Strictly Come Dancing 2021 latest – Rylan Clark reveals Jay Blades & Fred Sirieix as Xmas special celebs on It Takes Two

First Dates host Fred Sirieix and Repair Shop presenter Jay Blades have been announced as the first two celebrities taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.

The news was announced on BBC Two spin-off It Takes Two on Monday night.

French maitre'd Sirieix, 49, will dance with Australian professional Dianne Buswell during this year's festive special.

After a career working front of house at Michelin-starred restaurants, Sirieix launched a TV career as the personable host of First Dates on Channel 4.

He has since appeared in a number of series relating to the food industry, including specials alongside TV chefs Gordon Ramsay and Gino D'Acampo.

Furniture restorer and TV host Blades, 51, will be dancing with choreographer and dancer Luba Mushtuk, from Russia.

Originally from Hackney in east London, Blades was made an MBE earlier this year for his services to craf

Read our Strictly Come Dancing live blog for the latest news and gossip…

  • Joseph Gamp

    Fred Sirieix to join Strictly Christmas line up

    French maitre'd and TV presenter Fred Sirieix, best know as the host of Channel 4's First Dates, was named as the second celebrity contestant taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special.

    Appearing in the One Show studio, he said: "I got the phone call and I was as excited as I was scared.

    "Because I was so scared I thought I have got to do it. There is no way I can turn this down. I have got to do it."

  • Joseph Gamp

    Jay Blades announced as first celebrity for Strictly Christmas special

    Repair Shop presenter Jay Blades was announced as the first celebrity contestant taking part in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special

    Speaking from Barbados via video link, he told BBC Two spin-off It Takes Two: "It is probably one of the things I love doing most, which is challenging myself and doing something I have never done before. I could do a dad dance but I can't do full dancing. So let's dive in there and have a go."

  • Joseph Gamp

    More ‘spoilers’ this weekend leave fans furious

    Fans were left annoyed after learning about another ‘spoiler’ this weekend.

    Taking to Twitter, one distraught viewer wrote: “omg I’ve seen a spoiler that I really hope is wrong.”

    Another added: “If those strictly spoilers are right I AM THROWING FISTS.”

    A third tweeted: “I’ve seen the spoiler and I’m shocked who they eliminated.”

    A fourth admitted: “the strictly spoilers…. ik it’s not 100% yet but i feel sick”.

  • Joseph Gamp

    Dan Walker's odds slashed to win after huge public support

    Dan Walker is now 25-1 (cut from 66-1) with bookmaker Coral to win Strictly Come Dancing this winter as his strong public support carried him through another weekend.

    Rose Ayling-Ellis remains odds on to win the show, at 1-5 with Coral.

    "Rose is the firm favourite to win Strictly this year but we can't ignore Dan now and all of a sudden we're starting to think he might go the whole way and win the show, such is his strong support. We've slashed the odds from 66-1 all the way down to 25-1," said Coral's Harry Aitkenhead.

  • Milica Cosic

    Explained: Why Tom Fletcher was eliminated

    On Sunday night, the McFly frontman became the eight celebrity to be sent home from the dance competition after failing to impress the judges.

    Singer Tom his professional dance partner Amy Dowden were joint bottom of the leaderboard after performing their couple’s choice routine to On My Own from Les Miserables on Saturday’s live show.

    However, the judges felt he had been too restrained with his emotions during the dance.

    The duo faced CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson and his professional partner Nancy Xu in Sunday night’s dance-off.

  • Milica Cosic

    Explained: What happened to Shirley Ballas?

    STRICTLY Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas has revealed a lump spotted by fans during the live shows has proven ‘concerning’ to doctors. 

    The 61-year-old professional dancer was encouraged to seek medical advice after viewers of the BBC favourite noticed a protrusion under her arm. 

    At the time of the lump discovery, Shirley expressed her gratitude to those that reached out to express their concerns. 

    She will now be getting scans on her adrenal glands and ovaries at at King's College Hospital in London. 

  • Milica Cosic

    ‘Toughest’ dance off last night

    Last night, Tom and Amy came up against Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xu in the dance off.

    The judges found it to be a very tight call but Rhys just pipped Tom to the post.

    Motsi Mabu described it as the “toughest” dance-off she has seen since joining the BBC One show but felt Rhys and his partner “put on another extra level”.

    Fellow judge Anton Du Beke added: “I agree with the other judges.

    “It was an outstanding dance-off. On Saturday night Rhys made a slight mistake and Tom didn’t really fulfil his potential in the dance.”

  • Milica Cosic

    Strictly’s Rhys Stephenson has been warned

    Strictly Come Dancing star Rhys Stephenson has reportedly been warned to keep his routines ‘clean’ to avoid upsetting his younger fans.

    A source told the Mail On Sunday: “There is a concerted effort to keep Rhys clean.

    “The routines are tame compared to other contestants because bosses are aware that a lot of young children watch Strictly, particularly on catch-up, and seeing the guy they associate with their own programmes getting sexual wouldn’t be great.

    “PG is what his dances are all about.”

    The star found himself in the bottom two last night, but was saved in a dance off against McFly star Tom Fletcher.

  • Milica Cosic

    Who is still left in the competition?

    After Tom's departure on Sunday night, there are now six celebrities all dancing for that Glitterball trophy.

    The stars that are left in the competition are:

    • AJ Odudu 
    • Dan Walker 
    • John Whaite
    • Rhys Stephenson 
    • Rose Ayling-Ellis 
    • Tilly Ramsay
    • Milica Cosic

      Shirley Ballas: 'Life is a little bumpy for me at the moment'

      Shirley spoke on Loose Women today, and told the ladies: "I have to admit, life is a little bumpy for me at the moment.

      "It led to many other things. I don't have the results yet but fans will be the first to know when there is a health update, I can only thank them."

      Reflecting on her medical concerns, Shirley added that the anniversary of her brother's death is also approaching.

      She confessed: "Life seems a little overwhelming."

    • Milica Cosic

      Strictly’s Shirley Ballas says ‘life is overwhelming for me'

      STRICTLY Come Dancing's Shirley Ballas fought back tears during an appearance on Loose Women today as she admitted "life is overwhelming for me".

      The 61-year-old star emotionally opened up about awaiting her test results after fans of the BBC One dance show spotted a lump under her armpit.

      Asked for an update on the lump scare on the ITV lunchtime show today, Shirley's voice cracked before she spoke as she shared her fear that she will get "emotional".

      Read more here.

    • Milica Cosic

      Proud to be deaf (continued)

      The 27-year-old has said that being deaf has never stopped her pursuing her dreams and she hopes that she can inspire other hearing-impaired individuals to take up performing arts such as acting and dancing.

      “My ambition is to amplify deaf voices and to stop people assuming deaf people can’t achieve,” she said.

      “The challenges of dealing with people’s lack of understanding made me more determined and want to work harder.

      “It’s so important not to be ashamed of being deaf.”

      Rose has starred as Frankie Lewis in Eastenders since 2020.

    • Milica Cosic

      Proud to be deaf

      Rose has previously spoken about the measures she has to take in order to communicate with others while on the Eastenders set.

      She previously told the National Deaf Children’s Society that she communicates using a mixture of oral English and British Sign Language (BSL) on the set – and often has to perform in Sign Supported English (SSE).

      She said: When I use SSE, it’s like thinking of two languages at the same time while performing, so a BSL monitor checks my BSL is clear on-screen.

      “I also have a BSL interpreter on set at all times, paid for by my Access to Work.”

    • Milica Cosic

      Fan fury at ‘spoiler’ this weekend

      Fans were left annoyed after learning about another 'spoiler' this weekend.

      Taking to Twitter, one distraught viewer wrote: “omg I’ve seen a spoiler that I really hope is wrong.”

      Another added: “If those strictly spoilers are right I AM THROWING FISTS.”

      A third tweeted: “I’ve seen the spoiler and I’m shocked who they eliminated.”

      A fourth admitted: “the strictly spoilers…. ik it’s not 100% yet but i feel sick”.

    • Milica Cosic

      Strictly news you may have missed

      • Strictly fans claim they’ve spotted telltale clue show was ‘fixed’ for Tom Fletcher to leave
      • Rhys Stephenson warned to keep routines ‘clean so he doesn’t upset his younger fans’
      • Strictly in fix row as Tom Fletcher is eliminated after dance-off with Rhys Stephenson
      • Strictly’s Tess Daly blasted by fans for twice mentioning ‘a mistake’ in Rhys Stephenson’s jive
      • Milica Cosic

        Explained: Who is Giovanni Pernice?

        Giovanni is a 31-year-old professional dancer who joined Strictly in 2015.

        He was born in Sicily and started dance lessons at a young age.

        The talented dancer is yet to win Strictly, and says his greatest achievement to date is winning the Italian Championships in 2012.

        Giovanni says his favourite dance is the jive, as it reflects his cheekiness.

        Outside Strictly, he is perhaps most known for his relationship with Love Island star Maura Higgins – who split with in October, fuelling rumours that he has his eye on dance partner Rose Ayling-Ellis.

      • Milica Cosic

        What's going on?

        It seems to be a regular occurrence now that the result of tonight’s vote off always gets leaked the night before.

        Fans are furious with some even saying they ‘feel sick’ after a ‘spoiler’ leaked which celebrity is eliminated in a dramatic Musicals Week dance off.

        Every week fans of the BBC show have to carefully make their way through social media if they don’t want to risk seeing spoilers for who leaves in Sunday night’s pre-recorded Results Show.

      • Milica Cosic

        It's not known when Craig will return

        Craig is now in isolation for ten days and will only return to the show if he tests positive next week and is back in good health.

        A Strictly spokesperson said: “Craig Revel Horwood has tested positive for Covid-19 and is now self-isolating following the latest government guidelines.

        “While Craig will not be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this weekend, all being well he will return the following week.”

        He was double vaccinated and, in the same series that it emerged three pros hadn’t been jabbed, criticised anyone who turned it down.

      • Milica Cosic

        Giovanni's a changed man

        Strictly Come Dancing’s Giovanni, who recently split from Love Island’s Maura Higgins, is said to be a changed man after meeting Rose.

        A source told Heat: “Giovanni has really changed since meeting Rose, and for the better.

        “He’s seen the obstacles Rose has had to face in life and he’s just in awe of her.

        “She’s one of the first women who he’s met who’s not taken in by his charms, and she isn’t afraid to challenge him or take the p**s out of him, which he loves.”

        However, if he is hoping to woo her he may be in for a challenge – Rose currently has a long-term boyfriend.

      • Milica Cosic

        An almost kiss…

        Viewers felt ‘awkward’ during Musicals Week after AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington almost kissed again.

        The couple have been dogged by romance rumours throughout this year’s series, and almost shared a kiss at the end of their sizzling Argentine Tango a few weeks ago.

        The couple opened Musicals Week last night with a romantic Waltz to Edelweiss from The Sound of Music.

        In the VT leading up to the routine, AJ and Kai danced on a hill with the London skyline behind them.

        Kai suggested AJ kiss him and she replied: “Kai, I’m not going to kiss ya!”

        Some viewers found the moment cringe-worthy, with one writing on Twitter: “Sorry I have just died of awkwardness from the Kai/AJ kiss VT, future tweets not my own, instead those of my ghost.”

      • Milica Cosic

        Strictly stars that could leave

        Strictly is facing an exodus after it emerged Oti Mabuse and Aljaz Skorjanec have both told pals they plan to quit the hit show next year.

        Sources say that the pro dancers will hand in their notices after this series for projects away from the ballroom.

        Oti, 31, is the show’s most successful pro having won twice, with Kelvin Fletcher and Bill Bailey.

        Aljaz, 31, won with Abbey Clancy in 2013 and is the longest-serving male professional still competing.

        It is thought the pair have not yet told the BBC.

        Katya, 32, is also rumoured to have threatened to leave but it is not know if she has any serious plans.

      • Milica Cosic

        Fans accuse judges of undermarking Tom

        Fans have also accused the judges of hugely undermarking Tom for his Les Mis inspired routine, yet again saying that BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker had been awarded more points than his dance deserved.

        They also slammed the "unfair" negative comments Tom received from the judges – with the main criticism being that he held back tears at the end of his performance.

      • Milica Cosic

        Telltale clue show was ‘fixed’ for Tom to leave

        STRICTLY Come Dancing fans claimed to have spotted a telltale clue that the weekend's show was "fixed" for Tom Fletcher to leave.

        Sharing a screenshot of the concert info, one viewer tweeted: "Tom is actually in the #02 tonight, it was staged for him to leave tonight."

        Another said: "Love that my friend has just posted on fb that she’s at the O2 waiting for McFly… Hmm but Tom Fletcher is at the Strictly results!"

        One more moaned: "Dying that Tom is in the dance off and on stage at the O2 with McFly…. When will Strictly just own up to doing the results show on Saturday night?"

        The results show being pre-recorded is a constant source of confusion for some, with many tweeting every week believing that it is live.

      • Milica Cosic

        ‘Strictly NOT a fix’

        STRICTLY’S Anton du Beke has said that the show is not fixed and the BBC don’t care who wins.

        Anton said: “In regards to everything else, the BBC don’t care about who wins or who doesn’t win because they’re interested in making a great television show. 

        “The judges don’t mind who wins and who doesn’t, because I can’t say to you, ‘my favourite was Dan Walker,’ because you’ll say to me, ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about, he’s obviously not danced better than AJ [Odudu] last weekend’, let’s say.

        “So all I do is I lose my own credibility, so I have to mark what I see, and based on that, you get this element of, it is what it is.” 

        Adding to the Daily Express, he said: “Nobody goes off after Strictly Come Dancing and gets a big recording contract – you get a trophy, you go, ‘thank you very much,’ then you go back to your day job. 

        “So it’s all a bit of a pointless exercise to fix it.”

      • Milica Cosic

        Strictly’s Rose ‘set to be the next Stacey Dooley’

        Strictly star Rose is reportedly set to become the next Stacey Dooley after winning over the hearts of the nation.

        Bosses are now reportedly in talks to have the actress front documentaries and other entertainment programmes, following in the footsteps of Stacey Dooley, who bagged herself high-profile roles at the BBC.

        A source told The Mail On Sunday: “Rose is a star and is exactly what the BBC need. The nation has fallen in love with her.

        “Everything about her is so charming and lovely.

        “She has won a fan base of millions of people in the matter of a few weeks.”

        They added: “She resonates with the young and the old, which is exactly what the BBC needs right now – and there are a number of projects being discussed for her after the show.”

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