Richard Dunwoody is swapping his walking boots for dancing shoes — to appear in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing.

The former champion jockey will be dancing with Lilia Kopylova in the seventh series of the popular BBC One dance extravaganza.

“When the racing world find out that I’m lined up for this they’re going to laugh their heads off,” said “Dancing Dunwoody”.

Richard is one of 16 celebrities lined up for the contest — including world champion boxer Joe Calzaghe, TV presenter Rav Wilding, former cricketer Phil Tufnell, Footballers’ Wives star Zoe Lucker, tennis star Martina Hingis and model Jo Wood (full list below).

Strictly Come Dancing is back with a new format this autumn — with shows on both Friday and Saturday nights for the first two weeks.

Each couple will have to dance two dances in their first week — either a waltz or tango on the Friday and a cha-cha or rumba on the Saturday — so the pressure is on right from the start.

Surrounded by scantily-clad and attractive women, this might be one of the more pleasant challenges Richard has undertaken in recent years.

On Friday, 10 July he finished walking 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours for charity; in January he successfully summitted Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, and in January 2008 Richard walked to the South Pole.

The series kicks off on 18 September.

Strictly Come Dancing — the women

Ali Bastian – actress and star of police drama The Bill, who will be dancing with Brian Fortuna

Lynda Bellingham – actress and TV presenter, who will be dancing with Darren Bennett

Natalie Cassidy – actress and former EastEnders star, who will be dancing with Vincent Simone

Martina Hingis – former professional tennis player and women’s world No. 1, who will be dancing with Matthew Cutler

Jade Johnson – long jumper and Olympic athlete, who will be dancing with Ian Waite

Zoe Lucker – actress and former star of Footballers’ Wives, who will be dancing with James Jordan

Laila Rouass – actress and former star of Footballers’ Wives, who will be dancing with Anton Du Beke

Jo Wood – model and businesswoman, who will be dancing with Brendan Cole

Strictly Come Dancing — the men

Joe Calzaghe – Britain’s only undefeated boxing world champion, who will be dancing with Kristina Rihanoff

Richard Dunwoody – horse-racing legend who will be dancing with Lilia Kopylova

Ricky Groves – actor and EastEnders star, who will be dancing with Erin Boag

Chris Hollins – BBC Breakfast TV’s sports presenter, who will be dancing with Ola Jordan

Craig Kelly – actor and Coronation Street star, who will be dancing with Flavia Cacace

Phil Tufnell – former cricketer and TV presenter, who will be dancing with Katya Virshilas

Ricky Whittle – actor and Hollyoaks star, who will be dancing with Natalie Lowe

Rav Wilding – TV presenter, who will be dancing with Aliona Vilani