A spectacular, extravagant, and eagerly anticipated, opening performance, that gave us a taste into what we can expect from Will Bayley and BBC Strictly.  He joined the stage with pop star Kylie Minogue and the rest of the Strictly cast.

As they announced the full cast, Bayley walked down and onto the famous Strictly floor as the 9th contestant. Bayley was in full Strictly glamour as he begins his journey to win the glitterball trophy. He was wearing a burgundy suit accompanied with the glitz and glam of a shimmering silver shirt, giving him the complete Strictly Come Dancing look.

The BBC gave us a glimpse of the group dance rehearsals. The insider footage displayed frantic stars and a tired but excited Bayley leaning on BBC breakfast sports presenter, Mark Bushell. Before claiming “I thought I was going to drop her” thankfully! He did not!

Bayley discussed in his interview clip, his childhood and how the paralympic gold medal he achieved in Rio 2016 was “one of the greatest moments of his life.” We also later found out, that the Bayley household is enormous fans of Bruno Tonioli the comedic and ever-present strictly judge. Bonus points for Bayley?.

HOWEVER. The moment later arrived. Bayley was summoned to find out his fate for who he would be partnered with for the 17th season of Strictly Come Dancing. Tess Dayley then announced, “It’s Janette!”. Claudia Winkleman proceded to wish Bayley the best of luck for the European Para Table Tennis Championships in Helsingborg, before presenting him with a strictlyfied table tennis paddle.

So who is Janette Manrara? Well, the Miami born professional dancer is heading into her 6th Strictly Come Dancing season. Janette is yet to win but has come close on multiple occasions. So can her partnership with Bayley see them cha-cha to the top?

All associated with Table Tennis England will eagerly await Bayley’s first performance, and we wish him all the best! You can also get involved through our #BackBayley campaign and show your support across social media for Bayley and Janette Manrara as they hopefully storm through the competition.

Remember, keep dancing! (or playing table tennis!)