Celebrities will dance with wheelchair users in a new BBC Three variation of Strictly Come Dancing.

Heather Small, Mark Foster, Michelle Gayle, ex Hollyoaks star Kevin Sacre, Martin Offiah and TV presenter Caroline Flack will partner wheelchair users who have never danced before in the six-part Dancing on Wheels.

BBC Three controller Danny Cohen said: “This is a really important project for BBC Three, and underlines our commitment to covering disability in a mainstream way following the success of Britain’s Missing Top Model last year.”

In Dancing On Wheels, the couples will be compete in a ‘combi’ event where a standing able-bodied dancer partners a wheelchair user. The winning couple will go on to represent the UK at the Wheelchair Dance Sport European Championships in Israel this autumn.

The wheelchair users include a 22-year-old Cambridge graduate, a 48-year-old magazine editor and mother, a cocky 31-year-old whose impressive acrobatic ability puts most able-bodied people to shame, a 24-year-old festival-goer, and a 23-year-old who recently got married to a girl he met while travelling in Thailand.

They will have just five weeks to progress from novices to skilled exponents of the paso doble and cha-cha-cha.