Strictly 2019: David James, Chris Ramsey and Emma Barton announced

Strictly Come Dancing 2019: Footballer David James, comedian Chris Ramsey and EastEnders’ Emma Barton are FIRST stars confirmed for line-up… but One Show guest host Stacey Dooley messes up the big reveal

Footballer David James, comedian Chris Ramsey and EastEnders actress Emma Barton have been unveiled as the first three contestants taking part in Strictly Come Dancing 2019.

But the announcement on Wednesday evening’s edition of The One Show was ruined by stand-in host (and last year’s Strictly champion) Stacey Dooley, when she talked over the voiceover during the big reveal.

David was first to be revealed, but Stacey was heard chattering about him in the background while Strictly announcer Alan Dedicoat drummed up the suspense. 

One, two, three…: [L-R] Footballer David James, comedian Chris Ramsey and EastEnders actress Emma Barton have been unveiled as the first three contestants taking part in Strictly Come Dancing 2019

Nonetheless, out David came, revealing that the only person he had told was his mother.

‘I have been asked to do it a few times, but this time around I said yes…’ the 48-year-old said.

The former England goalkeeper – who has also worked as a football analyst for the BBC and BT Sport – said in a statement: ‘I’m really excited to be on Strictly this year. Not just competing against this year’s stars, but being compared to previous sport stars from previous Strictly seasons. I have some big shoes to fill.’

Next was ex I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here Now! host Chris, 32, who gushed: ‘As a comedian there are not so many things all the family, including the kids, can watch me on. But this is something everyone can watch.’

Blunder! The announcement on Wednesday evening’s edition of The One Show was ruined by stand-in host (and last year’s Strictly champion) Stacey Dooley, when she talked over the voiceover during the big reveal



Unveiled: [L-R] David is a former goalkeeper for England, Chris fronts The Chris Ramsey Show on Comedy Central and Emma portrays Honey Mitchell in EastEnders

He revealed he had ‘told everyone’ he was doing it, including three of his friends while drunk.

‘I told three of my mates on a stag do, but thankfully they forgot!’ he said.

He added: ‘I’m both excited and absolutely terrified to be doing the show. You will not find me on the dance floor at parties, you will find me at the buffet table. All night.

‘At my wedding I danced with my wife; that one song took about six months practice, and I definitely stood on her feet a couple of times. So I’m looking forward to the possibility of making a fool of myself in front of millions of people … there better be a buffet after the live shows.’


Letting it slip: Chris revealed he had ‘told everyone’ he was doing it, including three of his friends while drunk. ‘I told three of my mates on a stag do, but thankfully they forgot!’ he said

Emma, 42, was third to be unveiled. She was heard banging a drum, performing the infamous EastEnders theme tune,  before stepping into the studio to join her new fellow-contestants.

Emma – who plays Honey Mitchell in the stalwart BBC soap – said: ‘As possibly one of the biggest Strictly fans on the planet, I still can’t believe this is happening.

‘I’m very much a dance around your handbag kinda girl, but now I’ve been given this wonderful opportunity to learn all the different styles of dancing from the very best in the business.

‘So, I’m whipping off Honey’s Minute Mart tabard and diving right in to all the glitter and sparkle. From Albert Square to the Strictly dance floor – I just can’t wait!’

Ta-Dah! Emma was heard banging a drum, performing the infamous EastEnders theme tune, before stepping into the studio to join her new fellow-contestants


Celebs: David has worked as a football analyst for the BBC and BT Sport, while Emma has appeared on Celebrity MasterChef


David said in a statement: ‘I’m really excited to be on Strictly this year. Not just competing against this year’s stars, but being compared to previous sport stars from previous Strictly seasons. I have some big shoes to fill’

The pros: Chinese dancer Nancy Xu [pictured top row, 4th from left] has joined the professional dancers, who finally kicked off rehearsals for the new series on Tuesday

The fans are out: The reaction was widely a favorable one across social media

Twitter erupted with delight at the news that Chris was taking part.

One fan penned: ‘Come on @IAmChrisRamsey!!! You’ll be great on #StrictlyComeDancing #TeamChris’ 

Followed by another – ‘So excited that @IAmChrisRamsey is doing #StrictlyComeDancing’ and a third – ‘Am I seeing this right? @IAmChrisRamsey is going to be in Strictly this year?!’

Another referenced Chris’ wife, podcaster Rosie: ‘@IAmChrisRamsey buzzing about the Strictly news. Can’t wait to see @Rosemarino commentary on t each week #StrictlyComeDancing #strictly2019’

Another person was thrilled to hear that Emma was taking part: ‘Yessss @EmmaBarton cant wait to see you on strictly, good luck Emma, your gonna be fab [sic]’

Another added: ‘CHRIS RAMSEY, DAVID JAMES AND EMMA BARTON we’re off to a good start. #SrictlyComeDancing is looking good so far this year!’

Some were underwhelmed, however: ‘First 3 celebrities on #BBCStrictly… Haven’t a clue! I don’t know any of ‘em [sic]’

‘Well the first three contestants are meh [sic],’ complained another.

The reveal may have surprised some fans of the annual tea-time dance competition, who may have been expecting three entirely different names.

Earlier in the day, broadcaster Iain Lee randomly claimed that Sam Allardyce, Jamie Laing and Anneka Rice will be the first names to be announced, during an appearance on Good Morning Britain.

He claimed: ‘They are going to announce the first three people on a show called The One Show – it’s going to be Sam Allardyce, Jamie Laing and Anneka rice.’

Seemingly unaware Iain was going to make the announcement, host Ben Shephard said: ‘They are announcing it later and you have already announced it?’

Feigning shock, Iain replied: ‘Opps, sorry.’

They then discussed ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce joining the star-studded line-up, as presenter Kate Garraway quizzed Ben on how he thought his pal would get on. 

Ben said, ‘I do know Sam quite well’, and when questioned on how he thought Sam would cope with the quickstep, he responded: ‘Undoubtedly’.

Other celebs rumoured to be joining this year’s roster include the likes of Coronation Street stars Catherine Tyldesley and Lucy Fallon, as well as I’m A Celeb king Harry Redknapp.

Other names floating around include Line Of Duty’s Adrian Dunbar, Boyzone singer Keith Duffy, broadcaster Louis Theroux, footballer (and husband of former Strictly champion Abbey Clancy) Peter Crouch and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK judges Michelle Visage and Alan Carr.

The BBC do not comment on speculation when it comes to the final line-up, with the rest of the contestants typically drip-fed to the public on various TV and radio shows across the UK over the month of August.

New girl in town! Confirming the news on her 28th birthday, Nancy gushed that it was a ‘dream come true’ to land a job on the show, as she replaces Pasha Kovalev who quit the show earlier this year


Quick step: Professional dancer Kevin Clifton was snapped leaving BBC Broadcasting House in London shortly after his girlfriend Stacey made the announcement blunder live on air

New addition: In a further shake up on the show, pro dancer Oti Mabuse’s sister Motsi will be joining the panel following Darcy Bussell’s exit from the programme

There’s been a shake-up amid the pro dancers this year, as well as the judging panel.

Chinese dancer Nancy Xu has joined the pros, who finally kicked off rehearsals for the new series on Tuesday.

Confirming the news on her 28th birthday, Nancy gushed that it was a ‘dream come true’ to land a job on the show, as she replaces Pasha Kovalev who quit the show earlier this year.

It’s all change behind the judging desk too, with pro dancer Oti Mabuse’s sister Motsi taking over from exiting judge Darcy Bussell. 

Strictly Come Dancing will air later this year, and more stars are set be announced in the coming weeks.

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