Strictly Come Dancing 2022: Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds ‘signs up for dance contest’

Strictly Come Dancing 2022: Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds ‘signs up for dance contest as first ever contestant with dwarfism’

  • Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds has reportedly signed up to appear in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing
  • The sports star, 27, who has a type of dwarfism called achondroplasia and is a height of 4ft, would be the first with the genetic condition to appear on the show
  • Ellie won gold medals at the Olympics in Beijing, China in 2008 and became the youngest person to receive an MBE in 2009. She won a further nine titles and 15 more medals and retired after the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan
  • It comes after Jayde Adams was announced as the fifth contestant to sign up to Strictly Come Dancing 2022 

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Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds has reportedly signed up to appear in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing.

The sports star, 27, who has a type of dwarfism called achondroplasia and is a height of 4ft, would be the first with the genetic condition to appear on the show.  

A source told The Sun: ‘Ellie is a real Strictly fan and has been in the studios to watch the live show. She can’t wait to get started in rehearsals this month.

Set to appear? Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds has reportedly signed up to appear in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing

Set to appear? Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds has reportedly signed up to appear in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing

‘She has always been conscious of how important it is to see disability on TV, and she is keen to be part of that and inspire as many people as possible.

‘But she is also hoping to have a lot of fun, and to embrace the challenge of learning to dance.’

MailOnline has contacted the BBC and representatives for Ellie for comment. 

Breaking down barriers: The sports star, 27, who has a type of dwarfism called achondroplasia and is a height of 4ft, would be the first with the genetic condition to appear on the show (pictured at the 2012 Paralympics games)

Breaking down barriers: The sports star, 27, who has a type of dwarfism called achondroplasia and is a height of 4ft, would be the first with the genetic condition to appear on the show (pictured at the 2012 Paralympics games)

Ellie won gold medals at the Olympics in Beijing, China in 2008 and became the youngest person to receive an MBE in 2009.

She won a further nine titles and 15 more medals and retired after the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan. 

It comes after Jayde Adams was announced as the fifth contestant to sign up to Strictly Come Dancing 2022.

The comedian and actress, 37 said that keeping the secret hidden had been like ‘torture’, but that she was a ‘massive fan’ of the show, as she joked appearing on the beloved show was her main career goal.

She said: ‘Since I watched the first series in 2004, I feel like every step I’ve taken in my career over the last 11 years was to be on Strictly. 

Big fan: Jayde Adams has been announced as the fifth contestant to sign up to Strictly Come Dancing 2022

Big fan: Jayde Adams has been announced as the fifth contestant to sign up to Strictly Come Dancing 2022

‘I cannot begin to express the emotions I am feeling, this means so much to me and my family. I’ve always watched it, apart from a brief hiatus in 2011 as I was relentlessly gigging every weekend (to try and get on Strictly).

‘I’ve been a massive fan of the show for years. I feel like I’m watching myself in a dream and I can’t believe I’ve manifested this. 

She added: ‘Holding this in has been torture for me!’

Best known as a comedian, Jayde has won several comedy awards and was nominated for the coveted Best Newcomer with her Edinburgh Fringe debut stand-up hour. 

Talented: Best known as a comedian, Jayde has won several comedy awards and was nominated for the coveted Best Newcomer with her Edinburgh Fringe debut stand-up hour

Talented: Best known as a comedian, Jayde has won several comedy awards and was nominated for the coveted Best Newcomer with her Edinburgh Fringe debut stand-up hour

Her Amazon Prime special, Serious Black Jumper, received global critical acclaim, was released worldwide and was longlisted for an Emmy. 

As an actor, Jayde has starred in BBC Two BAFTA winning comedy Alma’s Not Normal, the upcoming Take That movie Greatest Days, Amazon Prime’s Good Omens, and BBC One’s The Outlaws, while she is co-creator and star of ITV2’s upcoming brand new series Ruby Speaking.      

The news was revealed on Saturday morning on BBC Radio 5 Live by Scott Mills and Chris Stark. 

It comes after Kaye Adams was revealed as the fourth contestant on the series, making the exciting announcement live on Friday’s Loose Women on ITV.

It's official! Kaye Adams has been announced as the fourth contestant to sign up to Strictly Come Dancing 2022

It’s official! Kaye Adams has been announced as the fourth contestant to sign up to Strictly Come Dancing 2022

Kaye stunned her fellow panelists Denise Welch, Carol McGiffin and Sunetra Sarker – as well as Nadia Sawalha who appeared via video link – with the news towards the end of the show, with the studio welcoming a plethora of dancers.

While panelists in the studio were thrilled at the announcement, Nadia was left visibly shocked and emotional, telling her friend: ‘Is It actually you?! Oh my God. I could cry!’

‘It’s amazing you can do it because let’s face it, you can’t dance, but that’s what we like to see on Strictly – somebody learn to dance. You’re going to be incredible, you’re so funny, you’ve got the best legs in the business. I can’t wait to get home and cha cha cha with you!’

Revealing how she felt about taking part, Kaye admitted: ‘It’s me! I’m absolutely terrified because I can’t dance. I could think of a million reasons not to do this’.

Surprise! The Scottish TV star, 59, made the exciting announcement live on Friday's Loose Women on ITV after keeping it a secret from her co-stars

Surprise! The Scottish TV star, 59, made the exciting announcement live on Friday’s Loose Women on ITV after keeping it a secret from her co-stars

The secret's out! Kaye stunned her fellow panelists Denise Welch, Carol McGiffin and Sunetra Sarker - as well as Nadia Sawalha who appeared via video link - with the news towards, with the studio welcoming a plethora of dancers

The secret’s out! Kaye stunned her fellow panelists Denise Welch, Carol McGiffin and Sunetra Sarker – as well as Nadia Sawalha who appeared via video link – with the news towards, with the studio welcoming a plethora of dancers

The journalist went on: ‘When these gorgeous dancers came on, I nearly exited from both ends of my body, honestly. Sorry about that!

‘But I thought, “Am I going to be thinking at the end of September I wish I’d done this”. I’m 59, 60 at the end of this year and I was like, “Well, why not?”

‘I’m a really competitive person and Nadia, you know that’s true but in this I’m not. If I enjoy myself, I’ll be so happy.’

She added her daughters were not too fussed with the new as they simply told her: ‘Okay mum’. 

Nervous: Revealing how she felt about taking part, Kaye admitted: 'It's me! I'm absolutely terrified because I can't dance. I could think of a million reasons not to do this'

Reasons: 'But I thought, "Am I going to be thinking at the end of September I wish I’d done this". I’m 59, 60 at the end of this year and I was like, "Well, why not?"

Nervous: Revealing how she felt about taking part, Kaye admitted: ‘It’s me! I’m absolutely terrified because I can’t dance. I could think of a million reasons not to do this’

Support: Sunetra, who took part in the show in 2014, insisted that Kaye would have the best time and would make friends for life, while Denise commented: 'I could never live with the nerves but it will be fantastic'

Support: Sunetra, who took part in the show in 2014, insisted that Kaye would have the best time and would make friends for life, while Denise commented: ‘I could never live with the nerves but it will be fantastic’

Sunetra, who took part in the show in 2014, insisted that Kaye would have the best time and would make friends for life, while Denise commented: ‘I could never live with the nerves but it will be fantastic. I did ‘Dancing On Ice’ and it’s terrifying but it’s worth it!’

At the end of the show, Kaye got some practice in as she and the ladies joined the guest dancers were a twirl around the studio as the programme came to an end.  

Kaye follows in the footsteps of fellow Loose Women stars Judi Love, Ruth Langsford and Christine Lampard who have all taken part in Strictly.

A source previously told The Sun of Kaye’s upcoming Strictly stint: ‘Kaye is a classic Strictly signing. She ticks so many boxes.

‘She’s been keeping it a closely guarded secret for some time. Even her own co-stars have been kept in the dark.’

Exciting stuff: 'I’m a really competitive person and Nadia, you know that’s true but in this I’m not. If I enjoy myself, I’ll be so happy'

Exciting stuff: ‘I’m a really competitive person and Nadia, you know that’s true but in this I’m not. If I enjoy myself, I’ll be so happy’

Leading the way: Kaye follows in the footsteps of fellow Loose Women stars Judi Love, Ruth Langsford and Christine Lampard who have all taken part in Strictly (Judi pictured on the show last year)

Leading the way: Kaye follows in the footsteps of fellow Loose Women stars Judi Love, Ruth Langsford and Christine Lampard who have all taken part in Strictly (Judi pictured on the show last year)

Meanwhile, BBC Radio 2 DJ Richie Anderson, 34, revealed he will be joining the 2022 series during his radio show on Friday, and joins Coronation Street stars Will Mellor and Kym Marsh in the current line-up.

The former Sunday League footballer – who went viral in 2018 when he came out as gay to his teammates at Coombs Wood F.C in an emotional documentary – said that it’s a ‘massive honour’ to be part of the show’s all-male partnership.  

He said in a release: ‘This is a dream come true! I cannot wait to get in those sparkles and sequins and shimmy across the most famous dance floor in the world! Strictly is the ultimate feel good show, as soon as I hear that iconic theme tune it’s just pure escapism.

‘I’m going to have to cancel my legendary ‘Strictly’ launch night kitchen party that I throw every year, I’m sure my friends and family will understand.’

Supported: Kaye was surrounded by her pals who were shocked at the huge announcement

Supported: Kaye was surrounded by her pals who were shocked at the huge announcement 

Dancing queen: Kaye showed off her best moves as she spun around the  studio with a group of dancers

Dancing queen: Kaye showed off her best moves as she spun around the  studio with a group of dancers 

He added: ‘It’s also a massive honour to be part of an all-male dance partnership, it’s so important we have that inclusion on such a huge show.’

Last year’s series saw Great British Bake Off star John Waite form the show’s first all-male partnership with pro Johannes Radebe – with the couple reaching the final. 

The year before saw the show’s first ever same-sex pairing as boxer Nicola Adams was paired up with Katya Jones – however the duo had to withdraw from the competition in week three after Katya caught Covid. 

Coming soon! Kym Marsh has joined the lineup for Strictly Come Dancing 2022

At last! Will Mellor was the first star confirmed for the new series

At last! The first two stars for Strictly Come Dancing were announced on Thursday, with actor Will Mellor (right) and soap favourite Kym Marsh (left) joining the lineup

Chuffed: The former Sunday League footballer said that it's a 'massive honour' to be part of the show's all-male partnership

Chuffed: The former Sunday League footballer said that it’s a ‘massive honour’ to be part of the show’s all-male partnership

In 2018, Richie famously came out as gay to his Sunday league football teammates during a feature for The One Show exploring homophobia in the sport.

The team knew Richie was filming a piece for the daily BBC One programme, but it wasn’t until he sat them down in the locker room after the match that they discovered he was looking into the issues around being gay in grassroots football.

‘One of the big issues we’ve looked at this week, erm, it’s really close to my heart, is homophobia in football,’ Richie began.

Candid: In 2018, Richie famously came out as gay to his Sunday league football teammates during a feature for The One Show exploring homophobia in the sport

Candid: In 2018, Richie famously came out as gay to his Sunday league football teammates during a feature for The One Show exploring homophobia in the sport

‘The reason why that means a lot to me is – I’m a gay footballer. So I just wanted to be open and honest with you lot. It’s just been class.

‘This is really hard for me to do…’ he added, before his teammates began to applaud him. 

Richie went on to say he was ‘So, so relieved. I can’t even tell you.’ 

He continued: ‘I expected it as they’re a good bunch of lads. It probably helped that I scored as well, but I’m so relieved. 

‘The main thing is, I hope there’s people watching this that are in the same boat I was in, and they’re thinking, “You know what? I can do that as well.”‘ 

Talented: Last year's series saw Great British Bake Off star John Waite form the show's first all-male partnership with pro Johannes Radebe - with the couple reaching the final

Talented: Last year’s series saw Great British Bake Off star John Waite form the show’s first all-male partnership with pro Johannes Radebe – with the couple reaching the final

Groundbreaking: 2020 saw the show's first ever same-sex pairing with boxer Nicola Adams and Katya Jones - however the duo had to withdraw after Katya caught Covid

Groundbreaking: 2020 saw the show’s first ever same-sex pairing with boxer Nicola Adams and Katya Jones – however the duo had to withdraw after Katya caught Covid

On Thursday, the first two stars for Strictly were announced, with actor Will and soap favourite Kym joining the lineup.

The Coronation Street actress and the Two Pints Of Lager and A Packet Of Crisps star, both 46, were unveiled on Thursday’s BBC Breakfast, with Kym revealing she’s wanted to join the show for ‘a number of years.’

She said: ‘I’ve considered doing Strictly for years but the timings never worked out. I’m so delighted that this year they have! 

‘I’m a huge fan of the show and can’t believe I’m going to go from watching at home in my pyjamas to actually dancing in front of the judges in a glittery dress, it’s unreal!’ 

Speaking on Breakfast, Kym admitted she hadn’t told her Morning Live co-host Gethin Jones about taking part in the show, despite him previously taking part in 2007.

She said: ‘I was joking with him and I said ”were you on Strictly because you’ve never mentioned it!” I think he was always asking me if I was going to do it, and he kept going on about it again over the next few months, and of course I’ve not spoken to him and I’ll probably get a message later saying ”you never told me!”

Here she is! Former Coronation Street star Kym was unveiled as the second contestant on Thursday's BBC Breakfast

Here she is! Former Coronation Street star Kym was unveiled as the second contestant on Thursday’s BBC Breakfast

Soap favourite: Kym is best known for playing Michelle Connor on Coronation Street from 2006 to 2019

Soap favourite: Kym is best known for playing Michelle Connor on Coronation Street from 2006 to 2019

Speaking via. Zoom, Kym revealed that her parents were both hiding behind  a curtain while she took part in the interview, and they were even more excited to see her take to the dancefloor.

The actress, who rose to fame as a star of the band Hearsay, added she’s open to learning the new dance styles, as they will be a stark contrast to her pop star days. 

She continued: ‘I’m just very keen to learn watching it, I’ve done dancing before when I was a little girl, and when I was in Hearsay, my husband is very excited about me being able to teach him, so we can do it when we go to the balls.

‘Any of them really, just to learn how to dance properly would be brilliant.’

Asked whether she’ll fear the harsh critiques of Craig Revel Horwood and the rest of the judging panel, Kym added: ‘I was judged by Nasty Nigel in Popstars don’t forget that, he was the villain back in the day!

‘These are the people I truly respect, this is what they do, I’m just going to have to suck it up I guess, you’ve just to take it on the chin.’

Determined: Asked whether she'll fear the harsh critiques of Craig Revel Horwood and the rest of the judging panel, Kym added: 'I was judged by Nasty Nigel in Popstars don't forget that'

Determined: Asked whether she’ll fear the harsh critiques of Craig Revel Horwood and the rest of the judging panel, Kym added: ‘I was judged by Nasty Nigel in Popstars don’t forget that’

Kym is best known for playing Michelle Connor in Coronation Street from 2006 to 2019, and since October 2020 has co-hosted BBC’s Morning Live.

It is set to be a busy year for Kym as she also set to film Waterloo Road at the end of the year, joining the school drama as mother-of-two Nicky Walters.

Kym’s unveiling came after fellow Corrie star Will was unveiled as the first contestant earlier in the show, with the actor saying he’s signed up to bring some joy to his mother after a ‘tough time’ for his family. 

He said: ‘I’m honestly so chuffed to be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing this year! Not going to lie, it’s totally out of my comfort zone and I know it will be a huge challenge but that’s what life is all about.

‘This is also my Mum’s favourite show and she’s had a really tough few years so I’m doing this is for her as well. Bring it on!’

First big star! Kym's unveiling came after fellow Corrie star Will was unveiled as the first contestant earlier in the show

First big star! Kym’s unveiling came after fellow Corrie star Will was unveiled as the first contestant earlier in the show

Following a series of clues alluding to his previous acting roles, Will was unveiled as the first Strictly star during the Breakfast show, and said he agreed to join the show after vowing to ‘grab life’ following his father’s death in 2020.

He told Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt: ‘Excited is one word for it, terrified is another, that’s one of the reasons I’m doing it, it’s stepping out of my comfort zone.

‘When I said yes to doing it, it was a long way away, but it’s going a bit closer it starts settling in and it gets a bit frightening now.’

Tragic: He said he signed up for the show to bring some joy for his mum, after his beloved father Bill passed away from cancer in 2020

Tragic: He said he signed up for the show to bring some joy for his mum, after his beloved father Bill passed away from cancer in 2020

Will added that he has already told his two children he would be joining the show, adding he wanted their blessing to take part over fears he could embarrass them.

He added: ‘I had to tell my kids, because I had to ask if it was alright, they’re 18 and 14, I’m not going to do anything they find mortifying, they’re OK. It’s something that I’ve never done before.’

Will also revealed that he decided to join the show after vowing to ‘grab life and create new memories,’ and said he wanted to bring some positivity for his mother following his dad’s death in 2020, two weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.

Blast from the past! Will starred in the BBC comedy Two Pings Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps from 2001 to 2011

Blast from the past! Will starred in the BBC comedy Two Pings Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps from 2001 to 2011

Sinister: He also played the villains drug lord Harvey Gaskell on Coronation Street last year

Sinister: He also played the villains drug lord Harvey Gaskell on Coronation Street last year

‘I lost my dad in 2020, and from then I thought I’ve just got to grab life and do things and create new memories, and that’sone of the reasons I said yes.

‘Because she’s had such a tough time of it I wanted to give her something to look forward to, she lost my dad and her brother and brother-in-law and sister in a year and it was a really tough time for the family. I think mentally it will be good for me as well.’

While he is best known for playing Gaz Wilkinson on the BBC comedy Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps, Will has also had roles in Holby City, Broadchurch and more recently, drug lord boss Harvey Gaskell in 2021. 

Ready to dance? Following the announcement, Will was in high spirits as he exited the BBC Breakfast studios

Ready to dance? Following the announcement, Will was in high spirits as he exited the BBC Breakfast studios 

Dance it out! He showed off some of his best moves as he stepped out in Media City Salford

Dance it out! He showed off some of his best moves as he stepped out in Media City Salford

Return: It comes after the launch date for this year's Strictly was revealed as Wednesday September 7 (Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly pictured)

Return: It comes after the launch date for this year’s Strictly was revealed as Wednesday September 7 (Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly pictured)

It comes after the launch date for this year’s Strictly was revealed as Wednesday September 7, when the series will film a pre-recorded launch show which sees this year’s celebrity contestants paired up with their professional partners.

Strictly bosses released a statement confirming the date while inviting fans to apply for tickets, with launch set to air on BBC One later that month.

They wrote: ‘Dust off your dancing shoes, Strictly Come Dancing is back!

‘The stunning 20th series returns, bringing glamour and show-stopping dancing back to Saturday nights on BBC One – and we’re extremely excited to be able to welcome an audience back to the studio for this year’s shows.

‘Hosted by the very talented and glamorous Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, the show will once again come live from Elstree Film and Television Studios.

‘Registration is now open to be part of the exciting Launch Show, which is recording in advance of this year’s live shows on Wednesday, September 7.’ 

Show: The series will film a pre-recorded launch show on this date, meaning viewers will likely see the celebrity contestants paired up with their partners the weekend of September 10 (L-R Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse)

Show: The series will film a pre-recorded launch show on this date, meaning viewers will likely see the celebrity contestants paired up with their partners the weekend of September 10 (L-R Shirley Ballas, Anton Du Beke, Craig Revel Horwood and Motsi Mabuse)

To mark the BBC’s 100th anniversary, the professional dancers will be putting on a special group routine like they have never done before.

In another statement, Strictly bosses said fans can enter a draw to watch a recording of the special performance take place on August 24. 

They said: ‘Strictly Come Dancing is celebrating 100 years of the BBC! The professional dancers will be throwing a party like only they know how, with a group number full of all the usual sparkle and glamour. 

‘There may well be a surprise or two as well, with special guests and fun tributes to some of your favourite BBC shows.’

Show: To mark the BBC's 100th anniversary, the professional dancers will be putting on a special group routine like they have never done before

Show: To mark the BBC’s 100th anniversary, the professional dancers will be putting on a special group routine like they have never done before

Judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke have all been confirmed to return.

Meanwhile, four new pro dancers have joined the line-up, which means that 20 professionals in total are ready to bring their skills to the BBC show’s dancefloor later this year – the show’s biggest dancer line-up in history.

The four new world class dancers completing this year’s professional troupe are European cup winner Vito Coppola, Chinese National Champion Carlos Gu, former Under 21 British National Champion Lauren Oakley and Latin dance champion Michelle Tsiakkas.

A statement said: 'Registration is now open to be part of the exciting Launch Show, which is recording in advance of this year's live shows on Wednesday, September 7'

A statement said: ‘Registration is now open to be part of the exciting Launch Show, which is recording in advance of this year’s live shows on Wednesday, September 7’

They join the professional dancers already revealed for the upcoming series: Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Cameron Lombard, Gorka Marquez, Luba Mushtuk, Giovanni Pernice, Jowita Przystal, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington and Nancy Xu.

Show favourites Alijaz Skorjanec and Oti Mabuse both quit Strictly Come Dancing earlier this year.

Not every pro dancer will be paired with a celebrity with four traditionally performing only in the pro routines.

New faces: Strictly Come Dancing will have its biggest professional dancer line-up in history when it returns this autumn for its 20th series with four new pros joining the show

New faces: Strictly Come Dancing will have its biggest professional dancer line-up in history when it returns this autumn for its 20th series with four new pros joining the show 

STRICTLY COME DANCING 2022: WHO ARE THE CONTESTANTS?

KYM MARSH

Age: 46

Profession: Coronation Street star and presenter

Kym says: ‘I’m so delighted that this year they have! I’m a huge fan of the show and can’t believe I’m going to go from watching at home in my pyjamas to actually dancing in front of the judges in a glittery dress.’

RICHIE ANDERSON 

Age: 34

Profession: Radio presenter 

Richie says: ‘This is a dream come true! I cannot wait to get in those sparkles and sequins and shimmy across the most famous dance floor in the world!’

WILL MELLOR

Age: 46

Profession: Actor

Will says: ‘I know it will be a huge challenge but that’s what life is all about. This is also my Mum’s favourite show and she’s had a really tough few years so I’m doing this is for her as well. Bring it on!’

KAYE ADAMS 

 Age: 59 

Profession: Television presenter 

Kaye says: ‘I said I wanted to make the last year of my fifties memorable and i can’t think of a better way of doing it than showing the world my two left feet. Pray for me!’ 

 

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