Strictly Come Dancing 2023 launch date ‘revealed’

The date for the first episode of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing appears to have been revealed.

The inaugural live show will be broadcast from the Strictly ballroom on Saturday 23 September, according to a post on the BBC’s Shows, Tours and Take Part website, which allows fans to apply for tickets to be in the audience.

The BBC is yet to confirm an official start date for the new season of the star-studded dance competition, but the pre-recorded launch episode tends to air the week before the first live instalment.

The launch, which will see this year’s celebrity contestants paired up with their professional dance partners, will be filmed at Elstree Studios on 6 September.

Thirteen live episodes are planned, with the finale set to air on 16 December.

The Independent has contacted the BBC for comment.

The line-up for the 21st series of Strictly was unveiled earlier this month, featuring stars including Sherlock actor Amanda Abbington, Channel 4 News host Krishnan Guru-Murthy, and Love Island contestant turned TV presenter Zara McDermott, who will be the first former Islander to compete for the Glitterball Trophy.

Former Strictly host Angela Rippon will become the oldest contestant to take part in the show. “Having been a fan of Strictly since day one, and as a former presenter of Come Dancing, this will be quite an adventure for me,” she said in a statement.

“A scary one, considering I’m about to be 79. But I’m really looking forward to the challenge, and perhaps being able to learn to dance the Argentinian Tango!!”

Judges Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and Anton Du Beke will also be returning to the show to critique the celebrities’ efforts, while Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman will be back on presenting duties.

Professional dancer Amy Dowden confirmed last month that she won’t be taking part in this year’s competition, after receiving a second cancer diagnosis.

Dowden, who joined Strictly in 2017, announced that she had breast cancer in May, but doctors later discovered more tumours and another type of cancer, requiring the 32-year-old to undergo chemotherapy.

“This year, it means I’m not going to be able to dance with a celebrity on Strictly, but I’m in such regular contact with the team,” she said in an Instagram Q&A in July. “The BBC have just been utterly incredible.”