Take a peek at this years Strictly stars

Countdown maths boffin Rachel Riley today clocked up some impressive figures of her own after bookies installed her as favourite to win Strictly Come Dancing when the line-up was confirmed.

She will take on the likes of Hairy Biker Dave Myers, fashion designer Julien Macdonald and singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor in the new series, which has its launch at the weekend.

Riley, a 27-year-old Oxford graduate, has been placed as the early favourite at 4-1 by bookmaker William Hill, with model Abbey Clancy – wife of soccer star Peter Crouch - close behind at 5-1.

The 15-strong line-up will feature in the launch show on Saturday and will be hoping to remain in the contest until December as they battle for the all-important glitterball trophy.

Others who were unveiled yesterday are Coronation Street’s Natalie Gumede, Dragons’ Den panellist Deborah Meaden and retired rugby player Ben Cohen, who now runs an anti-bullying charity foundation.

Former Bond girl Fiona Fullerton, who featured in A View To A Kill; Ashley Taylor Dawson from Hollyoaks; radio presenter Vanessa Feltz; and Patrick Robinson from Casualty are also among the stars hoping to dazzle on the dancefloor.

Another competitor, BBC Breakfast host Susanna Reid, told today how she is “aching in places I’ve never ached before”, after beginning her training for Strictly.

But Reid who has already appeared on a Children in Need Strictly special in 2011, added she was “not in it to win it, just to enjoy it”. Strictly co-presenter Tess Daly hinted that she fears the show has a shelf-life – because it will run out of top-notch celebrities.

The ballroom dancing show is returning  for its 11th series and Daly, 44, said the show was “a gift” and “a national treasure”, adding that “being part of such a juggernaut is a huge honour”.

She said: “We never thought it would last this long and I don’t want it ever to end, but the celebrity pool is getting smaller. We must have gone through 150 and we pride ourselves on a higher class of contestant. We have standards to maintain.”

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