and broadcaster for RTÉ and the BBC. She initially broadcast on Irish television, presenting a number of programmes on RTÉ including the documentary Oi Ginger! in 2014. 

She said of the pairing: ‘Thank you universe…I think Carlos will be able to teach me, he is direct…I feel like there is a directness that I might respond to, like brutal honesty that Carlos has.’ 

Claudia asked Carlos if this is going to be the year he wins, to which he replied: ‘Oh yes I have made a better plan and we are going for the glitter ball…we’ll do it one step at a time, no rush.’

Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu

Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu 

Nikita Kanda and Gorka Márquez

Nikita, 28, was paired with another veteran of the show Gorka.

She is a radio presenter and broadcaster. After joining the BBC Asian Network in 2021, she became the presenter of the Asian Network Breakfast in July 2022. 

Discussing her family’s reaction to her taking part in the show, she said: ‘My mum cried… she was so happy it’s made everyone feel good and have a bit of a smile on their face.’

When asked about her dancing skills by Claudia, Nikita said: ‘I am a party animal but when it comes to choreography that’s what I’m here to learn… I need to learn some new skills, I’m just like one arm up in the air.’

Gorka said that even if it doesn’t go right don’t lose the confidence, always believe in yourself, I believe in you already and it’s going to be great!’ 

He went on to reveal their first dance will be the waltz and their team name is Gorkita.

Nikita Kanda and Gorka Márquez

Nikita Kanda and Gorka Márquez 

Les Dennis and Nancy Xu

Nancy was paired with showbiz King Les on the launch show for Strictly Come Dancing. 

Les is a television presenter, actor, and comedian. He presented Family Fortunes from 1987 until 2002. 

He said of the show: ‘I love a challenge…this is the biggest challenge ever, I am so excited about it, I can’t wait.’

When commenting on the pairing he said: ‘I am so happy… as soon as I met Nancy I knew I could learn from her, she is a great teacher and she is so enthusiastic’. 

Nancy said: ‘I am so excited and actually we have already started’.

Les revealed that Nancy is teaching her to dance and Les is teaching her to speak ‘scouse’.

Les Dennis and Nancy Xu

Les Dennis and Nancy Xu 

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