The roster of celebrities for the 2018 Strictly Come Dancing series “ticks every box” despite claims that it is not the strongest line-up, says last year’s winner Joe McFadden.
The actor said there is somebody for everybody in the new crop of contestants.
Katie Piper, Ashley Roberts, Vick Hope and Kate Silverton led the celebrities at the sequin-studded launch in London on Monday night.
The BBC show begins on September 8.
Former Holby City star McFadden said: “It’s a fantastic line-up.
“There is someone off Casualty, there is a presenter, there’s a Paralympian… it ticks every box for me.”
Craig Revel Horwood, one of the judges on the programme also defended the line-up.
He said he believes the show – which is now on its 16th series – will see same-sex couples competing “eventually”, adding: “I think more and more people want it.
“I have no argument against it. I think it would be rather fun. Maybe the BBC will be brave enough one day to do it.”
Meanwhile, contestant and Steps singer Faye Tozer said she was “over the moon” at taking part in the show.
“For me it’s all the dresses, the costumes, the themes, getting to dance with a partner, learning a new skill. It’s just a beautiful show to be on,” she said.
YouTube vlogger Joe Sugg, who is the younger brother of beauty blogger Zoella, said he expected “the majority of people not to have a clue who I am, which is fine”.
“Hopefully when it starts they will get to know me and think I’m all right.”
He added that his moves “aren’t great” at the moment and said he has “a lot of work to do”.
Former England cricketer Graeme Swann said he “had never been more nervous” for the competition – “apart from my wedding day”.
And speaking at the show’s launch at London’s BBC Broadcasting House, Lee Ryan, from boy band Blue, said being on such a huge programme was “daunting” and said he was “a bit worried”.
“It is such a big show and you know there is going to be a lot of media attention,” he said, adding: “I’m quite competitive as well so I will want to improve.”
TV fashion stylist Susannah Constantine said she had some demands about the costumes she would be willing to wear during the competition, such as keeping her arms covered, adding: “I’m very happy to be kind of matronly a little bit, but colourful.”
Other celebrities taking part include former Pussycat Dolls singer Ashley Roberts, who has presented on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and was a guest judge on BBC talent show Let It Shine.
TV medic Dr Ranj Singh is also on the line-up, as is double world champion paratriathlete and silver Paralympic medallist Lauren Steadman.
Red Dwarf actor Danny John-Jules, comedian Seann Walsh, BBC News presenter Kate Silverton and documentary maker Stacey Dooley are also among the 15 celebrities.