Strictly Come Dancing 2023: All celebs and their partners revealed – with one same-sex pairing

The full Strictly Come Dancing 2023 line-up has been revealed. (BBC Studios/Ray Burmiston)

The 2023 edition of Strictly Come Dancing is off to a dazzling start as the full parings have been revealed – and they include a same-sex couple.

The pairings for this season’s outing of the landmark BBC One dance competition were confirmed in the launch episode on Saturday (16 September), which featured a glittering number from the professional dancers who performed alongside judges Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Anton Du Beke.

Saturday’s episode welcomed back hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, and included a beautiful tribute to the late ballroom icon Len Goodman.

Over the next 13 weeks, the 15 hopefuls – including Love Island’s Zara McDermott and Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy – and their partners will put their best foot forward in the hopes of impressing the judges with their chemistry and dancing skills.

Strictly has featured a number of strong same-sex couples over the past three seasons, with Katya Jones and Nicola Adams in 2020, semi-finalists Johannes Redabe and John Whaite in 2021, and Jayde Adams and Karen Haur in 2022.

However, viewers who hoped for more than one same-sex pairing this year will be disappointed.

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Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin.
Strictly’s one same-sex coupling is Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Layton Williams and Nikita Kuzmin

Bad Education actor Layton Williams has seen his wish of being partnered in a same-sex couple fulfilled. Matched with professional dancer Nikita Kuzmin, the pair form this season’s only same-sex coupling. 

The musical theatre star, who has appeared on the West End in Billy Elliot and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, shared his desire for a same-sex Strictly pairing after he was confirmed to be part of this year’s line-up in August. 

Williams has also made it known that he’s after the “gayest girl pop” hits for his Strictly soundtrack – “queens and icons” only!

On his partnership, Williams said: “He is going to whip me into shape, and keep me on the straight and narrow because I do like to think I know what I am doing and do the most, but I really don’t have a clue!”

Kuzmin is one of Strictly’s newest professionals, joining in 2021 when he partnered with chef Gordon Ramsay’s daughter, Tilly Ramsay. 

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice.
Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Amanda Abbington and Giovanni Pernice

Sherlock star Amanda Abbington, who recently came under fire for controversial comments about the trans community, has been partnered with Italian pro Giovanni Pernice. 

Pernice has been a Strictly staple since 2015, and in 2022 was in an all-male pairing with Richie Anderson, after winning the year before with EastEnders actor and deaf trailblazer Rose Ayling-Ellis.

Abbington, 49, told host Claudia Winkleman that she’s “ecstatic” about her pairing with Pernice. 

The professional dancer appeared pleased with her response, saying: “That was a reaction, I have to be honest … and also there was screaming that I enjoyed very much … very very happy days.” 

Strictly 2023's oldest contestant Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington.
Strictly oldest contestant Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Angela Rippon and Kai Widdrington

Breaking the record as Strictly’s oldest celebrity to star on the show, former Come Dancing presenter and journalistic trailblazer Angela Rippon, 78, is paired with Kai Widdrington.

Rippon was the first female journalist permanently to present the BBC national television news, and hosted the 1977 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The presenter and author said she couldn’t be happier to be paired with Widdrington, who agreed that they will be “fabulous” together.

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe.
Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Annabel Croft and Johannes Radebe

Presenter and former tennis pro Annabel Croft is paired with queer Strictly icon Johannes Radebe.

In 2021, Radebe was part of the programme’s first male – and openly gay – same-sex couple, when he was partnered with Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite

Croft, 57, responded to her pairing with Radebe: “I’ve got the best partner I could possibly have wished for, honestly he’s so special …

“It’s such an honour and a privilege to be dancing with you, thank you.” 

Radebe opened up in August about facing anti-LGBTQ+ abuse during his childhood in South Africa and witnessing a homophobic attack on a friend.

Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima.
Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Zara McDermott and Graziano Di Prima 

Love Island contestant Zara McDermott is paired with professional dancer Graziano Di Prima, who joined the show in 2018.

It was revealed that the 26-year-old reality TV star will first be dancing to the Cha Cha Cha, and said she’s the “most nervous” she’s ever been in her life. 

“I’m not a natural born performer or extrovert, so this is the biggest challenge of my life,” McDermott shared.

Jody Cundy and Jowita Przystał.
Jody Cundy and Jowita Przystał. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Jody Cundy and Jowita Przystał 

Paralympian Jody Cundy CBE and reigning champion Jowita Przystał, who won the competition with wildlife presenter and cameraman Hamza Yassin in 2022, have been paired together. 

The eight-time gold medal-winning Paralympian told presenter Tess Daly that he is a “complete newbie at this”. 

His partner, Przystał, shared: “I need to admit I’m actually a bit nervous because I don’t want to let him down, but I have a lot of ideas”. 

Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Lauren Oakley.
Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Lauren Oakley. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Lauren Oakley

Channel 4 News lead presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy, who previously turned down a spot on the dance competition, has been paired with Lauren Oakley. 

Oakley is the newest member of the Strictly family and after their match was revealed, the 53-year-old journalist gushed: “It’s brilliant and she gets me immediately.”

His partner said that she aims to “be kind” and give Guru-Murthy “the confidence to have fun”. 

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones.
Nigel Harman and Katya Jones. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Nigel Harman and Katya Jones

Former EastEnders star Nigel Harman is paired with Katya Jones, who joined the show in 2016 and made Strictly history in the show’s first ever same-sex couple with Olympic gold medalist Nicola Adams OBE.

When host and Traitors icon Winkelman asked if Harman was ready for some strict instruction from his professional partner, he replied: “Everyone keeps telling me this and every time they tell me this I get more and more terrified, but I am pretending I’m really calm about it.”

Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell.
Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Bobby Brazier and Dianne Buswell 

Another Eastenders star, Bobby Brazier – who plays Freddie Slater in the much-loved TV soap – is paired with Strictly pro Dianne Buswell, who joined the show in 2017. 

Brazier, 20, is the eldest son of the late Big Brother star Jade Goody and presenter Jeff Brazier.

The actor shared he’s “so pleased” to be paired with Buswell, who said she wants him to “have the best time ever”. 

Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer. (
Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Eddie Kadi and Karen Hauer

Comedian Eddie Kadi and professional dancer Karen Hauer, who joined the show in 2012, have been paired together this year. 

Hauer has made it to the final twice, with The Only Way Is Essex star Mark Wright in 2014 and Made in Chelsea alumn Jamie Laing in 2020.

Kadi, however, is not intimidated and has said he’s going to give it everything he’s got.

“This is going to be a vibe,” he remarked. 

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola.
Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Ellie Leach and Vito Coppola

Coronation Street star Ellie Leach is paired with Vito Coppola who joined the programme last year and made it to the final with with radio host and singer Fleur East

Leach said of her pairing: “I’m over the moon that Vito is my partner, honestly I’m so excited I think we are going to have so much fun”.

Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk.
Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Adam Thomas and Luba Mushtuk

Waterloo Road actor Adam Thomas has been paired with Luba Mushtuk.

Mushtuk joined Strictly‘s professional dancer roster in 2018, after a two-year stint as an assistant choreographer.

Thomas, who said he is on the show to learn to dance, said: “I’m loving life … what is not to love? I’m on Strictly Come Dancing and I’ve got this Russian princess.

“I’m buzzing, absolutely over the moon.” 

Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu.
Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Angela Scanlon and Carlos Gu

Irish presenter Angela Scanlon is paired with Carlos Gu, who made his Strictly debut last year and got to the final with EastEnders star Molly Rainford. 

Scanlon, who is known for appearing on The One Show and hosting Your Garden Made Perfect, has shared she thinks Gu will be a great partner because he’s “direct”.

“Thank you universe,” Scanlon said. “I think Carlos will be able to teach me … I feel like there is a directness that I might respond to, like brutal honesty that Carlos has.”

Nikita Kanda and Gorka Márquez.
Nikita Kanda and Gorka Márquez. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Nikita Kanda and Gorka Márquez

BBC radio and TV presenter Nikita Kanda is paired with Gorka Márquez. 

Kanda said her family are “so happy” that she’s in the show, and her mum cried at the news. However, she recognised that she needs to buckle down and learn the steps.

“I am a party animal but when it comes to choreography that’s what I’m here to learn … I need to learn some new skills, I’m just like one arm up in the air,” she told Winkleman. 

Les Dennis and Nancy Xu
Les Dennis and Nancy Xu. (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Les Dennis and Nancy Xu

Beloved Family Fortunes presenter Les Dennis has been paired with Strictly pro Nancy Xu, who has been part of the show since 2019. 

Dennis said: “I love a challenge … this is the biggest challenge ever, I am so excited about it, I can’t wait.” 

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday 23 September from 6.15pm, with 2023’s couples taking to the floor for their first performances.