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Gemma Atkinson almost turned down Strictly Come Dancing - and here's why

strictly come dancing 2017 celebrities line up - 5

Soap actress Gemma Atkinson has revealed she almost said no to Strictly Come Dancing.

Actress Gemma has first rose to fame in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks before moving to BBC One's Casualty and later ITV's Emmerdale, where she was nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ at the National Television Awards last year.

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Gemma is one of this year's fifteen celebrity contestants on Strictly but almost turned the offer down.

"I didn't say yes straight away. In fact I almost turned it down," Gemma explained. "I was worried about Strictly throwing me back into the spotlight and I was scared of performing on live TV each week in front of 12million people."

She told the Daily Star on Sunday newspaper: "I've been in huge shows like Emmerdale, Casualty and Hollyoaks but I'm used to pre-recording everything.

"I actually stopped doing live theatre about 10 years ago because it is so nerve-racking, but I'll just have to get over that."

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Joining Gemma on the Strictly Come Dancing cast this year are The Saturdays' Mollie King, EastEnders actor Davood Ghadami, Host of ITV's This Morning and regular Loose Women panellist Ruth Langsford and Reverend Richard Coles.

Also on the official line up right now are TV chef and presenter Simon Rimmer, Holby City actor Joe McFadden, BBC Radio 4 comic Susan Calman, JLS singer Aston Merrygold and comic Brian Conley.

They're joined by Good Morning Britain presenter Charlotte Hawkins, Holby City actress Chizzy Akudolu, X Factor winner turned West End star Alexandra Burke, Paralympian Jonnie Peacock, and Debbie McGee, TV personality, presenter and the widow of magician Paul Daniels.

Meanwhile, the precise Strictly Come Dancing 2017 start date has now been officially confirmed with Strictly starting on TV on Saturday, September 9 at 7PM.

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In the launch, the celebs will meet their pro partners before taking to the dancefloor for the first time for a group dance.

The first live show then takes place on Saturday, September 23.