Remote Control - Saturday October 04, 2014

Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly during Strictly Come Dancing live show on BBC1

Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly during Strictly Come Dancing live show on BBC1

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Here they are, they’re so appealing

With X Factor back on our screens on ITV, it was inevitable that the BBC would break out its own autumn schedule heavy artillery. Yep, Strictly Come Dancing is back on Saturday – and Friday – nights.

After a couple of weeks of prelims and ‘meet the dancer’-type shows, the competition is now, finally, properly under way.

Every year I do my best to avoid the programme, but my wife is a big fan, so it’s inevitable I end up getting drawn in far more than I ever intend to.

As a result, even if I’m sitting on the sofa reading the newspaper, over the years I seem to have absorbed far more than I ever thought I would about the paso doble, the American smooth or Latin dancing.

This year is the first without Sir Bruce Forsyth as the main host – his longstanding co-host Tess Daly has moved across to fill his role, while Claudia Winkleman has come in from presenting the old Sunday nights result show.

Now, even the biggest fans of octogenerian Bruce would have to admit he was looking, and sounding, increasingly creaky during the 2013 run.

And I must admit, with his terrible jokes and tenuous grasp on proceedings, I never thought I’d miss Forsyth.

But after seeing Daly and particularly Winkleman in action (pictured), I almost wanted him back.

Even my wife was moved to say: ‘Can’t they bring back that little Ronnie guy? I like him.’ She was referring to Ronnie Corbett who previously stood in for Forsyth when he was taken ill.

Over on the actual dancefloor, you can see the ‘celebs’ are straight out of Strictly central casting – there’s the recently retired sports star (Thom Evans), the mature actress (Jennifer Gibney), the pop princesses (Frankie Bridge, Pixie Lott) and the larger lady who proves surprisingly nimble (Alison Hammond).

No-one was voted out last week – the scores rollover to this week, but Radio1 DJ Scott Mills shouldn’t bank on hanging around for too long...

Chris Broom