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Strictly Come Dancing 2021: All you need to know



Strictly Come Dancing 2021

Strictly Come Dancing has confirmed the 2021 contestants, professional dancers and new judging panel ahead of the shows return on Saturday 18.


Excitement for the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2021 is building as the BBC announce new professional dancers, a re-vamped judging panel and the celebrity contestants who will be participating in this 19th series of the show.


The show begins Saturday 18 but celebs won’t begin to compete for the glitterball trophy in live shows until the weekend after.


Tom Fletcher, McFly band member and author, was the first to confirm his place in this year’s lineup


He will be joined by Olympic gold medallist swimmer, Adam Peaty, actor Greg Wise, soap stars Katie McGlynn and Nina Wadia and strictly’ first deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis.


Also, ready to put on their dancing shoes are TikTok sensation, and Gordon Ramsay’s daughter, Tilly Ramsay, former rugby player Ugo Monye, comedians Judi Love and Robert Webb alongside Dragons Den entrepreneur Sara Davies.


TV presenters AJ Odudu, Rhys Stephenson and Dan Walker are also among those preparing to step foot on the dancefloor.


In another Strictly first the Great British Bake Off winner, John Whaite, is set to make up the first allmale dancing couple on the show.


But it’s not just the celebrities who are new additions to Strictly this year. Four new professional dancers are also experiencing the magic for the first time.


Strictly Come Dancing Judges 2021: Credit BBC


Kai Widdrington, Jowita Przystal, Cameron Lombard and Nikita Kuzmin complete the professional team after strictly favourites, such as Anton Du Beke and Janette Manrara, are set to fulfil nondancing roles on the show this series.


In last year’s series, after being voted off the show early, Anton joined the judging panel for a limited number of episodes.


This year Anton will become a permanent fixture to the judging panel in place of Bruno Tonioli who can not travel due to coronavirus restrictions.


He will be sat alongside head judge Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Criag Revel Horwood.


Due to the ease in coronavirus restrictions, there will be a limited live audience permitted this season after the show had to go-ahead without in-person viewers last year due to the pandemic.


In 2020, contestants formed ‘bubbles’ with their dance partners to ensure safety of the cast and crew.


In 2020, contestants formed ‘bubbles’ with their dance partners to ensure safety of the cast and crew.


Fortunately, they were able to reunite at the finale show where they performed an ‘extra special last dance’.


What are your thoughts on this years lineup?


Story: Brooke Murphy: 19th September 2021



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Seaburn and Roker Beaches Named Best Beaches in the Country in 2022



Sunderland’s beaches have been named among the best in the country for the 11th year running.

Seaburn and Roker were both named as winners of the Seaside Award by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. The pair were once again handed Blue Flags, marking them out for their for their excellent water quality, cleanliness and attempts to constantly improve visitor amenities.

The Blue Flag awards, now in their 35th year, are issued by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy and act as ‘a quality mark so visitors can be sure the beaches boast top-notch facilities and meet the highest environmental standards’.

Linda Williams, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for Vibrant City, said: “It is fantastic to see Sunderland’s beautiful beaches once again awarded the prestigious Blue Flag and Seaside Award.

“Flying these flags at Roker and Seaburn shows everyone who visits that our seafront has excellent quality bathing water and first-class facilities.

“We’re very lucky to have fantastic beaches with beautiful, clean water to swim and bathe in, and this national recognition is testament to the hard work of everyone involved in keeping our beaches clean, tidy and well-maintained.”

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Family’s bid to bring home body of Gateshead lad who drowned while rescuing his dog in Spain



Paul Lebihan, from Leam Lane, who has been living in Spain, was pulled from a river near Benidorm by ambulance crews on Monday.

A Gateshead family is appealing for help to bring an ‘amazing, selfless’ 25-year-old home, after he drowned in Spain while rescuing his dog from a river.

Paul Lebihan, from Leam Lane, died on Monday after getting into trouble in the Bolulla River, near Benidorm, after successfully freeing the dog from the current. Now his family has launched a fundraising appeal to help bring Paul’s body back home and give him the memorial he deserves.

Paul’s cousin, Kallym Bell, launched a GoFundMe page in support of Paul’s parents, Deborah and Paul Snr. In less than 24 hours the page had already raised over £7,000, with hundreds of people leaving comments paying tribute to ‘one of nicest men you could ever meet’.

Keen amateur boxer Paul was well known by many people across the Leam Lane Estate, and beloved by colleagues from the several years he spent working in the navy. Kallym, 19, called Paul: “An amazing, selfless man with a heart of gold, always the biggest laugh and the very best to be around.”

Donations can be made to help bring Paul home at:

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Disabled Teen Denied Wetherspoon’s Entry With Assistance Dog



A disabled teenager said he felt ‘absolutely humiliated’ after he was refused entry to a Wetherspoons with his assistance dog. 19 year old River Cartledge, who has autism, fibromyalgia and arthritis – takes his assistance dog Chico most places with him.

Video footage below from Instagram shows him pleading with security guards and the manager of The Five Swans in Newcastle to let him inside the pub with his harnessed up Shih Tzu on Saturday night.

River said: “Their issue was the fact he was an assistance dog, and not a guide dog.

“I quoted the Equality Act 2010, and the guide for all businesses, both of which any business that’s open to the public like any Wetherspoons is, have to abide by legally, regardless of any “policy” they may have in place,” he added.

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits service providers, including taxis and restaurants, from discriminating against those who need an assistance dog with them. It also requires service providers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled customers.

River claimed he had a ‘severe meltdown and panic attack’ after the interaction. ‘I have never had an experience like this and it caused me to have a medical episode.’

Chico has belonged to River for eight years and was trained as an assistance dog two years ago. River said: “Assistance dog handlers such as myself get denied in public places more often than it’s talked about, and it always makes us feel like this, and like we’re the ones causing problems for ourselves by needing a dog, when in reality it’s the ableism and ignorance of other people, not the disabled person.”

He also added “‘I was straight up told that they only allowed seeing eye dogs and they didn’t allow assistance dogs, because of their “policy”.

According to Guide Dogs UK ‘75% of all assistance dog owners surveyed [in 2015] said they had been refused access to a service at some point because they had an assistance dog with them’. 

Five Swans: sign saying they allow assistance dogs *face palm*

Wetherspoons’ policy states: “We do allow registered assistance dogs.

“In these circumstances, and to avoid any confusion or unnecessary upset, ensure that your dog is wearing its recognisable leash/collar or harness. 

“It would also be helpful if you could bring along suitable documentation to explain your dog’s purpose.”

River said he had ID from Assistance Dogs UK, a certification body, with him but was unable to show it at the time. Chico was however wearing a harness.

Following the complaint to the pub chain, Wetherspoon’s spokesperson Eddie Gershon said: “It was an error not to let them in with the assistance dog.

“It was a genuine error and we apologise wholeheartedly.

“We can understand the fact they would have been upset and frustrated by the situation.

“Assistance dogs are allowed into Wetherspoon pubs and we will reiterate this to staff at the pub and the company’s pubs in general.

“They are more than welcome to visit the pub with the dog.”

Good dog Chico. Check out River and Chico’s adventures here!

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