2018 STRICTLY COME DANCING PROFESSIONALS REVEALED 31

Strictly Come Dancing will return to BBC One in Autumn 2018 for its sixteenth series and three brand new professional dancers will take to the Strictly dancefloor as they join the multi-award winning entertainment series made by BBC Studios.

The three new world-class dancers joining the show are Italian Latin Champion Graziano Di Prima, Professional South African Latin Champion Johannes Radebe and four-time winner of the Italian Dance Championship Luba Mushtuk.

All three dancers will join Strictly Come Dancing when the show returns later in the year bringing the total number of professional dancers to eighteen, promising the biggest and most hotly anticipated series to date.

Graziano Di Prima
Sicilian-born Graziano Di Prima, an Italian Latin Champion, has represented Belgium at the World Championships and made the top 24 at the Latin World Championships (under 21). For the past three years 24 year old Graziano has toured the world with the dance company Burn The Floor.

He says: “This is my dream come true! I still can’t believe I will be one of the professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing. I can’t wait to give all of myself on the dance floor!”

Johannes Radebe
Johannes Radebe, 31, from South Africa is two-time Professional South African Latin Champion and three time South African Amateur Latin Champion. He is a dancer with the Afro Arimba Dance Company and has also been a professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing South Africa for two seasons, both times reaching the final.

He says: “Joining Strictly Come Dancing is one of the greatest achievements of my dancing career. It is such an honour to be chosen to be a part of an incredible cast and be part of one of the biggest shows that is celebrated worldwide. I cannot wait to get started and experience the magic with the UK!”

Luba Mushtuk
Russian-born Luba Mushtuk is four-time winner of the Italian Dance Championship and Italian Open Latin Show Dance champion. She was ranked 2nd in the European 10 Dance Championships and was a finalist in the Latin European Championship. 28 year old Luba has worked extensively with Broadway and West End show Burn The Floor, was part of the Strictly Come Dancing Live tour and has performed on both Giovanni Pernice’s and Kevin and Karen Clifton’s tours. Luba joined Strictly Come Dancing in 2016 as an assistant choreographer contributing to a number of group routines.

She says: “Words cannot express how thrilled I am to do what I love most on the greatest show on earth! I am super excited and so thankful for this priceless opportunity. I can’t wait to get started as a professional dancer on Strictly… bring on the sparkle!”

The other professional dancers who will be returning to the Strictly ballroom once again are: AJ Pritchard, Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Anton Du Beke, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Marquez, Janette Manrara, Karen Clifton, Katya Jones, Kevin Clifton, Nadiya Bychkova, Neil Jones, Oti Mabuse and Pasha Kovalev.

Series one winner and 2017 Christmas Champion Brendan Cole will not be returning this year. Chloe Hewitt who joined in 2016 will also be leaving this series. The Strictly team would like to thank both of them for their considerable contribution to the show and wish them all the very best for the future.

Louise Rainbow, Executive Producer, Strictly Come Dancing, says: “This is the biggest line-up of pros that we’ve ever had on Strictly. We are so lucky to have such an array of talent. A huge thank you goes to Brendan from all of us for 15 amazing series of Strictly. We wish him all the very best with his future projects. We would also like to thank Chloe and wish her well.”

Kate Phillips, Controller, Entertainment Commissioning, says: “There is no other show quite like Strictly Come Dancing, and the last series proved that becoming the most popular Strictly to date. Our celebrity contestants this year are going to have to work harder than ever to keep up with our biggest and best professional dancer line-up yet, in what promises to be another dazzling and unforgettable series.”

Since Strictly Come Dancing launched on BBC One in the UK in 2004, the Entertainment Format – known internationally as Dancing with the Stars – has become a success story all around the world, the format has been licensed to over 55 countries by BBC Studios.

Biographies

AJ Pritchard
AJ was born in Stoke-on-Trent, in 2015 AJ won one of the biggest championships in the world to become British Open Youth Latin Champion and European Youth Latin Champion. He was National Youth Latin Champion for three years in a row from 2012-2014. In his first year on Strictly AJ was partnered with Olympic gymnast Claudia Fragapane and in the last series he reached the semi-finals with Mollie King.

Aljaž Škorjanec
Born in Slovenia, Aljaž took to the dance floor at the age of five and has enjoyed success in his home country where he won 19 Slovenian championships in Ballroom and Latin. For over a decade, Aljaž represented Slovenia in the World Latin and Ballroom Championships and appeared in Slovenia’s Dancing with the Stars. Aljaž joined Strictly in 2013 and during his first year, he lifted the Glitter Ball Trophy with Abbey Clancy. Last year, he was partnered with Gemma Atkinson and made it to the Grand Final.  

Amy Dowden
Amy Dowden is from Caerphilly, South Wales and began dancing at the age of eight. She was the 2017 British National Champion and is one of the highest-ranking Ballroom and Latin American professional dancers in the UK. Amy is also a four-time British National Finalist and in 2015, she reached the semi-final of the World Championship. Amy joined Strictly last year and danced with Brian Conley.

Anton Du Beke
British-born Anton specialises in Ballroom dancing and has been performing since the age of 14. Anton has appeared in every series of Strictly to date, but is yet to lift the Glitter Ball Trophy, although he made it all the way to the final with Katie Derham in 2015. Previous partners include Ann Widdecombe, Jerry Hall, Nancy Dell’Olio, Judy Murray, Lesley Joseph and last year, Anton danced with Ruth Langsford.

Dianne Buswell
Dianne Buswell is an Australian Open Champion and four-time Amateur Australian Open Finalist. She has appeared on Dancing With The Stars Australia and has been part of the Burn The Floor production on Broadway. Dianne joined Strictly last year and danced with the Reverend Richard Coles.

Giovanni Pernice
Giovanni was born in Sicily and decided from a young age that he wanted to take up dance lessons. At 14 years old he moved to Bologna to concentrate on dance and was taught by some of the best teachers in the world. His greatest achievement is the day he won the Italian Championships in 2012. Giovanni reached the final of Strictly with Georgia May Foote and again last year with Debbie McGee

Gorka Marquez
Spanish Gorka began dancing at the age of 12. He represented Spain in the World Latin Championships in 2010 and reached the semi-finals of the 2012 WDSF World Cup. In 2014, Gorka joined the global Ballroom and Latin dance phenomenon Burn The Floor as one of their leads and has toured with them all around the world. He joined Strictly in 2016 and danced with Tameka Empson and last year he made it to the final with Alexandra Burke.

Janette Manrara
Janette was born in Miami, Florida and joined the Strictly family in 2013. She has performed with Jennifer Lopez at the 82nd Academy Awards and she was the principal dancer in the TV series and live tour of Glee. She was also a finalist in season five of So You Think You Can Dance in the USA. Janette’s Strictly partners have included Julien Macdonald, Jake Wood and Peter Andre. Last year, she was partnered with Aston Merrygold.

Karen Clifton
Originally from Venezuela, Karen moved to New York when she was eight years old. She is the United Amateur American Rhythm National Champion and Professional World Mambo Champion. In 2009, Karen appeared in the US series So You Think You Can Dance before joining the West Endsensation Burn the Floor as a principal dancer. Karen reached the grand final with Mark Wright in 2014 and was most recently partnered with Simon Rimmer.

Katya Jones
World Latin Champion Katya was born in Saint-Petersburg, Russia and started dancing at the age of six where she trained in gymnastics as well as Ballroom and Latin American dancing. In 2008, Katya formed a partnership with Neil Jones and together they won the World Amateur Latin Championships a total of three times, before turning professional in 2013. In 2015, they became the World Professional Latin Showdance Champions and are four times undefeated British National Professional Champions. Katya joined Strictly in 2016 and was partnered with Ed Balls and last year lifted the glitterball trophy with Joe McFadden.

Kevin Clifton
Kevin from Grimsby is a former Youth World Number One and four-time British Latin Champion. Taught by his parents Keith and Judy Clifton from an early age – former World Champions themselves – Kevin went on to win International Open titles all over the world. He also starred in the West End in Dirty Dancing and Burn The Floor. Kevin joined Strictly in 2013 and is the only professional dancer to reach four consecutive grand finals with Susanna Reid, Frankie Bridge, Kellie Bright and Louise Redknapp. Last year he took to the floor with Susan Calman.

Nadiya Bychkova
Nadiya Bychkova from Ukraine is a two-time World Champion and European Champion in Ballroom and Latin ‘10’ Dance. She is a multiple-time Slovenian Ballroom and Latin Champion Nadiya joined Strictly last year and made it to the quarter finals with EastEnders star Davood Ghadami.

Neil Jones
Neil is the undefeated four-time British National Champion and the three-time winner of the World Amateur Latin Championships with his wife Katya Jones. In 2015, Neil and Katya were crowned World Professional Latin Showdance Champions. Neil was born in a British Army Camp in Munster, Germany and started dancing at a local ballet school at the age of three. He trained in Ballroom, Latin, tap, modern and ballet. Last year Neil was partnered with Judy Murray for the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special and with Blue Peter’s Konnie Huq for the Children in Need Special.

Oti Mabuse
Oti began dancing in South Africa as a young child along with her sister, who is a judge on the German version of Strictly. Oti moved to Germany to push herself as she was the eight-time South African Latin American Champion and wanted new challenges. She has achieved many titles in her dancing career including World European Latin semi-finalist and World Cup Championship semi-finalist. Oti joined the show in 2015, in 2016 she reached the final with Danny Mac and last year she made it to Blackpool with Paralympian Jonnie Peacock.

Pasha Kovalev
Siberian-born Pasha has been a professional dancer on Strictly since 2011. He has reached the grand final three times and lifted the Glitter Ball Trophy in 2014 with Caroline Flack. Pasha started dancing at eight years old and his professional achievements include performing on Broadway and reaching the finals of the US version of So You Think You Can Dance. Last year, he was partnered with Chizzy Akudolu.

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ITV TO AIR WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE 20TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIALS NEXT WEEK 56

To mark the 20th anniversary of the global hit game show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, the iconic programme will return to ITV for a week of celebratory episodes, starting this Saturday. Airing as a stripped event across the week, the 7×60 minute episodes will play out every night and will be hosted by brand new presenter, Jeremy Clarkson.

The show will offer members of the public the chance to win £1,000,000. Each contestant will have the opportunity to answer 15 questions on their way to hopefully winning this life changing prize.

The contestants will be helped along the way by familiar lifelines of ‘Ask The Audience’, ‘Phone a Friend’ and ’50:50’, plus a brand new fourth lifeline; ‘Ask The Host’.

This brand new, additional lifeline allows the contestant to ‘Ask The Host’ if he [Jeremy Clarkson] knows the answer or if he has an opinion on what it might be. Jeremy never sees the questions ahead of the contestants so there is no guarantee he will know the answer. Will Jeremy be able to help someone along the way to winning one million pounds or will it cost them everything?

In another twist, contestants will be able to set their own second safety net amount. There is a fixed safety net at £1,000, meaning once a contestant has successfully answered Question 5 and won £1,000, that’s the minimum they will take home.

Traditionally, the second safety net was automatically set at £32,000. However, in these seven celebratory episodes, this new twist will allow the second safety net to be set by each contestant. Once they have banked £1,000, they will be given the opportunity to set their safety net ahead of the next question being asked. They can set their safety net only once and anywhere from £2,000 to £500,000. Will contestants be brave enough to risk losing big money in the hope to go all the way?

Jeremy Clarkson said “If the contestant chooses that lifeline [Ask The Host], they get to ask me if I know the answer. God help them. Anyone who doesn’t win £1,000,000 is bound, at some point, to ask me if I know the answer. And if it’s 1970’s prog rock music, I probably will. If it’s anything other than that, I probably won’t.”

On talking about the safety net changes, Jeremy Clarkson added “They can choose where it goes. So they choose how much they are going to lose at any given moment, which is a very clever idea. That requires balls of steel. To go beyond, say £32,000, when you’re going to drop back to £1,000 if you get it wrong. To say, ‘no I’ll set it at £64,000 and risk losing £63,000 if I get it wrong’, balls of steel.”

The series will be produced by Stellify Media with filming taking place in Manchester. Commissioned for ITV by Siobhan Greene, Head of Entertainment, with Ben Kelly Commissioning Editor, it will be executive produced by Fiona Clark and Stellify’s joint managing directors Kieran Doherty and Matthew Worthy, with Julia Knowles as Director. Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is a Sony Pictures Television format.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? starts Saturday 5th May at 9.15pm on ITV and continues nightly thorough-out the week at 9pm

More Details on All The Format of The Show:
In each episode, six different contestants will play ‘fastest finger first’ for the chance to win a place in the coveted chair and play the game. If a game concludes with one contestant, the remaining contestants will play ‘fastest finger first’ again for another opportunity to play for one million pounds.

Each contestant can see the question, answers, use their lifelines and still choose not to play the question and walk away with any money they have banked. The host is never shown the answer in advance of the contestant deciding to play the question and locking in their answer by saying ‘Final Answer’. The host does not have an earpiece or have any way to find out the answer.

Fastest finger first
The host will read out a question and four answers. Contestants will need to put the answers in the correct order. Fastest finger first questions are timed and the contestant who answers correctly in the fastest time, wins a place in the chair to play for one million pounds.

The contestants will face 15 questions for the chance to win one million pounds. Money will increase in the following increments:

Question 1 – £100
Question 2 – £200
Question 3 – £300
Question 4 – £500
Question 5 – £1,000
Question 6 – £2,000
Question 7 – £4,000
Question 8 – £8,000
Question 9 – £16,000
Question 10 – £32,000
Question 11 – £64,000
Question 12 – £125,000
Question 13 – £250,000
Question 14 – £500,000
Question 15 – £1,000,000

Safety Nets
There is a fixed safety net at £1,000. This means that once a contestant has answered the £1,000 question correctly, this is the minimum they will take home. Traditionally, the second safety net was automatically set at £32,000.

However, in these seven celebratory episodes, a new twist will allow the second safety net to be set by each contestant in play. Once they have successfully answered Question 5 and won £1,000, they will be given the opportunity to set their safety net ahead of the next question being asked. They can set their safety net anywhere from £2,000 to £500,000. The can only set this once during their game and until they set their second safety net, they will be asked ahead of seeing the next question. If they choose to set their safety net at the next question, they must correctly answer that question for it to be set and be in play. For example; A contestant has successfully answered Question 10 and won £32,000, they could then be asked if they want to set their safety net at £64,000. If they say yes, they will then see the question, four possible answers and can decide if they want to play. If they play and correctly answer the question, the minimum they will go home with is £64,000. They can continue the game and their safety net will remain at £64,000. This cannot be moved or reset. If they answer the question incorrectly, they will lose £31,000 and leave with £1,000.

Four lifelines are available to all contestants to use once at any point in their game, one more than was traditionally available.

The four lifelines available to each contestant in the chair are:

50/50
Contestants can choose to use this lifeline to remove two random wrong answers, leaving one correct answer and one random wrong answer. Even after they have used this lifeline, the contestant can still choose to not answer the question and take the money that they have currently banked.

Ask The Audience
If a contestant decides to use this lifeline, the host will read the question and all possible answers. The host will ask the audience to vote for the answer they think is correct via an electronic keypad within an allotted time. The audience will not have access to any device where they could find out the answer from a third party or Internet. The contestant does not need to take the advice given nor continue playing the game. The contestant can still choose to take the money they have currently banked.

Phone A Friend
If the contestant wants to contact a friend, the host will lead the call and explain to the chosen friend that the contestant needs assistance on a question. Once the host hands the call over, the contestant will have 30 seconds to read the question, possible answers and have any discussions. The ‘friend’ will not see the countdown clock. The contestant does not need to take the advice given nor continue playing the game. They can still choose to take the money they have currently banked.

Prior to arriving to set, each contestant will be asked to select two ‘phone a friends’ and give their details. On the day that each contestant is set to play the game (six contestants per episode), Production will send an independent security team to all phone a friend residents in that episode. Once a contestant plays fastest finger first and wins a place in the chair, the security team will enter both of the ‘phone a friends’ residents. This is to ensure that if and when phoned, the friend does not source outside help to answer the question. Once the contestant has finished their game or used their lifeline, security will leave.

Ask The Host
This is a brand new, additional lifeline available once to all contestants. This lifeline allows the contestant to ‘Ask The Host’ if he [Jeremy Clarkson] knows the answer or if he has an opinion on what it might be. The host can give his opinion, answer or share his thoughts but there is no guarantee he will know the answer. Once he has shared his thoughts / given as much as he can, he will say ‘That’s my final answer’ which signifies the end of his assistance and the contestant can not ask the host any more questions. The host is never shown the answers in advance of the contestant saying this is my ‘Final Answer’. The contestant does not need to take the advice given nor continue playing the game and can still choose to take any money they have currently banked. If the contestant does decide to play, the contestant will select the answer and say ‘final answer’. Once the answer is locked in, the contestant and host will have the answer revealed at the same time.

BRITISH SOAP AWARDS 2018 TO AIR LIVE; SHORTLIST NOMINATIONS REVEALED 46

The British Soap Awards returns to ITV in June and for the first time in the show’s history will be broadcast live. Celebrating its big 2-0, the annual awards will take place in London at The Hackney Empire and will honour the nation’s biggest and most-loved TV shows.

Celebrating another mammoth year in soap opera, the awards will look back on twelve months of murder, mystery, make-ups, break ups, trials, tribulations and tears. An incredible year in which the Slater family returned to Albert Square in EastEnders, Phelan’s reign of terror continued in Coronation Street, Lily self harmed on Hollyoaks, Ross Barton’s life changed forever in Emmerdale and PC Rob Hollins life was shattered after Ayesha’s Mum died on his watch in Doctors.

The five biggest soaps – Coronation Street, Doctors, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks – will be battling it out to win recognition for their work over the past year.  Some of the biggest faces from all five soaps will be hitting the red carpet for the most star-studded and glamorous event in the soap calendar. 

Hosted by Phillip Schofield, the live awards will be presented by an array of well-known faces from across the TV and showbiz world. 

The British Soap Awards recognise outstanding achievement in the country’s most popular television genre.  There are 16 awards voted for either by the public or a panel of expert judges.

Here, we presents the full Soap Awards shortlist.

VIEWER-VOTED CATEGORIES

Best British Soap
Coronation Street
Doctors
EastEnders
Emmerdale
Hollyoaks

Best Actor
Connor McIntyre (Pat Phelan, Coronation Street)
Jack P Shepherd (David Platt, Coronation Street)
Michael Parr (Ross Barton, Emmerdale)
Ryan Hawley (Robert Sugden, Emmerdale)
Theo Graham (Hunter McQueen, Hollyoaks)

Best Actress
Catherine Tyldesley (Eva Price, Coronation Street)
Lucy Fallon (Bethany Platt, Coronation Street)
Lacey Turner (Stacey Fowler, EastEnders)
Emma Atkins (Charity Dingle, Emmerdale)
Anna Passey (Sienna Blake, Hollyoaks)

Greatest Moment
Richard Hillman drives his family into the canal (Coronation Street, 2003)
Vivien’s rape (Doctors, 2008)
‘You ain’t my mother’ (EastEnders, 2001)
Hotten bypass crash (Emmerdale, 2016)
Jade says goodbye to Alfie (Hollyoaks, 2016)

PANEL-VOTED CATEGORIES

Villain of the Year
Connor McIntyre (Pat Phelan, Coronation Street)
Ryan Prescott (Liam Slade, Doctors)
Jake Wood (Max Branning, EastEnders)
Gillian Kearney (Emma Barton, Emmerdale)
David Easter (Mac Nightingale, Hollyoaks)

Best Male Dramatic Performance
Connor McIntyre (Pat Phelan, Coronation Street)
Chris Walker (Rob Hollins, Doctors)
Jake Wood (Max Branning, EastEnders)
Jeff Hordley (Cain Dingle, Emmerdale)
Ross Adams (Scott Drinkwell, Hollyoaks)

Best Female Dramatic Performance
Lucy Fallon (Bethany Platt, Coronation Street)
Laura Rollins (Ayesha Lee, Doctors)
Lacey Turner (Stacey Fowler, EastEnders)
Natalie J Robb (Moira Dingle, Emmerdale)
Nadine Mulkerrin (Cleo McQueen, Hollyoaks)

Best Storyline
Phelan’s reign of terror (Coronation Street)
‘Consequences’ – Rob Hollins’s PTSD (Doctors)
Karma for Max (EastEnders)
Who Killed Emma? (Emmerdale)
Lily’s self-harm (Hollyoaks)

Best Newcomer
Nicola Thorp (Nicola Rubinstein, Coronation Street)
Reis Bruce (Austin Lonsdale, Doctors)
Lorraine Stanley (Karen Taylor, EastEnders)
Andrew Scarborough (Graham Foster, Emmerdale)
Lauren McQueen (Lily McQueen, Hollyoaks)

Best Young Actor
Matilda Freeman (Summer Spellman, Coronation Street)
Maisie Smith (Tiffany Butcher, EastEnders)
Isobel Steele (Liv Flaherty, Emmerdale)
Ela-May Dermican (Leah Barnes, Hollyoaks)

Best On-Screen Partnership
Bhavna Limbachia and Faye Brookes (Rana Nazir and Kate Connor, Coronation Street)
Matthew Chambers and Elisabeth Dermot Walsh (Dr Daniel Granger and Dr Zara Carmichael, Doctors)
Lacey Turner and Jake Wood (Stacey Fowler and Max Branning, EastEnders)
Ned Porteous and Andrew Scarborough (Joe Tate and Graham Foster, Emmerdale)
Malique Thompson-Dwyer and Theo Graham (Prince McQueen and Hunter McQueen, Hollyoaks)

Best Single Episode
Eva and Aidan’s wedding debacle (Coronation Street)
‘Stop All The Clocks’ (Doctors)
Max’s last stand (EastEnders)
Cain and Faith flashback (Emmerdale)
Three Mothers, Three Daughters (Hollyoaks)

Best Comedy Performance
Louiza Patikas (Moira Pollock, Coronation Street)
Ian Midlane (Al Haskey, Doctors)
Nitin Ganatra (Masood Ahmed, EastEnders)
Sally Dexter (Faith Dingle, Emmerdale)
Nicole Barber-Lane (Myra McQueen, Hollyoaks)

Scene of the Year
The grooming of Bethany (Coronation Street)
Bollywood proposal (Doctors)
Lauren and Abi’s rooftop fall (EastEnders)
Emma meets her fate (Emmerdale)
Scott’s suicide note (Hollyoaks)

The winners of the Outstanding Achievement Award and The Tony Warren Award will be announced on the night.

The British Soap Awards 2018 will be held at London’s Hackney Empire on Saturday, June 2 and will air live on ITV for the first time in the ceremony’s history.