STRICTLY 2019: EASTENDERS STAR EMMA BARTON JOINS LINE-UP 0 23

EastEnders star Emma Barton best known for playing Honey Mitchell in BBC One’s flagship drama is is our third celebrity of 2019.

Emma said: “As possibly one of the biggest Strictly fans on the planet, I still can’t believe this is happening. I’m very much a dance around your handbag kinda girl, but now I’ve been given this wonderful opportunity to learn all the different styles of dancing from the very best in the business. So, I’m whipping off Honey’s ‘Minute Mart’ tabard and diving right in to all the glitter and sparkle. From Albert Square to the Strictly dance floor – I just can’t wait!”

Emma joined the soap in 2005 before leaving in 2008, returning briefly in 2014, and returning full-time in 2015. She has also appeared on several other TV series including You, Them, Doctors, Secret History and Spooks & Me. In addition to her screen credits, Emma is also an accomplished stage actress, with theatre credits including: Roxie Hart in Chicago, Dolly in the National Theatre’s production of One Man Two Guvnors; Vera in Doctor in the House; Lily in Annie; Marty in Grease; Eileen in Over the Moon.

Emma is a proud patron of Down’s Syndrome Association and Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association, and recently ran the London Marathon as one of Dame Barbara Windsor’s ‘Revolutionaries’, in aid of Dementia Revolution.

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CASUALTY NEWS: JANE HAZLEGROVE TO RETURN AS DIXIE 0 19

Casualty fans can expect to see a familiar face back on screen soon, as Jane Hazlegrove is set to reprise her role as Dixie for two episodes in Casualty’s new series this autumn.

Making an appearance as part of the HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) team, Dixie arrives at a call out in the nick of time to assist the paramedic team with a young lad who has a life-threatening chest injury.

But it’s not just the patient who Dixie will have an impact on. Seeing an old colleague taking on a whole new challenge really leaves an impression on Iain and leads him to think about his own future.

Jane Hazlegrove says: “It was really great to see some familiar faces again and of course to hang out with Sir Michael Stevenson… despite the fact that his jokes haven’t got any better!”

Simon Harper, Executive Producer Casualty and Holby City, says: “It’s wonderful to have the brilliant Jane Hazlegrove back in the Casualty family fold. Dixie was and remains a massively popular character with the audience who miss her to this day, and she and Iain are clearly going to have a lot to catch up on after his tumultuous year.”

STRICTLY 2019: JAMES CRACKNELL OBE JOINS LINE UP 0 15

James Cracknell OBE, is a former rowing World Champion.

The 17th series of the NTA and Bafta award-winning entertainment show produced by BBC Studios will return in the autumn on BBC One putting the sparkle back into Saturday and Sunday nights.

James says: “I’m really looking forward to being a part of Strictly this year. Having spent so many years mucking around in a rowing boat with big men in tight lycra, it’s time I learned a new skill. I need to apologise to my kids in advance for the embarrassment.”

A former rowing World Champion and double Olympic Gold Medallist, James won Olympic Gold in both the 2000 Sydney Games alongside Steve Redgrave & Matthew Pinsent and the 2004 Athens Games.

Since retiring James has carried out dangerous and gruelling challenges including The Race Across the Atlantic, where he and Ben Fogle finished first, and the Yukon Arctic Ultra, cycling over 430 miles in the race across the frozen Alaskan countryside becoming the highest placed Briton ever finishing 12th.

In 2010, James attempted to cross America by cycling, running, rowing and swimming in record time. It was during this trip that James suffered a near fatal accident after being struck from behind by a truck while cycling through Arizona. After a difficult six-month recovery period, James went to the Canadian Yukon, completing The Coldest Race on Earth.

James is the BBC’s commentator for Rowing, and was heavily involved in the coverage for the Rio Olympics in 2016. He has more recently become the oldest ever Boat Race champion at 46 as part of Cambridge University’s crew as they rowed to victory at the 165th Boat Race. He has also just finished studying for his Masters in Philosophy from Cambridge University.