Shirley Ballas teases Strictly celeb line up that's 'off the chart' as show celebrates 20th anniversary

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has teased an ‘off the chart’ line up for the new series this winter, as the BBC show celebrates it’s 20th anniversary. We may not have too long to wait before we find out which celebs will be taking to the dance floor.

“The celebrities will be announced, I believe July,” the 63-year-old said on Saturday’s episode of Katie Piper ’s Breakfast Show. “I think it’s coming up rather soon.

“It’s going to be absolutely off the chart,” the judge teased. “Just when you think the show can’t get any better, it does. We’ve got a great professional line-up, of course, Tess and Claudia are back,” she continued.

Shirley smiling Strictly
Shirley teased an 'off the charts' line up for this year's Strictly -Credit:ITV

Shirley then went on to speak about the ‘magnificent four,’ which she calls the judges, expressing how they have a “great bond together.”

The BBC show will be celebrating it’s 20th series this winter without the presence of dance professional Giovanni Pernice, who left the show after nine years following complaints about his approach to training on the show from former celebrity dance partner Amanda Abbington and others.

Amanda accused him of "abusive or threatening behaviour" that left her "broken and in tears" and suffering from "mild Post Traumatic Stress Disorder".

Giovanni has strongly denied these accusations.

In an Instagram statement, the Italian dancer wrote: "To my fans and followers, as you know, I have always rejected any suggestion of abusive or threatening behaviour.

"The latest accusations are simply false. I am cooperating fully with the ongoing BBC investigation, which will determine the truth.

Giovanni stricly
Giovanni has left the BBC show after 9 years -Credit:BBC

"As requested, I have stayed silent, but I am looking forward to the conclusion of the investigation and ultimately clearing my name and establishing the truth."

Shirley recently aired her opinion during at Q&A for her new crime novel. According to The Mirror, she said: “I know he is a hard worker. He wants the people to do the very best that they can do. Obviously in my life I was bullied a lot. I don't condone bullying on any path but also I don't believe gossip and what you read in the newspapers because things get escalated and they are blown way out of all proportion and it can turn into a great big snowball.

“So my feeling for Giovanni is, let them do this investigation or whatever it is they are doing and the truth will come out. So we don’t judge anybody until I know absolutely 100 per cent. I won’t pass on the gossip unless I know 100 per cent it is true. I have never ever, ever experienced any ill will or bad feeling or bad sportsmanship or rudeness from him. He will be missed.

"He is coming to my party with Anton on Sunday. You know, I can only talk from my own perspective," she said, before revealing she'd known the dancer for 10 years.

"My mother loves him. It does not matter when he is on tour, or where he is or what he is doing, he will make his way across and he will say ‘Lovely to see you Shirley. Lovely to see your mum.’

“I have got so many beautiful pictures, of the times that he spent, particularly when my mum was poorly, and he reached out. So he has always been to me, and I will make that clear, to me... a perfect gentleman.”