Olympic gold medallist boxer Nicola Adams is the latest star to be tipped for the Strictly Come Dancing line-up, with reports linking the athlete to the show’s first-ever same-sex couple.
It comes after The Wanted singer Max George, Jonathan Creek actress Caroline Quentin and former NFL player Jason Bell became the first celebrities confirmed to be taking part in this year’s Strictly.
They were unveiled on The One Show. Adams, who has won two Olympic gold medals for boxing, will be partnered with a woman, according to multiple reports.
That would mark the first time a same-sex couple has competed on Strictly, following years of speculation.
Johannes Radebe and fellow professional Graziano di Prima made history when they performed together on the BBC show last year.
Adams, 37, is dating Ella Baig and has been praised as an LGBT role model. A BBC spokesman could not confirm Adams’ involvement on Strictly and said: “The rest of the line-up will be announced in due course.”
Men Behaving Badly actress Quentin, 60, was the first contestant to be unveiled during The One Show.
She said: “I am thrilled and terrified in equal measure to be taking part.”
Asked about her previous dancing experience, Quentin joked on The One Show it had been 50 years since she had tried any of it.
She said: “Like most little girls, I did ballet from the age of three, until, I suppose I did ballet seriously until I was about 12, and then after that I did a bit of modern dance and a little bit of tap and things like that.
“What I’d say is I do remember some of what I’ve learned but my knees are 50 years older than the last time I attempted any of it. And it’s my knees and my under garments that are troubling me most as a notion at the moment.”
Bell, who used to play for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, is best known to UK audiences as the host of The NFL Show on the BBC, alongside Osi Umenyiora, with whom he also hosts The Jason & Osi Podcast.
He shared a six-year-old daughter with former Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle.
He was unveiled second on the show and said: “Strictly is the epitome of British television and this year, more than ever, I’m so proud and humbled to be participating.
“Strictly was the first show I ever watched when I moved to the UK and I’m a massive fan.
“My six-year-old daughter never got the chance to see me run out on the field at an NFL game but she is very excited about me taking to the dancefloor. I hope I can do her proud.”
George was the third star to be unveiled and will follow in the footsteps of his former bandmate Jay McGuiness, who won the show in 2015 with professional partner Aliona Vilani.
The musician, who is also an actor and appeared as Clint in the sixth series of Glee, said: “Buzzing to be on Strictly this year. Not really one for the dancefloor, but I take a lot of comfort in the fact that Jay McGuiness set The Wanted’s bar so low.”
The show will be shorter this year because of precautions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
Bruno Tonioli will be missing from the judging panel for Saturday night shows when the series returns later this year because he is in Los Angeles, where he is on the panel for the US version of the show, Dancing With The Stars, and will not be able to travel back and forth.
However, he will be involved remotely in the Sunday night results show each week and will return to the show full-time towards the end of the series.
Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood are all expected to return to their judging roles.
The show would usually return at the end of September, with the final just before Christmas, but its 2020 launch is expected to be slightly delayed.