First Celeb Confirmed for Strictly, and Olympic rumours…

Children’s TV star Dani Harmer is the first celebrity confirmed to join the new series of Strictly Come Dancing, after the touring musical she was due to appear in was axed.

Harmer, better known to young fans for her role in children’s TV drama Tracey Beaker, has previously appeared in the Comic Relief Special of the show, reaching the final back in March with her dance partner Tyger Drew-Honey from Outnumbered.

The actor joins rumoured celebrities TV presenter Johnny Ball, whose daughter Zoe presents the show’s sister programme on It Takes Two on BBC2, and former England cricketer Michael Vaughan.

The BBC is also said to be wooing Team GB athletes for the show, in a bid to bring the success of the 2012 Olympic Games to Strictly.

Olympian Louis Smith, who led Britain’s gymnasts to a bronze medal in the team event and won an individual silver on the pommel, is said to be particularly favoured by programme execs, with fellow gymnast Beth Tweddle and cycling’s golden girl Victoria Pendleton also rumoured to be taking part.

The Beeb has also confirmed it has decided against pitching the new series of Strictly in a head-to-head battle with The X Factor this year, with the launch episode being shown from 6.30pm next Saturday, September 15th.

The show will finish 35 minutes before X Factor goes on air at 8.10pm on ITV1.