The BBC has confirmed the professional dancers line-up for the 2021 series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Anton Du Beke will return for the BBC One series later this year to mark his 19th appearance on the show.

It makes the 54-year-old ballroom dancer the longest-serving pro on the show.

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Du Beke even stood in as a guest judge in Motsi Mabuse’s absence in the last series who was forced to self-isolate following an urgent trip to Germany.

Last year’s winner Oti Mabuse will also be returning to the show after being crowned winner with comedian Bill Bailey in 2020, the oldest celebrity winner at the age of 55.

Oxford Mail: Oti Mabuse and Bill Bailey during a live show of Strictly Come Dancing. (BBC/PA)Oti Mabuse and Bill Bailey during a live show of Strictly Come Dancing. (BBC/PA)

Other returning professional dancers include Aljaz Skorjanec, Gorka Marquez and Katya Jones.

Jones made history in the 2020 series as one half of Strictly Come Dancing’s first ever same-sex couple with professional boxer, Nicola Adams.

Unfortunately, Jones received a positive Covid-19 test result leaving the couple side-lined before the return to the dancefloor in the finale.

Professional dancers Janette Manrara and Karen Hauer will also return to Strictly in the autumn, as will Neil Jones, Amy Dowden and Giovanni Pernice.

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The line-up of professionals also includes Dianne Buswell, Graziano Di Prima, Johannes Radebe, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova and Nancy Xu.

Sarah James, executive producer at BBC Studios, said: “We are so thrilled to be welcoming back our incredible line-up of professional dancers for 2021.

“Their passion and dedication for Strictly shone through more than ever last year as they all sacrificed so much to deliver an unforgettable series during unprecedented and challenging times.

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“With so much talent returning to the ballroom, the 2021 series promises more show-stopping choreography, memorable performances and world class dancing.”

Last year saw the show enjoy its highest average ratings for three years.

12.4 million people tuned in to see who would lift the Glitterball trophy, according to ratings data from the audience research organisation Barb.

The BBC said more information about this year’s series will follow in due course, including which celebrity contestants will be paired with the pros.

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