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Professional dancers returning for Strictly Come Dancing Series 20 confirmed

Professional dancers returning for Strictly Come Dancing Series 20 confirmed

Following last year’s ground-breaking run, the multi-award-winning Strictly Come Dancing will be back on BBC One and BBC iPlayer this autumn for its twentieth series.

Made by BBC Studios, the nation’s favourite dance show will once again bring glitter, glamour and glorious dancing to Saturday and Sunday nights.

The professional dancers returning for Strictly Come Dancing 2022 are Dianne Buswell, Nadiya Bychkova, Graziano Di Prima, Amy Dowden, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Neil Jones, Nikita Kuzmin, Cameron Lombard, Gorka Marquez, Luba Mushtuk, Giovanni Pernice, Jowita Przystal, Johannes Radebe, Kai Widdrington and Nancy Xu.

Sarah James, Executive Producer, says: “We could not be more proud of the Strictly professional dancers and we are so happy to have so many returning for 2022. The world-class skill and extraordinary care they bring to everything they do, from working with their celebrity partners to choreographing and performing remarkable and unforgettable routines, never ceases to amaze us. They really are the best in the business and we can’t wait to see what they bring to the Strictly ballroom for our twentieth fabulous series.”

Further announcements and information, including any additional dancers joining the professional line-up, will be announced in due course.

Strictly Come Dancing is a BBC Studios production for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. Executive Producer is Sarah James, the Series Producers are Jack Gledhill and Nicola Fitzgerald, and Robin Lee-Perrella is the Series Editor. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Jo Wallace.

Biographies

Dianne Buswell

Dianne Buswell is an Australian Open Champion and four-time Amateur Australian Open Finalist. She was a professional dancer on the Australian version of Strictly Come Dancing before joining the UK series in 2017. Dianne reached the Strictly final with social media star Joe Sugg in her second series on the show, and her other previous partners include Radio DJ Dev and Max George from The Wanted.

Nadiya Bychkova

Nadiya Bychkova is a highly-decorated dancer originally from Ukraine. She is a two-time World Champion and European Champion in Ballroom and Latin ‘10’ Dance. Nadiya joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2017 and has danced with celebrity partners including Davood Ghadami, Lee Ryan and David James. In 2021 Nadiya partnered BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker, dancing all the way to the quarter final.

Graziano Di Prima

Sicilian-born Graziano Di Prima, an Italian Latin Champion, joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2018 and has partnered two celebrities in the main series, Vick Hope and Judi Love. In 2021 he was also crowned Strictly Christmas Champion with celebrity partner Anne-Marie. Before Strictly, as well as competing for his home country, Graziano also represented Belgium at the World Championships and made the top 24 at the Under 21 Latin World Championships.

Amy Dowden

Amy began dancing at the age of eight, is a four-time British National Finalist and went on to become British National Champion, making her one of the highest-ranking Ballroom and Latin dancers in the UK. Amy grew up watching Strictly Come Dancing from her home town of Caerphilly, South Wales and in 2017 joined the series as a professional dancer. In 2019 she danced all the way to the final with CBBC’s Karim Zeroual and most recently she partnered McFly’s Tom Fletcher.

Karen Hauer

Originally from Venezuela, Karen moved to the US when she was eight years old and there became American Rhythm Rising Star Champion, Professional World Mambo Champion and also appeared in the television series So You Think You Can Dance. Karen is the longest-serving Strictly dancer of the current pro line up, returning for her eleventh series. Over the years she has enjoyed many memorable partnerships including with Jeremy Vine, Mark Wright, Chris Ramsey, Jamie Laing and most recently actor Greg Wise.

Katya Jones

World Champion Latin dancer Katya Jones was born in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. Competing for England, she became World Professional Latin Showdance Champion, three-time World Amateur Latin Champion and four-time undefeated British National Professional Champion. Katya is also a Strictly Come Dancing champion, having won the series with Joe McFadden in her second year on the show. Some of her other Strictly students include Ed Balls, Nicola Adams, and most recently Olympic swimmer, Adam Peaty.

Neil Jones

Neil Jones is a four-time undefeated British National Professional Champion and three-time winner of the World Amateur Latin Championships. In 2015, he was crowned World Professional Latin Showdance Champion and has won over 45 titles around the world during the course of his competitive career. Neil has been a Strictly professional since 2016 and his celebrity partners include professional footballer Alex Scott and most recently actress and comedian, Nina Wadia.

Nikita Kuzmin

Nikita moved to Italy aged 9 from his home country of Ukraine and there became a six-time Italian Champion. In 2020 he competed on Let’s Dance, Germany’s version of Strictly Come Dancing before joining the UK series in 2021. His first celebrity partner in the UK was Tilly Ramsay, and together they danced to week 10 of the competition.

Cameron Lombard

South African Latin Champion Cameron Lombard has won eighteen national titles across Ballroom and Latin during his dance career. In 2012 he was a finalist on South Africa’s Got Talent and in 2019 he represented South Africa at the World Championships. He joined Strictly in 2021, performing in all the show’s group numbers and across the series’ music acts.

Gorka Marquez

Gorka Marquez began dancing at the age of 12. He represented Spain in the World Latin Championships in 2010 and reached the semi-finals of the 2012 WDSF World Cup. After touring the world with dance show Burn The Floor, Gorka joined Strictly in 2016 and has danced in two finals, with Alexandra Burke in 2017 and with Maisie Smith in 2020.

Luba Mushtuk

Luba Mushtuk, originally from Russia, is a four-time winner of the Italian Dance Championship and is also an Italian Open Latin Show Dance champion and Latin European Championship finalist. Luba was part of the Strictly Come Dancing family for several years as an assistant choreographer, before becoming a professional dancer on the programme in 2018. She has danced with two celebrity partners in the main series: James Cracknell in 2019 and Jason Bell in 2020.

Giovanni Pernice

Italian Champion Giovanni Pernice is now the longest-serving male professional amongst the current line-up of Strictly dancers, having joined the show in 2015. His celebrity partners have included Georgia May Foote, Debbie McGee, Faye Tozer and Michelle Visage. In 2021, he was partnered with actress Rose Ayling-Ellis and together they lifted the Strictly Glitterball trophy, giving Giovanni his first Strictly win and making him the current reigning pro champion.

Jowita Przystal

Polish Open Latin Champion Jowita Przystal ended her competitive career in 2015 to join the cast of touring dance company, ‘Burn The Floor’ where she stayed for four years before moving to the UK in 2019 to pursue her dancing dreams. Jowita won the BBC’s ‘The Greatest Dancer’ in 2020, which gave her the prize of performing in the Strictly ballroom, and in 2021 she officially joined the Strictly professional line-up.

Johannes Radebe

Johannes Radebe is a two-time Professional South African Latin Champion and a three-time South African Amateur Latin Champion. He competed on Strictly Come Dancing South Africa twice, reaching the final both times. He joined the UK show in 2018 and most recently partnered celebrity baker John Whaite in the show’s first all-male partnership. Together they reached the final, and became the series’ runners-up.

Kai Widdrington

Southampton born Kai Widdrington was set to follow in his dad’s footsteps by becoming a professional footballer, but aged 9 he decided to take up dancing instead and by the age of 14, he became World Junior Latin champion. Kai joined the professional dancer line-up of Strictly in 2021 and his first celebrity partner was TV presenter AJ Odudu. The pair danced all the way to the Strictly final, but sadly had to pull out due to an injury.

Nancy Xu

Nancy Xu is a world-class Latin dancer who was a finalist in the Under 21 World Championships in 2010. She was also a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance in her home country of China. Nancy joined Strictly in 2019, performing in the show’s group routines and music acts. In the 2021 series she partnered her first celebrity, CBBC presenter Rhys Stephenson, and together they reached the semi-final.

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Record quarter for drama as ITV makes full series available to stream

Record quarter for drama as ITV makes full series available

Three out of the top four highest rating new dramas in the UK, across any channel and streamer, are from ITV so far in 2022

With many of the most popular dramas across any channel or streaming service so far in 2022, ITV has had a very strong start to the year in scripted.

New, recently released 28 day consolidated data for The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe shows that the total audience for the first episode rose by a massive 5.4 million viewers in the 28 days after the initial broadcast, with the four-part series as a whole averaging a total audience of over 9 million viewers, up by 5.1 million/123% on the broadcast transmission.

Written by acclaimed screenwriter Chris Lang, and starring Monica Dolan and Eddie Marsan, The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe told the story of the Hartlepool based couple and their infamous insurance scam and gained critical acclaim from reviewers. In total ITV has shown three out of the top four dramas across any channel or streamer in 2022, and six out of the top ten new dramas, and all have more than doubled their audience in the 28 days after their initial broadcast.

These include Including Trigger Point, ITV’s biggest drama so far in 2022, which averaged a total audience of 9.5 million viewers, Our House which averaged a total audience of 7.4 million viewers and No Return, which averaged a total audience of 6.5 million viewers, as well as DI Ray (currently averaging 5.7m viewers) and The Ipcress File, which averaged a total audience of 5.3 million viewers.

The majority of ITV drama full series are now available for streaming following the first episode initial broadcast, as ITV continues its digital-first strategy for key genres, in the run-up to launching ITVX in Q4. This has helped drive the best ever start to the year for drama viewing online with 125 million streams for the four months to the end of April, up 8% year on year.

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Kate Phillips appointed Director of Unscripted in new commissioning structure

Kate Phillips appointed Director of Unscripted in new commissioning structure

BBC Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore has announced that Kate Phillips will take on the newly created Director of Unscripted role following an internal restructure of BBC Television’s senior leadership team to accelerate the BBC’s strategic priorities.

Unscripted programming plays a vital role across broadcast and on-demand; it is crucial to growing BBC iPlayer and keeping our channels strong. This new structure will bring together all of our commissioning teams across Entertainment, Factual, Arts & Classical Music and Daytime, Early-Peak & Events into a single commissioning unit under the leadership of Kate Phillips, to keep pace with changing audience behaviour and unlock new creative opportunities.

As the Director of Unscripted, Kate will be responsible for the overall commissioning strategy for the full range of unscripted content, harnessing her brilliant relationships with talent and suppliers to ensure the most distinctive and impactful programmes for audiences across the UK. Leading our team of world-class commissioners, Kate will ensure the ongoing strength of our unique specialisms, whilst driving more value from new collaborations between genres and with Nations commissioning teams.

Kate will report to Chief Content Officer Charlotte Moore. These changes will see the closure of the existing Director of Entertainment and Director of Factual, Arts & Classical Music roles and a new Head of Entertainment commissioning role created.

The Heads of Commissioning who will report directly to Kate are:

Arts & Classical Music – Suzy Klein.Daytime, Early Peak & Events – Lindsay Bradbury (acting).Documentaries, History & Religion – Clare Sillery.Entertainment – to be advertised.Natural History & Science – Jack Bootle.Popular Factual & Factual Entertainment – Catherine Catton.

In this new structure, Kate will be accountable for the overall performance and editorial strategy, empowering the respective Heads whilst ensuring the portfolio of commissions align to the agreed audience and supply objectives.

Fiona Campbell will return to her role as BBC Three Controller. The Directors of Comedy, Drama and Film roles remain unchanged.

Charlotte Moore, BBC’s Chief Content Officer says; “Kate’s extensive experience working as Controller of BBC One, running Entertainment for the last 5 years and previously as Channel Executive for BBC One and BBC Three, Creative Director of Formats for BBC Worldwide and her years in production, makes her uniquely placed to lead across this new role as Director of Unscripted. She is an outstanding leader and manager with an exemplary track record in commissioning, working with suppliers and talent and she understands the critical and complex role Unscripted plays on both iPlayer and the channels. By bringing the genres together as a single team, she will streamline development to empower our world class team of commissioners to achieve even greater creative excellence.”

Kate Phillips says : “I’m really looking forward to working closely with our extremely talented Heads and their teams to ensure we continue to commission innovative, impactful and distinctive content for BBC audiences across the UK. This new role will allow our unscripted teams to not only do their best work creatively, but also collaborate more with each other, leading to exciting opportunities for all our on and off screen talent.”

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Miriam Margolyes & Alan Cumming return to Channel 4 to get Lost in Scotland and Beyond

Miriam Margolyes & Alan Cumming return to Channel 4 to

Following a successful first outing for ‘TV’s new golden odd couple,’ Hollywood actors Miriam Margolyes and Alan Cumming are back behind the campervan wheel as their rip-roaring road trip antics continue across Scotland… and beyond.

Miriam & Alan: Lost in Scotland and Beyond (4×60’), produced by Blink Films, will follow the pair as they take in some of Scotland’s most spectacular and far-flung locations before they journey across the pond to their other mutual home, the American West Coast – a place that has shaped both of their lives.

Our dynamic duo will kick off their journey in Scotland, once again meeting a range of quirky and unexpected characters and there’ll certainly be a few surprises in store for both Miriam and Alan.

The next part of their adventure finds the pair swap their campervan for a supersized RV – much to Miriam’s delight – as they take in the sights of the stunning California coastline and reconnect with people and places from this amazing chapter in their lives.

Miriam wastes no time in whisking Alan right off to the apartment where she lived for 16 transformative years, on the palm-lined Ocean Avenue, seeking out her old synagogue and reliving her first encounters in Hollywood. Alan delights in introducing her to some of his favourite haunts and closest friends, as they take in the glorious coastline from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Throughout their journey, the duo will deliver their unique brand of banter, storytelling and antics as they travel to places packed with memories and personal connections, that mix the funny and outrageous with the poignant.

Alan Cumming: “I can’t wait to get the show on the road again! Driving round my homeland with a potty mouthed octogenarian was one of the most joyous months I’ve ever had, and I’m so glad that joy translated on to the screen. So to do it again and to explore California as well seems almost too much of a carry on!”

Miriam Margolyes: “I thought I’d experienced almost everything, but being driven around Scotland with Mr. Cumming, was such a delightful new pleasure I can’t wait to repeat it. He is funny, kind and wise – and together we laughed and marvelled and remembered. It will be a joy to get going again; I hope I’ve got some surprises left to tickle his fancy.”

Deborah Dunnett, Commissioning Editor for Features and Daytime at Channel 4: “What a pair! I can’t wait for them to unleash more skeletons from deep within their closets.”

Laura Jones, Creative Director at Blink Films and Executive Producer: “What a blast to be back on the road again with this delightful pair! Series 2 promising more surprises, joy and jockstrap obsession as they get lost in far-flung Scotland and the Californian coast.”

Miriam & Alan: Lost in Scotland and Beyond was commissioned for Channel 4 by Deborah Dunnett, Commissioning Editor for Features & Daytime. The 4×60’ series is made by Blink Films; a Tin Roof Media company and the Executive Producer is Laura Jones.

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