News, Culture & Society

Former England rugby ace Ugo Monye ‘first celebrity to sign up for Strictly Come Dancing 2021’

He may be an ace at dodging fellow rugby players on the pitch as he races to score a try.

But whether former England winger Ugo Monye, 38, will be as twinkle-toed on the Strictly Come Dancing floor remains to be seen.

The sportsman has reportedly signed up as the first celebrity to appear on the BBC contest when it returns to screens this autumn.

Twinkle-toed? Former England rugby player Ugo Monye, 38, has reportedly signed up as the first celebrity to appear on Strictly Come Dancing when it returns later this year

The former Harlequins player, who is a captain on Question of Sport, is friends with last year’s finalist Jamie Laing, 32, who is said to have pushed him to take part after they met while filming online travel show O2 presents: Travel Fan in Japan.

A source told The Sun: ‘Ugo can’t wait to get out on the dancefloor and show off his moves.

‘He’s not known for his dancing, but he isn’t afraid of a challenge.

Perfect panel: Ugo will be judged by Shirley Ballas, 60, Craig Revel Horwood, 56, Motsi Mabuse, 40, and Anton Du Beke, 55

Perfect panel: Ugo will be judged by Shirley Ballas, 60, Craig Revel Horwood, 56, Motsi Mabuse, 40, and Anton Du Beke, 55

Stepping up: Anton is replacing Bruno Tonioli, 65, this year as the Italian is unable to easily travel due to Covid restrictions

Stepping up: Anton is replacing Bruno Tonioli, 65, this year as the Italian is unable to easily travel due to Covid restrictions

‘Ugo became friendly with Jamie when they worked on a travel show together in 2019 and after seeing how much he loved the experience, Ugo jumped at the chance.’

MailOnline has contacted the BBC and a representative for Ugo for comment.

Ugo will be judged by Shirley Ballas, 60, Craig Revel Horwood, 56, Motsi Mabuse, 40, and Anton Du Beke, 55 – who is replacing Bruno Tonioli, 65, this year due to Covid travel restrictions – if he appears.

The news comes after Strictly bosses unveiled four new professional dancers this week.

Ace on the pitch: Former Harlequins player Ugo, who is a captain on revamped Question of Sport, will see his BBC profile rise with his Strictly appearance

Ace on the pitch: Former Harlequins player Ugo, who is a captain on revamped Question of Sport, will see his BBC profile rise with his Strictly appearance

Supportive pal: Ugo is friends with last year's finalist Jamie Laing, 32, who is said to have pushed him to take part after they met filming online show O2 presents: Travel Fan in Japan

Supportive pal: Ugo is friends with last year’s finalist Jamie Laing, 32, who is said to have pushed him to take part after they met filming online show O2 presents: Travel Fan in Japan

Jowita Przystal, 26, Nikita Kuzmin, 23, Kai Widdrington, 25, and Cameron Lombard, 20, have been confirmed as the new additions ahead of the 2021 series of the popular BBC competition.

The line-up of Strictly professionals was left thinner for this year after Anton Du Beke, 54, stepped into a judging role and Janette Manrara, 37, decided to leave in order to host the spin-off show.

And BBC bosses have confirmed the identities of the four new sizzling hot dancers stepping up to fill in their dancing shoes. 

Talented! Under the mentorship of Strictly Champion, Oti Mabuse, Jowita won the BBC's The Greatest Dancer in 2020, and the prize of performing on Strictly Come Dancing (pictured with dance partner Michael Danilczuk)

Talented! Under the mentorship of Strictly Champion, Oti Mabuse, Jowita won the BBC’s The Greatest Dancer in 2020, and the prize of performing on Strictly Come Dancing (pictured with dance partner Michael Danilczuk)

Excited! All four newcomers - including Jowita - shared the news with their Instagram followers

Excited! All four newcomers – including Jowita – shared the news with their Instagram followers

Polish Open Latin Champion 2014 and winner of BBC One’s The Greatest Dancer 2020, Jowita Przystal started ballroom dancing at the age of 12 and is a Polish Open Latin Champion. 

In 2015 she ended her competitive Ballroom and Latin career to join the cast of touring dance company, Burn The Floor where she stayed for four years before moving to the UK in 2019.

Under the mentorship of Strictly Champion, Oti Mabuse, Jowita won the BBC’s The Greatest Dancer in 2020, and the prize of performing on Strictly Come Dancing. 

Newcomer Jowita was left lost for words when asked how she felt about being cast in the latest series of the dance competition.

She said: ‘This is my biggest dream come true. No words can describe how I feel right now. 

‘I’m still pinching myself to check if this is real but I am beyond excited to be joining the Strictly Come Dancing family and I can’t wait to give all of my heart and soul on that dance floor!’

New dancer: Six-time Latin and Ballroom National Champion in Italy Nikita Kuzmin, 23, (pictured) has also signed up for the latest series of the hit dance show

New dancer: Six-time Latin and Ballroom National Champion in Italy Nikita Kuzmin, 23, (pictured) has also signed up for the latest series of the hit dance show

Wow: Clearly a fan of travel, the dancer litters his social media channels with images taken in idyllic locations complete with blue seas and skies  (pictured in July last year)

 Wow: Clearly a fan of travel, the dancer litters his social media channels with images taken in idyllic locations complete with blue seas and skies  (pictured in July last year) 

From Germany to the UK: In 2020 Nikita was a professional dancer on Let's Dance, Germany's version of Strictly Come Dancing (pictured with celebrity partner Sabrina Setlur in 2020)

From Germany to the UK: In 2020 Nikita was a professional dancer on Let’s Dance, Germany’s version of Strictly Come Dancing (pictured with celebrity partner Sabrina Setlur in 2020)

Six-time Latin and Ballroom National Champion in Italy professional Nikita Kuzmin, 23, has also signed up for the latest series of the hit dance show. 

Nikita was born in Ukraine and lived there until he was 9 years old when his family moved to Italy, where he then lived for 9 years, to support his sister’s dancing career. 

In 2020 Nikita was a professional dancer on Let’s Dance, Germany’s version of Strictly Come Dancing. 

Nikita, who started dancing aged 4, said of joining Strictly in the UK: ‘I’ve always been amazed by the magic Strictly Come Dancing brings. No matter what country I have found myself living in, I’ve never missed a chance to watch it.  

‘And joining it as a professional dancer is my big chance to make some magic on the most famous dance floor. I can’t wait to give it my all!’

Excited: Kai Widdrington, 25, (pictured) is among the four new dancers to join the show, and was the World Junior Latin American Champion in 2010

Excited: Kai Widdrington, 25, (pictured) is among the four new dancers to join the show, and was the World Junior Latin American Champion in 2010

Blast from the past: Kai - who appeared on Britain's Got Talent in 2012 aged 16 and made it to the final - has also been confirmed as a new Strictly professional (Pictured with Natalia Jeved)

Blast from the past: Kai – who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2012 aged 16 and made it to the final – has also been confirmed as a new Strictly professional (Pictured with Natalia Jeved)

Kai Widdrington – who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2012 aged 16 and made it to the final –  has also been confirmed as a new Strictly professional.

He has previously worked as a professional dancer on Dancing With The Stars Ireland, since its first series in 2017. He finished twice as Runner-up on the show in 2018 and 2020.

Kai was all set to follow in his dads footsteps by becoming a professional footballer, but aged 9 decided to take up dancing instead and by the time he was 14, he became the 2010 World Junior Latin-American champion. 

Speaking about being cast in the upcoming series, Kai said: ‘This is my childhood dream come true. 

‘Watching Strictly from the very first series as a young boy from Southampton and now 18 years later, to be a professional dancer on the show is the most amazing feeling and the biggest accomplishment of my career. 

‘I can’t wait to step onto the Strictly floor and experience the exciting times that lie ahead.’ 

Taking to a new stage: Reigning South African Latin Champion Cameron Lombard, 20, (pictured) has also been named as a new professional dancer on the show

Taking to a new stage: Reigning South African Latin Champion Cameron Lombard, 20, (pictured) has also been named as a new professional dancer on the show

Looking to earn another dancing crown, reigning South African Latin Champion Cameron Lombard has been named by the BBC as one of the new Strictly professionals. 

Cameron has won eighteen national titles across Ballroom and Latin during his decorated dance career.

He started competing aged 6, and within a year he was already winning local and regional competitions.

In 2012 he was a finalist on South Africa’s Got Talent and in 2019 he represented South Africa at the World Championships. 

Of joining Strictly, Cameron said: ‘Thank you Strictly Come Dancing for this life changing opportunity. Not only is this a dream come true but a challenge I am accepting with both hands.

‘I am excited beyond imagination and looking forward to leaving my mark on the dance floor!’

The four new dancers join the existing line-up of professionals which includes: Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova, Nancy Xu, Neil Jones, and Oti Mabuse.    

Welcome! Their new colleagues were quick to share their congratulations with the four new additions, commenting beneath the official Strictly social media announcement

Welcome! Their new colleagues were quick to share their congratulations with the four new additions, commenting beneath the official Strictly social media announcement

Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Who are the pros?

ALJAŽ ŠKORJANEC

Joined the show: Series 11 (2013)

Celebrity Partners include: Alison Hammond, Helen George, Daisy Lowe, Viscountess Emma Weymouth and Clara Amfo

Best Result: Won with Abbey Clancy in 2013  

AMY DOWDEN

Joined the show: Series 15 (2017)

Celebrity Partners: Brian Conley, Danny John-Jules, Karim Zeroual and JJ Chalmers

Best Result: 2nd Place with Karim Zeroual in 2019 

ANTON DU BEKE

Joined the show: Series 1 (2004)

Celebrity Partners include: Ann Widdecombe, Nancy Dell’Olio, Judy Murray, Ruth Langsford and Jacqui Smith 

Best result: 2nd Place with Emma Barton in 2019 

DIANNE BUSWELL

Joined the show: Series 15 (2017)

Celebrity Partners: Rev Richard Coles, Joe Sugg, Max George and Dev Griffin

Best Result: 2nd Place with Joe Sugg in 2018 

GIOVANNI PERNICE

Joined the show: Series 13 (2015)

Celebrity Partners: Georgia May Foote, Laura Whitmore Debbie McGee, Faye Tozer, Michelle Visage and Ranvir Singh 

Best Results: 2nd Place with Georgia May Foote (2015), Debbie McGee (2017) and Faye Tozer (2018) 

GORKA MARQUEZ 

Joined the show: Series 14 (2016)

Celebrity Partners: Tameka Empson, Alexandra Burke, Katie Piper and Maisie Smith 

Best Result: 2nd Place With Alexandra Burke in 2017, he also made the final with Maisie in 2020  

GRAZIANO DI PRIMA  

Joined the show: Series 16 (2018)

Celebrity Partners: Vick Hope

Best Result: 12th Place with Vick Hope in 2018 

JANETTE MANRARA

Joined the show: Series 11 (2013) 

Celebrity Partners Include: Jake Wood, Peter Andre, HRVY and Aston Merrygold

Best Result: Making the final with HRVY in the 2020 series 

NIKITA KUMZIN

Joined the show: Series 19 (2021) 

Celebrity Partner: TBC

Best Result: TBC 

CAMERON LOMBARD 

Joined the show:  Series 19 (2021) 

Celebrity Partner: TBC

Best Result: TBC 

 

JOHANNES RADEBE 

Joined the show: Series 16 (2018)

Celebrity Partners: Catherine Tyldesley and Caroline Quentin

Best Result: 8th place with Caroline in 2020 

KAREN HAUER

Joined the show: Series 10 (2012)

Celebrity Partners: Nicky Byrne, Mark Wright, Simon Rimmer, Charles Venn, Chris Ramsey and Jamie Laing 

Best Results: Making the final with Jamie on the 2020 series

KATYA JONES 

Joined the show: Series 14 (2016)

Celebrity Partners include: Ed Balls, Seann Walsh, Mike Bushell and Nicola Adams 

Best Result: Won with Joe McFadden in 2017 

LUBA MUSHTUK

Joined the show: Series 16 (2018)

Celebrity Partner: James Cracknell and Jason Bell 

Best Result: 11th place with Jason Bell in 2020

NADIYA BYCHKOVA

Joined the show: Series 15 (2017)

Celebrity Partners: Davood Ghadami, Lee Ryan and David James

Best Result: 6th Place with Davood Ghadami in 2017 

NANCY XU 

Joined the show: Series 17 (2019)

Celebrity Partner: TBC

Best Result: TBC 

NEIL JONES 

Joined the show: Series 14 (2016)

Celebrity Partner: Alex Scott

Best Result: 5th Place with Alex Scott in 2019 

OTI MABUSE 

Joined the show: Series 13 (2015)

Celebrity Partners: Danny Mac, Anthony Ogogo, Graeme Swann, Jonnie Peacock, Kelvin Fletcher and Bill Bailey 

Best Result: Won with Kelvin in 2019 and was crowned the champion in 2020 with Bill

 JOWITA PRZYSTAL

Joined the show: Series 19 (2021)

Celebrity Partner: TBC

Best Result: TBC 

KAI WIDDRINGTON

 Joined the show: Series 19 (2021)

Celebrity Partner: TBC

Best Result: TBC 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk