Gemma Atkinson announced as the fourth contestant for Strictly Come Dancing 2017

Gemma follows in the footsteps of Ruth Langsford, Davood Ghadami and Mollie King

Gemma Atkinson has been revealed as the fourth contestant in the line-up for this year's Strictly Come Dancing (opens in new tab).

News of Gemma's role on the show was revealed by former contestant Naga Munchetty and co-host Charlie Stayt on today's episode of BBC Breakfast, and confirmed with a tweet from the official Strictly Come Dancing account, which said that she'd be 'bringing the drama to the ballroom'.

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'I am honoured to be asked and so thrilled to be joining Strictly Come Dancing 2017!' the actress exclaimed of her appointment. 'I'm beyond excited and incredibly nervous but I am looking forward to learning a new skill in ballroom and latin dancing and taking on this new challenge.'

Former Hollyoaks star Gemma, who played Lisa Hunter in the Channel 4 soap, follows in the footsteps of This Morning presenter Ruth Langsford (opens in new tab), EastEnders actor Davood Ghadami and The Saturdays singer Mollie King, who have all already been confirmed to be taking part in the BBC dance competition.

Ruth, who announced that she would be competing for the glitterball live on air yesterday, echoed Gemma's sentiments, admitting: 'Without doubt it will be the scariest yet most exciting thing I've ever done. It'll be a welcome change worrying about my next hot move instead of my next hot flush!'

2017 will see the usual Strictly Come Dancing format go through something of a shake up, with three new professional dancers and a new head judge, British ballroom dancer Shirley Ballas, joining the show.

Shirley's appointment comes after beloved Strictly star Len Goodman, 73, announced that he would be retiring after 12 years on the panel.

'This adventure began when I was 60 and now I've reached my 70s, I've decided after this year it's time to hand the role of head judge to someone else,' he said in an official statement in 2017.

The official air date for the 15th series has yet to be confirmed, although in the past it has typically been scheduled to begin in September.

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