Entertainment & Arts

Strictly Come Dancing confirms Kelvin Fletcher as Jamie Laing's replacement

Kelvin Fletcher
Image caption Kelvin Fletcher, 35, will replace the injured Jamie Laing

Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher has been announced as the replacement for Made In Chelsea star Jamie Laing on Strictly Come Dancing.

Laing, 30, injured himself during filming for Saturday night's pre-recorded launch show.

Fletcher, who is best known for playing Andy Sugden in Emmerdale, will dance with professional Oti Mabuse.

The announcement was made after celebrities were paired with their professional dance partners.

The new series launched on BBC One on Saturday evening to an average of 7.8m viewers - peaking at 8.3m - which marks a slight dip in the ratings compared with the launch show last year.

Former England footballer Alex Scott - the favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing - has become professional dancer Neil Jones's first celebrity partner.

Reigning champion Kevin Clifton was paired with Anneka Rice in the opening show of Strictly's 17th series.

New judge Motsi Mabuse said she felt "a part of the family" on her debut.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Former Arsenal footballer Alex Scott is the favourite to win the show

The pairing of Scott and Jones comes after a torrid year for the professional dancer.

His personal life hit the headlines after he separated from his wife and fellow Strictly dancer Katya Jones after she was photographed kissing her celebrity partner - comedian Seann Walsh.

Anneka Rice cast doubt on whether her partner would be able to win for a second year running. She said: "I haven't got a rhythm gene, I can't even clap in time."

Fan favourite Anton Du Beke has been paired with EastEnders star Emma Barton, another celebrity who is tipped to make it to the grand final.

Du Beke has been on the show since its first series but has never won, having often been paired with the show's less skilful dancers, such as Ann Widdecombe.

"So this is what it feels like... Book me in until Christmas," said Du Beke.

The full list of dance pairings

  • TV presenter Anneka Rice and Kevin Clifton
  • US singer and TV host Michelle Visage and Giovanni Pernice
  • Former England footballer Alex Scott and Neil Jones
  • Ex-Coronation Street star Catherine Tyldesley and Johannes Radebe
  • Comedian Chris Ramsey and Karen Hauer
  • BBC Radio 1 DJ Dev Griffin and Dianne Buswell
  • Former England goalkeeper David James and Nadiya Bychkova
  • EastEnders star Emma Barton and Anton Du Beke
  • Fashion model Viscountess Emma Weymouth and Aljaz Skorjanec
  • Olympic rower James Cracknell and Luba Mushtuk
  • CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden
  • BBC sports presenter Mike Bushell and Katya Jones
  • YouTube star Saffron Barker and AJ Pritchard
  • Paralympian Will Bayley and Janette Manrara
  • Former Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher and Oti Mabuse

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