Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021—the confirmed contestants, air date and everything we know so far

The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 has finally been confirmed—but who’s in the line-up?

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 first contestants have just been announced.
(Image credit: BBC)

The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 has been at the back of fans’ minds ever since the latest series started. 

The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 has been a must-watch for fans since 2004. Following on from each Strictly Come Dancing grand final, the seasonal special gives viewers one more chance to witness the magic of the Strictly ballroom before the New Year. As a one-off show, it's also a less pressurized experience, so many celebrities who might normally have been too busy might be tempted to take part in the name of Christmas fun. Now the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 final is just
a few weeks away, and the Strictly 2021 judges have been busy scoring the remaining members of the Strictly line-up 2021

Though despite their reputation for being eagle-eyed, they do tend to embrace the Christmas spirit when scoring the festive dances, making it even more joyful. Now a 2021 Christmas episode has been confirmed, after this format was cancelled last year due to Covid-19. 

But who will be taking to the ballroom in Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021, when will it air and how can you watch it?

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 confirmed contestants

Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 confirmed contestants so far: 

  • Jay Blades - presenter and furniture restorer 
  • Fred Sirieix - star of First Dates and First Dates Hotel's maître d' 
  • Mel Giedroyc - comedian, actor and presenter  
  • Moira Stuart - broadcaster
  • Anne-Marie - singer 

Strictly is renowned for its special weeks and though the ultimate question in the lead-up to the next show will no doubt be is Strictly going to Blackpool, as the finale draws even nearer, the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 is the next thing on many people's minds. 

Fans of Strictly’s spin-off show, It Takes Two, will have been the first to hear the brilliant news that there would be a special this year. And perhaps even more excitingly, co-host Rylan Clark-Neal also confirmed the first two of the six contestants on November 22nd. 

1. Jay Blades

Jay Blades attends The TV Choice Awards 2019 at Hilton Park Lane on September 9, 2019 in London, England

(Image credit: Photo by Lia Toby/WireImage via Getty)

The first member of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 line-up is furniture restorer, presenter and star of The Repair Shop, Jay Blades. He’ll be taking to the Strictly festive dance floor with professional dancer Luba Mushtuk, who did not get a partner for the main show this year.

As reported by Digital Spy, Jay revealed that he’s looking forward to taking on the challenge of learning to dance, explaining, “It's probably one of the things I love doing the most, which is challenging myself – to do something that I've never done before.”

He bravely added, “I can do a dad dance but I can't do formal dancing, so let's dive in there and have a go."

2. Fred Sirieix

Fred Sirieix attends ITV Palooza! at The Royal Festival Hall

(Image credit: Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Later on in the same It Takes Two episode, Rylan shared exciting details of the second confirmed contestant, none other than presenter and First Dates star, Fred Sirieix. He and his seasonal dance partner, Dianne Buswell, who sadly departed the main series after her partner Robert Webb left Strictly due to health concerns, opened up about the prospect of dancing on the special.

"I got the phone call and I was as excited as I was scared," Fred divulged. "I was so scared, I thought, 'I've got to do it. There's no way I can turn this down.'"

And Dianne certainly seems pleased with her partner so far, explaining, "Fred works extremely hard and, like I say, he's having so much fun. I said, 'This is the perfect Christmas partner because he's bringing me so much joy. I feel like I'm dancing to a Christmas tune and I'm dancing with you, so I'm very merry."

We can’t wait to see Fred and Dianne take to the Christmas ballroom next month!

3. Mel Giedroyc

Mel Giedroyc attends the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019

(Image credit: Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

The third celebrity to be announced as part of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 line-up is actor, comedian and presenter Mel Giedroyc. On November 23rd, Rylan confirmed that Mel would be taking part, dancing with Neil Jones, who was knocked out first in the 2021 series with EastEnders star Nina Wadia. A self-proclaimed Strictly fan, Mel has delighted Neil with her knowledge so far.

"It's the greatest thing," he shared. "I never realised how good it is to dance with someone who is obsessed. She knows more about the show than I do!"

Though Mel hilariously quipped, “That doesn't mean I know the moves, Neil, I just know who won each year! But what I don't have in skill, I will try to make up for in enthusiasm."

Getting to appear on such an iconic programme this year will likely be an experience Mel will never forget.

4. Anne-Marie

Anne-Marie attends the launch party for the Anne-Marie x New Look collaboration at Treehouse Hotel London on October 7, 2021

(Image credit: Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for New Look)

Fans have already seen singer Anne-Marie make her Strictly Come Dancing debut earlier on in the main series when she performed her and Little Mix’s latest single, Kiss My (Uh, Oh) during the launch show. Now Annie-Marie will be taking to the ballroom once more, this time as part of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 line-up. Professional dancer Janette Manrara, who joined as co-host of the Strictly spin-off show after Zoe Ball quit It Takes Two, revealed the exciting news on November 25th. 

For the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021, Anne-Marie will be dancing with Graziano Di Prima, who partnered comedian and Loose Women panellist Judi Love on the main show. Now Graziano has another chance at a Strictly glitterball trophy with Anne-Marie. 

Speaking via video link, Anne-Marie said she was “fifteen million per cent excited” about the prospect of being part of the show. She added, "If it all goes wrong, I may just whack out a song quickly and hope that that gets me a few points. But I'm trying hard, I'm learning so much."

Meanwhile, Graziano said of his new dance partner, “I'm really confident, she is working so hard and she's got the moves. She knows how to sell the steps. She knows how to turn, you know. She’s doing really well."

With praise like that, we just can’t wait to see what they’ll be dancing when the special airs on Christmas Day!

5. Moira Stuart

Moira Stuart arrives for the Sony Radio Academy Awards at Grosvenor House on May 12, 2008 in London, England

(Image credit: Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Moira Stuart OBE is a legendary broadcast star and there’ll be many viewers delighted by the news that she is part of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 lineup. Moira will be partnered by fan-favorite dancer and Janette Manrara’s husband, Aljaž Škorjanec, for the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021. 

"I'm really looking forward to the Strictly Christmas special," the multi-award-winning newsreader and presenter shared. "I've loved dancing for as long as I can remember. In fact it even helped me try to keep warm in my early cold water flat..."

With Aljaž Škorjanec a very experienced Strictly Come Dancing professional, Moira will be in good hands as they prepare to try and impress the judges with their festive performance.

When will the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 on?

The Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 will air on Christmas Day on BBC One as it has in previous years, with the exact time yet to be confirmed. And whilst the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 hasn’t yet begun filming, Jay and Luba have revealed that they’ve already had a few rehearsals. 

"I never knew I had muscles in my toes," Jay admitted to It Takes Two viewers. "My toes are killing me! Did you know you have muscles in your toes? It's unbelievable!"

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Similarly, Dianne and Fred and Mel and Neil have been working hard already and Claudia Winkleman, Tess Daly and all four Strictly judges expected to return for the festive episode.

The BBC have revealed that his year’s festive special episode is set to be filmed on December 7th, just over a week before the 2021 main show’s finale. With Neil, Dianne, Luba, Graziano and Aljaž all not competing in the 2021 series any longer, this timing would pose no conflict with training for the competition.

How to watch Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021

Anyone looking to settle down with their best Christmas jumper and enjoy the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 should simply head to BBC One. If the last competition-format Strictly Christmas Special back in 2019 is anything to go by, dance fans can enjoy an hour and fifteen minutes worth of entertainment. 

Sadly, they won’t get to cast their vote to help decide the festive special result, though. As it is pre-filmed, the audience in the studio alone gets this power, but if anything, this makes the eventual result and the anticipation of the winners’ reveal even more exciting. 

Who won the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2020? 

Much to the disappointment of long-term Strictly fans everywhere, there was no Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special in 2020, due to Covid-19 concerns. Instead a round-up of some of the best Strictly moments over the years, Strictly: The Christmas Countdown, aired on BBC One, fronted by hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly. 

But though this might’ve provided the annual festive instalment of Strictly for all the family on Christmas Day, it was never going to be the same as the spectacular special we’ve come to know and love. And with the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 now looming on the horizon for eager viewers, many might be casting their minds back to remember who the last winner was back in 2019.  

With no 2020 special, the reigning Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special champions remain performer Debbie McGee and her professional partner Kevin Clifton. This marked Kevin’s final performance on the series, as he went on to announce he was leaving the show in March 2020. 

Debbie had previously been a runner-up on Strictly Come Dancing series 15, where she was partnered by Giovanni Pernice, who’s reportedly “really changed” since meeting Rose Ayling-Ellis, his current dance partner. 

Just who will be claiming Debbie and Kevin’s crown remains to be seen, but one thing’s certain—we can’t wait to learn who the final member of the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2021 line-up will be! 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use , Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!