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Strictly Come Dancing gets a ratings boost peaking at 8.4m viewers


Strictly Come Dancing had a welcome boost in ratings overnight on Saturday.

Having suffered a coupling-up launch show low last week, with just over 7 million viewers, it seems fans were much more eager to watch the first run of live dances this weekend – bumping up to 8 million.

The BBC said an average audience of 7.9 million tuned in on Saturday night to watch the couples compete in front of the judges for the first time.

Steady riser: Strictly Come Dancing had a welcome boost in ratings overnight on Saturday [Karen Hauer and Greg Wise  are pictured]

Steady riser: Strictly Come Dancing had a welcome boost in ratings overnight on Saturday [Karen Hauer and Greg Wise  are pictured]

The BBC One celebrity dancing competition was watched by a peak audience of 8.4 million and had a 47.9 per cent audience share.

Television presenter AJ Odudu impressed the judges as she topped the leaderboard alongside her partner Kai Widdrington with a score of 34 for her jive to Gold Dust by DJ Fresh.

Judge Motsi Mabuse hailed her routine ‘the best dance of the evening, without a doubt’.

Great British Bake Off star John Whaite came joint second on the leaderboard with 30 in the competition’s first all-male pairing alongside professional dancer Johannes Radebe.

Boost: Having suffered a coupling-up launch show low last week, with just over 7 million viewers, it seems fans were much more eager to watch the first run of live dances this weekend - bumping up to 8 million [Nadiya Bychkova and Dan Walker are pictured]

Boost: Having suffered a coupling-up launch show low last week, with just over 7 million viewers, it seems fans were much more eager to watch the first run of live dances this weekend – bumping up to 8 million [Nadiya Bychkova and Dan Walker are pictured]

Olympic swimming champion Adam Peaty was also given a score of 30 by the judges after performing with Katya Jones.

No celebrities left the show during Saturday’s episode. Instead, the judges’ scores will be carried over to next week when viewers will have the chance to vote for their favourite of the 15 couples.

Celebrities including comedians Robert Webb and Judi Love, BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker, actor Greg Wise and actress Rose Ayling-Ellis are also among the stars taking part in the current series.

Record low: Strictly Come Dancing returned to screens for its 2021 run a week ago - drawing in 7 million viewers and peaking at 7.3 million

Record low: Strictly Come Dancing returned to screens for its 2021 run a week ago – drawing in 7 million viewers and peaking at 7.3 million

Dragon’s Den star Sara Davies currently sits bottom of the leaderboard with a score of 17.

Last week, the series returned to screens for its 2021 run, peaking at 7.3 million.

While the number seems far from paltry, this was in fact the BBC‘s powerhouse series’ least-watched ‘pairing up’ show since its inception.

The episode sees the pro dancers partnered up with their celebrity contestant for the first time, and was introduced as part of the format in 2010.

Tuning in: While the number seems far from paltry, this was in fact the BBC's powerhouse series' least-watched 'pairing up' show since its inception [pictured hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly]

Tuning in: While the number seems far from paltry, this was in fact the BBC’s powerhouse series’ least-watched ‘pairing up’ show since its inception [pictured hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly]

The most-watched pairing show took place in 2016, with 9.3 million tuning in. Last year, 8.6 watched, while 2019 saw 7.8 million glued to their TV screens. The first-ever pair up episode, 11 years ago, drew 8.7 million.

As writes The Mirror, a TV source blamed the clement September weather, saying: ‘Lots of people had been out and about enjoying the early autumn sunshine and will probably watch on catch-up today.

‘The ratings are sure to pick up once the live shows start next weekend, and viewers get to see whether the celebs can actually dance – or not.’

The viewing didn’t take into account those watching on catch-up or on the BBC iPlayer.

STRICTLY COME DANCING 2021: WHO ARE THE COUPLES?

TOM FLETCHER & AMY DOWDEN

Celebrity’s Age: 36

Profession: McFly musician

Tom says: ‘I’m so pleased the news is out it’s been so hard keeping it secret. Equal parts excited and terrified.’

Fun fact: Tom’s McFly bandmate Harry Judd won Strictly Come Dancing in 2011. Tom’s wife Giovanna Fletcher is the reigning champion of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

ROBERT WEBB & DIANNE BUSWELL

 Celebrity’s Age: 48

Profession: Actor and comedian

Robert says: ‘It’s very exciting but with a slight undertone of quivering terror.’

Fun Fact: Robert squeezed into a shiny leotard to take the title of Let’s Dance For Comic Relief in 2009, performing What A Feeling from ’80s film Flashdance, beating the likes of Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness to the title. 

RHYS STEPHENSON & NANCY XU  

Celebrity’s Age: 27

Profession: CBBC presenter  

Rhys says: ‘I have dreamt about being on this show, and I know for a fact that it is going to exceed every expectation’

Fun fact: Rhys has been an actor since the age of ten, performing alongside Matt Smith and Hugh Bonneville. 

KATIE MCGLYNN & GORKA MARQUEZ

 Celebrity’s Age: 28

Profession: Actress

Katie says: ‘I’m really not a dancer, but I’m so excited to learn a new skill on this crazy journey and cannot wait to slip into some sequins along the way.’

Fun fact: Katie, who played Sinead Tinker in Corrie, won a NTA for Best Serial Drama Performance in 2020. 

TILLY RAMSAY & NIKITA KUZMIN

Celebrity’s Age: 19

Profession: CBBC presenter

Tilly says: ’I’m going to put my heart and soul into this and can’t wait to get my dancing shoes on!’

Fun fact: Tilly’s father is celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and the pair often star in dancing TikTok videos.

NINA WADIA & NEIL JONES  

Celebrity’s Age: 52

Profession: Actress

Nina says: ‘I think I should do this before I’m too old and can’t walk anymore. I just want to grab life by the horns and just enjoy it.’

Fun fact: Nina is a JDRF Ambassador and was awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List. 

ADAM PEATY & KATYA JONES

Celebrity’s Age: 26

Profession: Athlete 

Adam says: ‘I’m really looking forward to doing something totally different and challenging myself away from the pool.’

Fun fact: Adam becoming the first British swimmer to defend an Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.

UGO MONYE & OTI MABUSE

 

Celebrity’s Age: 38

Profession: Rugby player and sports pundit

Ugo says: ‘What a dream come true! Strictly is the biggest entertainment show on TV and I can’t wait to show everyone I’ve got more than just dad dancing moves.

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Fun fact: Beginning his rugby career at Harlequins in 2002, Ugo went on to make 241 appearances for the club where he scored 89 tries, won a Premiership and made his England debut in 2008.

 

AJ ODUDU & KAI WIDDRINGTON

Celebrity’s Age: 33

Profession: TV presenter

 AJ says: ‘I think it’s going to be really challenging. I can’t wait for the sequins, the wigs, the glitz and the glamour.’

Fun Fact: Apocalypse Wow hosts AJ has featured on a whopping 14 TV shows this year, competing in the likes oF Cooking With The Stars and Celebrity Karaoke Club. She has appeared as a panelist on Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two in the past, too.

JOHN WHAITE & JOHANNES RADEBE

Celebrity’s Age: 33

Profession: Great British Bake Off Winner and TV chef

 John says: ‘I’m so grateful, excited, and nervous to be joining the Strictly 2021 family… I’ve been wearing sequins and jazzy attire since I was three years old and can’t wait to hurl myself, full throttle, around the most glamorous dance floor on earth’

Fun Fact: The duo are the first ever all-male partnering – the first in 17 years of the show.

SARA DAVIES & ALJAZ SKORJANEC

Celebrity’s Age: 37  

Profession:  Businesswoman

Sara says: ‘I’m really nervous because so far the producers keep asking me if I can dance… Truth be told – I haven’t got a clue! I’ve not danced since I did ballet lessons when I was little.’

Fun fact: Sara was the youngest ever dragon on BBC show Dragons’ Den.

DAN WALKER & NADIYA BYCHKOVA

Celebrity’s Age: 44 

Profession: Journalist

Dan says: ‘I’m enjoying the experience when it starts of learning to dance. I’ll be honest I’m not making room on any shelves in my house for the glitterball.’

Fun fact: Dan recently quit Football Focus after 12 years at the helm and has been covering Tokyo Olympics.

 GREG WISE & KAREN HAUER

Celebrity’s Age: 55

Profession: Actor

Greg says: ‘It’s about being out there and exposing yourself as someone who can’t dance, and learning.’

Fun fact: Greg is married to the actress Emma Thompson who he met while filming Sense and Sensibility.  

ROSE AYLING-ELLIS & GIOVANNI PERNICE

Celebrity’s Age: 30

Profession: Actress

Rose says: ‘I hope I will do the deaf community proud and break down more barriers. I am also very excited to learn an incredible new skill.’

 Fun fact: Rose will make history as Strictly’s first deaf contestant. 

 JUDI LOVE & GRAZIANO DI PRIMA

Celebrity’s Age: 41

Profession: Comedienne 

Judi says: ‘I’m truly looking forward to pushing myself in something that I could have only dreamed of doing and now it’s actually coming true!’

Fun fact: Judi began comedy when she performed a set in front of her class for a degree module.

 

 

 

Here he is! Anton Du Beke, 55, took his place on the judging panel alongside returning judges Shirley Ballas, 61, Craig Revel Horwood , 56, and Motsi Mabuse , 40

Here he is! Anton Du Beke, 55, took his place on the judging panel alongside returning judges Shirley Ballas, 61, Craig Revel Horwood , 56, and Motsi Mabuse , 40

Loving it! The Strictly stalwart put on a pair of sunglasses while clad in a sleek tux

Delighted: Anton couldn't hide his happiness as he descended the famous stairs

Loving it! The Strictly stalwart put on a pair of sunglasses while clad in a sleek tux

Ahead of the launch of the new series, it was revealed that two professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing have refused to get Covid jabs, leaving some contestants reluctant to pair with them.

The pair are reportedly the only two pro dancers out of 18 who have not been vaccinated for the BBC hit show, and their identities have not been revealed.

BBC bosses are said to now be fearful that there could be a larger outbreak among those participating in the show. 

A source told The Sun that if a ‘proper outbreak’ led to ‘half the cast’ contracting Covid-19, it would be ‘curtains’ for the show.

They added: ‘Strictly already has to jump through hoops just to be able to broadcast. The dancers who won’t get vaccinated have been a topic of conversation among cast and crew for weeks — even before the positive test.

‘There were vocal protests from celebrities that they didn’t want to be paired with them. It’s a headache for bosses but employers cannot force workers to get jabbed.’      

Wow! Strictly returned with a glittering show opener performed by the professional dancers

Talented: The pros oozed sex appeal throughout the incredible routine

Wow! Strictly returned with a glittering show opener performed by the professional dancers

Golden girl: Luba Mushtuk was hoisted into the air while wearing a sequin tassel jumpsuit

Golden girl: Luba Mushtuk was hoisted into the air while wearing a sequin tassel jumpsuit

An honour! Shirley opened by telling Tess and Claudia: 'I'm so excited. It's such an honour, such a privilege to be back here with everyone in this iconic ballroom'

An honour! Shirley opened by telling Tess and Claudia: ‘I’m so excited. It’s such an honour, such a privilege to be back here with everyone in this iconic ballroom’

On Saturday night, Shirley opened the launch show by telling Tess and Claudia: ‘I’m so excited. It’s such an honour, such a privilege to be back here with everyone in this iconic ballroom.

‘I can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve got in store!’ 

Asked what it takes to win the glitterball Trophy, Anton pulled it up from by his side and joked: ‘I don’t really know. This is the closest I’ve ever come to this.

‘They tell me hard work, listen to your partner and practice, practice, practice.’ 

Later, speaking to camera in a pre-recorded moment, he admitted: ‘I hope they seat me on the opposite side to Craig. He’s gonna be all rude and unpleasant and I’m gonna be lovely!’  

What an entrance: Host Tess sat atop a plastic white horse as her blonde tresses billowed in the breeze

What an entrance: Host Tess sat atop a plastic white horse as her blonde tresses billowed in the breeze

Introducing himself, Roberts Webb enthused about taking part in Strictly: ‘It’s one of the first things I’ve done that my children can actually watch,’ before admitting his eldest was less impressed than his youngest daughter.  

The comedian’s professional dance partner was revealed as Dianne Buswell. After meeting, the red haired beauty taught her partner a few basic moves in a car park.

Speaking to Claudia, Dianne revealed to Robert that their first dance would be the Cha Cha Cha to Rasputin. 

It's Dianne! The comedian's professional dance partner was revealed as Dianne Buswell

Here she is: Dianne will be teaching Robert how to move

It’s Dianne! The comedian’s professional dance partner was revealed as Dianne Buswell

Fun! Dianne revealed to Robert that their first dance would be the Cha Cha Cha to Rasputin

Fun! Dianne revealed to Robert that their first dance would be the Cha Cha Cha to Rasputin 

Katie McGlynn admitted: ‘Being on Strictly means I have to be myself. It is nerve wracking I have to say, but I’m excited about it.’

After showing off her rope-pulling mime moves, the soap star joked: ‘Just hand me the trophy!’ 

After a nerve-wracking wait, Katie’s professional dance partner was unveiled as Gorka Marquez.

While chatting to Claudia, Katie once again showed off her rope lasso move, leaving Gorka to insist that he would be putting in the signature move to their first dance.  

Exciting! Katie McGlynn admitted: 'Being on Strictly means I have to be myself. It is nerve wracking I have to say, but I'm excited about it'

Exciting! Katie McGlynn admitted: ‘Being on Strictly means I have to be myself. It is nerve wracking I have to say, but I’m excited about it’

It's Gorka! Katie's professional dance partner was unveiled as Gorka Marquez

Giving it a go: The new dancing couple took their first steps out onto the ballroom during the launch show

It’s Gorka! Katie’s professional dance partner was unveiled as Gorka Marquez

Joker: After showing off her rope-pulling mime moves, the soap star joked: 'Just hand me the trophy!'

Joker: After showing off her rope-pulling mime moves, the soap star joked: ‘Just hand me the trophy!’ 

Rhys Stephenson confessed that he’s ready to do whatever it takes to be a Strictly success, insisting: ‘I’m merely a canvas, Strictly is the artist. Do what you want.’ 

Rhys ended up being partnered with Nancy Xu and admitted to Claudia that he has had a Strictly playlist for years, which he said is ‘full of bangers.’ 

Sara Davies touched on her Dragon’s Den fame as she told viewers: ‘We’re ditching the boardbroom and heading to the ballroom instead!’ 

The businesswoman’s partner was unveiled as Aljaž Skorjanec, and the professional dancer wasted no time in getting started by teaching her how to do ‘big fish, small fish.’

The pair showed their differences as Sara insisted she wanted to be up and in practice sessions from 6am every day, while Aljaž admitted his more of an 11am riser.  

Ready for action! Rhys Stephenson confessed that he's ready to do whatever it takes to be a Strictly success, insisting: 'I'm merely a canvas, Strictly is the artist. Do what you want.'

Ready for action! Rhys Stephenson confessed that he’s ready to do whatever it takes to be a Strictly success, insisting: ‘I’m merely a canvas, Strictly is the artist. Do what you want.’

It's Nancy! Rhys ended up being partnered with Nancy Xu

Loving it: The CBBC presenter's larger than life personality came across on the dancefloor

It’s Nancy! Rhys ended up being partnered with Nancy Xu

Big fan! Rhys admitted to Claudia that he has had a Strictly playlist for years, which he said is 'full of bangers'

Big fan! Rhys admitted to Claudia that he has had a Strictly playlist for years, which he said is ‘full of bangers’

Sara and husband Simon, 41, have been together since the pair were 15, and work together in their craft supply business.

She joked to The Sun that she spent her wedding anniversary this week ‘in the arms of another man’ while rehearsing with Aljaž.

The Dragon’s Den star also revealed that she invited Aljaz home to share a special anniversary dinner with her and Simon after dance training, laughing: ‘I really hope three’s not a crowd!’ 

Taking a break from the unveiling of pairings, viewers were introduced to the four new professional dancers who have joined the BBC show.

Performing a sizzling mix of sexy dances with some of the stalwart Strictly dancing pros, Jowita Przystal, 26, Nikita Kuzmin, 23, Kai Widdrington, 25, and Cameron Lombard, 20, looked completely at ease.

They all came together in a dance filmed in a warehouse before stepping out onto the Strictly ballroom to huge applause. 

Boardroom to ballroom: Sara Davies touched on her Dragon's Den fame as she told viewers: 'We're ditching the boardbroom and heading to the ballroom instead!'

Boardroom to ballroom: Sara Davies touched on her Dragon’s Den fame as she told viewers: ‘We’re ditching the boardbroom and heading to the ballroom instead!’

It's Aljaž! Sara Davies' dance partner was unveiled as Aljaž Skorjanec

It’s Aljaž! Sara Davies’ dance partner was unveiled as Aljaž Skorjanec

Out of his comfort zone: Next up, Dan Walker admitted that waltzing into a world of glitter and daring costumes is something he's not particularly at ease with, saying: 'I've never undone two buttons in my life!'

Out of his comfort zone: Next up, Dan Walker admitted that waltzing into a world of glitter and daring costumes is something he’s not particularly at ease with, saying: ‘I’ve never undone two buttons in my life!’

It's Nadiya! The BBC Broadcaster was partnered with Nadiya Bychkova and he admitted: 'She has fully put me at ease - I think we can do it, together!'

Getting into the swing of things: Dan appeared less enthused than Nadiya as they hit the dancefloor for a group dance

It’s Nadiya! The BBC Broadcaster was partnered with Nadiya Bychkova and he admitted: ‘She has fully put me at ease – I think we can do it, together!’

Next up, Dan Walker admitted that waltzing into a world of glitter and daring costumes is something he’s not particularly at ease with, saying: ‘I’ve never undone two buttons in my life!’ 

The BBC Broadcaster was partnered with Nadiya Bychkova and he admitted: ‘She has fully put me at ease – I think we can do it, together!’  

Signing as she spoke, Rose Ayling-Ellis gushed: ‘When the Strictly news was announced, The response from the deaf community was my proudest moment.’ 

‘You hear with body language, with vibrations, with atmosphere. I can still enjoy music, it’s just a different experience.’ 

Amazing! Signing as she spoke, Rose Ayling-Ellis gushed: 'When the Strictly news was announced, The response from the deaf community was my proudest moment'

Amazing! Signing as she spoke, Rose Ayling-Ellis gushed: ‘When the Strictly news was announced, The response from the deaf community was my proudest moment’

It's Giovanni! Giovanni Pernice was unveiled as Rose's professional dance partner

In her element: Rose looked effortlessly glamorous as she was lifted by her dancing partner

It’s Giovanni! Giovanni Pernice was unveiled as Rose’s professional dance partner

Exciting! 'He's very open to teaching me in a new way!' said Rose of Giovanni, before being told that they would be performing the jive as their first dance

Exciting! ‘He’s very open to teaching me in a new way!’ said Rose of Giovanni, before being told that they would be performing the jive as their first dance

While on the dancefloor chatting to Tess, actress Rose reiterated her earlier sentiments about the positivity she’s had from the deaf community and added: ‘Finally they see someone like them on Strictly!’

The soap star also introduced her interpreter for the first time, explaining that she would be there to help Rose to communicate. 

Giovanni Pernice was unveiled as Rose’s professional dance partner, and showed off some of the sign language he has learned, and continued to ask her to teach him at every opportunity. 

‘He’s very open to teaching me in a new way!’ gushed Rose to Claudia, before being told that they would be performing the jive as their first dance.  

Her interpreter: The soap star also introduced her interpreter for the first time, explaining that she would be there to help Rose to communicate

Her interpreter: The soap star also introduced her interpreter for the first time, explaining that she would be there to help Rose to communicate

Adam Peaty spoke to camera in his introduction to reel off his incredible sporting achievements.

Chatting to Tess on the dancefloor he said: ‘I’m a swimmer, I’m meant to be horizontal. Being vertical I’m not so comfortable!’ 

Adam’s professional partner was unveiled as Katya Jones, who told viewers: ‘This is how it’s going to work – I tell him what to do. He listens and does.’ 

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Claudia branded the pairing: ‘the most competitive couple we’ve ever had!’  

Sports star: Adam Peaty said: 'I'm a swimmer, I'm meant to be horizontal. Being vertical I'm not so comfortable!'

Sports star: Adam Peaty said: ‘I’m a swimmer, I’m meant to be horizontal. Being vertical I’m not so comfortable!’

It's Katya! Adam's professional partner was unveiled as Katya Jones

It’s Katya! Adam’s professional partner was unveiled as Katya Jones

In charge: Katya told viewers: 'This is how it's going to work - I tell him what to do. He listens and does'

In charge: Katya told viewers: ‘This is how it’s going to work – I tell him what to do. He listens and does’

It's Kai! AJ Odudu was paired with new Strictly professional dancer Kai Widdrington

Happy days: Both AJ and Kai beamed with enthusiasm during the first group dance

It’s Kai! AJ Odudu was paired with new Strictly professional dancer Kai Widdrington

Sensational: AJ commanded attention during her first turn on the dance floor with Kai

Sensational: AJ commanded attention during her first turn on the dance floor with Kai

AJ Odudu admitted: ‘You may never have seen me at all!’ after listing her presenting credentials, and confessed: ‘I’m hoping this experiences unleashes gracefulness in me.’ 

The presenter was paired with new Strictly professional dancer Kai Widdrington. 

AJ also revealed that she once broke her toe on a disco ball in her living room while ‘living it up’ watching Strictly Come Dancing on TV.   

So up for it! Greg Wise enthused: 'Give me all the feathers, all the sequins. I am ready to give 100%. This 55 year old man might surprise you!'

So up for it! Greg Wise enthused: ‘Give me all the feathers, all the sequins. I am ready to give 100%. This 55 year old man might surprise you!’

It's Karen! Greg Wise was paired up with Karen Hauer

Happy times: The new dancing duo couldn't hide their happiness as they struck a pose at the end of the first group routine

It’s Karen! Greg Wise was paired up with Karen Hauer

Fun times! The actor admitted of Karen: 'Secretly, I was hoping I would get her'

Fun times! The actor admitted of Karen: ‘Secretly, I was hoping I would get her’ 

Greg Wise enthused: ‘Give me all the feathers, all the sequins. I am ready to give 100%. This 55 year old man might surprise you!’

While at a stately home, Greg arrived on a white horse and was paired up with Karen Hauer, with the duo admitting they were both ‘thrilled.’

The actor admitted of Karen: ‘Secretly, I was hoping I would get her.’  

Yes queen! Judi Love was bursting with energy as she introduced herself to viewers and stated: 'From this day forward, I am a dancer... I am gonna dance my socks off!'

Yes queen! Judi Love was bursting with energy as she introduced herself to viewers and stated: ‘From this day forward, I am a dancer… I am gonna dance my socks off!’

It's Graziano! Graziano Di Prima was unveiled as Judi's partner

Sizzling: The duo showed off their sizzling chemistry during their first foray onto the dancefloor together

It’s Graziano! Graziano Di Prima was unveiled as Judi’s partner

Loving it: The Loose Women star admitted to Claudia that she dreamt of being paired with the Italian stallion

Loving it: The Loose Women star admitted to Claudia that she dreamt of being paired with the Italian stallion

Judi Love was bursting with energy as she introduced herself to viewers and stated: ‘From this day forward, I am a dancer… I am gonna dance my socks off!’

Asked by Tess if her daughters now believe she’s on the show, Judi admitted when they had to help her into the bath after training, they realised. 

The comedian jokes her daughter was put off while assisting her naked mother from behind, but Judi told her: ‘Girl, you came from there, get over it!’ 

Graziano Di Prima was unveiled as Judi’s partner and the Loose Women star admitted to Claudia that she dreamt of being paired with the Italian stallion. 

He revealed that they would be dancing to Aretha Franklin and performing the American Smooth.  

Hilarious: Nina Wadia spoke about her first fake tan experience, telling Tess: 'I asked for Bombay Glow but I think I got three weeks in the Sahara'

Hilarious: Nina Wadia spoke about her first fake tan experience, telling Tess: ‘I asked for Bombay Glow but I think I got three weeks in the Sahara’

It's Neil! Nina Wadia was teamed up with professional dancer Neil Jones

Sparkling: Nina looked sensational in her sequin frock

It’s Neil! Nina Wadia was teamed up with professional dancer Neil Jones

Happy days: Neil enthused of being paired with the actress: 'I couldn't be happier'

Happy days: Neil enthused of being paired with the actress: ‘I couldn’t be happier’

Nina Wadia spoke about her first fake tan experience, telling Tess: ‘I asked for Bombay Glow but I think I got three weeks in the Sahara.’ 

The actress was teamed up with professional dancer Neil Jones, who enthused: ‘I couldn’t be happier.’ 

Tom Fletcher introduced himself as ‘an author / musician’ before admitting that he’s probably best known and one-quarter of McFly.

‘I don’t know if my kids like my music all my books to be honest!’ laughed the performer as he begged viewers to not compare him to Harry Judd who previously won Strictly.

Tom’s partner was unveiled as Amy Dowden who promised to be ‘kind and patient’ with the pop star, who was delighted to find out who he’d been paired with.

Tom then performed ‘It’s All About You’ but switched the lyric ‘baby’ to ‘Amy’ in honour of Tom’s new dance partner. 

Multi talented: Tom Fletcher introduced himself as ‘an author / musician’ before admitting that he’s probably best known and one-quarter of McFly

It's Amy! Tom's partner was unveiled as Amy Dowden

It’s Amy! Tom’s partner was unveiled as Amy Dowden

Making his mark: The McFly star showed off his epic moves on the dancefloor

Making his mark: The McFly star showed off his epic moves on the dancefloor

Delighted: Amy promised to be 'kind and patient' with the pop star, who was delighted to find out who he'd been paired with

Delighted: Amy promised to be ‘kind and patient’ with the pop star, who was delighted to find out who he’d been paired with

Tilly Ramsay confessed: ‘It’s quite terrifying’ as she embarked on her Strictly journey but insisted she doesn’t fear the judges.

The TikTok star admitted: ‘I’m not scared of the judges My dad is Gordon Ramsay. How scary can Craig be compared to him?’ 

After being paired up with Strictly professional newcomer Nikita Kumzin, Tilly videocalled her famous dad, Gordon Ramsay who quickly told Nikita to button up his shirt.  

Tilly Ramsay admitted: 'I'm not scared of the judges My dad is Gordon Ramsay. How scary can Craig be compared to him?'

Tilly Ramsay admitted: ‘I’m not scared of the judges My dad is Gordon Ramsay. How scary can Craig be compared to him?’

It's Nikita! Tilly was paired up with Strictly professional newcomer Nikita Kumzin

It’s Nikita! Tilly was paired up with Strictly professional newcomer Nikita Kumzin

Last but not least: Ugo Monye was delighted when he find out he'd be dancing with Oti Mabuse

Last but not least: Ugo Monye was delighted when he find out he’d be dancing with Oti Mabuse

Ugo Monye was the final celebrity contestant to find out who his dancing partner was, and was delighted when he find out he’d be dancing with Oti Mabuse.

The reigning champion admitted that she is going to have to find a way to keep rugby player Oti quiet because he’s extremely chatty.

After all of the couples were announced, the celebrities took to the dancefloor with the professionals for their first experience of the Strictly ballroom. 

As well as the 2021 pairings being unveiled, reigning champion Bill Bailey, 56, returned for a special turn on the dancefloor while Anne Marie, 30, put on a powerful performance.

He's back! Reigning champion Bill Bailey, 56, returned for a special turn on the dancefloor

He’s back! Reigning champion Bill Bailey, 56, returned for a special turn on the dancefloor

Entertainment! Anne Marie, 30, put on a powerful performance between the pairings being unveiled 

Incredible: New professional dancers Jowita Przystal and Cameron Lombard performed a sensational duet while Anne Marie sang

Energetic: The pair showed off their high energy levels as they twirled around the dancefloor

Incredible: New professional dancers Jowita Przystal and Cameron Lombard performed a sensational duet while Anne Marie sang



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