Strictly Come Dancing: who are the contestants and who’s going to win?

There’s a posh one, a team of sporty types, soap ‘stars’ you may not recognise – and Anneka Rice

The 2019 Strictly Come Dancing lineup has been revealed in full, which means that Strictly Come Dancing will start soon, which means it’s Christmas soon, which means we’ve all basically wasted another year.

Still, at least this year Strictly is mixing it up by hiring barely anyone you have heard of. The turbo-powered obscurity of some of these contestants means one of two things: either the media landscape has become so impossibly fractured that four-quadrant celebrities simply don’t exist any more, or all the famous people refused because everyone who appears on Strictly ends up getting divorced. Anyway, here’s this year’s lineup, ranked from worst to best in terms of probable success.

Viscountess Weymouth, Emma Thynn

Dead last. Absolutely dead flat out last. Number one, nobody has ever heard of her. Number two, her job is listed as: “Chef, model, online host, Vogue contributor and philanthropist”, which is code for: “I haven’t got a proper job.” Number three, she is alienatingly posh. Number four, not to put this indelicately, but she isn’t white and God knows that’s always been an issue with Strictly voters.

Dev Griffin

Dev is a Radio 1 DJ, which means he will be big with the kids. Or at least the kids who watch Strictly Come Dancing and listen to Radio 1, which is barely any kids. Don’t get used to his face.


Jamie Laing

There was a time when Strictly placed a ban on reality stars. But not any more, because here comes Jamie Laing: a loose assemblage of teeth and flesh who only exists because some idiot once thought that Made in Chelsea would be a good idea.

Alex Scott

Sportswomen never tend to do very well on Strictly, largely because their professional grit and determination is a turn-off for Strictly viewers, who would rather watch former politicians debase themselves week after week in the name of desperate irony. Unless the former England defender Alex Scott can lower herself to doing novelty charlestons to Cheeky Girls songs, she's doomed.

Emma Barton

It’s Honey from EastEnders, here to fill the role of distantly recognisable BBC soap star who seems very pleasant in a largely anonymous way and will come and go on Strictly without making any impact whatsoever. Barton will be lovely and competent, and you’ll have forgotten that she took part by Halloween.

Will Bayley

Will Bayley is a Paralympic table tennis champion. His appearance on Strictly will further bolster the case that dancing isn't purely a pursuit for the able-bodied. That said, he will end up losing a dance-off to a vlogger in what will come to be seen as the most depressing moment of British TV in 2019.

Saffron Barker

Speaking of vloggers, here's Saffron Barker. Fun fact: I just watched six seconds of her video entitled: "I can finally show you!!?? Unboxing my NEW primark range????" and now I want to destroy YouTube, Primark, emoji, boxes, the general concept of enthusiasm, computers, the internet and both of my eyes. She will come ninth on Strictly Come Dancing.

Michelle Visage

It's Michelle Visage from RuPaul's Drag Race and Ireland's Got Talent. My sense is that Visage was booked to appeal to the campy, fun-loving Strictly viewers. And this means that she will absolutely bomb with the repressed, hate-filled, resentful-of-being-in-on-Saturday-night Strictly viewers, which is roughly 90 per cent of Strictly viewers.

Chris Ramsey

Every year Strictly books a reconstituted British comedian, high-pressure hosed from the desk of some godawful panel show. Last year it was Seann Walsh, who instantly became very famous. This year it's Chris Ramsey, who must know in his heart how disappointed the world will be if he doesn't get photographed jamming his tongue into his partner's mouth to the absolute devastation of his family.

Anneka Rice

The truth is, I want Anneka Rice to win Strictly this year, because Anneka Rice is absolutely brilliant. She's funny and forthright and genuinely iconic. However, whenever I throw my support behind anyone in any medium at any time, they always lose. I've probably ruined your chances here, Anneka. Sorry.

David James

On one hand, David James was a high-level athlete used to hurling his all behind all of his endeavours. On the other hand, remember when David Seaman took part on Dancing on Ice? It was like watching a giant matchbox effigy of Mr Bean being pushed around a puddle of vomit by a drunk toddler. I can't help but feel this might go the same way. Either James will do very well, or people will die.

Karim Zeroual

Karim Zeroual is one of those CBBC hunks, like Dr Ranj, who are primarily employed to transform an army of bored mums into lust-drenched Beatlemaniacs. But Karim has got something even better going for him: he's only 19, so he will manage to simultaneously activate the lust centre and the maternal centre in their brains. He'll be unstoppable, frankly.

Catherine Tyldesley

This is going to be make or break for Catherine Tyldesley. A former Coronation Street star, she is currently poised on the brink of a Suranne Jones-style break-out. If she does well here, she'll be front and centre when big-shot casting agents are looking for actors. If she fails, it's probably a lifetime of Celebrity Coach Trip. No pressure.

James Cracknell

Cracknell will do very well here. His sporting career and subsequent life of adventure was marked by a never-say-die determinism to succeed. He seems like a man who will commit to something with every atom of his body, and that’s an admirable trait to possess. But what will keep him on Strictly is the soap opera of his life. As his ex-wife keeps revealing in public, his desire to win caused problems in their marriage. Her running commentary on his Strictly tenure is going to be the best thing about this series.

Mike Bushell

Mike Bushell has the worst job on television. He's the one that BBC Breakfast keeps sending out to try new sports, even though all new sports basically seem to involve falling off scaffolding or having a teenager throw a brick at your head. He deserves to win Strictly just to improve his job prospects. Also, a man who looked like him and had a similar job won Strictly once, so it seems obvious that he will also win. This is the level of thought I've put into this. – Guardian