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Strictly 2020 pairings: Nicola Adams and Katya Jones CONFIRMED as show’s first ever same-sex couple

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strictly 2020 pairings nicola adams and katya jones confirmed as shows first ever same sex couple

The Strictly Come Dancing 2020 pairings were revealed on Saturday night during the highly-anticipated pre-recorded launch show for the 18th series.

Celebrities including Nicola Adams, Jamie Laing and Maisie Smith discovered which professional dancer would put them through their paces in the upcoming weeks. 

Former boxer Nicola, 37, and professional dancer Katya, 31, were confirmed as a pairing and made history as the show’s first ever same-sex couple with fans hailing the duo as ‘trailblazers’.   

While Jamie, 31, failed to reunite with his 2019 pro partner Oti Mabuse, 30, and was instead paired with Karen Hauer, 38. He was forced to quit last year’s show after he suffered a painful foot injury during the launch show routine, Oti was paired with replacement Kelvin Fletcher and they went on to win the series. 

Hooray! The Strictly Come Dancing 2020 pairings were revealed on Saturday night during the highly-anticipated pre-recorded launch show for the 18th series (Nicola Adams and Katya Jones pictured)

Hooray! The Strictly Come Dancing 2020 pairings were revealed on Saturday night during the highly-anticipated pre-recorded launch show for the 18th series (Nicola Adams and Katya Jones pictured)

Announced: Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer were also announced as a pairing

Announced: Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer were also announced as a pairing

Hooray! The Strictly Come Dancing 2020 pairings were revealed on Saturday night during the highly-anticipated pre-recorded launch show for the 18th series (Nicola Adams and Katya Jones, left, and Jamie Laing and Karen Hauer, right) 

The other pairings were revealed as Jamie and Karen Hauer, Maisie and Gorka Marquez, Caroline Quentin and Johannes Radebe, Jason Bell and Luba Mushtuk, and Max George and Dianne Buswell. 

Rounding off the Strictly duos were Ranvir Singh and Giovanni Pernice, Clara Amfo and Aljaz Skorjanec, Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse, JJ Chalmers and Amy Dowden, Hrvy and Janette Manrara, and Rt Hon Jacqui Smith and Anton du Beke. 

The launch consisted of the celebrities discovering their professional partners for the first time, though in a post-COVID change, they were instead revealed via video link. 

This will allow for couples to form their own individual ‘bubbles’ for training and performances, meaning the stars will have to maintain distance from each other during filming. 

Celebrities! Max George and Dianne Buswell

Celebrities! Max George and Dianne Buswell

Competitive! Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez

Competitive! Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez

Celebrities! Max George and Dianne Buswell, left, and Maisie Smith and Gorka Marquez, right 

Dancing duo! JJ Chalmers and Amy Dowden

Dancing duo! JJ Chalmers and Amy Dowden

Legendary: Rt Hon Jacqui Smith and Anton Du Beke

Legendary: Rt Hon Jacqui Smith and Anton Du Beke

Dancing duos! JJ Chalmers and Amy Dowden, left, and Rt Hon Jacqui Smith and Anton Du Beke, right 

Two metres away! Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman (R-L) were reunited, albeit two metres apart in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines

Two metres away! Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman (R-L) were reunited, albeit two metres apart in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines

Two metres away! Hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman (R-L) were reunited, albeit two metres apart in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines

Watchful eye: Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse (L-R) also took their place on the panel, though this year will see them sat on separate desks to maintain social distancing while Bruno Tonioli was unable to travel back to the UK from his home in LA due to coronavirus travel restrictions

Watchful eye: Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse (L-R) also took their place on the panel, though this year will see them sat on separate desks to maintain social distancing while Bruno Tonioli was unable to travel back to the UK from his home in LA due to coronavirus travel restrictions

Watchful eye: Judges Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse (L-R) also took their place on the panel, though this year will see them sat on separate desks to maintain social distancing while Bruno Tonioli was unable to travel back to the UK from his home in LA due to coronavirus travel restrictions 

After all the pairings were announced, the celebrities and their professional partners had to take to the floor to perform with contestant Jamie teased after he injured himself during the group routine on the 2019 launch show.   

Elsewhere during the episode, the pros dazzled with a sensational opening routine with judges Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood seated on separate podiums to ensure the programme adhered to COVID-19 safety guidelines. 

Fourth judge Bruno Tonioli was unable to travel back to the UK from his home in LA for the filming due to the Covid-19 crisis and his work commitments on Dancing With The Stars. 

He has spent the last 15 years jetting between the US and the UK for the two shows but coronavirus travel restrictions have scuppered his schedule.

Strictly Come Dancing 2020 pairings 

Nicola Adams, 37, and Katya Jones, 31 

Jamie Laing, 31, and Karen Hauer, 38   

Caroline Quentin, 60, and Johannes Radebe, 33 

Jason Bell, 42, and Luba Mushtuk, 30

Max George, 32, and Dianne Buswell, 31

Ranvir Singh, 43, and Giovanni Pernice, 30 

Clara Amfo, 36, and Aljaz Skorjanec, 30

Bill Bailey, 55, and Oti Mabuse, 30 

JJ Chalmers, 33, and Amy Dowden, 30

Maisie Smith, 19, and Gorka Marquez, 30

Hrvy, 21, and Janette Manrara, 36

Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, 57, and Anton Du Beke, 54  

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Making history! Former boxer Nicola, 37, and professional dancer Katya, 31, were confirmed as a pairing and made history as the show's first ever same-sex couple

Making history! Former boxer Nicola, 37, and professional dancer Katya, 31, were confirmed as a pairing and made history as the show's first ever same-sex couple

Making history! Former boxer Nicola, 37, and professional dancer Katya, 31, were confirmed as a pairing and made history as the show’s first ever same-sex couple 

Legend: Talking ahead of the pairing, the sporting star said: 'I was the first female to win an Olympic boxing medal in 2012, first female to win Commonwealth Games' gold medal, first female to become a double Olympic champion. I'm liking these little firsts of making history!'

Legend: Talking ahead of the pairing, the sporting star said: 'I was the first female to win an Olympic boxing medal in 2012, first female to win Commonwealth Games' gold medal, first female to become a double Olympic champion. I'm liking these little firsts of making history!'

Amazing: The duo posed for a photo after the pairing was announced

Amazing: The duo posed for a photo after the pairing was announced

Legend: Talking ahead of the pairing, the sporting star said: ‘I was the first female to win an Olympic boxing medal in 2012, first female to win Commonwealth Games’ gold medal, first female to become a double Olympic champion. I’m liking these little firsts of making history!’

Also during the show, presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman were reunited with the pair ensuring they stood at least two metres apart throughout the episode.

While 2019 winner Kelvin Fletcher returned to the dance floor with former professional partner Oti to perform a socially-distanced routine.     

Former boxer Nicola, 37, and professional dancer Katya, 31, were confirmed as a pairing and made history as the show’s first ever same-sex couple.

Talking ahead of the pairing, the sporting star said: ‘I was the first female to win an Olympic boxing medal in 2012, first female to win Commonwealth Games’ gold medal, first female to become a double Olympic champion. I’m liking these little firsts of making history!’

Special meaning: Nicola was surprised by professional dancer Katya at the Royal Albert Hall in London where she had her last ever professional fight in 2019, the dancer appeared behind a huge sparkly disco ball

Special meaning: Nicola was surprised by professional dancer Katya at the Royal Albert Hall in London where she had her last ever professional fight in 2019, the dancer appeared behind a huge sparkly disco ball

Special meaning: Nicola was surprised by professional dancer Katya at the Royal Albert Hall in London where she had her last ever professional fight in 2019, the dancer appeared behind a huge sparkly disco ball

A dream! Katya was left overjoyed as she started screaming and jumping, she said: 'This is a dream, honestly!'

A dream! Katya was left overjoyed as she started screaming and jumping, she said: 'This is a dream, honestly!'

Exciting! With Nicola adding: 'I am super excited to be paired with Katya, absolutely buzzing.'

Exciting! With Nicola adding: 'I am super excited to be paired with Katya, absolutely buzzing.'

A dream! Katya was left overjoyed as she started screaming and jumping, she said: ‘This is a dream, honestly,’ with Nicola adding: ‘I am super excited to be paired with Katya, absolutely buzzing.’

In sync: The duo then practised some dance moves and were already 'in sync', Nicola said: 'I got a little taste of what is going to come next!'

In sync: The duo then practised some dance moves and were already 'in sync', Nicola said: 'I got a little taste of what is going to come next!'

In sync: The duo then practised some dance moves and were already ‘in sync’, Nicola said: ‘I got a little taste of what is going to come next!’

Nicola was surprised by professional dancer Katya at the Royal Albert Hall in London where she had her last ever professional fight in 2019, the dancer appeared behind a huge sparkly disco ball.

Katya was left overjoyed as she started screaming and jumping, she said: ‘This is a dream, honestly,’ with Nicola adding: ‘I am super excited to be paired with Katya, absolutely buzzing.’ 

The duo then practised some dance moves and were already ‘in sync’, Nicola said: ‘I got a little taste of what is going to come next!’

Back in the studio, presenter Claudia said: ‘Nicola, you like firsts, this is a Strictly first, you wanted a woman and you wanted someone competitive, I give you Katya.’ 

Talking about what choreography fans can expect, Katya said: ‘I think the beauty of this partnership is… it’s never been done before on Strictly. So, basically, we’re free to do what we want, there’s not really set rules!’

Exciting: Talking about what choreography fans can expect, Katya said: 'I think the beauty of this partnership is... it's never been done before on Strictly. So, basically, we're free to do what we want, there's not really set rules!'

Exciting: Talking about what choreography fans can expect, Katya said: 'I think the beauty of this partnership is... it's never been done before on Strictly. So, basically, we're free to do what we want, there's not really set rules!'

Exciting: Talking about what choreography fans can expect, Katya said: ‘I think the beauty of this partnership is… it’s never been done before on Strictly. So, basically, we’re free to do what we want, there’s not really set rules!’

Happy: Judge Craig was left delighted over the pairing and said: 'I am really looking forward to seeing Nicola and Katya, it's the first time a pro girl has the opportunity to actually lead the dance, which is really super exciting for Katya. I think this is going to be a sensational partnership, I really do.'

Happy: Judge Craig was left delighted over the pairing and said: 'I am really looking forward to seeing Nicola and Katya, it's the first time a pro girl has the opportunity to actually lead the dance, which is really super exciting for Katya. I think this is going to be a sensational partnership, I really do.'

Happy: Judge Craig was left delighted over the pairing and said: ‘I am really looking forward to seeing Nicola and Katya, it’s the first time a pro girl has the opportunity to actually lead the dance, which is really super exciting for Katya. I think this is going to be a sensational partnership, I really do.’

Judge Craig was left delighted over the pairing and said: ‘I am really looking forward to seeing Nicola and Katya, it’s the first time a pro girl has the opportunity to actually lead the dance, which is really super exciting for Katya. 

‘Obviously she has had to drag a lot of people around the floor before, darling, and pretend not to lead! I think this is going to be a sensational partnership, I really do.’ 

It had been reported for weeks that the duo would be teamed up after they were spotted leaving filming together with fellow pro Karen Hauer reportedly ‘gutted’ to have lost out to Katya. 

Nicola recently admitted she has been teased about the ‘Strictly Curse’ by her friends but insisted that there is nothing that can ‘compete’ with what she has with her girlfriend Ella Baig, 22. 

Fans were left delighted over Nicola and Katya’s pairing as they hailed the dancing duo as ‘trailblazers’ after their partnership was announced and they performed in a group routine.

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Delighted: Fans were left delighted over Nicola and Katya's pairing as they hailed the dancing duo as 'trailblazers' after their partnership was announced and they performed in a group routine

Delighted: Fans were left delighted over Nicola and Katya's pairing as they hailed the dancing duo as 'trailblazers' after their partnership was announced and they performed in a group routine

Delighted: Fans were left delighted over Nicola and Katya’s pairing as they hailed the dancing duo as ‘trailblazers’ after their partnership was announced and they performed in a group routine

One person said: ‘Nicola Adams and Katya Jones making history together. What a power partnership this is going to be! #Strictly.’ 

A different fan put: ‘Thank you #Strictly @bbcstrictly for coming along and bringing us much needed sparkle, sequins and joy. Some gorgeous iconic pairings already – Oti and Bill is just genius. Katya and Nicola is more than #fabulous – can’t stop smiling.’ 

Another follower commented: ‘Katya is my favourite #Strictly pro she is just such a joy , such an amazing dancer and choreographer can’t wait to see what she comes up with for herself and Nicola this series , go smash it ladies ! Xxx.’ 

A different account said: ‘Honestly getting goosebumps thinking about them dancing together. Katya’s choreography is incredible and you just KNOW she is going to create some amazing routines for Nicola #Strictly.’ 

While another fan added: ‘Nicola Adams is such a boss – trailblazer, elite athlete, dude.’  

Such fun: The first celebrity to meet her partner was Caroline, 60, who had headed to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in South Bank, London, where she was surprised on stage by pro Johannes, 33, who sweetly held a bouquet of flowers

Such fun: The first celebrity to meet her partner was Caroline, 60, who had headed to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in South Bank, London, where she was surprised on stage by pro Johannes, 33, who sweetly held a bouquet of flowers

Such fun: The first celebrity to meet her partner was Caroline, 60, who had headed to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in South Bank, London, where she was surprised on stage by pro Johannes, 33, who sweetly held a bouquet of flowers

Delighted: Upon meeting for the first time, the Men Behaving Badly star gushed: 'Oh, I am so glad it's you, you're the one I want! Hooray, it's us together!'

Delighted: Upon meeting for the first time, the Men Behaving Badly star gushed: 'Oh, I am so glad it's you, you're the one I want! Hooray, it's us together!'

It's fire! And the duo wasted no time as Johannes quickly spun Caroline around Shakespeare's Globe to which he declared: 'It's fire, it's hot!'

It's fire! And the duo wasted no time as Johannes quickly spun Caroline around Shakespeare's Globe to which he declared: 'It's fire, it's hot!'

Delighted: Upon meeting for the first time, the Men Behaving Badly star gushed: ‘Oh, I am so glad it’s you, you’re the one I want! Hooray, it’s us together!’

He makes me happy! Talking in the studio, Caroline said: 'I love him, he makes me happy,' to which he added: 'Darling, I am going to flip her up, down, side-to-side, she doesn't know what is coming!'

He makes me happy! Talking in the studio, Caroline said: 'I love him, he makes me happy,' to which he added: 'Darling, I am going to flip her up, down, side-to-side, she doesn't know what is coming!'

He makes me happy! Talking in the studio, Caroline said: ‘I love him, he makes me happy,’ to which he added: ‘Darling, I am going to flip her up, down, side-to-side, she doesn’t know what is coming!’

Surprise! Caroline was surprised by Johannes at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in South Bank, London

Surprise! Caroline was surprised by Johannes at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in South Bank, London

Sweet: He held a bouquet of flowers and gave her a huge hug

Sweet: He held a bouquet of flowers and gave her a huge hug

Surprise! Caroline was surprised by Johannes at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in South Bank, London, where held a bouquet of flowers

The first celebrity to meet her partner was Caroline, 60, who had headed to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in South Bank, London, where she was surprised on stage by pro Johannes, 33, who sweetly held a bouquet of flowers.

Upon meeting for the first time, the Men Behaving Badly star gushed: ‘Oh, I am so glad it’s you, you’re the one I want! Hooray, it’s us together!’ 

And the duo wasted no time as Johannes quickly spun Caroline around Shakespeare’s Globe to which he declared: ‘It’s fire, it’s hot!’

Pairing: Next up was Clara, 36, who was surprised by her pro partner Aljaz, 30, during her radio duties at the BBC studios

Pairing: Next up was Clara, 36, who was surprised by her pro partner Aljaz, 30, during her radio duties at the BBC studios

Pairing: Next up was Clara, 36, who was surprised by her pro partner Aljaz, 30, during her radio duties at the BBC studios

Energy! She said: 'I am so pleased, his energy, I immediately connected with it.'

Energy! She said: 'I am so pleased, his energy, I immediately connected with it.'

Sweet: While Aljaz added: 'She seems like such a lovely, cool, girl. I can't wait to get started!'

Sweet: While Aljaz added: 'She seems like such a lovely, cool, girl. I can't wait to get started!'

Energy! She said: ‘I am so pleased, his energy, I immediately connected with it.’

Big fan! Talking on the show after their pairing was aired, Clara said: 'Aljaz was definitely in my top three, the number one, it's all about you!'

Big fan! Talking on the show after their pairing was aired, Clara said: 'Aljaz was definitely in my top three, the number one, it's all about you!'

Big fan! Talking on the show after their pairing was aired, Clara said: ‘Aljaz was definitely in my top three, the number one, it’s all about you!’ 

Surprise! Clara was surprised by her pro partner Aljaz during her radio duties at the BBC studios

Surprise! Clara was surprised by her pro partner Aljaz during her radio duties at the BBC studios

Surprise! Clara was surprised by her pro partner Aljaz during her radio duties at the BBC studios

Talking in the studio, Caroline said: ‘I love him, he makes me happy,’ to which he added: ‘Darling, I am going to flip her up, down, side-to-side, she doesn’t know what is coming!’   

Next up was presenter Clara, 36, who was surprised by her pro partner Aljaz, 30, during her radio duties at the BBC studios.

She said: ‘I am so pleased, his energy, I immediately connected with it.’

While Aljaz added: ‘She seems like such a lovely, cool, girl. I can’t wait to get started!’

Talking on the show after their pairing was aired, Clara said: ‘Aljaz was definitely in my top three, the number one, it’s all about you!’ 

GMB! Next up to meet their professional partner was GMB star Ranvir, 43, who was surprised on a walk with her pet dog by Giovanni, 30

GMB! Next up to meet their professional partner was GMB star Ranvir, 43, who was surprised on a walk with her pet dog by Giovanni, 30

GMB! Next up to meet their professional partner was GMB star Ranvir, 43, who was surprised on a walk with her pet dog by Giovanni, 30

Nervous: Admitting she was 'sick with nerves' beforehand, the presenter revealed that she had a dream about Giovanni before their pairing

Nervous: Admitting she was 'sick with nerves' beforehand, the presenter revealed that she had a dream about Giovanni before their pairing

Premonition? She joked it was a premonition

Premonition? She joked it was a premonition

Nervous: Admitting she was ‘sick with nerves’ beforehand, the presenter revealed that she had a dream about Giovanni before their pairing and joked it was a premonition

Dreams! She quipped: 'I actually had a dream about you, so dreams do come true!' to which Giovanni replied: 'I am so happy!'

Dreams! She quipped: 'I actually had a dream about you, so dreams do come true!' to which Giovanni replied: 'I am so happy!'

Dreams! She quipped: ‘I actually had a dream about you, so dreams do come true!’ to which Giovanni replied: ‘I am so happy!’

Lovely: Back in the studio, Giovanni (pictured after surprising the star) revealed that their first dance next Saturday would be a Pasodoble to Beyonce, while Ranvir sweetly shared that her son, Tushaan, eight, is 'super proud' and told her she had to agree to take part

Lovely: Back in the studio, Giovanni (pictured after surprising the star) revealed that their first dance next Saturday would be a Pasodoble to Beyonce, while Ranvir sweetly shared that her son, Tushaan, eight, is 'super proud' and told her she had to agree to take part

Lovely: Back in the studio, Giovanni (pictured after surprising the star) revealed that their first dance next Saturday would be a Pasodoble to Beyonce, while Ranvir sweetly shared that her son, Tushaan, eight, is ‘super proud’ and told her she had to agree to take part 

Next up to meet their professional partner was GMB star Ranvir, 43, who was surprised on a walk with her pet dog by Giovanni, 30.

Admitting she was ‘sick with nerves’ beforehand, the presenter revealed that she had a dream about Giovanni before their pairing and joked it was a premonition.

She quipped: ‘I actually had a dream about you, so dreams do come true!’ to which Giovanni replied: ‘I am so happy!’

Back in the studio, Giovanni revealed that their first dance next Saturday would be a Pasodoble to Beyonce, while Ranvir sweetly shared that her son, Tushaan, eight, is ‘super proud’ and told her she had to agree to take part. 

Surprise! Next up was singer Hrvy, 21, real name Harvey Leigh Cantwell, who was surprised at Wembley Arena by Janette, 36

Surprise! Next up was singer Hrvy, 21, real name Harvey Leigh Cantwell, who was surprised at Wembley Arena by Janette, 36

'Fiery mess!': The star was left overjoyed to be with Janette, calling their partnership a 'fiery mess', he said: 'We have the same excitement, we're going to bounce off each other really well.

'Fiery mess!': The star was left overjoyed to be with Janette, calling their partnership a 'fiery mess', he said: 'We have the same excitement, we're going to bounce off each other really well.

Surprise! Next up was singer Hrvy, 21, real name Harvey Leigh Cantwell, who was surprised at Wembley Arena by Janette, 36

Covid-19 drama! Back in the studio, Hrvy, who tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, was asked about how he was feeling since recovering and testing negative

Covid-19 drama! Back in the studio, Hrvy, who tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, was asked about how he was feeling since recovering and testing negative

Covid-19 drama! Back in the studio, Hrvy, who tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, was asked about how he was feeling since recovering and testing negative

Recovered: He said: 'I can't believe I made it this far, I tested positive, isolated with my family, I'm here.'

Recovered: He said: 'I can't believe I made it this far, I tested positive, isolated with my family, I'm here.'

Recovered: He said: ‘I can’t believe I made it this far, I tested positive, isolated with my family, I’m here.’

Sad: Elsewhere, Janette revealed she has to live separately from her husband and fellow pro Aljaz throughout the competition as they have to form a bubble with their celebrity partner (pictured after surprising the singer)

Sad: Elsewhere, Janette revealed she has to live separately from her husband and fellow pro Aljaz throughout the competition as they have to form a bubble with their celebrity partner (pictured after surprising the singer)

Sad: Elsewhere, Janette revealed she has to live separately from her husband and fellow pro Aljaz throughout the competition as they have to form a bubble with their celebrity partner (pictured after surprising the singer) 

Next up was singer Hrvy, 21, real name Harvey Leigh Cantwell, who was surprised at Wembley Arena by Janette, 36. 

The star was left overjoyed to be with Janette, calling their partnership a ‘fiery mess’, he said: ‘We have the same excitement, we’re going to bounce off each other really well.’

Back in the studio, Hrvy, who tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, was asked about how he was feeling since recovering and testing negative.

He said: ‘I can’t believe I made it this far, I tested positive, isolated with my family, I’m here.’ 

Big fan! Next up was retired American Football player Jason, 42, who admitted he is a 'huge Strictly fan' and he was surprised at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, 'home of the NFL', by professional dancer Luba, 30, who wore a full kit

Big fan! Next up was retired American Football player Jason, 42, who admitted he is a 'huge Strictly fan' and he was surprised at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, 'home of the NFL', by professional dancer Luba, 30, who wore a full kit

Big fan! Next up was retired American Football player Jason, 42, who admitted he is a ‘huge Strictly fan’ and he was surprised at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, ‘home of the NFL’, by professional dancer Luba, 30, who wore a full kit

Happy: Shouting 'yes', he said: 'When Luba ran round the corner, in the full kit, I almost tackled her because I got a flashback but then I realised that wouldn't be right. I am your student, let's do this!'

Happy: Shouting 'yes', he said: 'When Luba ran round the corner, in the full kit, I almost tackled her because I got a flashback but then I realised that wouldn't be right. I am your student, let's do this!'

He added: 'Sometimes you win the Lotto, I won the Lotto today with Luba. I can't stop smiling, I'm ready to get this party started!'

He added: 'Sometimes you win the Lotto, I won the Lotto today with Luba. I can't stop smiling, I'm ready to get this party started!'

Happy: Shouting ‘yes’, he said: ‘When Luba ran round the corner, in the full kit, I almost tackled her because I got a flashback but then I realised that wouldn’t be right. I am your student, let’s do this! Sometimes you win the Lotto, I won the Lotto today with Luba. I can’t stop smiling, I’m ready to get this party started!’

Family: Speaking back in the studio, Jason, who shares daughter Anaíya Bell, six, with ex and Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle, said he is excited for her to see him perform

Family: Speaking back in the studio, Jason, who shares daughter Anaíya Bell, six, with ex and Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle, said he is excited for her to see him perform

Family: Speaking back in the studio, Jason, who shares daughter Anaíya Bell, six, with ex and Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle, said he is excited for her to see him perform

Surprise: He said: 'I think she's [Anaíya] all about seeing me on the dance floor, she never saw me on the field but I have to impress her now!'

Surprise: He said: 'I think she's [Anaíya] all about seeing me on the dance floor, she never saw me on the field but I have to impress her now!'

Surprise: He said: ‘I think she’s [Anaíya] all about seeing me on the dance floor, she never saw me on the field but I have to impress her now!’

Elsewhere, Janette revealed she has to live separately from her husband and fellow pro Aljaz throughout the competition as they have to form a bubble with their celebrity partner.

Discussing their absence, presenter Claudia asked: ‘You’ve lived with Aljaz for ten years, you’ve had to form a bubble, both living alone… how is it?’

To which Janette joked: ‘I love it!’, she added: ‘I miss him terrible but we’re doing our best for the show, I’m so excited to start with Hrvy.’   

Next up was retired American Football player Jason, 42, who admitted he is a ‘huge Strictly fan’ and he was surprised at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, ‘home of the NFL’, by professional dancer Luba, 30, who wore a full kit.

Making history! Next up with Jamie, who made history by being the first celebrity to appear on Strictly Come Dancing twice, returned to the show after he was forced to quit the 2019 series after the launch episode following a painful foot injury

Making history! Next up with Jamie, who made history by being the first celebrity to appear on Strictly Come Dancing twice, returned to the show after he was forced to quit the 2019 series after the launch episode following a painful foot injury

Yay: He was partnered with professional dancer Karen

Yay: He was partnered with professional dancer Karen

Making history! Next up with Jamie, who made history by being the first celebrity to appear on Strictly Come Dancing twice, returned to the show after he was forced to quit the 2019 series after the launch episode following a painful foot injury 

Candid: Talking about being back, he said: 'It's a little bit embarrassing, I'm here, super excited to be here and just so glad I got another chance to do it. I've been doing burpees, eating less cake, I feel ready to do it. I'm taking this competition seriously.'

Candid: Talking about being back, he said: 'It's a little bit embarrassing, I'm here, super excited to be here and just so glad I got another chance to do it. I've been doing burpees, eating less cake, I feel ready to do it. I'm taking this competition seriously.'

Candid: Talking about being back, he said: ‘It’s a little bit embarrassing, I’m here, super excited to be here and just so glad I got another chance to do it. I’ve been doing burpees, eating less cake, I feel ready to do it. I’m taking this competition seriously.’

Funny: It then showed the moment Jamie met his pro partner, Karen, in Chelsea, the reality star arrived on his Vespa scooter as he honked his horn in excitement

Funny: It then showed the moment Jamie met his pro partner, Karen, in Chelsea, the reality star arrived on his Vespa scooter as he honked his horn in excitement

Funny: It then showed the moment Jamie met his pro partner, Karen, in Chelsea, the reality star arrived on his Vespa scooter as he honked his horn in excitement

Memories: Jamie failed to reunite with professional dancer Oti Mabuse. The duo were originally paired up on the 2019 series before he was forced to pull out over his injury (pictured), Oti went on to win the show with replacement contestant Kelvin Fletcher

Memories: Jamie failed to reunite with professional dancer Oti Mabuse. The duo were originally paired up on the 2019 series before he was forced to pull out over his injury (pictured), Oti went on to win the show with replacement contestant Kelvin Fletcher

Memories: Jamie failed to reunite with professional dancer Oti Mabuse. The duo were originally paired up on the 2019 series before he was forced to pull out over his injury (pictured), Oti went on to win the show with replacement contestant Kelvin Fletcher 

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Disappointed: Some fans were left disappointed by Jamie and Karen's pairing, as they wanted the reality star to be reunited with Oti after they were partnered for the 2019 series

Disappointed: Some fans were left disappointed by Jamie and Karen's pairing, as they wanted the reality star to be reunited with Oti after they were partnered for the 2019 series

Disappointed: Some fans were left disappointed by Jamie and Karen’s pairing, as they wanted the reality star to be reunited with Oti after they were partnered for the 2019 series 

Shouting ‘yes’, he said: ‘When Luba ran round the corner, in the full kit, I almost tackled her because I got a flashback but then I realised that wouldn’t be right. I am your student, let’s do this! Sometimes you win the Lotto, I won the Lotto today with Luba. I can’t stop smiling, I’m ready to get this party started!’

Speaking back in the studio, Jason, who shares daughter Anaíya Bell, six, with ex and Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle, said he is excited for her to see him perform.

He said: ‘I think she’s [Anaíya] all about seeing me on the dance floor, she never saw me on the field but I have to impress her now!’ 

Next up was Made In Chelsea star Jamie, who made history by being the first celebrity to appear on Strictly Come Dancing twice, as he returned to the show after he was forced to quit the 2019 series after the launch episode following a painful foot injury in the group routine.

Such fun: Next up to be paired was EastEnders star Maisie, 19, and Gorka, 30, as she admitted she hadn't stopped smiling and had taken photos of all the costumes she has tried on so far

Such fun: Next up to be paired was EastEnders star Maisie, 19, and Gorka, 30, as she admitted she hadn't stopped smiling and had taken photos of all the costumes she has tried on so far

Such fun: Next up to be paired was EastEnders star Maisie, 19, and Gorka, 30, as she admitted she hadn’t stopped smiling and had taken photos of all the costumes she has tried on so far

Surprise! The EastEnders star headed to the Strictly studio where she was surprised by Gorka, she said: 'I have been wanting to go on Strictly since forever about to meet partner, it's all very exciting, I cant wait, worked in Elstree my entire life literally across the road here, but this, this is my dream.'

Surprise! The EastEnders star headed to the Strictly studio where she was surprised by Gorka, she said: 'I have been wanting to go on Strictly since forever about to meet partner, it's all very exciting, I cant wait, worked in Elstree my entire life literally across the road here, but this, this is my dream.'

Christmas: Talking about the pairing, Gorka said: 'It feels like Christmas has arrived early this time for me,' to which Maisie said: 'I am so happy, such a weight off my shoulders and Gorka is so lovely! As much as I'm excited, I am so nervous. It's a whole new experience for me.'

Christmas: Talking about the pairing, Gorka said: 'It feels like Christmas has arrived early this time for me,' to which Maisie said: 'I am so happy, such a weight off my shoulders and Gorka is so lovely! As much as I'm excited, I am so nervous. It's a whole new experience for me.'

Surprise! The EastEnders star headed to the Strictly studio where she was surprised by Gorka, she said: ‘I have been wanting to go on Strictly since forever about to meet partner, it’s all very exciting, I cant wait, worked in Elstree my entire life literally across the road here, but this, this is my dream.’

On her own: Back in the studio, Maisie admitted she has had to move out of her house with her mother to be in a bubble and is living alone. She admitted it is the first time she is having to do all the cooking and cleaning by herself

On her own: Back in the studio, Maisie admitted she has had to move out of her house with her mother to be in a bubble and is living alone. She admitted it is the first time she is having to do all the cooking and cleaning by herself

On her own: Back in the studio, Maisie admitted she has had to move out of her house with her mother to be in a bubble and is living alone. She admitted it is the first time she is having to do all the cooking and cleaning by herself

Big reveal! While Gorka revealed that their first dance next week will be a samba

Big reveal! While Gorka revealed that their first dance next week will be a samba

Big reveal! While Gorka revealed that their first dance next week will be a samba 

Talking about being back, he said: ‘It’s a little bit embarrassing, I’m here, super excited to be here and just so glad I got another chance to do it. I’ve been doing burpees, eating less cake, I feel ready to do it. I’m taking this competition seriously.’

It then showed the moment Jamie met his pro partner, Karen, in Chelsea, the reality star arrived on his Vespa scooter as he honked his horn in excitement.

He exclaimed: ‘This is honestly the greatest thing in the world, I have been dreaming about this for a whole year.’

Jamie failed to reunite with professional dancer Oti Mabuse. The duo were originally paired up on the 2019 series before he was forced to pull out over his injury, Oti went on to win the show with replacement contestant Kelvin Fletcher.

Fun: Next up was Jacqui, 57, who was paired with Anton, 54, she admitted that former contestant Ed Balls had given her some advice

Fun: Next up was Jacqui, 57, who was paired with Anton, 54, she admitted that former contestant Ed Balls had given her some advice

Fun: Next up was Jacqui, 57, who was paired with Anton, 54, she admitted that former contestant Ed Balls had given her some advice

Funny: The politician joked: 'I would never attempt the Gangnam Style [Ed's iconic routine on the show]. He's told me to really have fun and go for it!'

Funny: The politician joked: 'I would never attempt the Gangnam Style [Ed's iconic routine on the show]. He's told me to really have fun and go for it!'

Surprise! Jacqui was surprised outside the Houses of Parliament by Anton who wore a fun disguise, she said: 'I was really delighted it was Anton. If anyone can get me to be a dancer, Anton can do it and I'm really looking forward to it!'

Surprise! Jacqui was surprised outside the Houses of Parliament by Anton who wore a fun disguise, she said: 'I was really delighted it was Anton. If anyone can get me to be a dancer, Anton can do it and I'm really looking forward to it!'

Funny: The politician joked: ‘I would never attempt the Gangnam Style [Ed’s iconic routine on the show]. He’s told me to really have fun and go for it!’

Family: Talking in the studio, she said she had only just introduced her mother to Strictly in 2019 and couldn't believe she was now a contestant on the 2020 season

Family: Talking in the studio, she said she had only just introduced her mother to Strictly in 2019 and couldn't believe she was now a contestant on the 2020 season

Family: Talking in the studio, she said she had only just introduced her mother to Strictly in 2019 and couldn’t believe she was now a contestant on the 2020 season

Disguise: Jacqui was surprised by Anton outside the Houses of Parliament by Anton who wore a fun disguise

Disguise: Jacqui was surprised by Anton outside the Houses of Parliament by Anton who wore a fun disguise

Disguise: Jacqui was surprised by Anton outside the Houses of Parliament by Anton who wore a fun disguise 

The Made In Chelsea star, who recently admitted he has felt under ‘pressure’ to do well after Oti and Kelvin scooped the coveted Glitterball Trophy, said back in the studio: ‘I am going to be super careful!’ as he poked fun at his past injury. 

Next up was Jacqui, 57, who was paired with Anton, 54, and she admitted that former contestant Ed Balls had given her some advice. 

The politician joked: ‘I would never attempt the Gangnam Style [Ed’s iconic routine on the show]. He’s told me to really have fun and go for it!’  

Jacqui was surprised outside the Houses of Parliament by Anton who wore a fun disguise, she said: ‘I was really delighted it was Anton. If anyone can get me to be a dancer, Anton can do it and I’m really looking forward to it!’

Hooray: Next up was JJ, 33, who was paired with pro Amy, 30, after he was surprised at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London

Hooray: Next up was JJ, 33, who was paired with pro Amy, 30, after he was surprised at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London

Hooray: Next up was JJ, 33, who was paired with pro Amy, 30, after he was surprised at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London

Emotional: Emotionally sharing his past career in the Royal Marines, he said: 'Getting blown up is the simplest way to realise life could be a lot worse.'

Emotional: Emotionally sharing his past career in the Royal Marines, he said: 'Getting blown up is the simplest way to realise life could be a lot worse.'

Emotional: Emotionally sharing his past career in the Royal Marines, he said: ‘Getting blown up is the simplest way to realise life could be a lot worse.’

Sweet: Talking back at the studio, the presenter said: 'I was speechless, I secretly wanted Amy. All the dancers seem lovely, but she seems like the nicest person in the world.'

Sweet: Talking back at the studio, the presenter said: 'I was speechless, I secretly wanted Amy. All the dancers seem lovely, but she seems like the nicest person in the world.'

Sweet: Talking back at the studio, the presenter said: ‘I was speechless, I secretly wanted Amy. All the dancers seem lovely, but she seems like the nicest person in the world.’

Talking in the studio, she said she had only just introduced her mother to Strictly in 2019 and couldn’t believe she was now a contestant on the 2020 season. 

Next up to be paired was EastEnders star Maisie, 19, and Gorka, 30, as she admitted she hadn’t stopped smiling and had taken photos of all the costumes she has tried on so far.

The actress had headed to the Strictly studio where she was surprised by Gorka, she said: ‘I have been wanting to go on Strictly since forever about to meet partner, it’s all very exciting, I can’t wait. I’ve worked in Elstree my entire life, literally across the road here, but this, this is my dream.’

Talking about the pairing, Gorka said: ‘It feels like Christmas has arrived early this time for me,’ to which Maisie said: ‘I am so happy, such a weight off my shoulders and Gorka is so lovely! As much as I’m excited, I am so nervous. It’s a whole new experience for me.’

Back in the studio, Maisie admitted she has had to move out of her house with her mother to be in a bubble and is living alone. She admitted it is the first time she is having to do all the cooking and cleaning by herself while Gorka excitedly revealed that their first dance next week will be a samba.  

Fun: Next up was Bill, 55, who was paired with Oti, 30, after he joked his fitness was chasing a chicken around the garden and he could outrun a badger

Fun: Next up was Bill, 55, who was paired with Oti, 30, after he joked his fitness was chasing a chicken around the garden and he could outrun a badger

Fun: Next up was Bill, 55, who was paired with Oti, 30, after he joked his fitness was chasing a chicken around the garden and he could outrun a badger

Surprise! The comedian was surprised at the London Wetland Centre with Oti wearing a fun pink feathered collar as she pretended to be a bird

Surprise! The comedian was surprised at the London Wetland Centre with Oti wearing a fun pink feathered collar as she pretended to be a bird

Lovely: He said: 'Well, I am absolutely over the moon to be paired with Oti. I am so looking forward to this!'

Lovely: He said: 'Well, I am absolutely over the moon to be paired with Oti. I am so looking forward to this!'

Surprise! The comedian was surprised at the London Wetland Centre with Oti wearing a fun pink feathered collar as she pretended to be a bird

Reveal! Back in the studio, Oti revealed that their first dance will be the cha cha on next week's show

Reveal! Back in the studio, Oti revealed that their first dance will be the cha cha on next week's show

Reveal! Back in the studio, Oti revealed that their first dance will be the cha cha on next week’s show

Next up was ex Royal Marine and Invictus Games medallist, JJ, 33, who was paired with pro Amy, 30, after he was surprised at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London.

Emotionally sharing his past career in the Royal Marines, he said: ‘Getting blown up is the simplest way to realise life could be a lot worse.’

After he was surprised, JJ said: ‘This is incredible!’ to which Amy joked: ‘A Scott and a Welsh together, this is amazing.’

Talking back at the studio, the contestant said: ‘I was speechless, I secretly wanted Amy. All the dancers seem lovely, but she seems like the nicest person in the world.’

Next up was comedian Bill, 55, who was paired with Oti, 30, after he joked his fitness was ‘chasing a chicken around the garden’ and he could ‘outrun a badger’. 

Last but not least! The final contestant to be partnered was Max, 32, and he was teamed with Dianne, 31. He admitted that there was pressure to perform as his former The Wanted bandmate, Jay McGuiness, had won the 2015 series

Last but not least! The final contestant to be partnered was Max, 32, and he was teamed with Dianne, 31. He admitted that there was pressure to perform as his former The Wanted bandmate, Jay McGuiness, had won the 2015 series

Last but not least! The final contestant to be partnered was Max, 32, and he was teamed with Dianne, 31. He admitted that there was pressure to perform as his former The Wanted bandmate, Jay McGuiness, had won the 2015 series

Hilarious: The singer, who is dating Stacey Giggs, joked: 'The Wanted were the worst dancing boyband ever, other than Jay, he set the bar pretty high. Nice one.'

Hilarious: The singer, who is dating Stacey Giggs, joked: 'The Wanted were the worst dancing boyband ever, other than Jay, he set the bar pretty high. Nice one.'

Hilarious: The singer, who is dating Stacey Giggs, joked: ‘The Wanted were the worst dancing boyband ever, other than Jay, he set the bar pretty high. Nice one.’

Surprise! Max was surprised by Dianne at the Abbey Road studios after she spoke over the microphone, he said: 'I'm so happy it's Dianne, she seems so nice and is full of energy. Apparently, she's got a bit of a stern side which I need!'

Surprise! Max was surprised by Dianne at the Abbey Road studios after she spoke over the microphone, he said: 'I'm so happy it's Dianne, she seems so nice and is full of energy. Apparently, she's got a bit of a stern side which I need!'

Surprise! Max was surprised by Dianne at the Abbey Road studios after she spoke over the microphone, he said: ‘I’m so happy it’s Dianne, she seems so nice and is full of energy. Apparently, she’s got a bit of a stern side which I need!’

The comedian was surprised at the London Wetland Centre with Oti wearing a fun pink feathered collar as she pretended to be a bird. 

He said: ‘Well, I am absolutely over the moon to be paired with Oti. I am so looking forward to this!’ 

Back in the studio, Oti revealed that their first dance will be the cha cha on next week’s show. 

The final contestant to be partnered was singer Max, 32, and he was teamed with Dianne, 31. He admitted that there was pressure to perform as his former The Wanted bandmate, Jay McGuiness, had won the 2015 series.

The singer, who is dating Stacey Giggs, joked: ‘The Wanted were the worst dancing boyband ever, other than Jay, he set the bar pretty high. Nice one.’  

Amazing: The launch also saw a performance by Joel Corry and MNEK (pictured)

Amazing: The launch also saw a performance by Joel Corry and MNEK (pictured)

Best moves: They were also accompanied by the professional dancers

Best moves: They were also accompanied by the professional dancers

Amazing: The launch also saw a performance by Joel Corry and MNEK (pictured) accompanied by some of the professional dancers

Max was surprised by Dianne at the Abbey Road studios after she spoke over the microphone, he said: ‘I’m so happy it’s Dianne, she seems so nice and is full of energy. Apparently, she’s got a bit of a stern side which I need!’

Speaking back in the studio, he joked he has ‘tiny legs’ but ‘really long arms’ which will help in the competition. He also said it’s a win-win situation for his mother’s birthday as she will either be watching the final or he will be eliminated and at home with her.

This year’s Strictly has been more anticipated than ever as the country is in the grip of the coronavirus crisis, and has seen drastic changes to ensure the series could go ahead, albeit with a shortened run. 

During the show, Tess and Claudia were separated from the orchestra by a clear perspex screen in order to adhere to Covid-19 regulations. 

The launch consisted of the celebrities discovering their professional partners for the first time, though in a post-COVID change, they were instead revealed via video link.

Keep dancing! The Strictly class are pictured (L-R top) Max George, Nicola Adams, Caroline Quentin, Bill Bailey, Jamie Laing, JJ Chalmers, Clara Amfo, Ranvir Singh, (Bottom) Caroline Quentin, HRVY, Jason Bell, Maisie Smith

Keep dancing! The Strictly class are pictured (L-R top) Max George, Nicola Adams, Caroline Quentin, Bill Bailey, Jamie Laing, JJ Chalmers, Clara Amfo, Ranvir Singh, (Bottom) Caroline Quentin, HRVY, Jason Bell, Maisie Smith

Keep dancing! The Strictly class are pictured (L-R top) Max George, Nicola Adams, Caroline Quentin, Bill Bailey, Jamie Laing, JJ Chalmers, Clara Amfo, Ranvir Singh, (Bottom) Caroline Quentin, HRVY, Jason Bell, Maisie Smith

This will allow for couples to form their own individual ‘bubbles’ for training and performances, meaning the stars will have maintain distance from each other during filming. 

The professional dancers took to the stage to showcase their dance moves with a sensation opener, and were also accompanied by a stunning performance by Joel Corry and MNEK.

Judges Craig, Shirley and Motsi also took their place on the panel, though this year saw them sat on separate desks to maintain social distancing.

Fourth judge Bruno has been unable to appear in the studio due to travel restrictions introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic, but will make guest appearances from his home in Los Angeles. 

He's back! While 2019 winner Kelvin Fletcher returned to the dance floor with former professional partner Oti to perform a socially-distanced routine

He's back! While 2019 winner Kelvin Fletcher returned to the dance floor with former professional partner Oti to perform a socially-distanced routine

He’s back! While 2019 winner Kelvin Fletcher returned to the dance floor with former professional partner Oti to perform a socially-distanced routine

Strictly has already had its fair share of scares even before Saturday’s launch, after Hrvy tested positive for coronavirus just days before filming for the launch was scheduled to take place.

It was called into question whether he would be able to take part, but he has since been declared COVID-free and can continue with training for the show.

It had been reported that stars and their professional partners may be forced to undertake daily checks for coronavirus after a former crew member tested positive days before the new series. 

The Sun has also claimed that bosses have a list of ‘stand-by’ celebrities for the show in case a star falls ill with relatives likely banned from rehearsals. 

How is Strictly 2020 going ahead during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Strictly Come Dancing has introduced an array of strict measures to ensure the new series can go ahead during the COVID-19 crisis.

Celebrity contestants and their professional partners are tested regularly, with cast and crew told to isolate should they contract the virus.

Bosses have already confirmed any celebrity that tests positive once the series begins will be dropped from the show, with reports saying there are celebrities on stand-by.

The professional dancers have already pre-recorded their group performances after isolating together in a hotel.

It’s also been claimed that celebrities and pros will be axed from the show if they are caught kissing during filming.

Strictly 2020 has also seen the series run shortened to just nine weeks, with 12 celebrities taking part instead of the usual 15.

The show’s annual trip to Blackpool has been cancelled, along with this year’s Halloween and Christmas specials.

Only three judges – Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and Motsi Mabuse – will be in the studio with separate rostrums, after Bruno Tonioli was unable to appear due to travel concerns. 

Veteran judge Bruno has said he will be ‘involved remotely’ and hopes to return full-time towards the end of the series as he is filming the US version of the show in Los Angeles. 

With limited studio crew, big sets may not be built – so producers will use augmented reality, which adds computer-generated elements.

To ensure the contestants can work closely with their partners, they will ‘bubble up’ to train, along with being tested regularly. 

Strictly will still feature a live audience, however fans will sit in groups on separate tables, and will only attend if from the same household or bubble.

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This year has already seen the pros pre-record all of their group performances while isolating together in a hotel, and the couples have formed separate bubbles to train and perform together, which they documented on the show.   

The series will still feature a live audience, however fans will sit in small groups and will only be allowed to attend if from the same household or bubble.

In a recent Q and A, executive producer Sarah James shed light on the show’s contingency plans in light of the pandemic and insisted she’s ‘confident’ the competition series will go ahead even if the current coronavirus restrictions change. 

As the nation waits to see how the stars will fare, Strictly bosses have drawn up tough plans to deal with anyone who falls ill.

Sarah said: ‘Obviously according to government guidelines if you receive a positive test you have to isolate for two weeks and that would unfortunately rule them out of the show.’ 

Anticipated: This year's Strictly has been more anticipated than ever as the country is in the grip of the coronavirus crisis, and has seen drastic changes to ensure the series could go ahead, albeit with a shortened run

Anticipated: This year's Strictly has been more anticipated than ever as the country is in the grip of the coronavirus crisis, and has seen drastic changes to ensure the series could go ahead, albeit with a shortened run

Anticipated: This year’s Strictly has been more anticipated than ever as the country is in the grip of the coronavirus crisis, and has seen drastic changes to ensure the series could go ahead, albeit with a shortened run

This year’s series will be a pared down nine-week run with a very different look. The 12 partnerships – three less than usual – will be unveiled via video link rather than in the studio and the annual trip to the Blackpool Tower ballroom is also off the cards.

Explaining their use of the bubble system to ensure couples can train and perform, she added: ‘Close contact cohorts (CCC) apply to people who need to work closely and break social distancing rules to do their jobs. It has to only be with one person and you are regularly tested.

‘We are asking the celebrity contestants to be part of an exclusive support bubble with their dancers, which means that one half of the party has to live alone.’

The professionals spent two weeks in September isolating in an Elstree hotel so they could rehearse the group numbers and pre-record them. 

Sarah also discussed how hairdressers and make-up artist have had to adjust to the new guidelines as she added: ‘Hair and make-up and costume are all allowed in accordance with government guidelines. 

‘We were able to have our hair and make-up team working with full PPE and sanitising once hairdressers and other facilities reopened. 

‘Hair and make-up were able to work with as many of the different cast as they wanted or needed to, but this year we’ll have specific makeup teams assigned to specific couples to ensure people don’t mix as much.’

Nadiya Bychkova, Neil Jones and Graziano Di Prima have been axed from the main line-up and won’t be coupled up with celebrity contestants for this year’s edition, but will instead form their own CCCs to perform together as support to guest singers on each show.  

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 7:25pm on BBC One.

Strictly Come Dancing Contestants 2020

CAROLINE QUENTIN

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34477690 0 image a 4 1602860642320

Age: 60

Profession: Actress, known for roles in Men Behaving Badly and Jonathan Creek

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

Fun fact: She met her now-husband, Sam Farmer in 1998 on the set of Men Behaving Badly when he was one of the studio runners.

MAX GEORGE 

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 Age: 31

Profession: Singer – from former boy band The Wanted

Max says: ‘Nan – I’m doing Strictly this year!’ as he vowed to make his superfan grandmother proud

Fun Fact: Max’s fellow The Wanted bandmate Jay McGuiness was on Strictlby Come Dancing in 2015 – and won it!  

CLARA AMFO

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34477762 0 image a 8 1602860741931

 Age: 36

Profession: Radio 1 presenter

Clara says: ‘As we know this year has been a real challenge and escapism through dancing is something I know we all enjoy’

Fun fact:  Clara has some experience of celeb gameshows, having taken part on Celebrity Masterchef in 2018

BILL BAILEY 

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34477796 0 image a 10 1602860787371

 Age: 55

Profession: Comedian and TV personality

Clara says: ‘I’m not Lord of the Dance, more a sort of caretaker of the dance’

Fun fact:  Bill is a classically trained musician and multi-instrumentalist

 

 MAISIE SMITH 

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32730862 8687033 image a 15 1599228960795

 Age: 19

Profession: EastEnders actress

Maisie says: ‘Get me in those sequins, I can’t wait to dive into the Strictly fancy dress box this winter!’

Fun fact:  Maisie won the 2019 Children In Need special of Strictly with Kevin Clifton 

 

 HRVY

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32757040 8687033 TV star The 21 year old is a singer and CBBC presenter with an a a 22 1599229086989

 

 Age: 21

Profession: YouTube star 

HRVY says: ‘Being on Strictly is going to be such an amazing experience and I’m so thankful to be taking part this year.’

Fun fact:  HRVY follows in the footsteps of former internet star contestants Joe Sugg and Saffron Barker – the latter of whom is close friends with him 

 

JASON BELL

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34477702 0 image a 5 1602860662444

Age: 42

Profession: Retired American Football player – now a pundit

 Jason says: ‘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!’

Fun Fact: Jason is the father of Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle’s daughter. The couple were together for 11 years, only splitting recently in 2019

 RANVIR SINGH 

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34477720 0 image a 7 1602860717123

 Age: 43

Profession: ITV broadcaster, Political Editor for GMB

Ranvir says:  ‘It feels like I’m on a rollercoaster… Hopefully after the first dance I will feel exhilarated rather than sick!’

Fun fact: Ranvir is the fourth GMB star to star following Susanna Reid, Richard Arnold and Charlotte Hawkins.

 

NICOLA ADAMS  

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34477770 0 image a 9 1602860771074

 Age: 37

Profession: Double Olympic gold medallist boxer

Nicola says: ‘I’m a huge fan of the show and am thrilled to be part of something that holds such a special place in so many people’s hearts’

Fun fact:  Nicola will form the show’s first ever same-sex pairing as she is parterned with a female professional. 

   

  JJ CHALMERS

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34477814 0 image a 11 1602860804469

 Age: 55 Profession: Comedian and TV personality Clara says: ‘I’m not Lord of the Dance, more a sort of caretaker of the dance’ Fun fact: Bill is a classically trained musician and multi-instrumentalist

Age: 33

Profession: Ex Royal Marine and Invictus Games medallist

JJ says: ‘Strictly is a whole different ball game in respect to the challenges I will face but I’m up for an adventure’

Fun fact:  JJ is close friends with Prince Harry after they worked together on the Invictus Games

 

 JAMIE LAING 

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32730940 8687033 image a 2 1602860370224

 Age: 31

Profession: Made In Chelsea star

Jamie says: ‘I’m over the moon I actually get to come back and dance again. It’s going to be unbelievably amazing!’

Fun fact:  Jamie was forced to pull out of the 2019 series of Strictly after a foot injury 

 

RT HON JACQUI  SMITH

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34477916 8687033 image a 12 1602861031423

 Age: 57

Profession: Politician

Jacqui says: ‘I was speechless with excitement at being asked to join Strictly – and that’s very rare for me…!’

Fun fact:  Fifty years ago, she received a bronze medal for Scottish Highland Dancing 

 

  

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Turkey earthquake: Teenager rescued from rubble of Izmir building

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turkey earthquake teenager rescued from rubble of izmir building

Rescuers today hauled a teenager from the rubble of a devastated eight-floor apartment block as the death toll from an earthquake in Turkey and Greece soared to at least 26 with more than 800 injured.

Search teams continued their hunt for survivors on Saturday after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck in the Aegean Sea between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Samos, toppling buildings in Izmir and triggering a small tsunami which flooded streets in Seferihisar, Turkey. 

The mini-tsunami also reached Samos, where islanders were told to avoid the coast after some fled their homes because of the quake, which was also  felt in Athens and nearby Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria. 

Last night, search and rescue teams were pictured digging through heavy blocks of concrete in a desperate attempt to locate survivors who were trapped beneath the rubble.   

Footage today captured onlookers cheering as emergency services lifted Inci Okan, 16, and her dog Fistik out of a fallen building in Izmir after the pair spent 17 hours trapped under the fallen building. 

The teenager, who was injured in the wreckage, was rushed to hospital following her rescue. 

Footage today captured onlookers cheering as emergency services lifted Inci Okan, 16, and her dog Fistik out of a fallen building in Izmir, Turkey (pictured) after the pair spent 17 hours trapped under building which toppled during an earthquake

Footage today captured onlookers cheering as emergency services lifted Inci Okan, 16, and her dog Fistik out of a fallen building in Izmir, Turkey (pictured) after the pair spent 17 hours trapped under building which toppled during an earthquake

Footage today captured onlookers cheering as emergency services lifted Inci Okan, 16, and her dog Fistik out of a fallen building in Izmir, Turkey (pictured) after the pair spent 17 hours trapped under building which toppled during an earthquake

Two other women, aged 53 and 35, were rescued from another collapsed two-storey building in Turkey. Pictured: An injured woman is carried from the rubble in Izmir

Two other women, aged 53 and 35, were rescued from another collapsed two-storey building in Turkey. Pictured: An injured woman is carried from the rubble in Izmir

Two other women, aged 53 and 35, were rescued from another collapsed two-storey building in Turkey. Pictured: An injured woman is carried from the rubble in Izmir 

Emergency services carry an injured man from the rubble of a collapsed building after a powerful earthquake struck

Emergency services carry an injured man from the rubble of a collapsed building after a powerful earthquake struck

Emergency services carry an injured man from the rubble of a collapsed building after a powerful earthquake struck

Emergency services today continue to search for survivors in fallen buildings across Izmir, Turkey following the disaster

Emergency services today continue to search for survivors in fallen buildings across Izmir, Turkey following the disaster

Emergency services today continue to search for survivors in fallen buildings across Izmir, Turkey following the disaster

Relatives of the missing wait as rescuers search for survivors among the rubble of a collapsed building in Izmir after a powerful earthquake struck Turkey's western coast and parts of Greece

Relatives of the missing wait as rescuers search for survivors among the rubble of a collapsed building in Izmir after a powerful earthquake struck Turkey's western coast and parts of Greece

Relatives of the missing wait as rescuers search for survivors among the rubble of a collapsed building in Izmir after a powerful earthquake struck Turkey’s western coast and parts of Greece

People today sit around a fire in front of their tent after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in the Aegean Sea, at Bayrakli district in Izmir, Turkey

People today sit around a fire in front of their tent after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in the Aegean Sea, at Bayrakli district in Izmir, Turkey

People today sit around a fire in front of their tent after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in the Aegean Sea, at Bayrakli district in Izmir, Turkey

At least 24 people were killed in Izmir, including an elderly woman who drowned, according to AFAD. Pictured: A survivor is lifted from a fallen building in Izmir today

At least 24 people were killed in Izmir, including an elderly woman who drowned, according to AFAD. Pictured: A survivor is lifted from a fallen building in Izmir today

At least 24 people were killed in Izmir, including an elderly woman who drowned, according to AFAD. Pictured: A survivor is lifted from a fallen building in Izmir today

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35052736 8899389 image a 358 1604106051718

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said the quake had an epicentre eight miles from of the Greek island of Samos

Friends and relatives remained outside the building today for news of loved ones still trapped inside, including employees of a dentist’s surgery that was located on the ground floor. 

Two other women, aged 53 and 35, were rescued from another collapsed two-storey building in Turkey. 

At least 24 people were killed in Izmir, including an elderly woman who drowned, according to AFAD. 

Two teenagers, 15 and 17, were killed on Samos after being struck by a collapsing wall as they walked home from school in Vathy. 

At least 19 people were injured on the island, with two, including a 14-year-old, airlifted to Athens and seven taken to hospitals on the island, Greek health authorities said. 

Rescue workers search for survivors in the rubble of a fallen building this morning after an 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Izmir, Turkey on Friday

Rescue workers search for survivors in the rubble of a fallen building this morning after an 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Izmir, Turkey on Friday

Rescue workers search for survivors in the rubble of a fallen building this morning after an 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Izmir, Turkey on Friday 

Members of rescue services carry the body of a victim from the debris of a collapsed building in Izmir, Turkey today

Members of rescue services carry the body of a victim from the debris of a collapsed building in Izmir, Turkey today

Members of rescue services carry the body of a victim from the debris of a collapsed building in Izmir, Turkey today

Pictured: Rescue teams continue to search for survivors and victims in Izmir, Turkey following yesterday's earthquake

Pictured: Rescue teams continue to search for survivors and victims in Izmir, Turkey following yesterday's earthquake

Pictured: Rescue teams continue to search for survivors and victims in Izmir, Turkey following yesterday’s earthquake

Gunay Ozisik, 14, who was under the rubble, was last night rescued as rescue teams continued their search for survivors

Gunay Ozisik, 14, who was under the rubble, was last night rescued as rescue teams continued their search for survivors

Gunay Ozisik, 14, who was under the rubble, was last night rescued as rescue teams continued their search for survivors

Rescue and health workers carry a dead body from a collapsed building after an earthquake in the Aegean Sea, at Bayrakli district in Izmir, Turkey

Rescue and health workers carry a dead body from a collapsed building after an earthquake in the Aegean Sea, at Bayrakli district in Izmir, Turkey

Rescue and health workers carry a dead body from a collapsed building after an earthquake in the Aegean Sea, at Bayrakli district in Izmir, Turkey 

The earthquake, which was centred in the Aegean north-east of Samos, was felt across the eastern Greek islands and as far as Athens and in Bulgaria. Pictured: Izmir, Turkey last night

The earthquake, which was centred in the Aegean north-east of Samos, was felt across the eastern Greek islands and as far as Athens and in Bulgaria. Pictured: Izmir, Turkey last night

 The earthquake, which was centred in the Aegean north-east of Samos, was felt across the eastern Greek islands and as far as Athens and in Bulgaria. Pictured: Izmir, Turkey last night

Pictured: An injured woman is carried out of a destroyed building on a stretcher after she was found among the rubble

Pictured: An injured woman is carried out of a destroyed building on a stretcher after she was found among the rubble

Pictured: An injured woman is carried out of a destroyed building on a stretcher after she was found among the rubble

Pictured: A collapsed building

Pictured: A collapsed building

The air is filled with dust as the seven- story building collapses within moments

The air is filled with dust as the seven- story building collapses within moments

Footage from the moment the earthquake hit on Friday shows a building collapse in Turkey, filling the air with dust as those nearby rush away from the danger 

A destroyed building in Izmir, Turkey, after the earthquake in the Aegean on Friday which killed at least 26 people and injured nearly 800 others in Turkey

A destroyed building in Izmir, Turkey, after the earthquake in the Aegean on Friday which killed at least 26 people and injured nearly 800 others in Turkey

A destroyed building in Izmir, Turkey, after the earthquake in the Aegean on Friday which killed at least 26 people and injured nearly 800 others in Turkey

Rescuers carry an injured person from the debris of a fallen building after an earthquake in Izmir province of Turkey last night

Rescuers carry an injured person from the debris of a fallen building after an earthquake in Izmir province of Turkey last night

Rescuers carry an injured person from the debris of a fallen building after an earthquake in Izmir province of Turkey last night 

Rescue workers trying to clean the debris of a collapsed building while searching for survivors on Friday night

Rescue workers trying to clean the debris of a collapsed building while searching for survivors on Friday night

Rescue workers trying to clean the debris of a collapsed building while searching for survivors on Friday night

Malik Tahirler, 28, is rescued from wreckage of a devastated building by the search and rescue teams in Bornova district

Malik Tahirler, 28, is rescued from wreckage of a devastated building by the search and rescue teams in Bornova district

Malik Tahirler, 28, is rescued from wreckage of a devastated building by the search and rescue teams in Bornova district

Rescue operations take place on a collapsed building after a powerful earthquake hit the Aegean Sea on Friday

Rescue operations take place on a collapsed building after a powerful earthquake hit the Aegean Sea on Friday

Rescue operations take place on a collapsed building after a powerful earthquake hit the Aegean Sea on Friday

Wounded people are cut free from the wreckage of a toppled building in Izmir, Turkey, after the earthquake struck on Friday

Wounded people are cut free from the wreckage of a toppled building in Izmir, Turkey, after the earthquake struck on Friday

Wounded people are cut free from the wreckage of a toppled building in Izmir, Turkey, after the earthquake struck on Friday

The earthquake, which was centred in the Aegean north-east of Samos, was felt across the eastern Greek islands and as far as Athens and in Bulgaria.      

In Turkey, it shook the regions of Aegean and Marmara, including the country’s largest city Istanbul, whose governor said there were no reports of damage.

Debris was racing down Turkish streets after an apparent sea surge near Izmir where at least 17 buildings were destroyed and footage showed people climbing over the wreckage of collapsed multi-storey blocks. 

According to Turkey’s disaster agency, at least 244 aftershocks were recorded, with 24 of them being more than four on the Richter scale.

A man, who was rescued from wreckage, is seen on Friday as search and rescue works continue at debris of a building located in Bornova district

A man, who was rescued from wreckage, is seen on Friday as search and rescue works continue at debris of a building located in Bornova district

A man, who was rescued from wreckage, is seen on Friday as search and rescue works continue at debris of a building located in Bornova district 

Rescuers carry a man rescued from the debris of his collapsed house, in Izmir, Turkey on Friday

Rescuers carry a man rescued from the debris of his collapsed house, in Izmir, Turkey on Friday

Rescuers carry a man rescued from the debris of his collapsed house, in Izmir, Turkey on Friday 

Rescue operations are in place after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in the coastal province of Izmir

Rescue operations are in place after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in the coastal province of Izmir

Rescue operations are in place after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in the coastal province of Izmir

Debris was floating along streets in high waters after the earthquake in Turkey

Debris was floating along streets in high waters after the earthquake in Turkey

Debris in flooded streets after the earthquake

Debris in flooded streets after the earthquake

Debris was racing down Turkish streets after an apparent sea surge near Izmir amid a ‘mini-tsunami’ in Turkey and Greece which followed the earthquake in the Aegean Sea on Friday 

Footage from the moment the earthquake hit on Friday shows a building collapse in Turkey, filling the air with dust as those nearby rush away from the danger.

Gokhan Kan, a 32-year-old courier, said: ‘I thought “Is it going to end?” It felt like 10 minutes, like it was never going to end.  

‘I was terrified not for myself in that moment but for my family, my wife and four-year-old son.’       

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said Friday’s earthquake was centred in the Aegean at a depth of 10.3 miles. 

Interior minister Suleyman Soylu initially said six buildings had collapsed in two parts of Izmir, while mayor Tunc Soyer said nearly 20 buildings had collapsed in the province. It was later reported 17 buildings had fallen in Izmir.

At one site, Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli managed to establish mobile phone contact with a girl buried under the debris.

‘We ask you to remain calm,’ he told her in televised footage. ‘We will try to lift the concrete block and reach you.’   

Rescue workers and local volunteers carry a wounded person on a stretcher after they were found in the debris of a building

Rescue workers and local volunteers carry a wounded person on a stretcher after they were found in the debris of a building

Rescue workers and local volunteers carry a wounded person on a stretcher after they were found in the debris of a building

Search and rescue teams work their way through the rubble of a collapsed building in Izmir, Turkey, after the country was struck by a magnitude 7 earthquake

Search and rescue teams work their way through the rubble of a collapsed building in Izmir, Turkey, after the country was struck by a magnitude 7 earthquake

Search and rescue teams work their way through the rubble of a collapsed building in Izmir, Turkey, after the country was struck by a magnitude 7 earthquake

The rubble of a flattened building is seen from the air as night falls over Izmir, Turkey, after the city was hit by an earthquake

The rubble of a flattened building is seen from the air as night falls over Izmir, Turkey, after the city was hit by an earthquake

The rubble of a flattened building is seen from the air as night falls over Izmir, Turkey, after the city was hit by an earthquake

Heavy lifting machinery is used to sift the rubble of a collapsed building in Izimir, Turkey, after it was hit by an earthquake

Heavy lifting machinery is used to sift the rubble of a collapsed building in Izimir, Turkey, after it was hit by an earthquake

Heavy lifting machinery is used to sift the rubble of a collapsed building in Izimir, Turkey, after it was hit by an earthquake

Dozens of buildings have been reported to be destroyed from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Turkey and Greece

Dozens of buildings have been reported to be destroyed from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Turkey and Greece

Dozens of buildings have been reported to be destroyed from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Turkey and Greece

Rescue teams search through the debris of a collapsed building in Bayrakli district following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake

Rescue teams search through the debris of a collapsed building in Bayrakli district following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake

Rescue teams search through the debris of a collapsed building in Bayrakli district following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake

Search and rescue works continue to be carried out at debris of a building located in Bayrakli district after an earthquake shook Turkey's Aegean Sea coast

Search and rescue works continue to be carried out at debris of a building located in Bayrakli district after an earthquake shook Turkey's Aegean Sea coast

Search and rescue works continue to be carried out at debris of a building located in Bayrakli district after an earthquake shook Turkey’s Aegean Sea coast 

Flooding on the Greek island of Samos where sea water covered a square after a sea surge came in the wake of the tremor

Flooding on the Greek island of Samos where sea water covered a square after a sea surge came in the wake of the tremor

Flooding on the Greek island of Samos where sea water covered a square after a sea surge came in the wake of the tremor 

A statue of a lion looks over a flooded square with benches and trees surrounded by water at the Greek port of Vathi

A statue of a lion looks over a flooded square with benches and trees surrounded by water at the Greek port of Vathi

A statue of a lion looks over a flooded square with benches and trees surrounded by water at the Greek port of Vathi 

A Greek Orthodox church was damaged in the town of Karlovasi after the island of Samos was hit by today's earthquake

A Greek Orthodox church was damaged in the town of Karlovasi after the island of Samos was hit by today's earthquake

A Greek Orthodox church was damaged in the town of Karlovasi after the island of Samos was hit by today’s earthquake 

Greek firefighters look at a building which was knocked out of shape by the earthquake which hit the island of Samos today

Greek firefighters look at a building which was knocked out of shape by the earthquake which hit the island of Samos today

Greek firefighters look at a building which was knocked out of shape by the earthquake which hit the island of Samos today 

An injured person is surrounded by medical helpers after being cut free from the wreckage in Izmir's Bayrakli disrict today

An injured person is surrounded by medical helpers after being cut free from the wreckage in Izmir's Bayrakli disrict today

An injured person is surrounded by medical helpers after being cut free from the wreckage in Izmir’s Bayrakli disrict today

People surround the claw of an excavator as they search for survivors at a collapsed building in Izmir today

People surround the claw of an excavator as they search for survivors at a collapsed building in Izmir today

People surround the claw of an excavator as they search for survivors at a collapsed building in Izmir today 

People wearing masks look at an injured person being put on a stretcher as victims were taken for medical help in Izmir

People wearing masks look at an injured person being put on a stretcher as victims were taken for medical help in Izmir

People wearing masks look at an injured person being put on a stretcher as victims were taken for medical help in Izmir 

Locals and officials search for survivors at a collapsed building after a strong earthquake struck the Aegean Sea on Friday and was felt in both Greece and Turkey

Locals and officials search for survivors at a collapsed building after a strong earthquake struck the Aegean Sea on Friday and was felt in both Greece and Turkey

Locals and officials search for survivors at a collapsed building after a strong earthquake struck the Aegean Sea on Friday and was felt in both Greece and Turkey

People look at a building which was knocked precariously off-balance by the earthquake which struck on Friday afternoon

People look at a building which was knocked precariously off-balance by the earthquake which struck on Friday afternoon

People look at a building which was knocked precariously off-balance by the earthquake which struck on Friday afternoon 

The rescue operation begins as people climb over the wreckage of a collapsed building following the powerful earthquake

The rescue operation begins as people climb over the wreckage of a collapsed building following the powerful earthquake

The rescue operation begins as people climb over the wreckage of a collapsed building following the powerful earthquake 

An aerial vivew of a pile of rubble in Turkey with dozens of rescuers and emergency workers on the scene as the light faded

An aerial vivew of a pile of rubble in Turkey with dozens of rescuers and emergency workers on the scene as the light faded

An aerial vivew of a pile of rubble in Turkey with dozens of rescuers and emergency workers on the scene as the light faded 

Rescue workers sift through the rubble of  building in Izmir, Turkey, after an earthquake that killed at least twelve

Rescue workers sift through the rubble of  building in Izmir, Turkey, after an earthquake that killed at least twelve

Rescue workers sift through the rubble of  building in Izmir, Turkey, after an earthquake that killed at least twelve

A small tsunami struck the Seferisar district of Izmir, said Haluk Ozener, director of the Istanbul-based Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute.  

Pictures from the Turkish disaster zone show smoke blowing over the city of Izmir, debris washed away by high waters, and dazed people trying to make their way through rubble piled high on the streets. 

There were 38 ambulances, two ambulance helicopters and 35 medical rescue teams on the ground in Izmir late on Friday, where TV footage showed police using chainsaws as they tried to force their way through the rubble. 

Local media said 70 people had been rescued alive from the debris. 

Turkish media said the earthquake was felt across the regions of Aegean and Marmara, where Istanbul is located. However, Istanbul’s governor said there were no reports of damage. 

Soylu said there were no reports of casualties from six other provinces where the earthquake was felt but added there were small cracks in some buildings. 

Ilke Cide, a doctoral student who was in Izmir’s Guzelbahce region during the earthquake, said he went inland after waters rose after the earthquake. 

‘I am very used to earthquakes… so I didn’t take it very seriously at first but this time it was really scary,’ he said, adding the earthquake had lasted for at least 25 to 30 seconds. 

An injured woman is carried on a stretcher through a crowd of people at the scene of the disaster in the Bayrakli district

An injured woman is carried on a stretcher through a crowd of people at the scene of the disaster in the Bayrakli district

An injured woman is carried on a stretcher through a crowd of people at the scene of the disaster in the Bayrakli district 

A man puts a mask over his face by the side of an emergency vehicle in the Bayrakli district during search and rescue works

A man puts a mask over his face by the side of an emergency vehicle in the Bayrakli district during search and rescue works

A man puts a mask over his face by the side of an emergency vehicle in the Bayrakli district during search and rescue works

A huge crowd of locals and emergency officials search the debris of one of the collapsed buildings in Izmir today

A huge crowd of locals and emergency officials search the debris of one of the collapsed buildings in Izmir today

A huge crowd of locals and emergency officials search the debris of one of the collapsed buildings in Izmir today 

People look at the collapsed facade of a building in Izmir today with emergency services responding to Friday's disaster

People look at the collapsed facade of a building in Izmir today with emergency services responding to Friday's disaster

People look at the collapsed facade of a building in Izmir today with emergency services responding to Friday’s disaster 

Seawater floods a shop at the port town of Vathy following a mini-tsunami caused by the earthquake on the island of Samo

Seawater floods a shop at the port town of Vathy following a mini-tsunami caused by the earthquake on the island of Samo

Seawater floods a shop at the port town of Vathy following a mini-tsunami caused by the earthquake on the island of Samo

A car is barely above water while a chair is partly submerged in a road in Vathi today after high waters brought by the quake

A car is barely above water while a chair is partly submerged in a road in Vathi today after high waters brought by the quake

A car is barely above water while a chair is partly submerged in a road in Vathi today after high waters brought by the quake 

People walk past a damaged house on the Greek island of Samos where at least two people were killed in Friday's earthquake

People walk past a damaged house on the Greek island of Samos where at least two people were killed in Friday's earthquake

People walk past a damaged house on the Greek island of Samos where at least two people were killed in Friday’s earthquake

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that ‘with all the means of our state, we stand by our citizens affected by the earthquake’. 

‘We have taken action to start the necessary work in the region with all our relevant institutions and ministers,’ he added. 

Greece’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis later spoke to Erdogan to offer condolences for the victims in Turkey, saying that ‘whatever our differences, these are the times when our people need to stand together’.

‘Erdogan tweeted: “Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. That two neighbours show solidarity in difficult times is more valuable than many things in life.”‘ 

France, which has been locked in an angry row with Turkey in recent weeks, also offered its ‘full solidarity’ with both Turkey and Greece. 

Tensions between Ankara and Paris had reached a peak last weekend when President Erdogan questioned the mental health of his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.  

Cars are covered in dirt at a quake-damaged site in Izmir shortly after the 7.0-magnitude pummelled Greece and Turkey

Cars are covered in dirt at a quake-damaged site in Izmir shortly after the 7.0-magnitude pummelled Greece and Turkey

Cars are covered in dirt at a quake-damaged site in Izmir shortly after the 7.0-magnitude pummelled Greece and Turkey

Buildings overlook a mountain of rubble while a car's bonnet is covered in grime following the earthquake in Izmir

Buildings overlook a mountain of rubble while a car's bonnet is covered in grime following the earthquake in Izmir

Buildings overlook a mountain of rubble while a car’s bonnet is covered in grime following the earthquake in Izmir  

A woman holds her head as she looks at the ruins in Izmir while an excavator begins the clean-up operation in the Turkish city

A woman holds her head as she looks at the ruins in Izmir while an excavator begins the clean-up operation in the Turkish city

A woman holds her head as she looks at the ruins in Izmir while an excavator begins the clean-up operation in the Turkish city

Search and rescue works underway in Izmir on Friday with Turkish flags hanging from two nearby windows in the coastal city

Search and rescue works underway in Izmir on Friday with Turkish flags hanging from two nearby windows in the coastal city

Search and rescue works underway in Izmir on Friday with Turkish flags hanging from two nearby windows in the coastal city 

A car submerged on Turkey's Aegean Sea coastline yesterday after the mini-tsunami which followed the huge earthquake

A car submerged on Turkey's Aegean Sea coastline yesterday after the mini-tsunami which followed the huge earthquake

A car submerged on Turkey’s Aegean Sea coastline yesterday after the mini-tsunami which followed the huge earthquake 

People stand on the flooded promenade of the port town of Vathy following the earthquake in Greece on Friday

People stand on the flooded promenade of the port town of Vathy following the earthquake in Greece on Friday

People stand on the flooded promenade of the port town of Vathy following the earthquake in Greece on Friday

Boats anchored to the coast are seen damaged after the earthquake caused an apparent sea surge and resulted in flooding

Boats anchored to the coast are seen damaged after the earthquake caused an apparent sea surge and resulted in flooding

Boats anchored to the coast are seen damaged after the earthquake caused an apparent sea surge and resulted in flooding 

A group of women wearing masks look at phones as they stand outside their homes following the earthquake in Turkey

A group of women wearing masks look at phones as they stand outside their homes following the earthquake in Turkey

A group of women wearing masks look at phones as they stand outside their homes following the earthquake in Turkey 

A massive search and rescue operation underway in Izmir after the 7.0-magnitude quake barrelled into Turkey and Greece

A massive search and rescue operation underway in Izmir after the 7.0-magnitude quake barrelled into Turkey and Greece

A massive search and rescue operation underway in Izmir after the 7.0-magnitude quake barrelled into Turkey and Greece

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said the quake had an epicentre eight miles from Samos, where the island’s 45,000 people were urged to stay away from coastal areas. 

Greece’s top seismologist Eftyhmis Lekkas told Greek media: ‘It was a very big earthquake, it’s difficult to have a bigger one.’

A tsunami warning was issued, with residents of the Samos area told to stay away from the coast while water rose above the dock in the main harbour of Samos and flooded the street. 

Media reports yesterday said two victims of the earthquake, the first to be reported in Greece, were aged 15 and 17, and were walking home from school in the port of Vathy when disaster struck.

‘Two unconscious youngsters were pulled from the rubble of a collapsed wall and taken to hospital for identification,’ the fire service said. 

Boats were carried out from a harbour in Turkey

Boats were carried out from a harbour in Turkey

Debris floating in flooded streets

Debris floating in flooded streets

Boats were carried out from a harbour in Turkey (left) where debris was also seen floating along flooded streets (right)

Smoke over the city of Izmir which appeared to have taken the heaviest damage of the earthquake on the Turkish side

Smoke over the city of Izmir which appeared to have taken the heaviest damage of the earthquake on the Turkish side

Smoke over the city of Izmir which appeared to have taken the heaviest damage of the earthquake on the Turkish side 

Damaged buildings are seen after a 7.0-magnitude quake shook Turkey's Aegean Sea coast, in Seferihisar district of Izmir

Damaged buildings are seen after a 7.0-magnitude quake shook Turkey's Aegean Sea coast, in Seferihisar district of Izmir

Damaged buildings are seen after a 7.0-magnitude quake shook Turkey’s Aegean Sea coast, in Seferihisar district of Izmir

Search and rescue works are being conducted at debris of a building in Bayrakli district, Izmir

Search and rescue works are being conducted at debris of a building in Bayrakli district, Izmir

Search and rescue works are being conducted at debris of a building in Bayrakli district, Izmir

At least 19 people were injured on the island, with two, including a 14-year-old, airlifted to Athens and seven taken to hospitals on the island, Greek health authorities said. 

‘We have never experienced anything like it,’ said one local official. ‘People are panicking.’ 

Police said there was damage to some old buildings on the island.  

Greece and Turkey are both situated in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. In 1999, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey’s northwest, killing more than 17,000 people, including 1,000 in Istanbul.

Another quake in 2011 in the southeastern province of Van resulted in more than 600 deaths. In Greece, the last deadly quake killed two people on the island of Kos, near Samos, in July 2017. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Sean Connery, James Bond actor and Oscar winner, dies aged 90 

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sean connery james bond actor and oscar winner dies aged 90

James Bond legend Sir Sean Connery has died in his sleep aged 90 following a long illness, his family have announced.

Tributes have been pouring in for the Oscar-winning actor who passed away in the Bahamas and leaves behind his wife Micheline and sons Jason and Stefan.

A statement from Sir Sean’s publicist said: ‘His wife Micheline and his two sons, Jason and Stephane, have confirmed that he died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family.

‘There will be a private ceremony followed by a memorial yet to be planned once the virus has ended.’

Jason told the BBC: ‘We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.

‘A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.

Sir Sean, whose movie career spans five decades, is best known for the first to portray the role of British fictional spy 007 who he played between 1962–1971.

He was today hailed as ‘the world’s greatest Scot and last of the real Hollywood stars’ as the acting community and beyond rallied to remember him.

Sir Sean Connery, who is best known for playing James Bond, died today

Sir Sean Connery, who is best known for playing James Bond, died today

Sir Sean Connery, who is best known for playing James Bond, died today

Sir Sean Connery, who is best known for playing James Bond, died today

Sir Sean Connery, who is best known for playing James Bond, died today

Tributes have been pouring in for the Oscar-winning actor who passed away in the Bahamas and leaves behind his wife Micheline (pictured in New York four years ago)

Tributes have been pouring in for the Oscar-winning actor who passed away in the Bahamas and leaves behind his wife Micheline (pictured in New York four years ago)

Tributes have been pouring in for the Oscar-winning actor who passed away in the Bahamas and leaves behind his wife Micheline (pictured in New York four years ago)

Sir Sean, whose movie career spans five decades, is best known for the first to portray the role of British fictional spy 007 who he played between 1962–1971

Sir Sean, whose movie career spans five decades, is best known for the first to portray the role of British fictional spy 007 who he played between 1962–1971

Sir Sean, whose movie career spans five decades, is best known for the first to portray the role of British fictional spy 007 who he played between 1962–1971

Sir Sean frequently tops polls as the best Bond to have played the role following his part in Dr No (pictured with Ursula Andress), From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice.

Sir Sean frequently tops polls as the best Bond to have played the role following his part in Dr No (pictured with Ursula Andress), From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice.

Sir Sean frequently tops polls as the best Bond to have played the role following his part in Dr No (pictured with Ursula Andress), From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice.

Sir Sean frequently tops polls as the best Bond to have played the role following his part in Dr No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice.

Through the official James Bond Twitter page, the incumbent 007 Daniel Craig led the tributes: Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster.

‘He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course.

Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli paid tribute to Sir Sean in a statement: ‘We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Connery.

‘He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words – ‘The name’s Bond… James Bond’ – he revolutionised the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent.

‘He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.’

Hugh Jackman tweeted: I grew up idolizing Connery. A legend on screen, and off. Rest In Peace.’

Sir Sean was knighted by the Queen in 2000 and celebrated his 90th birthday in August.

A fierce nationalist, he banged the drum for Scottish Independence ahead of the 2014 referendum and befriended key SNP figures.

Former First Minister Alex Salmond today described his friend Sir Sean as ‘the world’s greatest Scot, the last of the real Hollywood stars, the definitive Bond.’

His successor Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘I was heartbroken to learn this morning of the passing of Sir Sean Connery. Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons.

‘Sean was born into a working class Edinburgh family and through talent and sheer hard work, became an international film icon and one of the world’s most accomplished actors.

‘Sean will be remembered best as James Bond – the classic 007 – but his roles were many and varied. He was a global legend but, first and foremost, a patriotic and proud Scot – his towering presence at the opening of the Scottish Parliament and in 1999 showed his love for the country of his birth.’

After Bond catapulted him to acting superstadom he went on to forge a glittering career and won an Oscar in 1988 for his part playing an Irish policeman in The Untouchables

After Bond catapulted him to acting superstadom he went on to forge a glittering career and won an Oscar in 1988 for his part playing an Irish policeman in The Untouchables

Bafta awards 1988

Bafta awards 1988

After Bond catapulted him to acting superstadom he went on to forge a glittering career and won an Oscar in 1988 (left) for his part playing an Irish policeman in The Untouchables and a Bafta (right)

Sir Sean (pictured in 1963) whose movie career spans five decades, is best known for the first to portray the role of British fictional spy 007 who he played between 1962–1971

Sir Sean (pictured in 1963) whose movie career spans five decades, is best known for the first to portray the role of British fictional spy 007 who he played between 1962–1971

Sir Sean (pictured in 1963) whose movie career spans five decades, is best known for the first to portray the role of British fictional spy 007 who he played between 1962–1971

Sir Sean in the first James Bond film Dr No in 1962, during a scene with Zena Marshall

Sir Sean in the first James Bond film Dr No in 1962, during a scene with Zena Marshall

Sir Sean in the first James Bond film Dr No in 1962, during a scene with Zena Marshall

Born Thomas Sean Connery in Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge area on August 25 1930, the actor left school at an early age and took his first job as a milkman.

At 16 he enlisted in the Royal Navy but was discharged three years later on medical grounds after suffering a stomach ulcer.

His first major step into acting came in 1957 when he secured a role in the British gangster film No Road Back.

He has two tattoos from this time – one reading ‘Mum and Dad’ and another ‘Scotland Forever’.

The keen bodybuilder then undertook a variety of jobs, including a stint as a bricklayer, a lifeguard and an artist’s model for the Edinburgh College of Art. Under the name Thom Connery he was placed third in the tall man’s division (he was 6ft 2in) of the 1950 Mr Universe contest.

The stage came calling when a friend suggested he try out for a production of South Pacific. He got a part in the sailors’ chorus and so began his acting career.

He was also a gifted footballer. While touring with the musical, he was offered a contract by former Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby, who saw him play in a friendly against a local side.

His first major acting credit came in 1957 British gangster film No Road Back.

It was author Ian Fleming’s suave and sophisticated secret service agent that launched Sir Sean to stardom.

Fleming was initially resistant to the idea of Sir Sean playing his character. He thought the Scot was an ‘overgrown stuntman’ who was not refined enough for the role.

He was later so impressed with his performance that he created a Scottish ancestry for the character in his subsequent books.

Claudine Auger standing with Sean Connery in the water in a scene from the film 'Thunderball', 1965

Claudine Auger standing with Sean Connery in the water in a scene from the film 'Thunderball', 1965

Claudine Auger standing with Sean Connery in the water in a scene from the film ‘Thunderball’, 1965

Sean Connery accompanies his wife Micheline Roquebrune  to Athinais gallery to open an exhibition of her paintings in Athens, Greece, 2001

Sean Connery accompanies his wife Micheline Roquebrune  to Athinais gallery to open an exhibition of her paintings in Athens, Greece, 2001

Sean Connery accompanies his wife Micheline Roquebrune  to Athinais gallery to open an exhibition of her paintings in Athens, Greece, 2001

He is also fondly remembered for his part two years later as the father of Harrison Ford's whip-cracking hero in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, the third instalment in the hugely popular franchise

He is also fondly remembered for his part two years later as the father of Harrison Ford's whip-cracking hero in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, the third instalment in the hugely popular franchise

He is also fondly remembered for his part two years later as the father of Harrison Ford’s whip-cracking hero in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, the third instalment in the hugely popular franchise

Sean Connery poses as James Bond next to his Aston Martin DB5 in a scene from the United Artists film 'Goldfinger' in 1964

Sean Connery poses as James Bond next to his Aston Martin DB5 in a scene from the United Artists film 'Goldfinger' in 1964

Sean Connery poses as James Bond next to his Aston Martin DB5 in a scene from the United Artists film ‘Goldfinger’ in 1964

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35077316 8900201 image a 85 1604153603860

Sir Sean played Bond in seven films – Dr No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

He quit the role after You Only Live Twice, frustrated by the repetitive plots, but was enticed back after his successor George Lazenby failed to make the grade.

Most of his subsequent successes were as part of ensemble casts, in films such as The Man Who Would Be King, Murder On The Orient Express and A Bridge Too Far.

In the 1980s a slipping career was revived with The Untouchables (1987), with his role as a tough gangbusting Irish policeman winning him an Academy Award for best supporting actor. Future Oscar winners Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington were also nominated in the category that year.

He is also fondly remembered for his part two years later as the father of Harrison Ford’s whip-cracking hero in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, the third instalment in the hugely popular franchise.

Sir Sean could by now command massive fees and gained a reputation as a ruthless contract negotiator. He hated the idea of being manipulated by the film industry and was regularly embroiled in lawsuits.

In 1989 the US magazine People voted him Sexiest Man Alive, to which the 59-year-old replied: ‘Well, there aren’t many sexy dead men, are there?’

The 1990s brought performances in The Hunt For Red October (1990), Dragonheart (1996) and Entrapment, the 1999 love story/thriller with Catherine Zeta-Jones, which Sir Sean also produced.

By now he was firmly regarded as an elder statesman of the film industry and in 2000 was knighted by the Queen – an honour said to have been delayed by his vocal support for the Scottish National Party (SNP).

In the 1980s a slipping career was revived with The Untouchables (1987), with his role as a tough gangbusting Irish policeman winning him an Academy Award for best supporting actor

In the 1980s a slipping career was revived with The Untouchables (1987), with his role as a tough gangbusting Irish policeman winning him an Academy Award for best supporting actor

In the 1980s a slipping career was revived with The Untouchables (1987), with his role as a tough gangbusting Irish policeman winning him an Academy Award for best supporting actor

Sir Sean, once voted the 'greatest living Scot', received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, when he confirmed his retirement from acting

Sir Sean, once voted the 'greatest living Scot', received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, when he confirmed his retirement from acting

Sir Sean, once voted the ‘greatest living Scot’, received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, when he confirmed his retirement from acting

Sir Sean, once voted the ‘greatest living Scot’, received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, when he confirmed his retirement from acting.

Throughout his career he remained relatively guarded about his private life but was forced to deny claims of domestic abuse made by his first wife, the Australian actress Diane Cilento, before her death in 2011.

He was plagued by criticism of remarks he allegedly made in a Vanity Fair interview in 1993 when he suggested there were women who ‘want a smack’.

Sir Sean was reported as saying: ‘There are women who take it to the wire. That’s what they are looking for, the ultimate confrontation.’

He and Cilento were married for 11 years and had one son, the actor Jason Connery.

Sir Sean is succeed by Jason and his second wife, French artist Micheline Roquebrune, whom he married in 1975 and who regularly accompanied him on the red carpet.

In 2009 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Edinburgh Napier University for the achievements throughout his career.

He appeared relaxed and in good health during his last public appearance, when he turned out to support fellow Scotsman Andy Murray at the US Open in September 2012.

The tennis star was shocked when Sir Sean and Sir Alex Ferguson gatecrashed a post-match press conference in New York and posed for pictures with him and his mother Judy.

As one of the most high-profile supporters of Scottish independence, many expected Sir Sean to make an appearance on the campaign trail in the run-up to the historic vote on September 18 2014.

His words were used to galvanise support at the launch of the Yes campaign two years previously, when the star declared in a message: ‘The people of Scotland are the best guardians of their own future.’

The death of the 90-year-old was confirmed by his family on Saturday.

‘He helped create the modern blockbuster’: 007 Daniel Craig leads A-list tributes to iconic Bond Sir Sean Connery following his death at 90 

Roxy Simons for MailOnline

It was announced on Saturday that James Bond legend Sir Sean Connery died in his sleep at his home in the Bahamas aged 90 following a long illness.

Celebrities from across the showbiz world paid tribute to the iconic actor following news of his tragic passing, with many calling him a ‘legend’ and the ‘best ever’ 007 to grace the screen.

Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman, and Salma Hayek, lead the those sharing gushing messages of farewell to the star, with the No Time To Die star sharing a statement via the franchise’s official Twitter page that read: ‘It is with such sadness that I heard of the passing of one of the true greats of cinema.

'He helped create the modern blockbuster': 007 Daniel Craig led the A-list tributes to iconic Bond Sir Sean Connery following his death at 90 on Saturday

'He helped create the modern blockbuster': 007 Daniel Craig led the A-list tributes to iconic Bond Sir Sean Connery following his death at 90 on Saturday

An icon: It was announced on Saturday that James Bond legend Connery died in his sleep aged 90 following a long illness

An icon: It was announced on Saturday that James Bond legend Connery died in his sleep aged 90 following a long illness

‘He helped create the modern blockbuster’: 007 Daniel Craig (pictured in Skyfall) led the A-list tributes to iconic Bond Sir Sean Connery (pictured in From Russia With Love) following his death at 90 on Saturday

‘Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster.

‘He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course.’

The Wolverine actor also paid his respects to Connery, writing on Twitter: ‘I grew up idolizing #SeanConnery. A legend on screen, and off. Rest In Peace.’

35078724 8900201 image a 6 1604157605640

35078724 8900201 image a 6 1604157605640

Icon: The No Time To Die star sharing a statement via the franchise's official Twitter page that read: 'Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style'

Icon: The No Time To Die star sharing a statement via the franchise's official Twitter page that read: 'Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style'

Icon: The No Time To Die star sharing a statement via the franchise’s official Twitter page that read: ‘Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style’

Inspiration: Hugh Jackman also paid his respects to Connery, writing on Twitter: 'I grew up idolizing #SeanConnery. A legend on screen, and off. Rest In Peace'

Inspiration: Hugh Jackman also paid his respects to Connery, writing on Twitter: 'I grew up idolizing #SeanConnery. A legend on screen, and off. Rest In Peace'

Inspiration: Hugh Jackman also paid his respects to Connery, writing on Twitter: ‘I grew up idolizing #SeanConnery. A legend on screen, and off. Rest In Peace’

Tribute: Salma Hayek shared a snap of Connery looking reflective in a black-and-white snap to her Instagram, saying: 'It saddens me that today the legendary Sean Connery passed away

Tribute: Salma Hayek shared a snap of Connery looking reflective in a black-and-white snap to her Instagram, saying: 'It saddens me that today the legendary Sean Connery passed away

Tribute: Salma Hayek shared a snap of Connery looking reflective in a black-and-white snap to her Instagram, saying: ‘It saddens me that today the legendary Sean Connery passed away

Salma shared a snap of Connery looking reflective in a black-and-white snap to her Instagram, saying: ‘It saddens me that today the legendary Sean Connery passed away.

‘At least he lived to be 90. My heart goes out to his close ones. May he rest in peace.’

Elizabeth Hurley took to her social media to share a snap of Connery during his Bond heyday, as he read a book on a yacht while dressed in a pair of shorts, and she gushed: ‘RIP the glorious Sean Connery.’

Star Trek actor George Takei said of the Oscar-winning actor: ‘Sean Connery was a movie legend, even far into his golden years. Our strongest Bonds were formed by him, and he was Untouchable. He passed today at age 90, a suave hero to the end.’

While Sam Neill, who starred with Connery in The Hunt For Red October, reminisced of their time together: ‘Every day on set with #SeanConnery was an object lesson in how to act on screen. But all that charisma and power- that was utterly unique to Sean . RIP that great man, that great actor.’

Elton John shared a picture of him and his husband David Furnish posing with Connery and his wife Micheline Roquebrune, and wrote: ‘A true screen legend.’

Director Edgar Wright also paid tribute to Connery, sharing a lengthy tribute which began: ‘It says something for the extraordinary charisma of this Edinburgh lad to have created the most iconic character in film & then, rather than be typecast by it, become equally famous for just being Sean Connery. A real screen legend; oft imitated (by all!) but never equalled.

‘Though all of his Bond instalments are fun and two are among my favs of the series (From Russia With Love & Goldfinger), here are some non Bond Connery films I dearly love; Hell Drivers (a supporting role, but a badass flick), The Frightened City (clearly a dry run for Bond)

‘Hitchcock’s Marnie, Sidney Lumet’s The Hill, The Anderson Tapes & The Offence, the bonkers Zardoz, John Huston’s rollicking The Man Who Would Be King, Richard Lester’s elegiac Robin & Marian, his cameo in Time Bandits, but let’s not forget of course his amazing last act…

‘From charming immortal Ramirez to Henry Jones Sr, from being the rock in the centre of the best Michael Bay film to his incredible Oscar winning turn as Malone in The Untouchables, Sean Connery had a hell of a run. Have a vodka martini & a dram of whiskey for him tonight.’

Connery leaves behind his wife Micheline and sons Jason and Stefan, Jason told the BBC his father had been surrounded by ‘many of his family’ who could make it to the Caribbean when he died.

He said: ‘We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.

‘A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.’

Sir Sean, whose movie career spans five decades, is best known for the first to portray the role of British fictional spy 007 who he played between 1962–1971.

Sir Sean frequently tops polls as the best Bond to have played the role following his part in Dr No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice.

Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli paid tribute to Sir Sean in a statement: ‘We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Connery.

‘He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words – ‘The name’s Bond… James Bond’ – he revolutionised the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent.

He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Endangered British Great Fox spider seen for first time in 27 years

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endangered british great fox spider seen for first time in 27 years

One of Britain’s most endangered spiders, the Great Fox, has been sighted for the first time in more than a quarter of a century. 

Conservationists report the sighting of 22 Great Fox spiders in total, including 10 mature males and one mature female, which measures just over two inches (55mm) in diameter including its hairy, spiny legs. 

The specimens were found on a Ministry of Defence (MoD) training area in Surrey by Mike Waite, spider enthusiast at Surrey Wildlife Trust. 

The Great Fox (alopecosa fabrilis) is listed as ‘critically endangered’ and was feared extinct in the UK as it hadn’t been spotted since 1993. 

The species has excellent eyesight, camouflage and speed and is an opportunistic predator that hunts at night, the Trust says. 

It is named for its fox-like habit of chasing down prey across sandy terrain, gravel and rocks before pouncing and capturing it on the run. 

Prey, including insects such as beetles, ants and smaller spiders, are immobilised after the Great Fox injects them with venom, which liquefies their internal organs. 

Great Fox-Spiders have excellent eyesight with wrap-around vision provided by eight black eyes on its head. Pictured, one of the males

Great Fox-Spiders have excellent eyesight with wrap-around vision provided by eight black eyes on its head. Pictured, one of the males

Great Fox-Spiders have excellent eyesight with wrap-around vision provided by eight black eyes on its head. Pictured, one of the males

22 GREAT FOX SPIDERS FOUND IN SURREY

22 Great Fox spiders were found in total:

Three females 

– One adult female measuring just over two inches (55mm) in diameter

– Two immature females

19 males

– 10 adult males

– Nine immature males

The specimens were found in August and September this year on different visits, around the same location.

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The spider is then ready to feast on its catch using its strong, fang-bearing front appendages called chelicerae. 

Waite had never given up hope that he might find the monster spider and spent hours late at night searching with a torch over the last two years.  

The specimens were finally found on MoD land managed by the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust. 

‘The spider is at the very edge of its range in the UK, which accounts for its super rarity here,’ said Waite. 

‘This formidable-looking creature is an impressive beast, perfectly camouflaged and also largely nocturnal, and for all its size it has been remarkably elusive.

‘I am naturally over the moon to have finally proved the continued existence of the Great Fox spider in the UK. 

‘Although I’ve always held a latent interest in spiders, as a bona-fide arachnologist, I am still a relative newbie, so am doubly pleased to have made this important contribution to our scientific knowledge.’ 

The species, which is ground dwelling and largely nocturnal, is one of the largest of the wolf spider Lycosidae family. 

For shelter, it digs burrows or holes under rocks and logs and make a silk-lined burrow as a retreat for the winter. 

In all, 22 spiders were found, including the one large mature female and 10 mature males. 

Jo Foat at Surrey Wildlife Trust told MailOnline: ‘Males have a slightly smaller body and longer legs but are the same size.

Pictured, the mature female. In all, 22 spiders were found, including the large mature female and 10 mature males

Pictured, the mature female. In all, 22 spiders were found, including the large mature female and 10 mature males

Pictured, the mature female. In all, 22 spiders were found, including the large mature female and 10 mature males

Pictured, Mike Waite from Surrey Wildlife Trust in search of the Great Fox spider, which was last sighted  in 1993

Pictured, Mike Waite from Surrey Wildlife Trust in search of the Great Fox spider, which was last sighted  in 1993

Pictured, Mike Waite from Surrey Wildlife Trust in search of the Great Fox spider, which was last sighted  in 1993

‘The Great Fox spider is big and bulky in terms of the size of its body and thickness of legs. 

‘It’s about the same size as a giant house spider but this has a smaller body and longer, skinnier legs.’ 

Great Fox spiders have excellent eyesight with wrap-around vision thanks to eight incredible black eyes on their head, or cephalothorax.

Two large eyes glint from the top of the head, another two eyes stare out the front and four smaller eyes form a row just above the spider’s mouth. 

‘The prefix “Great” doesn’t seem to do it justice – maybe it should be the Fabulous, or Fantastic Fox-Spider,’ said Nick Baker, naturalist, TV presenter and president of the British Arachnological Society.

Pictured, another male. The Great Fox-Spider is Red-listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ and was feared extinct in the UK as it had only ever been found at three sites, two in Dorset and the other in Surrey, but hadn’t been seen since the early 1990s

Pictured, another male. The Great Fox-Spider is Red-listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ and was feared extinct in the UK as it had only ever been found at three sites, two in Dorset and the other in Surrey, but hadn’t been seen since the early 1990s

Pictured, another male. The Great Fox-Spider is Red-listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ and was feared extinct in the UK as it had only ever been found at three sites, two in Dorset and the other in Surrey, but hadn’t been seen since the early 1990s

‘Even if the back story of its rarity and its rediscovery wasn’t taken into count, this spider is mega. 

‘It’s about as handsome as a spider gets, it’s big and now it’s officially a member of the British fauna again. 

The rediscovery of the Great Fox spider is indeed the most exciting thing to happen in wildlife circles for quite some time. Glad it’s in safe hands.’   

The species had only ever been found at three sites – two in Dorset and one in Surrey – but hadn’t been seen again until 2020.  

Waite now plans to continue his study to gauge the size of the Great Fox population.  

Mature female. The species is ground dwelling and largely nocturnal but Mike Waite, spider enthusiast at Surrey Wildlife Trust, had never given up hope that he might find the monster spider

Mature female. The species is ground dwelling and largely nocturnal but Mike Waite, spider enthusiast at Surrey Wildlife Trust, had never given up hope that he might find the monster spider

Mature female. The species is ground dwelling and largely nocturnal but Mike Waite, spider enthusiast at Surrey Wildlife Trust, had never given up hope that he might find the monster spider

Mature female. With excellent eyesight, camouflage and speed, the Great Fox-Spider Alopecosa fabrilis is one of the largest of the Wolf-Spider Lycosidae family of spiders

Mature female. With excellent eyesight, camouflage and speed, the Great Fox-Spider Alopecosa fabrilis is one of the largest of the Wolf-Spider Lycosidae family of spiders

Mature female. With excellent eyesight, camouflage and speed, the Great Fox-Spider Alopecosa fabrilis is one of the largest of the Wolf-Spider Lycosidae family of spiders

Mature female. Not only incredibly agile and fast running, Great Fox-Spiders have excellent eyesight with wrap-around vision provided by eight black eyes on its head, or cephalothorax

Mature female. Not only incredibly agile and fast running, Great Fox-Spiders have excellent eyesight with wrap-around vision provided by eight black eyes on its head, or cephalothorax

Mature female. Not only incredibly agile and fast running, Great Fox-Spiders have excellent eyesight with wrap-around vision provided by eight black eyes on its head, or cephalothorax

Male. Great Fox-Spiders immobilize their prey, including insects such as beetles, ants and smaller spiders, by injecting them with venom, which liquifies the internal organs of the insect

Male. Great Fox-Spiders immobilize their prey, including insects such as beetles, ants and smaller spiders, by injecting them with venom, which liquifies the internal organs of the insect

Male. Great Fox-Spiders immobilize their prey, including insects such as beetles, ants and smaller spiders, by injecting them with venom, which liquifies the internal organs of the insect

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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