Sunday 4 December 2016

Strictly Come Dancing 2016: Greg Rutherford jointly tops standings but how did Laura Whitmore get on?

Published 24/09/2016 | 08:36

Laura Whitmore (left) and Giovanni Pernice
Laura Whitmore (left) and Giovanni Pernice
Laura Whitmore and Giovanni Pernice
Greg Rutherford and Natalie Lowe during the live show of Strictly Come Dancing Credit: BBC

You know that autumn is well and truly here when Strictly Come Dancing kicks off, ready to take us into Christmas.

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The first episode of the competition proper was a resounding success, with as much fake tan, glitter and wry jokes as a Strictly fan could ever want. Here's what happened on the night.

Naga and Pasha Credit: BBC
Naga and Pasha Credit: BBC

TV presenter Laura Whitmore, who opened the show with professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, scored 25 points for her cha-cha to Venus, but she was chastised by the judges for having "flexed legs" throughout.

Series opener aired too late in the evening

Strictly's opening double bill is an anomaly – it won't normally be in this slot – but the BBC still got the scheduling wrong. Tomorrow night's show airs at 6.30pm, perfect for family viewing and to get three generations glued to this year's contest. However, with tonight's show not finishing until 10pm, a million or two disappointed fans would have been ushered up to bed before the credits rolled. It should have been scheduled after The One Show. EastEnders could have missed a night or been bumped later.

The big names were saved for Saturday

Talking point contestant Ed Balls, hot favourites Will Young, Louise Redknapp and Claudia Fragapane, potential comedy turns Anastacia and Tameka Empson: Strictly producers were canny in keeping all of them back for the second instalment tomorrow night. There was, however, certainly enough dancing talent on display to keep fans happy.

Bake Off comparisons couldn't be helped

In another tumultuous week for fellow BBC flagship contest, The Great British Bake Off, it was reassuring to bask in the relative stability of Strictly. Tess Daly made a cheeky reference to their stablemate by describing Greg Rutherford's jive as a "showstopper". Good bake. Just hope Greg didn't have a soggy bottom. 

Judge Rinder is not just a joke

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Many assumed that reality TV gavel-basher Robert "Judge" Rinder was a joke contestant and, with his ready wit and waspish quips, he certainly fulfils that brief. But his cheeky, fast and furious showed that he was no mug on the dance floor either. His feud with panto villain judge Craig Revel Horwood could also run and run, for the first half of the series at least.

Anton du Beke's got another battle on his hands

The long-suffering Strictly pro had a golden year in 2015, partnered with Katie Derham and reaching the final for the first time. This year, though, it it's back to the glittery grindstone for the king of ballroom. Actress Lesley Joseph is funny, fit and frisky for 70 but her posture was terrible. Poor old Anton. Could this be his final bit of community service before getting Len's seat on the judging panel as a golden handshake?

From longjumper to jive bunny

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Olympic sandpit-botherer Greg Rutherford has been as nervous as any contestant about his first foray onto the dance floor but he need not have worried. Pro partner Natalie Lowe, always a great teacher, chose their routine cleverly: a high-energy jive to play to Greg's speed, power and jumpiness. He pulled it off superbly and jointly topped the leaderboard, which will settle his nerves and could propel him far into the contest.

Ore Oduba was a surprise package

The BBC Sports presenter is hardly the biggest household name amid this year's field – one wonders if he was loitering in BBC reception when someone famous dropped out – but boy, did he make a powerful first impression on the dance floor. He's sporty, taking training very seriously and turned in a very respectable tango, even if the routine's gimmicky theme annoyed the more traditional judges. Ore's odds for the glitterball trophy have duly plummeted with bookies.

Telegraph.co.uk

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