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BBC unveils new 'Strictly' launch show

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Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly on Strictly Come Dancing

© BBC

Strictly Come Dancing series eight will be launched with a red carpet event at BBC Television Centre next month, it has been revealed.

The one-hour studio launch will feature the celebrities, judges and pro dancers meeting for the first time, ahead of the live shows starting in October.

For the first time in the show's history, viewers will be able to watch the moment that the celebrities and pros find out who they are being partnered with for the series, in front of a live studio audience. In the past, the 'first meets' have been filmed in advance in either training rooms or workplaces and only shown on the first live show.

The programme will also feature "spectacular group routines" from both the celebrities and pros, and a revamped set ahead of the autumn live shows.

BBC controller of entertainment commissioning Mark Linsey said: "In a series that features more excitement and glamour than ever before - a red carpet event is the ideal way to launch this year's Strictly. This, along with a fantastic line-up of celebrities, even more professional dancers and a revamped set, will see this series getting off to a great launch."

The Good Life actress Felicity Kendall, Conservative politician Ann Widdecombe, TV star Patsy Kensit, ex-boxer Frank Bruno, rugby star Gavin Henson and former soap star Tina O'Brien are all rumoured to be taking part in the ballroom dance show.

The Strictly Come Dancing launch show will air on Saturday, September 11 on BBC One. Three weeks later, on October 2, the lives shows will start.

> 'Strictly' 2010 pro lineup confirmed

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