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20 September 2021

Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Launch show’s viewing figures plummet by 2 million as celebrity pairings confirmed

20 September 2021

Strictly Come Dancing returned to lacklustre fanfare over the weekend with viewing figures revealing they had dipped by 2 million compared to last year.

Saturday’s launch was watched by 7.3 million viewers compared to last year’s which peaked at 9 million, according to stats released by the BBC.

The first episode saw the 15 new celebrities taking part in this year’s dance competition find out which professional dancer they had been paired with.

Among them was former Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite, who was paired with Johannes Radebe, in the first all-male couple on the BBC One show.

EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis was teamed with Giovanni Pernice and is the show’s first deaf contestant.

Another highlight of the evening was Anton Du Beke making his debut as a full-time judge.

The former Strictly dancer took over from Bruno Tonioli and received a standing ovation from the audience as he took his place on the panel alongside Shirley Ballas, Craig Revel Hoorwood and Motsi Mabusi.

There was also a musical performance from singer Anne-Marie, who performed new single Kiss My (Uh-Oh), and last year’s winners Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse returned to strut their stuff on the dance floor.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday at 7pm on BBC One.

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