Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Thursday, 28 August 2008 13:33 UK

Strictly celebrities are unveiled

Rachel Stevens
Rachel Stevens shot to fame with S Club 7

Singers Rachel Stevens and Heather Small are among the stars who will take part in the new series of BBC One hit Strictly Come Dancing.

Former EastEnders Gillian Taylforth, Jessie Wallace and Phil Daniels will also compete for the trophy.

The One Show host Christine Bleakley and GMTV presenter Andrew Castle are among the 16 contestants.

The new series kicks off on Saturday 20 September, with Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly returning as presenters.

Rachel Stevens, Gary Rhodes, Gillian Taylforth and Phil Daniels talk about being in the competition.

Actress Cheri Lunghi, former Rising Damp star Don Warrington and model Jodie Kidd are among the famous names taking part, along with television chef Gary Rhodes.

TV presenter Lisa Snowdon and Holby City actor Tom Chambers will also do battle against a clutch of sport stars - who have performed well in previous series of the show.

Olympic swimmer Mark Foster and rugby player Austin Healey are hoping to emulate past champions Darren Gough and Mark Ramprakash.

Former ITV News political editor John Sergeant, 64, will hope to survive the early rounds of the tough competition.

The sixth series will feature two more celebrity and professional dance couples than previous years, and will enjoy a longer run.

Last year's show was won by singer Alesha Dixon along with her partner Matthew Cutler, who this year will team up with Christine Bleakley.

Tess Daly and Bruce Forsyth
Tess Daly and Bruce Forsyth return as hosts for the sixth series

The show's regular professionals will be making a comeback, including Camilla Dallerup and Darren Bennett, who triumphed in a previous season with actress Jill Halfpenny.

Three new professionals - Brian Fortuna, Hayley Holt and Kristina Rihanoff - will join the programme.

Strictly co-host Bruce Forsyth said the victorious celebrity would need "stamina and style" to win the series.

"People often ask me to predict who'll win and I never do, but I've got a sixth sense about the sixth series. The winner will be a manů or a woman!" added the veteran entertainer.

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