Strictly's Back for 2023!
Posted by Francis Whitehead on September 16, 2023
September sees the long-awaited annual return of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, and we can expect to see a number of celebrities and public figures waltz, jive and tango their way to the top of the competition.
Over the years as a mainstay of British telly, Strictly Come Dancing is known for being an inclusive competition and has seen many contestants with disabilities before.
Strictly has also seen collaborations from the Candoco Dance Company, giving disabled dancers and performers a platform on mainstream television.
Paralympian Johnnie Peacock MBE was the first disabled contestant to grace the competition in 2017 (astounding audiences with a stunning American Smooth performance!), and since then many contestants with disabilities have captured the hearts of the nation and helped inspire those with disabilities across the country.
Rose-Ayling Ellis (who scored a perfect 40 for her Argentine Tango!), JJ Chalmers, Lauren Steadman, Katie Piper and recently Ellie Simmonds are just some contestants with disabilities that have previously shown off their moves.
This year, amongst famous faces such as Les Dennis, Zara McDermott and even Krishnan Guru-Murthy emerges another inspirational contestant and Paralympian…
Jody Cundy CBE
Jody Cundy CBE is just one of the many contestants to be announced for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing competition!
Jody Cundy CBE is a decorated World and Paralympic Champion and has represented Great Britain at seven Summer Paralympics winning eight Gold, one Silver and three Bronze medals across swimming and cycling events. He has also competed in multiple World Championships, winning 23 world titles. So that’s an impressive portfolio to start with!
Jody was born with a deformed right foot and had the limb amputated below the knee when he was just three years old. He has never allowed this apparent setback to limit his ambitions and by the age of ten Jody was racing for King's Lynn swimming club.
In 2009 he was awarded an MBE for his services to Disability sport, in 2017 this was upgraded to an OBE for his services to Swimming & Cycling and in 2022 he received a CBE for services to cycling.
A truly inspirational individual with a number of world records and achievements, how is he looking forward to this year’s Strictly competition?
“Excited to be welcomed into the Strictly family and throw myself head first into the world of ballroom dancing. So far away from what I’m used to, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and pushing myself way out of my comfort zone, especially as I’m always last onto the dance floor. Can’t wait to get stuck in, bring on the glitter and sequins!”
Looks like he’s eager to get on the dancefloor, and we can’t wait to see what he brings to the competition!
Following the inclusion of contestants with disabilities on Strictly, research by national charity Sense has shown:
- A quarter (25%) of the public say they are more interested in the experience of Deaf people since Rose Ayling-Ellis started to appear on Strictly Come Dancing.
- One in five (21%) of the public say they are now interested in learning British Sign Language.
- Around a third (31%) of the public feel there isn’t enough representation of disabled people on TV.
For the disabled community, these are amazing statistics to see and look towards a more inclusive and understanding society for those with disabilities.
From this, it’s important to never underestimate the impact of disabled representation in the media, and Jody’s inclusion is no different.
So, get ready to kick back, relax, and watch the stunning performances from a big celebrity cast later this month!
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Are you looking forward to this year’s Strictly Come Dancing on your screens? Do let us know some of your favourite moments from past series today!