Strictly Come Dancing: Caroline Quentin, Max George and Jason Bell CONFIRMED ...

Caroline Quentin, Max George and Jason Bell have been unveiled as the first three celebrities to take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2020.

The big reveal took place on Tuesday's instalment of The One Show - following months of uncertainty amid the COVID-19 crisis as to whether Strictly will air at all this year.

Things were as cloak-and-dagger as always as the first contestants were announced, with Caroline. 60, and Jason, 42, beamed in via Skype, while Max, 31, was sent into the studio in person, sneaking in by producers through the basement to ensure secrecy.

Hitting the dance floor! Caroline Quentin has been unveiled as the first celebrity to take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2020

Taking part: She will be joined by Max George of former boy band The Wanted

Hitting the dance floor! Caroline Quentin [L] has been unveiled as the first celebrity to take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2020, joined also by Max George [R] of former boy band The Wanted. NFL star Jason Bell is also set to compete

Big reveal: The third star to be named is NFL player Jason Bell - who is the ex of Girls Aloud's Nadine Coyle, with whom he shares a daughter [pictured in 2009]

Big reveal: The third star to be named is NFL player Jason Bell - who is the ex of Girls Aloud's Nadine Coyle, with whom he shares a daughter [pictured in 2009]

Jonathan Creek actress Caroline explained that she used to do ballet as a girl, as well as tap and modern dance, but is worried her knees will let her down.

‘I’ve been keeping it very quiet and it’s really difficult as I like a chat, as you well know, and it’s been so hard to be quiet about it. I’m a bit scared, but quite excited,' the Men Behaving Badly actress told The One Show hosts Alex Jones and Amol Rajan. 

She added: 'I do remember some of what I learned [dancing] but my knees are 50 years older than the last time I attempted any of it, and it’s my knees and my undergarments that are troubling me most as a notion.

'I hope my knees don’t let me down and I hope the foundation garments live up to expectations when I start leaping about!'

New challenge: Jonathan Creek actress Caroline explained that she used to do ballet as a girl, as well as tap and modern dance, but is worried her knees will let her down

New challenge: Jonathan Creek actress Caroline explained that she used to do ballet as a girl, as well as tap and modern dance, but is worried her knees will let her down

Caroline is perhaps best known for her role on sitcoms Men Behaving Badly - on which she played the long-suffering girlfriend of Martin Clunes - and Kiss Me Kate - starring as the titular character opposite the likes of Amanda Holden. 

American football player Jason - who shares daughter Anaíya with Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle, having been a couple for 11 years - said: 'I am thrilled. I’m a huge fan of the show, I’ve been watching it since I came to this country, so it’s time for me to do something cool to impress my daughter, now that she can watch me perform!'

He added: 'I’ve always, as an athlete, liked to lock into the present moment you know, be in the zone, and I think this show will give me the opportunity to do the same thing I did when I was playing - perform at a high level and learn from the best.'

Max made his entrance via a basement lift, bedecked in red streamers, and told Alex that he'd already informed his former The Wanted star Jay McGuiness, who has also taken part on the BBC dance show.

Hush hush! ‘I’ve been keeping it very quiet and it’s really difficult as I like a chat, as you well know, and it’s been so hard to be quiet about it. I’m a bit scared, but quite excited,' the Men Behaving Badly actress told The One Show hosts Alex Jones and Amol Rajan

Hush hush! ‘I’ve been keeping it very quiet and it’s really difficult as I like a chat, as you well know, and it’s been so hard to be quiet about it. I’m a bit scared, but quite excited,' the Men Behaving Badly actress told The One Show hosts Alex Jones and Amol Rajan

American football player Jason said: 'I am thrilled. I’m a huge fan of the show, I’ve been watching it since I came to this country, so it’s time for me to do something cool to impress my daughter, now that she can watch me perform!'

American football player Jason said: 'I am thrilled. I’m a huge fan of the show, I’ve been watching it since I came to this country, so it’s time for me to do something cool to impress my daughter, now that she can watch me perform!'

He added: 'I’ve always, as an athlete, liked to lock into the present moment you know, be in the zone, and I think this show will give me the opportunity to do the same thing I did when I was playing - perform at a high level and learn from the best'

He added: 'I’ve always, as an athlete, liked to lock into the present moment you know, be in the zone, and I think this show will give me the opportunity to do the same thing I did when I was playing - perform at a high level and learn from the best'

'I spoke to Jay earlier, he left me a couple of voice notes,' Max explained, as Alex asked how he thinks he'll measure up to Jay.

'Oh no chance, there’s no comparison, but he might be able to mentor me maybe through Zoom, he may be able to help me out. He did say he can imagine me like a little schoolboy, nervous,' he replied.

Max rose to fame in 2009 with the group - completed by Siva Kaneswaran, Tom Parker and Nathan Sykes - known best for hit song All Time Low.

Jay, 30, took part in the BBC dance show in 2015, taking home the Glitterball Trophy with professional dancer Aliona Vilani. 

In person: Max made his entrance via a basement lift, bedecked in red streamers, and told Alex that he'd already informed his former The Wanted star Jay McGuiness, who has also taken part on the BBC dance show

In person: Max made his entrance via a basement lift, bedecked in red streamers, and told Alex that he'd already informed his former The Wanted star Jay McGuiness, who has also taken part on the BBC dance show

Fans will be delighted to hear the Strictly news - after worries the series would be axed this year thanks to the pandemic.

The intimate nature of the series means social distancing is impossible - but the pros have started rehearsals, with their celebrity counterparts slowly being unveiled over the coming days.

Other stars rumoured to be taking part are Denise Van Outen and Bill Bailey.

A source told The Sun, of comedian Bill, 55, that: 'It’s a hard time for live performers so it seemed a good chance for Bill to commit to the show.' 

Big shoes to fill: 'I spoke to Jay earlier, he left me a couple of voice notes,' Max explained, as Alex asked how he thinks he'll measure up to Jay

Big shoes to fill: 'I spoke to Jay earlier, he left me a couple of voice notes,' Max explained, as Alex asked how he thinks he'll measure up to Jay

Autumn is here! Fans will be delighted to hear the Strictly news - after worries the series would be axed this year thanks to the pandemic

Autumn is here! Fans will be delighted to hear the Strictly news - after worries the series would be axed this year thanks to the pandemic

According to the publication, Caroline has wanted to be part of Strictly for years but always had other work commitments.

Whereas in 2018 Bill revealed that he has been asked to do the dancing series several times but was put off by the 'judgemental' nature of the show.

The professional dancers are pre-recording their big numbers — and they are quarantining in a hotel in Elstree, Herts, before the official launch of the show at the end of this month.

The celebrity contestants will be asked to 'bubble' with their dance partners for the duration of the series, which is set to be shorter - nine weeks instead of the normal 13 - and quieter, with no live audience to clap and boo.

Funny girl: Caroline is perhaps best known for her role on sitcoms Men Behaving Badly - on which she played the long-suffering girlfriend of Martin Clunes

Funny girl: Caroline is perhaps best known for her role on sitcoms Men Behaving Badly - on which she played the long-suffering girlfriend of Martin Clunes

Sportsman: Cornerback Jason Bell is pictured playing for the New York Giants against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in September 2006

Sportsman: Cornerback Jason Bell is pictured playing for the against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in September 2006

Judge Bruno Tonioli will be dialling in from Los Angeles for the first five weeks, unable to travel back and forth from his duties at Dancing With The Stars due to the pandemic's travel rules.

The BBC's head of entertainment, Kate Phillips, said: 'Strictly is a slightly shorter run but, apart from that, I don't think it will be a lesser show at all. If anything, I think this series will be rather special.' 

THE £275,000 HOOFERS' QUARANTINE

Strictly dancers including reigning champ Oti Mabuse have been seen arriving at The Manor in Elstree, Hertfordshire, a historic hotel which stands on the site of an old Tudor house dating back to 1540.

The hotel is set in ten acres of gardens and was a private country club in the Thirties. 

The front door was previously part of the dungeons in Lewes Castle, and some of the wood in the entrance hall is said to come from ships involved in the battle of the Spanish Armada.

Previous guests include actors Tom Cruise, Peter Sellers and John Cleese.

There are 49 rooms, and the hotel has been block booked — a notice on its website says: 'The hotel will be closed for an exclusive booking from Monday, August 24 until Sunday, September, 20, 2020. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.'

The dancers — Aljaž Škorjanec, Amy Dowden, Anton Du Beke, Dianne Buswell, Giovanni Pernice, Gorka Márquez, Graziano Di Prima, Janette Manrara, Johannes Radebe, Karen Hauer, Katya Jones, Luba Mushtuk, Nadiya Bychkova, Nancy Xu, Neil Jones and Oti Mabuse — will quarantine here for two weeks before pre-recording all their group dance routines for the entire nine-week series.

A source said: 'The dancers are isolating so that they will count as one house- hold.

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