England football legend David James, comedian Chris Ramsey, and soap star Emma Barton are the first three celebrities confirmed for Strictly Come Dancing 2019.
The announcement was made on The One Show on Wednesday night as reigning Strictly champion Stacey Dooley and Matt Baker officially confirmed the first three celebrities for the new lineup.
James joins John Barnes and Robbie Savage as past footballers to take part in the show. He hung up his boots in 2013 and has done modeling and charity work since retiring from the game.
“I’m really excited to be on Strictly this year,” he said. “Not just competing against this year’s stars, but being compared to previous sport stars from previous Strictly seasons. I have some big shoes to fill.”
Ramsey joins the show after spending his career getting laughs on the stand-up comedy stage. He has served a panellist on Celebrity Juice, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, 8 Out of 10 Cats, The John Bishop Show and Live at the Comedy Store. He went on to actually admit he is a massive fan of the show.
“We’d have friends and kids around [to watch],” he said. “It’s something the whole family can watch… You can only tell one person, but I went mental and told everyone!”
The final confirmed celebrity was Barton, who is best known for her role as Honey Mitchell on EastEnders. She joined the soap in 2005 before leaving in 2008 and has made several appearances in You, Them, Doctors, Secret History and Spooks & Me.
“As possibly one of the biggest Strictly fans on the planet, I still can’t believe this is happening,” she said. “I’m very much a dance around your handbag kinda girl, but now I’ve been given this wonderful opportunity to learn all the different styles of dancing from the very best in the business. So, I’m whipping off Honey’s ‘Minute Mart’ tabard and diving right in to all the glitter and sparkle. From Albert Square to the Strictly dance floor – I just can’t wait!”
More celebrities are expected to be revealed in the coming days.
Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC One in the autumn.