Is This The BBC’s Most ITV2 Strictly Line-Up Ever?

It’s the show that normally goes for a BBC-style generation spanning family-friendly cast.

But the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ 2014 line-up has made us wonder if the show has channel hopped to ITV2.

With the likes of Frankie Bridge, Mark Wright, Pixie Lott and Caroline Flack all preparing to waltz under the glitterball, the BBC’s ‘Strictly’ is a different beast this year. What will the core ‘Strictly’ fans think?

When the show kicks off on 7 September (in a clash with ITV’s ‘The X Factor’, no less), viewers would be forgiven for thinking they’d tuned into a ‘TOWIE/Xtra Factor/I’m A Celeb/The Big Reunion’ mash-up.

Let’s take a look at the ITV2 credentials of this year’s cast on ‘Strictly’.

Exhibit A: Mark Wright. ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ star is an ITV2 stalwart, having found fame on its big show ‘TOWIE’ and going on to host that channel’s ‘Take Me Out: The Gossip’ plus bagging his own as ITV2 series ‘Party Wright Around the world’ AND appearing on ITV’s ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get me out of Here Now!’.

Exhibit B: Caroline Flack. ‘The Xtra Factor’ presenter has jumped ship from ITV2 to BBC One in spectacular style, leaving Simon Cowell’s show family and entering the Beeb’s biggest hit. With her ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get me out of Here Now!’ past she was ITV2 through and through (although she was also a presenter on CBBC back in the day, so perhaps it’s a bit of a homecoming for The Flack).

Exhibit C: Frankie Bridge. The Saturdays singer and wife of footballer Wayne Bridge is more up ITV2’s street. After all, her girl band had their own reality show on ITV2.

Exhibit D: Pixie Lott. The pop star is more of your ITV2 viewer’s cup of tea, and even had her own ITV2 special ‘One Night Stand with Pixie Lott’.

Exhibit E: Simon Webbe. The Blue singer appeared on ITV2’s ‘The Big Reunion’ with his boy band buddies, but he’s got a ‘Strictly’ connection too, as he took part in the 2011 Christmas Special dancing with pro Katya Virshilas.

To further ramp up the ITV connections, there’s TV presenter Alison Hammond from ‘This Morning’ (and originally ‘Big Brother’, or course) plus ex-pro rugby player (and ex of Kelly Brook) Thom Evans, who was an analyst for ITV’s coverage of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Don’t worry, the casting directors haven’t gone completely ITV2 mad.

The BBC programme is welcoming stars from its own biggest shows too, with ‘EastEnders’ actor Jake Wood (aka Max Branning) and ‘Casualty’ actress Sunetra Sarker (aka Zoe Hanna) also in the line-up.

BBC Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills will be taking to the dancefloor too, as will Steve Backshall from CBBC’s flagship wildlife programme, ‘Deadly 60’ (us neither).

When it comes to Judy Murray, Andy’s mum is most associated with punching the air during the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon, so we’ll pop her on the BBC side too.

As for the final three, who are going to be officially revealed on Friday night’s ‘One Show’, The Sun rumour is they’re all BBC faces: ‘MasterChef’ judge Gregg Wallace; ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ actress Jennifer Gibney; and ‘Bargain hunt’ host Tim Wonnacott. That should balance it out a bit then.

In fact, that gives ‘Strictly’ a slight BBC edge with eight out of the 15 more associated with the Beeb.

Whether it’s got an ITV2 vibe or not, we cannot wait for the sequins and showmanship. Bring. It. On.

Xeni Jardin

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