Monday 23 September 2019

Strictly line-up is most diverse in show’s history

One-third of the 2019 contestants are non-white.

The Strictly Come Dancing glitterball trophy (Guy Levy/PA)
The Strictly Come Dancing glitterball trophy (Guy Levy/PA)

By Ian Jones, PA

This year’s Strictly line-up is the most diverse since the show began.

Five of the 15 contestants are non-white, the highest proportion so far.

In recent years around a quarter of the contestants have been from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds.

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(PA graphic)

The youngest of this year’s contestants – YouTube star Saffron Barker – is 19 years old while the oldest – TV presenter Anneka Rice – is 60.

The gap between them is 41 years. This is a larger span of ages than last year’s series, when the gap between the youngest and oldest contestants was 32 years.

It is only the third time in Strictly history that there has been a contestant still in their teens.

The others were Louisa Lytton in 2006 and Claudia Fragapane in 2016.

By contrast, Anneka Rice becomes the 22nd contestant to have taken part in Strictly while aged 60 or over.

The oldest ever participant was Johnny Ball in 2012, who was 74.

The average age of this year’s contestants is 38 – the same as last year.

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(PA graphic)

Meanwhile, in a major departure from tradition, there are no musicians or singers among the contestants.

It is the first time this decade that those professions have not been represented on the show.

Three singers took part in both 2017 and 2018.

In total, 237 contestants – including this year’s line-up – have participated in Strictly since the show began in 2004.

There have been 67 actors, 61 TV/radio presenters, 41 sport stars (including 13 Olympians or Paralympians), 31 musicians and singers, 10 comedians, seven chefs, seven models, three politicians, two fashion specialists and two YouTube stars.

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(PA graphic)

There has also been an astrologer, a businesswoman, a garden designer, a magician, a lawyer and a vicar.

PA Media

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