Strictly announces seventh contestant as Love Island star makes show history

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Strictly announces seventh contestant as Love Island star makes show history
Strictly announces seventh contestant as Love Island star makes show history

Strictly Come Dancing has announced the seventh star joining the BBC show as Zara McDermott takes to the dancefloor.

The former Love Island star turned BBC documentary maker is making history as the first ever contestant from the ITV2 dating show to join the iconic BBC Latin and ballroom show. Zara has been working with the BBC for a number of years now, having fronted a string of successful documentaries on important topics including revenge porn, rape culture and disordered eating.

Her stint on the BBC show was announced this afternoon on BBC Radio 1, where she joined the station's Going Home with Vick and Jordan show to share the exciting news she was heading for the Strictly dancefloor.

Speaking to hosts Vick Hope and Jamie Laing, Zara revealed she was "scared" but "excited" to take on something "so far out of her comfort zone". She said: "I've been rewatching last year's in detail, analysing everything, every dance.

"I'm scared, scared but excited. There is gonna be challenges with everything. I'm excited for the slower stuff. It's such a far cry from my day job… this is live, you cannot make a mistake. You get one take and one take only. This is so far out of my comfort zone."

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Strictly announces seventh contestant as Love Island star makes show historyZara is dating Sam Thompson (@zara_mcdermott/Instagram)
Strictly announces seventh contestant as Love Island star makes show historyShe was on an early series of Love Island (Zara McDermott/Instagram)

She added: "I am so excited to be joining the world of Strictly! I grew up watching it every year with my nan and she was the biggest Strictly fan. We would dance around the house and I have such fond memories of that time in my life.

"I even remember the first ever series, and being mesmerised by all the beautiful dresses! I can’t wait to throw myself into this experience and start training. It’s going to be incredible."

It comes after Angela Scanlon, best known for hosting Your Home Made Perfect on BBC Two as well as for her work on The One Show and Robot Wars, was announced as the sixth celebrity to join the BBC show.

Speaking about the show, she said: "I’m terrified, I’m excited and I have so many questions. Will they make me tan? How itchy are sequins?! Do they do flesh coloured sports bras? Well - there’s only one way to find out, right!? Now I’m panicking a bit… but also secretly thrilled about the prospect of all that glitter. Let’s go!"

And asked if she managed to keep the secret, she added: "I've told a few people... I think I've been grappling myself and hoping for some feedback. So I've been saying: 'What do you think about this?' I don't know that I've kept it [secret]. I was ready to burst!"

Other names include Sherlock star Amanda Abbington, Angela Rippon and Layton Williams, who were all confirmed during a bumper reveal on The One Show last week, with fans thrilled to see them taking part.

"I’m actually really shy and self-conscious so this will be a great opportunity for me to overcome those things! Plus, I get to learn to dance which I am incredibly excited about. I’m really looking forward to the training too, I’m quite competitive as my family and friends will tell you. I can’t wait to start!" Amanda shared of joining the BBC dancing show.

Angela, who is the oldest ever contestant to compete at 78, added of taking part: "Having been a fan of Strictly since day one, and as a former presenter of Come Dancing, this will be quite an adventure for me. A scary one, considering I’m about to be 79. But I’m really looking forward to the challenge, and perhaps being able to learn to dance the Argentinian Tango!"

Layton is a West End star and also appeared on Bad Education alongside Jack Whitehall, and speaking about joining Strictly, he shared: "Absolutely buzzing to confirm that I will be taking part in THE most iconic dance competition in the UK! It's time to bring it to the Ballroom. So excited to learn new skills from the best. Bring on the sequins… ALL the sequins! It's been a real struggle [to keep it a secret] but I'm so excited it's finally out there and I can get buzzing about it now." Layton added of whether his stage experience will come in handy: "I'm not trained in ballroom or Latin, so I hope I'll feel confident but I am pretty nervous!"

Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC1 and BBC iPlayer later this year.

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Jasmine Allday

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