Adam Peaty discovers his Strictly partner during series launch

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Olympic champion Adam Peaty has been paired with Katya Jones during the Strictly Come Dancing launch show.

The 15 celebrities are discovering which of the professional partners they will be training and performing with during their time on the BBC One series.

Three-time Olympic champion Peaty, who specialises in breaststroke, signed up following his triumphs at the Tokyo Games over the summer.

He met Jones for the first time at the London Aquatics Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

Russian dancer Jones was paired last year with Olympic gold medallist boxer Nicola Adams in the show’s first female same-sex couple. She previously won the show in 2017 with actor Joe McFadden.

BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker was paired with Nadiya Bychkova, meeting for the first time at Wembley Stadium.

EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis was paired with Giovanni Pernice and is the first deaf contestant to appear on Strictly.

She said: “When the Strictly news came out the response from the deaf community, saying how much it means to them, that was my proudest moment.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2021
Gorka Marquez and Katie McGlynn (BBC/PA)

Coronation Street star Katie McGlynn was paired with Gorka Marquez, joking she felt “no pressure” after being told Marquez had been in the final twice, but never won the Glitterball trophy.

CBBC host Rhys Stephenson was paired with Nancy Xu, while Dragon’s Den star and entrepreneur Sara Davies was paired with Aljaz Skorjanec, meeting him for the first time in front of the Angel of the North.

Peep Show star Robert Webb was the first to be paired, with Australian dancer Dianne Buswell.

Webb said he wanted to be fired out of a “glitter cannon” during a routine, and Buswell promised to do her best to fulfil his wish.

Strictly Come Dancing 2021
Dianne Buswell and Robert Webb (BBC/PA)

On Wednesday, the BBC confirmed a professional dancer had tested positive for Covid-19 but the launch would be unaffected as it was pre-recorded.

The broadcaster said: “A professional dancer has tested positive for Covid-19, however this didn’t affect recording of the launch show which airs this Saturday.

“We are following government guidelines to ensure the safety of all on the show.”

The episode also saw Anton Du Beke make his debut as a full-time judge and receive a standing ovation from the studio audience.

The 55-year-old professional, who judged for a two-week stint during the 2020 series, joined Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse and Shirley Ballas on the panel.

He is taking over from Bruno Tonioli, who remains unable to take part due to travel uncertainty caused by the pandemic, because he lives in the US and is a judge on American series Dancing With The Stars.

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