Strictly Come Dancing bosses deny claims celebrities picked their partners months ago

Newspaper rumours dismissed as 'categorically untrue'

Strictly Come Dancing bosses have quashed rumours that this year’s celebrity contestants picked their professional partners months ago.

BBC execs spoke out after it was claimed the new 15 famous faces were allowed to choose their dancers long before last night’s launch show aired.

It had been alleged in a Sunday newspaper that dance pro selections had been based on who the celebs thought would take them the furthest in the competition.

The celebrity pairings were revealed on Saturday’s launch show (Credit: BBC)

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But speaking to The Mirror, a BBC spokesman said: “This is categorically untrue.

“Even if preferences are voiced, these are not taken into consideration and neither celebs nor pro dancers find out their partner before the launch show is recorded.”

Last night, viewers finally got to see the full line-up on-screen for the first time as the show kicked off with a glittery and extravagant launch show, which even saw a performance from Kylie Minogue.

It also gave fans the chance to see new judge, Motsi Mabuse, in action.

Motsi Mabuse made her Strictly Come Dancing debut after joining the show as a judge (Credit: BBC)

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Motsi – who is the sister of professional Strictly dancer Oti – has taken over from Darcey Bussell, who quit the show earlier this year.

But there were some surprises on the night, as the pairings didn’t quite go as viewers had expected.

Despite usually being partnered with the eldest female celebrity on the show, Anton du Beke was over the moon to be matched with EastEnders actress Emma Barton, 42.

He even joked: “So this is what it feels like… oh book me in ’til Christmas!”

Emma Barton
Anton Du Beke was delighted to be partnered with EastEnders star Emma Barton (Credit: BBC)

This left TV presenter Anneka Rice, 60, being partnered with current Strictly Come Dancing champion Kevin Clifton.

However, some viewers are now worried he won’t be able to defend his title, which he won last year with documentary maker – and now girlfriend – Stacey Dooley.

One fan wrote on Twitter: “Well I think we can safely say that Kevin from Grimsby won’t be defending his glitterball trophy this year… sorry Anneka!”

Anneka Rice was paired with reining champ Kevin Clifton (Credit: BBC)

Don’t write her off yet, we say!

Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC One on Saturday September 21, when the celebrities will take to the dance floor for the first time with their professionals.

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