New series of Strictly Come Dancing starts tonight

The new series of Strictly Come Dancing kicks off tonight on BBC1 with the new contestants finally been given the chance to strut their stuff on the dance floor.

Sir Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly return to present the ninth series of the hit reality show which gets under way this evening with the first part of a two-night launch show.

This year's hopefuls have been preparing for the upcoming live shows with an intensive training schedule over the last few weeks and one half of the celebrity contestants will perform either a waltz or cha cha cha this evening.

LuLu, Robbie Savage, Alex Jones, Audley Harrison, Dan Lobb, Anita Dobson and Russell Grant will take to the floor tonight while the remaining contestants, who include Jason Donovan, Holly Valance, Edwina Curry, Nancy Dell'Olio, Harry Judd and Rory Bremner, are set to make their débuts tomorrow.

While the opening rounds won't be open to the public vote, meaning no one can be booted off, the contestants will be given marks by the judging panel so they'll be looking to impress both the public and the experts right from the off.

Reports in a number of tabloids suggest that the pressure of the show has already started to get to some of the contestants with former Neighbours actress Valance admitting that she and dance partner Artem Chigvintsev had had a number of disagreements.

'We squabble and bicker but at least it's light-hearted and it's not too heavy we can just laugh about it, but he can get really mean by the end of the week,' Valance told the Daily Mail.

The new series of Strictly starts on BBC1 tonight at 9pm.

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