It’s the night that Strictly Come Dancing fans have been eagerly anticipating all year as the launch show for the 21st series airs tonight (16th September). The beloved BBC dance contest will return to screens with a fresh group of celebrities ready to grace the dancefloor for the first time.
Hosted by Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly, this beloved dancing competition will showcase the talents of stars such as Adam Thomas from Waterloo Road, Zara McDermott from Love Island, and Bobby Brazier from EastEnders. These celebrities will be paired with professional dancers to perform a variety of routines in front of returning judges Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas, and Anton Du Beke.
Among the celebrities competing for the prestigious Glitterball trophy is 22-year-old Ellie Leach, best known for her role as Faye Windass on Coronation Street. The actress from Bury joined the popular ITV soap in 2011 at the age of 10 but left the show in May of this year.
Before her time on Coronation Street, Ellie kickstarted her TV career by appearing in advertisements for Staples and McDonald’s. In 2009, she starred in the film A Boy Called Dad, and in 2010, she made an appearance in an episode of the drama Moving On as Stacy.
In 2011, Ellie became part of the Corrie cast as Faye Butler, the potential adoptive child of Anna and Eddie Windass. Throughout her time on the show, she took on challenging storylines including teenage pregnancy, early menopause, sexual assault, and reconnecting with her child whom she had given up.
In April of this year, it was confirmed that Ellie would be leaving Coronation Street after 12 years to explore new acting opportunities. Her on-screen exit saw her character leave Weatherfield after reuniting with her daughter Miley and ex Jackson. The door was left open for both the actress and her character to potentially return in the future.
During her tenure as Faye, the actress received multiple nominations at the British Soap Awards and Inside Soap Awards, including Best Young Performance and Best Young Actor. In real life, Ellie is the cousin of Brooke Vincent, who portrayed the character Sophie Webster, Faye’s stepsister, from 2004 to 2019.
Expressing her excitement for her upcoming appearance on Strictly, Ellie exclaimed, It still doesn’t feel real that I’m going to be doing Strictly! It’s always been a dream of mine, so I guess dreams really do come true!.
Joining Ellie on this year’s Strictly are 14 other celebrity contestants, including former Family Fortunes presenter Les Dennis, former tennis player Annabel Croft, British actor Nigel Harman, EastEnders star Bobby Brazier, Paralympian Jody Cundy, radio presenter Nikita Kanda, actor Adam Thomas, Love Island star and documentarian Zara McDermott, broadcaster Angela Rippon, Channel 4 news presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Irish TV presenter Angela Scanlon, actress Amanda Abbington, Bad Education’s Layton Williams, and comedian Eddie Kadi.
Strictly Come Dancing will commence on Saturday, 16th September, with the pre-recorded launch show airing on BBC One from 6.35pm to 8.20pm. The first live show will be broadcasted on Saturday, 23rd September.