Paralympics London 2012

Strictly Come Dancing 2017, week five live show: Debbie McGee's romantic rumba tops scoreboard but four couples tied at bottom

Debbie McGee tops the leaderboard with romantic rumba Joe McFadden jumps to second spot after scoring a perfect 10 for his paso doble  Simon Rimmer, Brian Conley, Susan Calman and Ruth Langsford all joint bottom Bruno Tonioli's week off meant three-strong judging panel for first time in Strictly history Results show airs 7.15pm Sunday on BBC One. Join us back on the liveblog then Missing judges. Magic rumbas. Anton's outfit. Craig's impressions. After a busy night in the ballroom, here's all the talking points and social media reaction from Saturday's show... Debbie McGee's emotional rumba returned her to the top She's this year's oldest contestant but there's no way you would know it. Debbie McGee struggled with the cha cha last time out but had worked hard all week on her earthy style and hip action to tackle the notoriously tricky rumba. There were spins, kicks, lifts and extensions. The judges raved about her poise and leg placement. Debbie duly scored a clean sweep of nines to top the standings. This was an affectingly heartfelt routine, too. After a VT which saw Debbie reminiscing about her late husband Paul Daniels and proudly showing footage of the magician to pro partner Giovanni Pernice, head judge Shirley Ballas revealed that she too had lost a loved one and felt Debbie's pain. Lovely to see the fiftysomething females bonding - especially on an evening when women dominated the judging panel for the first time in Strictly history. Hear them roar.  still teary at #debbiemcgee on #strictly nearly 3 hours later— James Muller (@JamesAMuller) October 21, 2017 #scd Debbie McGee is looking like she might win this. She’s always at or around the top of the scoreboard.— Leanne (@Leanne_Cee) October 21, 2017 Debbie and Giovanni's rumba Was there more to Bruno's absence than met the eye? The night's big news was that flamboyant Italian judge Bruno Tonioli missed his first show in 13 years, citing a demanding Transatlantic work schedule. But something didn't smell quite right. The BBC claimed Bruno's break was planned but if that was truly the case, why wasn't he replaced with a guest judge, like when Len Goodman had a knee op? With the couples judged by a panel of three for the first time ever, it messed up the scoring system and negated the need for the head judge’s casting vote on Sunday's results show.  Has Bruno prioritised his role on Strictly's US sister show, Dancing With The Stars? Is there friction with his fellow judges, hence he's lining up a new gig? Has the 61-year-old booked himself into a discreet clinic for a mystery youth-defying procedure? Is something else afoot? Whichever way, it was strange to see a three-person panel with no gesticulating, shouty Italian on the far end, falling off his chair. Although colleague Craig Revel Horwood did an uncanny impression of him, to much amusement.  Shame they didn’t put Brendan on the panel tonight Oh no .... he’s just a dancer— James Jordan (@The_JamesJordan) October 21, 2017 Half expecting Bruno to descend from the ceiling half way through. #scd#strictly— Richard Cardall (@Hum_Con) October 21, 2017 Bruno, I'm going to have to convert all my scores to percentages because of you. THINK OF THE STATTOS! #scd#strictly— Keep Dancing Podcast (@keepdancingpod) October 21, 2017 "A very busy work schedule", i.e. couldn't be bothered to pop back from doing Dancing With The Stars. #strictly— Ian Jones (@metro_land) October 21, 2017 This would have been a perfect opportunity for Donny Osmond to come back... #Strictly#StrictlyComeDancing2017— David Brown (@MrDavidEBrown) October 21, 2017 Four-way fight to dodge the dreaded dance-off The public vote might well change the picture, of course, but we ended the evening with four celebrities locked together down the bottom of the leaderboard, all on 16 points.  Stompy chef Simon Rimmer's charleston was criminally lacking in swivel action, despite his protestations about a long-standing ankle injury. In the midst of Storm Brian, its namesake Brian Conley failed to ruffle any feathers with his flat-footed, holiday camp-themed jive. And Ruth Langsford's air hostess samba was far more memorable for Anton Du Beke's flamboyant outfit than any actual dancing. The one who surely didn't deserve to be down there was Susan Calman, whose cha cha was packed with content, cheeky character and charm. As Kevin Clifton's rhythm-keeping motto went: "Su-san Cal-man is an awe-some dan-cer". Hopefully viewer votes will see justice done. Simon and Brian deserve to battle it out on Sunday night.  So love watching @SusanCalman and @keviclifton in action. They just make Saturday nights #SCD— Clare Balding (@clarebalding) October 21, 2017 Looks like the Sunday Brunch guy might be toast. Sorry, I'll get my coat. #scd2017— Tony Peters (@tonypetersss) October 21, 2017 Why oh why do we still have Simon AND Brian? One dad dancer is more than enough #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 @EverydaySexism how come nobody says Brian Conley did well for his age but they do with Debbie McGee? #Strictly— Sarah Banham (@sjbwrites) October 21, 2017 How can you not love them? #teamcalman#StrictlyComeDancing— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 21, 2017 Susan and Kevin's cha cha Alexandra plummeted as Joe bounced back Was Alexandra Burke being punished for her near-perfect 39-point jive last week? Her Ed Sheeran samba was spicy, fierce and fast but the judges seemed overly picky, as if taking her down a peg or two. She fell six places down the leaderboard and surely didn't deserve to end up in the bottom half.  In sharp contrast, Joe McFadden was this week's comeback kid. Following last week's awkward cha ch, he came storming back with a powerful paso doble full of commanding character and Spanish lines. It was an impressive performance but Shirley Ballas still surprised us all by pulling out her perfect 10 paddle for the only time this week. Joe finished just one point behind Debbie McGee. If Holby hospital ever finds itself hosting a bullfight, they've got just the man.  Three-person panel was odd but no dance disaster It might have been a Strictly first but the downsized judges' table had its plus points. Bruno Tonioli long ago descended into self-parody with his yelling, arm-waving and leering, so nobody much missed his input. And with the show's running time not reduced, it meant more room to hear from the other three judges. They responded by giving far more detailed critiques, which were technically interesting if not always much fun, often feeling like they were merely reading their notes aloud. There was occasionally a three-point variation in their scoring too.  Darcey Bussell lapsed back into her old "yes? yah?" tic. Shirley Ballas seemed so anxious not to get any more names wrong, she lacked spontaneity. Thus the show was stolen by Craig Revel Horwood, who was as spikily unpredictable as ever - plus witty, wise and even showing signs of softening in his old age. He'd also clearly been practising his Bruno impression in the mirror, complete with pratfall.  Craig doing an even more convincing Bruno than Bruno �� #Strictly— Sid (@StrictlySid) October 21, 2017 Craig imitation Bruno and falling off his chair. Highlight of my day. #scd#Strictly— nikki (@x_allowaygrove) October 21, 2017 Craig making the case that we kind of don't need Bruno here - all done in one quick impression �� #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 Anton Du Beke was on fab-ew-lous form Was he pitching for Bruno's seat, perchance? The longest standing pro was on fire tonight, mainly thanks to that extraordinary outfit change. Playing a passenger on-board air hostess partner Ruth Langsford's flight, Anton du Beke was dressed in a dapper business suit - which he promptly tore off to reveal the most colourful samba outfit this side of Copacabana beach: sequin-spangled pink slacks and a cerise shirt with frilly, flouncy sleeves straight off a carnival float. If the plan was to distract from Ruth's faltering footwork, it worked a treat.    Anton proceeded to have the studio audience in stitches with his repartee. He bickered with Craig, gave balcony backchat to Claudia Winkleman and quipped: "For the first time in 15 series, I'm sort of disappointed Bruno's not here. We could've done with that extra four points." Ah, dear old Tony Beak. Don't ever retire.  Anton Du Beke should be co-presenting this show instead of Claudia Winkleman. He makes jokes that are actually funny. #StrictlyComeDancing— Agent S(ean Bassett) (@WhoPotterVian) October 21, 2017 Serious question. Why is Tess Daly in Bruce's place over Anton du Beke? Surely he's a shoo-in? #strictly— Vittoria Gallowe'en (@Vitt2tsnoc) October 21, 2017 Ruth and Anton's samba Chasing pack are closing the glitterball gap During the first month of the contest, it looked like former X Factor rivals Alexandra Burke and Aston Merrygold were way ahead of the rest. The leaderboard landscape is now changing. Debbie McGee is definitely a threat. Gemma Atkinson is ever-improving. The popular Joe McFadden and Jonnie Peacock are also both impressing. With the judges starting to clamp down on Alexandra and Aston's footwork, it's all throwing the glitterball race wide open again.  Aston and Janette's waltz 9:41PM Saturday night's action in full Here's your routine-by-routine recap... 9:21PM Darcey's vocal tic annoying viewers An email in from Telegraph reader Meryl Tomblin: "When Darcey Bussell first joined Strictly as a judge, her comments were littered with 'yes?' all the time. This was commented on and she stopped. This series, though, she is doing it again and again and again. She ought to stop as it's becoming extremely annoying." 9:12PM Standard too high, says reader This just in from Telegraph reader Martin Davies:  "Bit disappointed with Strictly this year, dahhling. Too many professional dancers posing as amateurs for our liking. The whole point of this show surely is to make people into dancers who have never danced before. It's great to see them start with two left feet in week one, then emerge two months later into really good, accomplished dancers. Another Ore Oduba, please! Oh better still, the lovely Abbey Clancy! So come on BBC, find 'em what can't dance and make them into one." 8:14PM Voting is now open While they shake maracas and recap the action on-screen, stay with us for reaction, analysis and your comments.  8:10PM Jonnie and Oti's quickstep The blade is back on for a fast, bouncy dance that should suit the gold medal-winning Paralympic sprinter. Last couple out and it's a supermarket theme for no apparent reason. Into hold and a bouncy quickstep full of flicks, kicks, skippy strides and synchronisation. Covering the floor well, even if there's some slight gapping and frame issues. Catches an apple to end. Jubilant Jonnie shouts "Yes!" at the end. Music: Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "gosh you made it look easy, light and speedy, cheeky character, impressive detail but your right elbow drops, yes?" Shirley says "you put a spring in your step, it was light, pendulum swings, didn't miss a beat, no mistakes and ease of movement, outstanding". Craig says "the stars are aligning and elements coming together". Some awkwardness from Tess and Shirley, though. Eights? A nine? Judges' scores: 7, 8, 9 for a total of 24 points. His first nine and equal third place.  8:03PM Alexandra and Gorka's samba Can she maintain the sky-high standard of last week's Tina Turner jive? "Alexandra Berserk" is going from Tina Turner to Rio carnival queen. It's fast, frilly and flouncy with lots of travel arond the floor and some nice hip-shaking. Sexy, spicy mood, footwork a bit messy at times but full of spirit. Powers, bounce and a pose to finish.  Music: Shape of You by Ed Sheeran Judges’ verdict: Craig says "you're an amazing dancer, love watching you, loved the tribal touches but your pigeon-toes ruined it". Darcey says "your body doesn't stop moving, you bring the floor to life but work on the tiny details". Shirley says "you have immense power, you're a fantastic performer, upper is exquisite but work on  foot and ankle position". Eights?  Judges' scores: 7, 8, 8 for a total of 23 points - tumbling to mid-table. 7:58PM Joe and Katya's paso doble Cha cha dis-ah-ster for Holby's Dr Di Luca last time but now he's going from Latin lovegod to butch bullfighter. Macho matador. Traditional jacket, no shirt underneath. Form a queue, female Holby City fans. Commanding character and knee-walks. Dramatic shapes, lacking a little fluidity but arching curves, body resistance, a nice blend of the classic and contemporary. And a kicking kill to finish. Ole! Music: Diablo Rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriela Judges' comments: Shirley says "you're back, that was the best male paso doble so far". Craig says "you did it really well". Darcey says "Spanish style, loved it".  Judges' scores: 7, 9, 10 (blimey) for a total of 26 points - second place so far. Wildly fluctuating scores.  7:48PM Gemma and Alijaz's foxtrot A powerful paso took the ever-improving Ms Atkinson to second on the scoreboard last Saturday. Can she now nail pro partner Alijaz's favourite dance (and, apparently, her least favourite)? Slightly drab brown frock for Gemma. Slow and moody to open, then rather beautiful once they're into hold.  Footwork and lines falters at times but lovely leg extensions and swirling around the floor with style. Storytelling too. Liked that.  Music: Madilyn Bailey’s stripped-back, slowed-down version of Cher’s Believe  Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you're becoming so versatile, impressive mood, quality and grace but in hold you over-stretched the neck, yes? Have a focus, yes?" Shirley says "last week you were fierce, today you bought romance and classic elegance, lovely and gentle but watch the length of your steps". Craig concludes "the front-runners in this competition need to start looking behind them, darling." Eights a-coming? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second. 7:42PM Ruth and Anton's samba After last week's much improved tango, it's an old-style samba set on an aeroplane. Flicky hair extensions and a drinks trolley for Ruth. And then passenger Anton rips off his business suit to reveal some preposterously flouncy pink sleeves and sequin-spangled slacks. Ruth's arms are equally eye-catching but not in a good way. Severe lack of bounce, hip action and spice. Anton's outfit steals the show but you don't get many marks for that.  Music: Love Is In The Air by John Paul Young Judges’ verdict: Craig thought he "was at the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix from Strictly Ballroom , it was more of a send-up than a samba, loved it for its comedy but not its technique". Darcey says `'you came alive and went crazy, work on your arm but hold onto the energised fun side". Shirley concludes "brilliant parody, hey, who cares about technique?" Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points - joining the cluster at the bottom.  7:32PM Aston and Janette's waltz The pocket rockets are back in hold for a proper, traditional, back-to-basics waltz. Aston needs footwork finesse after last week’s slight dip. Gorgeously romantic and contemporary style. He's leading well. Took too long to get into hold but good body contact. Slow, soppy and exquisite but Shirley might have her red specs and red pen all over his footwork.  Music: Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley - a stripped-back accoustic version with a female vocalist.  Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "emotional, gentlemanly, beautiful positions and pretty impressive". Craig says `'too sharped, lacked flow, your hands bother me slightly but love the contemporary opening and could watch you all night". Darcey found the opening moves "too fussy and overly detailed but once in hold, control and grace was maintained".  Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second with Mollie.  7:24PM Susan and Kevin's cha cha cha They brought us sunshine last Saturday. Now can Calman 'n' Kev get a Cuban party started? She's playing a heartbroken Bridget Jones type, he's her friend who's come round to cheer her up. Way too much "messin' abaht" to start but much better once they finally launch into a high-impact cha cha. Lots of spins and hip action, Susan looking great in the silver frock that was hiding beneath her dressing gown. Lacking technique at times, sure, but loads of character and sheer joy to watch.   Music: Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "packed with content but you step out too much and the technique suffers, keep it tighter, not your best but you sold it". Shirley says "I love you and could never break up with you, cheeky and committed, co-ordinate your arms and work on the details". Craig says "I'm a little upset that you ripped up my photo, I love your energy and performance but it was turned in and no hip action, thought you were going to snap something when you did the splits - I'm still crying, darling, and it's not with laughter".  Judges' scores: 4 (boo!), 5, 7 for a total of 16 points - tied at the bottom with Brian and Simon.  7:17PM Brian and Amy's jive A Valleys anthem that means a lot to Welsh pro Amy Dowden. Crowd-pleasing Hi-De-Hi theme, with the couple dressed in banana yellow and royal blue. But will it be hi-de-high scoring? Start with a Gladys Pugh-style announcement and Brian's giving it the full 70s disco dad. Lacks bounce and energy, as you might expect fro the contest's senior gent, and he's struggling a smidge to keep up. But a knee slide, some character, gurning a-go-go and high entertainment value.  Music: It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones Judges’ verdict: Craig says "flat-footed, no retraction, but energy and facial expressions were to die for". Darcey says "put the facial energy in your body and lift your wight forward, yes?" Shirley says "it had the feelgood factor, transported me back in time, lots of content and basics but stay in hold more". Fives and sixes? Judges' scores: 4 (boo), 6, 6 for a total of 16 points - equal bottom with Simon.  Brian and Amy's jive 7:08PM Debbie and Giovanni's rumba  It's Flexy McGee, Britain's bendiest woman™, tackling the notoriously tricky rumba. An emotional VT with Debbie reminsicing about her late husband Paul Daniels.  And then into a moody, slow and sensuous rumba. She looks nervous again. Needs to settle in her hips and get more grounded but some great spins, flicks and leg extensions. Lifts and a rumba walk to finish. Bravo. Music: Baby Can I Hold You by Tracy Chapman (no, Boyzone fans, not the watery cover version by Ronan Keating) Judges’ verdict: Shirley Ballas says "very emotional, I've lost a loved one so I know what it means, no bells or whistles, classic rumba, poised and balanced, and I've never seen such a beautiful standing leg". Craig "feels the need to channel Bruno:, so shouts Giovanni a lot, waves his arms around and galls off his chair. Genuine LOLZ. Darcey "loved the way you caressed the floor with your feet, that is your best dance". Nines? Judges' scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points - top of the leaderboard. Brilliant, Debbie is over the moon. 7:00PM Simon and Karen's charleston He's bookies' favourite for elimination again this weekend but can the Scouse chef continue to defy the odds? Rupert bear trousers. Some messin' abaht with violins to start. He's been stuck on 19 points for the past three weeks, so is desperate to get his first seven. This should suit his cheeky character but Simon doesn't look like he's having much fun. Lacks swivel, pace and energy. Laboured. Some comedy moves at the end but Karen;s dancing her socks off to cover Simon's inadequacies.  Music: Gene Kelly's Fit As A Fiddle (And Ready For Love) from Singin’ In The Rain Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you went for it, it was sweet and charming but the recipe was missing some ingredients, lacked swivel, musicality and character". Simon says he snapped his Achilles a few years ago, so can't swivel. Did he bring a sicknote? Shirley says "entertaining, impressed with the change of pace, slapstick comedy was right up my alley, good synchronisation, a step up". Craig says "no swivel on your good leg either, darling, but I loved the train step". Fives? Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points. Bottom as it stands. Dance-off danger.  Simon and Karen's charleston 6:53PM Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz There'll be a lorra lorra spins to this Cilla classic. Classic white, pink and silver frock for Mollie. Romantic opening on a bridge-cum-pier. Romantic mood, footwork falters at times and her balance looks shaky during some of the spins but floaty, delicate and very decent.  Music: Anyone Who Had A Heart by Cilla Black  Judges’ verdict: Craig "loved the opening armography up on the pier, posture good, swing and sway, a lot of wonderful Viennese". Darcey says "you've grown as a partnership, you were gliding and graceful but relax the topline, yes?" Shirley concludes "believable chemistry (showmance implications?) and great turns". Eights? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - highest of the night so far.  Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz 6:44PM Davood and Nadiya's jive Last week's dance-off survivors are first out and trying to shake off the shock with a fast, furious party jive. Wake and smell the random barista theme. Spectacular cartwheel from Kushy. Full-on, fun and furious, high performance level and cream cakey climax but lacking some bounce and knee action Music: Tell Her About It by Billy Joel Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "your best performance, posture suits the dance". Craig says "too much upper body, watch your free arm, heavy-footed and lacked retraction but it was bright, lively and you sold it well". Darcey concludes "carefree, light and energised, yes? But fabulous beginning". Sevens, maybe an eight, do we think? Judges' scores: 6, 8, 8 for a total of 22 points. Out of 30 not 40, remember. Solid start and a nice shot of Davood's lucky socks up on the Clauditorium. The socksy thing.  Davood and Nadiya's jive 6:40PM Here's our Strictly stars Some eye-watering primary coloured outfits, unwise checks and undone shirts. Joe McFadden's in a traditional paso doble jacket with nothing beneath. Be still your hearts, Holby fans.  6:39PM Frockwatch Our regular style smackdown. Tess Daly is sporting a restrained-for-her red slashed frock. Claudia Winkleman's in black trousers, white ruffled blouse and undone tie-type affair. Chic Claudia edges it. And here come the judges: Darcey Bussell in red with embellished red, Shirley Ballas in blue with a bejewelled neckline. Craig in dapper black. Bruno invisible.  6:36PM And we're off! Roll recap of last week's action, when Alexandra Burke streaked clear at the top of the leaderbaord and Charlotte Hawkins was packed off home. Now we're down to a dancefloor dozen. budding to get through to next week's pumpkin-crazed Halloween spooktacular. 6:33PM See ya, sizeable ears Last knockings of Celebrity Pointless on BBC One now, hosted by Alexander Armstrong's ample lugholes. Over to the Elstree Studios ballroom any minute now... 6:29PM Girl power in the ballroom A Strictly milestone tonight: for the first time in the show's history, the judging panel will feature more women than men. Smashing the patriarchy, one sequin at a time. Five minutes until that ba-ba-da theme tune. .. 6:22PM Will Burke go berserk again? Last week's show saw Alexandra Burke score the first perfect 10s of the series for her big-haired, tassel-frocked Tina Turner jive. La Burke 's dancing a hip-shaking samba to Ed Sheeran tonight. Fifteen minutes to wait... 6:15PM Ciao, Signor Tonioli? The judging panel will be without its right-hand bookend tonight, with Italian stallion Bruno Tonioli absent for the first time in 13 years. He's cited a demanding schedule due to jetting between the UK and US versions of the show and says he needs a break. But is Bruno, like his old mucker Len Goodman, prioritising America's Dancing With The Stars over Blighty's Strictly?  Does tonight's absence herald his imminent departure from the UK show too? Such speculation is inevitable. Twenty minutes until showtime... 6:10PM Who'll be the fourth celebrity sent home from Strictly 2017?  We've waved a glittery goodbye to Charlotte, Chizzy and the disco vicar. So who's next for the sequin-spangled scrapheap? Yes, it's the fourth elimination weekend , with our dancefloor dozen hoofing for survival once again. The night's big news is that, for the first time ever, it's a three-person judging panel tonight because Bruno Tonioli has the week off.  Ballroom battle commences at 6.35pm on BBC One. Can anyone match Alexandra Burke's spectacular 39-point Tina Turner jive from last week? And will head judge Shirley Ballas remember the celebrities' names? I'm Michael, the Telegraph's sore feet and spatulistic hands correspondent. I'll be liveblogging from 6pm, providing build-up, rolling coverage, recaps, analysis and flippant gags, so do join me and watch along with this blog.  And please join in too - you can email me on michael.hogan@ telegraph.co.uk, tweet me on @michaelhogan or leave comments at the bottom of this blog. I'll keep an eye on them all and report the highlights here.  Nearly time to staaaaart Saturday night dancing!

Strictly Come Dancing 2017, week five live show: Debbie McGee's romantic rumba tops scoreboard but four couples tied at bottom

Debbie McGee tops the leaderboard with romantic rumba Joe McFadden jumps to second spot after scoring a perfect 10 for his paso doble  Simon Rimmer, Brian Conley, Susan Calman and Ruth Langsford all joint bottom Bruno Tonioli's week off meant three-strong judging panel for first time in Strictly history Results show airs 7.15pm Sunday on BBC One. Join us back on the liveblog then Missing judges. Magic rumbas. Anton's outfit. Craig's impressions. After a busy night in the ballroom, here's all the talking points and social media reaction from Saturday's show... Debbie McGee's emotional rumba returned her to the top She's this year's oldest contestant but there's no way you would know it. Debbie McGee struggled with the cha cha last time out but had worked hard all week on her earthy style and hip action to tackle the notoriously tricky rumba. There were spins, kicks, lifts and extensions. The judges raved about her poise and leg placement. Debbie duly scored a clean sweep of nines to top the standings. This was an affectingly heartfelt routine, too. After a VT which saw Debbie reminiscing about her late husband Paul Daniels and proudly showing footage of the magician to pro partner Giovanni Pernice, head judge Shirley Ballas revealed that she too had lost a loved one and felt Debbie's pain. Lovely to see the fiftysomething females bonding - especially on an evening when women dominated the judging panel for the first time in Strictly history. Hear them roar.  still teary at #debbiemcgee on #strictly nearly 3 hours later— James Muller (@JamesAMuller) October 21, 2017 #scd Debbie McGee is looking like she might win this. She’s always at or around the top of the scoreboard.— Leanne (@Leanne_Cee) October 21, 2017 Debbie and Giovanni's rumba Was there more to Bruno's absence than met the eye? The night's big news was that flamboyant Italian judge Bruno Tonioli missed his first show in 13 years, citing a demanding Transatlantic work schedule. But something didn't smell quite right. The BBC claimed Bruno's break was planned but if that was truly the case, why wasn't he replaced with a guest judge, like when Len Goodman had a knee op? With the couples judged by a panel of three for the first time ever, it messed up the scoring system and negated the need for the head judge’s casting vote on Sunday's results show.  Has Bruno prioritised his role on Strictly's US sister show, Dancing With The Stars? Is there friction with his fellow judges, hence he's lining up a new gig? Has the 61-year-old booked himself into a discreet clinic for a mystery youth-defying procedure? Is something else afoot? Whichever way, it was strange to see a three-person panel with no gesticulating, shouty Italian on the far end, falling off his chair. Although colleague Craig Revel Horwood did an uncanny impression of him, to much amusement.  Shame they didn’t put Brendan on the panel tonight Oh no .... he’s just a dancer— James Jordan (@The_JamesJordan) October 21, 2017 Half expecting Bruno to descend from the ceiling half way through. #scd#strictly— Richard Cardall (@Hum_Con) October 21, 2017 Bruno, I'm going to have to convert all my scores to percentages because of you. THINK OF THE STATTOS! #scd#strictly— Keep Dancing Podcast (@keepdancingpod) October 21, 2017 "A very busy work schedule", i.e. couldn't be bothered to pop back from doing Dancing With The Stars. #strictly— Ian Jones (@metro_land) October 21, 2017 This would have been a perfect opportunity for Donny Osmond to come back... #Strictly#StrictlyComeDancing2017— David Brown (@MrDavidEBrown) October 21, 2017 Four-way fight to dodge the dreaded dance-off The public vote might well change the picture, of course, but we ended the evening with four celebrities locked together down the bottom of the leaderboard, all on 16 points.  Stompy chef Simon Rimmer's charleston was criminally lacking in swivel action, despite his protestations about a long-standing ankle injury. In the midst of Storm Brian, its namesake Brian Conley failed to ruffle any feathers with his flat-footed, holiday camp-themed jive. And Ruth Langsford's air hostess samba was far more memorable for Anton Du Beke's flamboyant outfit than any actual dancing. The one who surely didn't deserve to be down there was Susan Calman, whose cha cha was packed with content, cheeky character and charm. As Kevin Clifton's rhythm-keeping motto went: "Su-san Cal-man is an awe-some dan-cer". Hopefully viewer votes will see justice done. Simon and Brian deserve to battle it out on Sunday night.  So love watching @SusanCalman and @keviclifton in action. They just make Saturday nights #SCD— Clare Balding (@clarebalding) October 21, 2017 Looks like the Sunday Brunch guy might be toast. Sorry, I'll get my coat. #scd2017— Tony Peters (@tonypetersss) October 21, 2017 Why oh why do we still have Simon AND Brian? One dad dancer is more than enough #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 @EverydaySexism how come nobody says Brian Conley did well for his age but they do with Debbie McGee? #Strictly— Sarah Banham (@sjbwrites) October 21, 2017 How can you not love them? #teamcalman#StrictlyComeDancing— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 21, 2017 Susan and Kevin's cha cha Alexandra plummeted as Joe bounced back Was Alexandra Burke being punished for her near-perfect 39-point jive last week? Her Ed Sheeran samba was spicy, fierce and fast but the judges seemed overly picky, as if taking her down a peg or two. She fell six places down the leaderboard and surely didn't deserve to end up in the bottom half.  In sharp contrast, Joe McFadden was this week's comeback kid. Following last week's awkward cha ch, he came storming back with a powerful paso doble full of commanding character and Spanish lines. It was an impressive performance but Shirley Ballas still surprised us all by pulling out her perfect 10 paddle for the only time this week. Joe finished just one point behind Debbie McGee. If Holby hospital ever finds itself hosting a bullfight, they've got just the man.  Three-person panel was odd but no dance disaster It might have been a Strictly first but the downsized judges' table had its plus points. Bruno Tonioli long ago descended into self-parody with his yelling, arm-waving and leering, so nobody much missed his input. And with the show's running time not reduced, it meant more room to hear from the other three judges. They responded by giving far more detailed critiques, which were technically interesting if not always much fun, often feeling like they were merely reading their notes aloud. There was occasionally a three-point variation in their scoring too.  Darcey Bussell lapsed back into her old "yes? yah?" tic. Shirley Ballas seemed so anxious not to get any more names wrong, she lacked spontaneity. Thus the show was stolen by Craig Revel Horwood, who was as spikily unpredictable as ever - plus witty, wise and even showing signs of softening in his old age. He'd also clearly been practising his Bruno impression in the mirror, complete with pratfall.  Craig doing an even more convincing Bruno than Bruno �� #Strictly— Sid (@StrictlySid) October 21, 2017 Craig imitation Bruno and falling off his chair. Highlight of my day. #scd#Strictly— nikki (@x_allowaygrove) October 21, 2017 Craig making the case that we kind of don't need Bruno here - all done in one quick impression �� #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 Anton Du Beke was on fab-ew-lous form Was he pitching for Bruno's seat, perchance? The longest standing pro was on fire tonight, mainly thanks to that extraordinary outfit change. Playing a passenger on-board air hostess partner Ruth Langsford's flight, Anton du Beke was dressed in a dapper business suit - which he promptly tore off to reveal the most colourful samba outfit this side of Copacabana beach: sequin-spangled pink slacks and a cerise shirt with frilly, flouncy sleeves straight off a carnival float. If the plan was to distract from Ruth's faltering footwork, it worked a treat.    Anton proceeded to have the studio audience in stitches with his repartee. He bickered with Craig, gave balcony backchat to Claudia Winkleman and quipped: "For the first time in 15 series, I'm sort of disappointed Bruno's not here. We could've done with that extra four points." Ah, dear old Tony Beak. Don't ever retire.  Anton Du Beke should be co-presenting this show instead of Claudia Winkleman. He makes jokes that are actually funny. #StrictlyComeDancing— Agent S(ean Bassett) (@WhoPotterVian) October 21, 2017 Serious question. Why is Tess Daly in Bruce's place over Anton du Beke? Surely he's a shoo-in? #strictly— Vittoria Gallowe'en (@Vitt2tsnoc) October 21, 2017 Ruth and Anton's samba Chasing pack are closing the glitterball gap During the first month of the contest, it looked like former X Factor rivals Alexandra Burke and Aston Merrygold were way ahead of the rest. The leaderboard landscape is now changing. Debbie McGee is definitely a threat. Gemma Atkinson is ever-improving. The popular Joe McFadden and Jonnie Peacock are also both impressing. With the judges starting to clamp down on Alexandra and Aston's footwork, it's all throwing the glitterball race wide open again.  Aston and Janette's waltz 9:41PM Saturday night's action in full Here's your routine-by-routine recap... 9:21PM Darcey's vocal tic annoying viewers An email in from Telegraph reader Meryl Tomblin: "When Darcey Bussell first joined Strictly as a judge, her comments were littered with 'yes?' all the time. This was commented on and she stopped. This series, though, she is doing it again and again and again. She ought to stop as it's becoming extremely annoying." 9:12PM Standard too high, says reader This just in from Telegraph reader Martin Davies:  "Bit disappointed with Strictly this year, dahhling. Too many professional dancers posing as amateurs for our liking. The whole point of this show surely is to make people into dancers who have never danced before. It's great to see them start with two left feet in week one, then emerge two months later into really good, accomplished dancers. Another Ore Oduba, please! Oh better still, the lovely Abbey Clancy! So come on BBC, find 'em what can't dance and make them into one." 8:14PM Voting is now open While they shake maracas and recap the action on-screen, stay with us for reaction, analysis and your comments.  8:10PM Jonnie and Oti's quickstep The blade is back on for a fast, bouncy dance that should suit the gold medal-winning Paralympic sprinter. Last couple out and it's a supermarket theme for no apparent reason. Into hold and a bouncy quickstep full of flicks, kicks, skippy strides and synchronisation. Covering the floor well, even if there's some slight gapping and frame issues. Catches an apple to end. Jubilant Jonnie shouts "Yes!" at the end. Music: Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "gosh you made it look easy, light and speedy, cheeky character, impressive detail but your right elbow drops, yes?" Shirley says "you put a spring in your step, it was light, pendulum swings, didn't miss a beat, no mistakes and ease of movement, outstanding". Craig says "the stars are aligning and elements coming together". Some awkwardness from Tess and Shirley, though. Eights? A nine? Judges' scores: 7, 8, 9 for a total of 24 points. His first nine and equal third place.  8:03PM Alexandra and Gorka's samba Can she maintain the sky-high standard of last week's Tina Turner jive? "Alexandra Berserk" is going from Tina Turner to Rio carnival queen. It's fast, frilly and flouncy with lots of travel arond the floor and some nice hip-shaking. Sexy, spicy mood, footwork a bit messy at times but full of spirit. Powers, bounce and a pose to finish.  Music: Shape of You by Ed Sheeran Judges’ verdict: Craig says "you're an amazing dancer, love watching you, loved the tribal touches but your pigeon-toes ruined it". Darcey says "your body doesn't stop moving, you bring the floor to life but work on the tiny details". Shirley says "you have immense power, you're a fantastic performer, upper is exquisite but work on  foot and ankle position". Eights?  Judges' scores: 7, 8, 8 for a total of 23 points - tumbling to mid-table. 7:58PM Joe and Katya's paso doble Cha cha dis-ah-ster for Holby's Dr Di Luca last time but now he's going from Latin lovegod to butch bullfighter. Macho matador. Traditional jacket, no shirt underneath. Form a queue, female Holby City fans. Commanding character and knee-walks. Dramatic shapes, lacking a little fluidity but arching curves, body resistance, a nice blend of the classic and contemporary. And a kicking kill to finish. Ole! Music: Diablo Rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriela Judges' comments: Shirley says "you're back, that was the best male paso doble so far". Craig says "you did it really well". Darcey says "Spanish style, loved it".  Judges' scores: 7, 9, 10 (blimey) for a total of 26 points - second place so far. Wildly fluctuating scores.  7:48PM Gemma and Alijaz's foxtrot A powerful paso took the ever-improving Ms Atkinson to second on the scoreboard last Saturday. Can she now nail pro partner Alijaz's favourite dance (and, apparently, her least favourite)? Slightly drab brown frock for Gemma. Slow and moody to open, then rather beautiful once they're into hold.  Footwork and lines falters at times but lovely leg extensions and swirling around the floor with style. Storytelling too. Liked that.  Music: Madilyn Bailey’s stripped-back, slowed-down version of Cher’s Believe  Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you're becoming so versatile, impressive mood, quality and grace but in hold you over-stretched the neck, yes? Have a focus, yes?" Shirley says "last week you were fierce, today you bought romance and classic elegance, lovely and gentle but watch the length of your steps". Craig concludes "the front-runners in this competition need to start looking behind them, darling." Eights a-coming? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second. 7:42PM Ruth and Anton's samba After last week's much improved tango, it's an old-style samba set on an aeroplane. Flicky hair extensions and a drinks trolley for Ruth. And then passenger Anton rips off his business suit to reveal some preposterously flouncy pink sleeves and sequin-spangled slacks. Ruth's arms are equally eye-catching but not in a good way. Severe lack of bounce, hip action and spice. Anton's outfit steals the show but you don't get many marks for that.  Music: Love Is In The Air by John Paul Young Judges’ verdict: Craig thought he "was at the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix from Strictly Ballroom , it was more of a send-up than a samba, loved it for its comedy but not its technique". Darcey says `'you came alive and went crazy, work on your arm but hold onto the energised fun side". Shirley concludes "brilliant parody, hey, who cares about technique?" Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points - joining the cluster at the bottom.  7:32PM Aston and Janette's waltz The pocket rockets are back in hold for a proper, traditional, back-to-basics waltz. Aston needs footwork finesse after last week’s slight dip. Gorgeously romantic and contemporary style. He's leading well. Took too long to get into hold but good body contact. Slow, soppy and exquisite but Shirley might have her red specs and red pen all over his footwork.  Music: Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley - a stripped-back accoustic version with a female vocalist.  Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "emotional, gentlemanly, beautiful positions and pretty impressive". Craig says `'too sharped, lacked flow, your hands bother me slightly but love the contemporary opening and could watch you all night". Darcey found the opening moves "too fussy and overly detailed but once in hold, control and grace was maintained".  Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second with Mollie.  7:24PM Susan and Kevin's cha cha cha They brought us sunshine last Saturday. Now can Calman 'n' Kev get a Cuban party started? She's playing a heartbroken Bridget Jones type, he's her friend who's come round to cheer her up. Way too much "messin' abaht" to start but much better once they finally launch into a high-impact cha cha. Lots of spins and hip action, Susan looking great in the silver frock that was hiding beneath her dressing gown. Lacking technique at times, sure, but loads of character and sheer joy to watch.   Music: Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "packed with content but you step out too much and the technique suffers, keep it tighter, not your best but you sold it". Shirley says "I love you and could never break up with you, cheeky and committed, co-ordinate your arms and work on the details". Craig says "I'm a little upset that you ripped up my photo, I love your energy and performance but it was turned in and no hip action, thought you were going to snap something when you did the splits - I'm still crying, darling, and it's not with laughter".  Judges' scores: 4 (boo!), 5, 7 for a total of 16 points - tied at the bottom with Brian and Simon.  7:17PM Brian and Amy's jive A Valleys anthem that means a lot to Welsh pro Amy Dowden. Crowd-pleasing Hi-De-Hi theme, with the couple dressed in banana yellow and royal blue. But will it be hi-de-high scoring? Start with a Gladys Pugh-style announcement and Brian's giving it the full 70s disco dad. Lacks bounce and energy, as you might expect fro the contest's senior gent, and he's struggling a smidge to keep up. But a knee slide, some character, gurning a-go-go and high entertainment value.  Music: It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones Judges’ verdict: Craig says "flat-footed, no retraction, but energy and facial expressions were to die for". Darcey says "put the facial energy in your body and lift your wight forward, yes?" Shirley says "it had the feelgood factor, transported me back in time, lots of content and basics but stay in hold more". Fives and sixes? Judges' scores: 4 (boo), 6, 6 for a total of 16 points - equal bottom with Simon.  Brian and Amy's jive 7:08PM Debbie and Giovanni's rumba  It's Flexy McGee, Britain's bendiest woman™, tackling the notoriously tricky rumba. An emotional VT with Debbie reminsicing about her late husband Paul Daniels.  And then into a moody, slow and sensuous rumba. She looks nervous again. Needs to settle in her hips and get more grounded but some great spins, flicks and leg extensions. Lifts and a rumba walk to finish. Bravo. Music: Baby Can I Hold You by Tracy Chapman (no, Boyzone fans, not the watery cover version by Ronan Keating) Judges’ verdict: Shirley Ballas says "very emotional, I've lost a loved one so I know what it means, no bells or whistles, classic rumba, poised and balanced, and I've never seen such a beautiful standing leg". Craig "feels the need to channel Bruno:, so shouts Giovanni a lot, waves his arms around and galls off his chair. Genuine LOLZ. Darcey "loved the way you caressed the floor with your feet, that is your best dance". Nines? Judges' scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points - top of the leaderboard. Brilliant, Debbie is over the moon. 7:00PM Simon and Karen's charleston He's bookies' favourite for elimination again this weekend but can the Scouse chef continue to defy the odds? Rupert bear trousers. Some messin' abaht with violins to start. He's been stuck on 19 points for the past three weeks, so is desperate to get his first seven. This should suit his cheeky character but Simon doesn't look like he's having much fun. Lacks swivel, pace and energy. Laboured. Some comedy moves at the end but Karen;s dancing her socks off to cover Simon's inadequacies.  Music: Gene Kelly's Fit As A Fiddle (And Ready For Love) from Singin’ In The Rain Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you went for it, it was sweet and charming but the recipe was missing some ingredients, lacked swivel, musicality and character". Simon says he snapped his Achilles a few years ago, so can't swivel. Did he bring a sicknote? Shirley says "entertaining, impressed with the change of pace, slapstick comedy was right up my alley, good synchronisation, a step up". Craig says "no swivel on your good leg either, darling, but I loved the train step". Fives? Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points. Bottom as it stands. Dance-off danger.  Simon and Karen's charleston 6:53PM Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz There'll be a lorra lorra spins to this Cilla classic. Classic white, pink and silver frock for Mollie. Romantic opening on a bridge-cum-pier. Romantic mood, footwork falters at times and her balance looks shaky during some of the spins but floaty, delicate and very decent.  Music: Anyone Who Had A Heart by Cilla Black  Judges’ verdict: Craig "loved the opening armography up on the pier, posture good, swing and sway, a lot of wonderful Viennese". Darcey says "you've grown as a partnership, you were gliding and graceful but relax the topline, yes?" Shirley concludes "believable chemistry (showmance implications?) and great turns". Eights? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - highest of the night so far.  Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz 6:44PM Davood and Nadiya's jive Last week's dance-off survivors are first out and trying to shake off the shock with a fast, furious party jive. Wake and smell the random barista theme. Spectacular cartwheel from Kushy. Full-on, fun and furious, high performance level and cream cakey climax but lacking some bounce and knee action Music: Tell Her About It by Billy Joel Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "your best performance, posture suits the dance". Craig says "too much upper body, watch your free arm, heavy-footed and lacked retraction but it was bright, lively and you sold it well". Darcey concludes "carefree, light and energised, yes? But fabulous beginning". Sevens, maybe an eight, do we think? Judges' scores: 6, 8, 8 for a total of 22 points. Out of 30 not 40, remember. Solid start and a nice shot of Davood's lucky socks up on the Clauditorium. The socksy thing.  Davood and Nadiya's jive 6:40PM Here's our Strictly stars Some eye-watering primary coloured outfits, unwise checks and undone shirts. Joe McFadden's in a traditional paso doble jacket with nothing beneath. Be still your hearts, Holby fans.  6:39PM Frockwatch Our regular style smackdown. Tess Daly is sporting a restrained-for-her red slashed frock. Claudia Winkleman's in black trousers, white ruffled blouse and undone tie-type affair. Chic Claudia edges it. And here come the judges: Darcey Bussell in red with embellished red, Shirley Ballas in blue with a bejewelled neckline. Craig in dapper black. Bruno invisible.  6:36PM And we're off! Roll recap of last week's action, when Alexandra Burke streaked clear at the top of the leaderbaord and Charlotte Hawkins was packed off home. Now we're down to a dancefloor dozen. budding to get through to next week's pumpkin-crazed Halloween spooktacular. 6:33PM See ya, sizeable ears Last knockings of Celebrity Pointless on BBC One now, hosted by Alexander Armstrong's ample lugholes. Over to the Elstree Studios ballroom any minute now... 6:29PM Girl power in the ballroom A Strictly milestone tonight: for the first time in the show's history, the judging panel will feature more women than men. Smashing the patriarchy, one sequin at a time. Five minutes until that ba-ba-da theme tune. .. 6:22PM Will Burke go berserk again? Last week's show saw Alexandra Burke score the first perfect 10s of the series for her big-haired, tassel-frocked Tina Turner jive. La Burke 's dancing a hip-shaking samba to Ed Sheeran tonight. Fifteen minutes to wait... 6:15PM Ciao, Signor Tonioli? The judging panel will be without its right-hand bookend tonight, with Italian stallion Bruno Tonioli absent for the first time in 13 years. He's cited a demanding schedule due to jetting between the UK and US versions of the show and says he needs a break. But is Bruno, like his old mucker Len Goodman, prioritising America's Dancing With The Stars over Blighty's Strictly?  Does tonight's absence herald his imminent departure from the UK show too? Such speculation is inevitable. Twenty minutes until showtime... 6:10PM Who'll be the fourth celebrity sent home from Strictly 2017?  We've waved a glittery goodbye to Charlotte, Chizzy and the disco vicar. So who's next for the sequin-spangled scrapheap? Yes, it's the fourth elimination weekend , with our dancefloor dozen hoofing for survival once again. The night's big news is that, for the first time ever, it's a three-person judging panel tonight because Bruno Tonioli has the week off.  Ballroom battle commences at 6.35pm on BBC One. Can anyone match Alexandra Burke's spectacular 39-point Tina Turner jive from last week? And will head judge Shirley Ballas remember the celebrities' names? I'm Michael, the Telegraph's sore feet and spatulistic hands correspondent. I'll be liveblogging from 6pm, providing build-up, rolling coverage, recaps, analysis and flippant gags, so do join me and watch along with this blog.  And please join in too - you can email me on michael.hogan@ telegraph.co.uk, tweet me on @michaelhogan or leave comments at the bottom of this blog. I'll keep an eye on them all and report the highlights here.  Nearly time to staaaaart Saturday night dancing!

Strictly Come Dancing 2017, week five live show: Debbie McGee's romantic rumba tops scoreboard but four couples tied at bottom

Debbie McGee tops the leaderboard with romantic rumba Joe McFadden jumps to second spot after scoring a perfect 10 for his paso doble  Simon Rimmer, Brian Conley, Susan Calman and Ruth Langsford all joint bottom Bruno Tonioli's week off meant three-strong judging panel for first time in Strictly history Results show airs 7.15pm Sunday on BBC One. Join us back on the liveblog then Missing judges. Magic rumbas. Anton's outfit. Craig's impressions. After a busy night in the ballroom, here's all the talking points and social media reaction from Saturday's show... Debbie McGee's emotional rumba returned her to the top She's this year's oldest contestant but there's no way you would know it. Debbie McGee struggled with the cha cha last time out but had worked hard all week on her earthy style and hip action to tackle the notoriously tricky rumba. There were spins, kicks, lifts and extensions. The judges raved about her poise and leg placement. Debbie duly scored a clean sweep of nines to top the standings. This was an affectingly heartfelt routine, too. After a VT which saw Debbie reminiscing about her late husband Paul Daniels and proudly showing footage of the magician to pro partner Giovanni Pernice, head judge Shirley Ballas revealed that she too had lost a loved one and felt Debbie's pain. Lovely to see the fiftysomething females bonding - especially on an evening when women dominated the judging panel for the first time in Strictly history. Hear them roar.  still teary at #debbiemcgee on #strictly nearly 3 hours later— James Muller (@JamesAMuller) October 21, 2017 #scd Debbie McGee is looking like she might win this. She’s always at or around the top of the scoreboard.— Leanne (@Leanne_Cee) October 21, 2017 Debbie and Giovanni's rumba Was there more to Bruno's absence than met the eye? The night's big news was that flamboyant Italian judge Bruno Tonioli missed his first show in 13 years, citing a demanding Transatlantic work schedule. But something didn't smell quite right. The BBC claimed Bruno's break was planned but if that was truly the case, why wasn't he replaced with a guest judge, like when Len Goodman had a knee op? With the couples judged by a panel of three for the first time ever, it messed up the scoring system and negated the need for the head judge’s casting vote on Sunday's results show.  Has Bruno prioritised his role on Strictly's US sister show, Dancing With The Stars? Is there friction with his fellow judges, hence he's lining up a new gig? Has the 61-year-old booked himself into a discreet clinic for a mystery youth-defying procedure? Is something else afoot? Whichever way, it was strange to see a three-person panel with no gesticulating, shouty Italian on the far end, falling off his chair. Although colleague Craig Revel Horwood did an uncanny impression of him, to much amusement.  Shame they didn’t put Brendan on the panel tonight Oh no .... he’s just a dancer— James Jordan (@The_JamesJordan) October 21, 2017 Half expecting Bruno to descend from the ceiling half way through. #scd#strictly— Richard Cardall (@Hum_Con) October 21, 2017 Bruno, I'm going to have to convert all my scores to percentages because of you. THINK OF THE STATTOS! #scd#strictly— Keep Dancing Podcast (@keepdancingpod) October 21, 2017 "A very busy work schedule", i.e. couldn't be bothered to pop back from doing Dancing With The Stars. #strictly— Ian Jones (@metro_land) October 21, 2017 This would have been a perfect opportunity for Donny Osmond to come back... #Strictly#StrictlyComeDancing2017— David Brown (@MrDavidEBrown) October 21, 2017 Four-way fight to dodge the dreaded dance-off The public vote might well change the picture, of course, but we ended the evening with four celebrities locked together down the bottom of the leaderboard, all on 16 points.  Stompy chef Simon Rimmer's charleston was criminally lacking in swivel action, despite his protestations about a long-standing ankle injury. In the midst of Storm Brian, its namesake Brian Conley failed to ruffle any feathers with his flat-footed, holiday camp-themed jive. And Ruth Langsford's air hostess samba was far more memorable for Anton Du Beke's flamboyant outfit than any actual dancing. The one who surely didn't deserve to be down there was Susan Calman, whose cha cha was packed with content, cheeky character and charm. As Kevin Clifton's rhythm-keeping motto went: "Su-san Cal-man is an awe-some dan-cer". Hopefully viewer votes will see justice done. Simon and Brian deserve to battle it out on Sunday night.  So love watching @SusanCalman and @keviclifton in action. They just make Saturday nights #SCD— Clare Balding (@clarebalding) October 21, 2017 Looks like the Sunday Brunch guy might be toast. Sorry, I'll get my coat. #scd2017— Tony Peters (@tonypetersss) October 21, 2017 Why oh why do we still have Simon AND Brian? One dad dancer is more than enough #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 @EverydaySexism how come nobody says Brian Conley did well for his age but they do with Debbie McGee? #Strictly— Sarah Banham (@sjbwrites) October 21, 2017 How can you not love them? #teamcalman#StrictlyComeDancing— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 21, 2017 Susan and Kevin's cha cha Alexandra plummeted as Joe bounced back Was Alexandra Burke being punished for her near-perfect 39-point jive last week? Her Ed Sheeran samba was spicy, fierce and fast but the judges seemed overly picky, as if taking her down a peg or two. She fell six places down the leaderboard and surely didn't deserve to end up in the bottom half.  In sharp contrast, Joe McFadden was this week's comeback kid. Following last week's awkward cha ch, he came storming back with a powerful paso doble full of commanding character and Spanish lines. It was an impressive performance but Shirley Ballas still surprised us all by pulling out her perfect 10 paddle for the only time this week. Joe finished just one point behind Debbie McGee. If Holby hospital ever finds itself hosting a bullfight, they've got just the man.  Three-person panel was odd but no dance disaster It might have been a Strictly first but the downsized judges' table had its plus points. Bruno Tonioli long ago descended into self-parody with his yelling, arm-waving and leering, so nobody much missed his input. And with the show's running time not reduced, it meant more room to hear from the other three judges. They responded by giving far more detailed critiques, which were technically interesting if not always much fun, often feeling like they were merely reading their notes aloud. There was occasionally a three-point variation in their scoring too.  Darcey Bussell lapsed back into her old "yes? yah?" tic. Shirley Ballas seemed so anxious not to get any more names wrong, she lacked spontaneity. Thus the show was stolen by Craig Revel Horwood, who was as spikily unpredictable as ever - plus witty, wise and even showing signs of softening in his old age. He'd also clearly been practising his Bruno impression in the mirror, complete with pratfall.  Craig doing an even more convincing Bruno than Bruno �� #Strictly— Sid (@StrictlySid) October 21, 2017 Craig imitation Bruno and falling off his chair. Highlight of my day. #scd#Strictly— nikki (@x_allowaygrove) October 21, 2017 Craig making the case that we kind of don't need Bruno here - all done in one quick impression �� #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 Anton Du Beke was on fab-ew-lous form Was he pitching for Bruno's seat, perchance? The longest standing pro was on fire tonight, mainly thanks to that extraordinary outfit change. Playing a passenger on-board air hostess partner Ruth Langsford's flight, Anton du Beke was dressed in a dapper business suit - which he promptly tore off to reveal the most colourful samba outfit this side of Copacabana beach: sequin-spangled pink slacks and a cerise shirt with frilly, flouncy sleeves straight off a carnival float. If the plan was to distract from Ruth's faltering footwork, it worked a treat.    Anton proceeded to have the studio audience in stitches with his repartee. He bickered with Craig, gave balcony backchat to Claudia Winkleman and quipped: "For the first time in 15 series, I'm sort of disappointed Bruno's not here. We could've done with that extra four points." Ah, dear old Tony Beak. Don't ever retire.  Anton Du Beke should be co-presenting this show instead of Claudia Winkleman. He makes jokes that are actually funny. #StrictlyComeDancing— Agent S(ean Bassett) (@WhoPotterVian) October 21, 2017 Serious question. Why is Tess Daly in Bruce's place over Anton du Beke? Surely he's a shoo-in? #strictly— Vittoria Gallowe'en (@Vitt2tsnoc) October 21, 2017 Ruth and Anton's samba Chasing pack are closing the glitterball gap During the first month of the contest, it looked like former X Factor rivals Alexandra Burke and Aston Merrygold were way ahead of the rest. The leaderboard landscape is now changing. Debbie McGee is definitely a threat. Gemma Atkinson is ever-improving. The popular Joe McFadden and Jonnie Peacock are also both impressing. With the judges starting to clamp down on Alexandra and Aston's footwork, it's all throwing the glitterball race wide open again.  Aston and Janette's waltz 9:41PM Saturday night's action in full Here's your routine-by-routine recap... 9:21PM Darcey's vocal tic annoying viewers An email in from Telegraph reader Meryl Tomblin: "When Darcey Bussell first joined Strictly as a judge, her comments were littered with 'yes?' all the time. This was commented on and she stopped. This series, though, she is doing it again and again and again. She ought to stop as it's becoming extremely annoying." 9:12PM Standard too high, says reader This just in from Telegraph reader Martin Davies:  "Bit disappointed with Strictly this year, dahhling. Too many professional dancers posing as amateurs for our liking. The whole point of this show surely is to make people into dancers who have never danced before. It's great to see them start with two left feet in week one, then emerge two months later into really good, accomplished dancers. Another Ore Oduba, please! Oh better still, the lovely Abbey Clancy! So come on BBC, find 'em what can't dance and make them into one." 8:14PM Voting is now open While they shake maracas and recap the action on-screen, stay with us for reaction, analysis and your comments.  8:10PM Jonnie and Oti's quickstep The blade is back on for a fast, bouncy dance that should suit the gold medal-winning Paralympic sprinter. Last couple out and it's a supermarket theme for no apparent reason. Into hold and a bouncy quickstep full of flicks, kicks, skippy strides and synchronisation. Covering the floor well, even if there's some slight gapping and frame issues. Catches an apple to end. Jubilant Jonnie shouts "Yes!" at the end. Music: Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "gosh you made it look easy, light and speedy, cheeky character, impressive detail but your right elbow drops, yes?" Shirley says "you put a spring in your step, it was light, pendulum swings, didn't miss a beat, no mistakes and ease of movement, outstanding". Craig says "the stars are aligning and elements coming together". Some awkwardness from Tess and Shirley, though. Eights? A nine? Judges' scores: 7, 8, 9 for a total of 24 points. His first nine and equal third place.  8:03PM Alexandra and Gorka's samba Can she maintain the sky-high standard of last week's Tina Turner jive? "Alexandra Berserk" is going from Tina Turner to Rio carnival queen. It's fast, frilly and flouncy with lots of travel arond the floor and some nice hip-shaking. Sexy, spicy mood, footwork a bit messy at times but full of spirit. Powers, bounce and a pose to finish.  Music: Shape of You by Ed Sheeran Judges’ verdict: Craig says "you're an amazing dancer, love watching you, loved the tribal touches but your pigeon-toes ruined it". Darcey says "your body doesn't stop moving, you bring the floor to life but work on the tiny details". Shirley says "you have immense power, you're a fantastic performer, upper is exquisite but work on  foot and ankle position". Eights?  Judges' scores: 7, 8, 8 for a total of 23 points - tumbling to mid-table. 7:58PM Joe and Katya's paso doble Cha cha dis-ah-ster for Holby's Dr Di Luca last time but now he's going from Latin lovegod to butch bullfighter. Macho matador. Traditional jacket, no shirt underneath. Form a queue, female Holby City fans. Commanding character and knee-walks. Dramatic shapes, lacking a little fluidity but arching curves, body resistance, a nice blend of the classic and contemporary. And a kicking kill to finish. Ole! Music: Diablo Rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriela Judges' comments: Shirley says "you're back, that was the best male paso doble so far". Craig says "you did it really well". Darcey says "Spanish style, loved it".  Judges' scores: 7, 9, 10 (blimey) for a total of 26 points - second place so far. Wildly fluctuating scores.  7:48PM Gemma and Alijaz's foxtrot A powerful paso took the ever-improving Ms Atkinson to second on the scoreboard last Saturday. Can she now nail pro partner Alijaz's favourite dance (and, apparently, her least favourite)? Slightly drab brown frock for Gemma. Slow and moody to open, then rather beautiful once they're into hold.  Footwork and lines falters at times but lovely leg extensions and swirling around the floor with style. Storytelling too. Liked that.  Music: Madilyn Bailey’s stripped-back, slowed-down version of Cher’s Believe  Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you're becoming so versatile, impressive mood, quality and grace but in hold you over-stretched the neck, yes? Have a focus, yes?" Shirley says "last week you were fierce, today you bought romance and classic elegance, lovely and gentle but watch the length of your steps". Craig concludes "the front-runners in this competition need to start looking behind them, darling." Eights a-coming? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second. 7:42PM Ruth and Anton's samba After last week's much improved tango, it's an old-style samba set on an aeroplane. Flicky hair extensions and a drinks trolley for Ruth. And then passenger Anton rips off his business suit to reveal some preposterously flouncy pink sleeves and sequin-spangled slacks. Ruth's arms are equally eye-catching but not in a good way. Severe lack of bounce, hip action and spice. Anton's outfit steals the show but you don't get many marks for that.  Music: Love Is In The Air by John Paul Young Judges’ verdict: Craig thought he "was at the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix from Strictly Ballroom , it was more of a send-up than a samba, loved it for its comedy but not its technique". Darcey says `'you came alive and went crazy, work on your arm but hold onto the energised fun side". Shirley concludes "brilliant parody, hey, who cares about technique?" Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points - joining the cluster at the bottom.  7:32PM Aston and Janette's waltz The pocket rockets are back in hold for a proper, traditional, back-to-basics waltz. Aston needs footwork finesse after last week’s slight dip. Gorgeously romantic and contemporary style. He's leading well. Took too long to get into hold but good body contact. Slow, soppy and exquisite but Shirley might have her red specs and red pen all over his footwork.  Music: Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley - a stripped-back accoustic version with a female vocalist.  Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "emotional, gentlemanly, beautiful positions and pretty impressive". Craig says `'too sharped, lacked flow, your hands bother me slightly but love the contemporary opening and could watch you all night". Darcey found the opening moves "too fussy and overly detailed but once in hold, control and grace was maintained".  Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second with Mollie.  7:24PM Susan and Kevin's cha cha cha They brought us sunshine last Saturday. Now can Calman 'n' Kev get a Cuban party started? She's playing a heartbroken Bridget Jones type, he's her friend who's come round to cheer her up. Way too much "messin' abaht" to start but much better once they finally launch into a high-impact cha cha. Lots of spins and hip action, Susan looking great in the silver frock that was hiding beneath her dressing gown. Lacking technique at times, sure, but loads of character and sheer joy to watch.   Music: Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "packed with content but you step out too much and the technique suffers, keep it tighter, not your best but you sold it". Shirley says "I love you and could never break up with you, cheeky and committed, co-ordinate your arms and work on the details". Craig says "I'm a little upset that you ripped up my photo, I love your energy and performance but it was turned in and no hip action, thought you were going to snap something when you did the splits - I'm still crying, darling, and it's not with laughter".  Judges' scores: 4 (boo!), 5, 7 for a total of 16 points - tied at the bottom with Brian and Simon.  7:17PM Brian and Amy's jive A Valleys anthem that means a lot to Welsh pro Amy Dowden. Crowd-pleasing Hi-De-Hi theme, with the couple dressed in banana yellow and royal blue. But will it be hi-de-high scoring? Start with a Gladys Pugh-style announcement and Brian's giving it the full 70s disco dad. Lacks bounce and energy, as you might expect fro the contest's senior gent, and he's struggling a smidge to keep up. But a knee slide, some character, gurning a-go-go and high entertainment value.  Music: It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones Judges’ verdict: Craig says "flat-footed, no retraction, but energy and facial expressions were to die for". Darcey says "put the facial energy in your body and lift your wight forward, yes?" Shirley says "it had the feelgood factor, transported me back in time, lots of content and basics but stay in hold more". Fives and sixes? Judges' scores: 4 (boo), 6, 6 for a total of 16 points - equal bottom with Simon.  Brian and Amy's jive 7:08PM Debbie and Giovanni's rumba  It's Flexy McGee, Britain's bendiest woman™, tackling the notoriously tricky rumba. An emotional VT with Debbie reminsicing about her late husband Paul Daniels.  And then into a moody, slow and sensuous rumba. She looks nervous again. Needs to settle in her hips and get more grounded but some great spins, flicks and leg extensions. Lifts and a rumba walk to finish. Bravo. Music: Baby Can I Hold You by Tracy Chapman (no, Boyzone fans, not the watery cover version by Ronan Keating) Judges’ verdict: Shirley Ballas says "very emotional, I've lost a loved one so I know what it means, no bells or whistles, classic rumba, poised and balanced, and I've never seen such a beautiful standing leg". Craig "feels the need to channel Bruno:, so shouts Giovanni a lot, waves his arms around and galls off his chair. Genuine LOLZ. Darcey "loved the way you caressed the floor with your feet, that is your best dance". Nines? Judges' scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points - top of the leaderboard. Brilliant, Debbie is over the moon. 7:00PM Simon and Karen's charleston He's bookies' favourite for elimination again this weekend but can the Scouse chef continue to defy the odds? Rupert bear trousers. Some messin' abaht with violins to start. He's been stuck on 19 points for the past three weeks, so is desperate to get his first seven. This should suit his cheeky character but Simon doesn't look like he's having much fun. Lacks swivel, pace and energy. Laboured. Some comedy moves at the end but Karen;s dancing her socks off to cover Simon's inadequacies.  Music: Gene Kelly's Fit As A Fiddle (And Ready For Love) from Singin’ In The Rain Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you went for it, it was sweet and charming but the recipe was missing some ingredients, lacked swivel, musicality and character". Simon says he snapped his Achilles a few years ago, so can't swivel. Did he bring a sicknote? Shirley says "entertaining, impressed with the change of pace, slapstick comedy was right up my alley, good synchronisation, a step up". Craig says "no swivel on your good leg either, darling, but I loved the train step". Fives? Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points. Bottom as it stands. Dance-off danger.  Simon and Karen's charleston 6:53PM Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz There'll be a lorra lorra spins to this Cilla classic. Classic white, pink and silver frock for Mollie. Romantic opening on a bridge-cum-pier. Romantic mood, footwork falters at times and her balance looks shaky during some of the spins but floaty, delicate and very decent.  Music: Anyone Who Had A Heart by Cilla Black  Judges’ verdict: Craig "loved the opening armography up on the pier, posture good, swing and sway, a lot of wonderful Viennese". Darcey says "you've grown as a partnership, you were gliding and graceful but relax the topline, yes?" Shirley concludes "believable chemistry (showmance implications?) and great turns". Eights? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - highest of the night so far.  Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz 6:44PM Davood and Nadiya's jive Last week's dance-off survivors are first out and trying to shake off the shock with a fast, furious party jive. Wake and smell the random barista theme. Spectacular cartwheel from Kushy. Full-on, fun and furious, high performance level and cream cakey climax but lacking some bounce and knee action Music: Tell Her About It by Billy Joel Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "your best performance, posture suits the dance". Craig says "too much upper body, watch your free arm, heavy-footed and lacked retraction but it was bright, lively and you sold it well". Darcey concludes "carefree, light and energised, yes? But fabulous beginning". Sevens, maybe an eight, do we think? Judges' scores: 6, 8, 8 for a total of 22 points. Out of 30 not 40, remember. Solid start and a nice shot of Davood's lucky socks up on the Clauditorium. The socksy thing.  Davood and Nadiya's jive 6:40PM Here's our Strictly stars Some eye-watering primary coloured outfits, unwise checks and undone shirts. Joe McFadden's in a traditional paso doble jacket with nothing beneath. Be still your hearts, Holby fans.  6:39PM Frockwatch Our regular style smackdown. Tess Daly is sporting a restrained-for-her red slashed frock. Claudia Winkleman's in black trousers, white ruffled blouse and undone tie-type affair. Chic Claudia edges it. And here come the judges: Darcey Bussell in red with embellished red, Shirley Ballas in blue with a bejewelled neckline. Craig in dapper black. Bruno invisible.  6:36PM And we're off! Roll recap of last week's action, when Alexandra Burke streaked clear at the top of the leaderbaord and Charlotte Hawkins was packed off home. Now we're down to a dancefloor dozen. budding to get through to next week's pumpkin-crazed Halloween spooktacular. 6:33PM See ya, sizeable ears Last knockings of Celebrity Pointless on BBC One now, hosted by Alexander Armstrong's ample lugholes. Over to the Elstree Studios ballroom any minute now... 6:29PM Girl power in the ballroom A Strictly milestone tonight: for the first time in the show's history, the judging panel will feature more women than men. Smashing the patriarchy, one sequin at a time. Five minutes until that ba-ba-da theme tune. .. 6:22PM Will Burke go berserk again? Last week's show saw Alexandra Burke score the first perfect 10s of the series for her big-haired, tassel-frocked Tina Turner jive. La Burke 's dancing a hip-shaking samba to Ed Sheeran tonight. Fifteen minutes to wait... 6:15PM Ciao, Signor Tonioli? The judging panel will be without its right-hand bookend tonight, with Italian stallion Bruno Tonioli absent for the first time in 13 years. He's cited a demanding schedule due to jetting between the UK and US versions of the show and says he needs a break. But is Bruno, like his old mucker Len Goodman, prioritising America's Dancing With The Stars over Blighty's Strictly?  Does tonight's absence herald his imminent departure from the UK show too? Such speculation is inevitable. Twenty minutes until showtime... 6:10PM Who'll be the fourth celebrity sent home from Strictly 2017?  We've waved a glittery goodbye to Charlotte, Chizzy and the disco vicar. So who's next for the sequin-spangled scrapheap? Yes, it's the fourth elimination weekend , with our dancefloor dozen hoofing for survival once again. The night's big news is that, for the first time ever, it's a three-person judging panel tonight because Bruno Tonioli has the week off.  Ballroom battle commences at 6.35pm on BBC One. Can anyone match Alexandra Burke's spectacular 39-point Tina Turner jive from last week? And will head judge Shirley Ballas remember the celebrities' names? I'm Michael, the Telegraph's sore feet and spatulistic hands correspondent. I'll be liveblogging from 6pm, providing build-up, rolling coverage, recaps, analysis and flippant gags, so do join me and watch along with this blog.  And please join in too - you can email me on michael.hogan@ telegraph.co.uk, tweet me on @michaelhogan or leave comments at the bottom of this blog. I'll keep an eye on them all and report the highlights here.  Nearly time to staaaaart Saturday night dancing!

Strictly Come Dancing 2017, week five live show: Debbie McGee's romantic rumba tops scoreboard but four couples tied at bottom

Debbie McGee tops the leaderboard with romantic rumba Joe McFadden jumps to second spot after scoring a perfect 10 for his paso doble  Simon Rimmer, Brian Conley, Susan Calman and Ruth Langsford all joint bottom Bruno Tonioli's week off meant three-strong judging panel for first time in Strictly history Results show airs 7.15pm Sunday on BBC One. Join us back on the liveblog then Missing judges. Magic rumbas. Anton's outfit. Craig's impressions. After a busy night in the ballroom, here's all the talking points and social media reaction from Saturday's show... Debbie McGee's emotional rumba returned her to the top She's this year's oldest contestant but there's no way you would know it. Debbie McGee struggled with the cha cha last time out but had worked hard all week on her earthy style and hip action to tackle the notoriously tricky rumba. There were spins, kicks, lifts and extensions. The judges raved about her poise and leg placement. Debbie duly scored a clean sweep of nines to top the standings. This was an affectingly heartfelt routine, too. After a VT which saw Debbie reminiscing about her late husband Paul Daniels and proudly showing footage of the magician to pro partner Giovanni Pernice, head judge Shirley Ballas revealed that she too had lost a loved one and felt Debbie's pain. Lovely to see the fiftysomething females bonding - especially on an evening when women dominated the judging panel for the first time in Strictly history. Hear them roar.  still teary at #debbiemcgee on #strictly nearly 3 hours later— James Muller (@JamesAMuller) October 21, 2017 #scd Debbie McGee is looking like she might win this. She’s always at or around the top of the scoreboard.— Leanne (@Leanne_Cee) October 21, 2017 Debbie and Giovanni's rumba Was there more to Bruno's absence than met the eye? The night's big news was that flamboyant Italian judge Bruno Tonioli missed his first show in 13 years, citing a demanding Transatlantic work schedule. But something didn't smell quite right. The BBC claimed Bruno's break was planned but if that was truly the case, why wasn't he replaced with a guest judge, like when Len Goodman had a knee op? With the couples judged by a panel of three for the first time ever, it messed up the scoring system and negated the need for the head judge’s casting vote on Sunday's results show.  Has Bruno prioritised his role on Strictly's US sister show, Dancing With The Stars? Is there friction with his fellow judges, hence he's lining up a new gig? Has the 61-year-old booked himself into a discreet clinic for a mystery youth-defying procedure? Is something else afoot? Whichever way, it was strange to see a three-person panel with no gesticulating, shouty Italian on the far end, falling off his chair. Although colleague Craig Revel Horwood did an uncanny impression of him, to much amusement.  Shame they didn’t put Brendan on the panel tonight Oh no .... he’s just a dancer— James Jordan (@The_JamesJordan) October 21, 2017 Half expecting Bruno to descend from the ceiling half way through. #scd#strictly— Richard Cardall (@Hum_Con) October 21, 2017 Bruno, I'm going to have to convert all my scores to percentages because of you. THINK OF THE STATTOS! #scd#strictly— Keep Dancing Podcast (@keepdancingpod) October 21, 2017 "A very busy work schedule", i.e. couldn't be bothered to pop back from doing Dancing With The Stars. #strictly— Ian Jones (@metro_land) October 21, 2017 This would have been a perfect opportunity for Donny Osmond to come back... #Strictly#StrictlyComeDancing2017— David Brown (@MrDavidEBrown) October 21, 2017 Four-way fight to dodge the dreaded dance-off The public vote might well change the picture, of course, but we ended the evening with four celebrities locked together down the bottom of the leaderboard, all on 16 points.  Stompy chef Simon Rimmer's charleston was criminally lacking in swivel action, despite his protestations about a long-standing ankle injury. In the midst of Storm Brian, its namesake Brian Conley failed to ruffle any feathers with his flat-footed, holiday camp-themed jive. And Ruth Langsford's air hostess samba was far more memorable for Anton Du Beke's flamboyant outfit than any actual dancing. The one who surely didn't deserve to be down there was Susan Calman, whose cha cha was packed with content, cheeky character and charm. As Kevin Clifton's rhythm-keeping motto went: "Su-san Cal-man is an awe-some dan-cer". Hopefully viewer votes will see justice done. Simon and Brian deserve to battle it out on Sunday night.  So love watching @SusanCalman and @keviclifton in action. They just make Saturday nights #SCD— Clare Balding (@clarebalding) October 21, 2017 Looks like the Sunday Brunch guy might be toast. Sorry, I'll get my coat. #scd2017— Tony Peters (@tonypetersss) October 21, 2017 Why oh why do we still have Simon AND Brian? One dad dancer is more than enough #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 @EverydaySexism how come nobody says Brian Conley did well for his age but they do with Debbie McGee? #Strictly— Sarah Banham (@sjbwrites) October 21, 2017 How can you not love them? #teamcalman#StrictlyComeDancing— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 21, 2017 Susan and Kevin's cha cha Alexandra plummeted as Joe bounced back Was Alexandra Burke being punished for her near-perfect 39-point jive last week? Her Ed Sheeran samba was spicy, fierce and fast but the judges seemed overly picky, as if taking her down a peg or two. She fell six places down the leaderboard and surely didn't deserve to end up in the bottom half.  In sharp contrast, Joe McFadden was this week's comeback kid. Following last week's awkward cha ch, he came storming back with a powerful paso doble full of commanding character and Spanish lines. It was an impressive performance but Shirley Ballas still surprised us all by pulling out her perfect 10 paddle for the only time this week. Joe finished just one point behind Debbie McGee. If Holby hospital ever finds itself hosting a bullfight, they've got just the man.  Three-person panel was odd but no dance disaster It might have been a Strictly first but the downsized judges' table had its plus points. Bruno Tonioli long ago descended into self-parody with his yelling, arm-waving and leering, so nobody much missed his input. And with the show's running time not reduced, it meant more room to hear from the other three judges. They responded by giving far more detailed critiques, which were technically interesting if not always much fun, often feeling like they were merely reading their notes aloud. There was occasionally a three-point variation in their scoring too.  Darcey Bussell lapsed back into her old "yes? yah?" tic. Shirley Ballas seemed so anxious not to get any more names wrong, she lacked spontaneity. Thus the show was stolen by Craig Revel Horwood, who was as spikily unpredictable as ever - plus witty, wise and even showing signs of softening in his old age. He'd also clearly been practising his Bruno impression in the mirror, complete with pratfall.  Craig doing an even more convincing Bruno than Bruno �� #Strictly— Sid (@StrictlySid) October 21, 2017 Craig imitation Bruno and falling off his chair. Highlight of my day. #scd#Strictly— nikki (@x_allowaygrove) October 21, 2017 Craig making the case that we kind of don't need Bruno here - all done in one quick impression �� #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 Anton Du Beke was on fab-ew-lous form Was he pitching for Bruno's seat, perchance? The longest standing pro was on fire tonight, mainly thanks to that extraordinary outfit change. Playing a passenger on-board air hostess partner Ruth Langsford's flight, Anton du Beke was dressed in a dapper business suit - which he promptly tore off to reveal the most colourful samba outfit this side of Copacabana beach: sequin-spangled pink slacks and a cerise shirt with frilly, flouncy sleeves straight off a carnival float. If the plan was to distract from Ruth's faltering footwork, it worked a treat.    Anton proceeded to have the studio audience in stitches with his repartee. He bickered with Craig, gave balcony backchat to Claudia Winkleman and quipped: "For the first time in 15 series, I'm sort of disappointed Bruno's not here. We could've done with that extra four points." Ah, dear old Tony Beak. Don't ever retire.  Anton Du Beke should be co-presenting this show instead of Claudia Winkleman. He makes jokes that are actually funny. #StrictlyComeDancing— Agent S(ean Bassett) (@WhoPotterVian) October 21, 2017 Serious question. Why is Tess Daly in Bruce's place over Anton du Beke? Surely he's a shoo-in? #strictly— Vittoria Gallowe'en (@Vitt2tsnoc) October 21, 2017 Ruth and Anton's samba Chasing pack are closing the glitterball gap During the first month of the contest, it looked like former X Factor rivals Alexandra Burke and Aston Merrygold were way ahead of the rest. The leaderboard landscape is now changing. Debbie McGee is definitely a threat. Gemma Atkinson is ever-improving. The popular Joe McFadden and Jonnie Peacock are also both impressing. With the judges starting to clamp down on Alexandra and Aston's footwork, it's all throwing the glitterball race wide open again.  Aston and Janette's waltz 9:41PM Saturday night's action in full Here's your routine-by-routine recap... 9:21PM Darcey's vocal tic annoying viewers An email in from Telegraph reader Meryl Tomblin: "When Darcey Bussell first joined Strictly as a judge, her comments were littered with 'yes?' all the time. This was commented on and she stopped. This series, though, she is doing it again and again and again. She ought to stop as it's becoming extremely annoying." 9:12PM Standard too high, says reader This just in from Telegraph reader Martin Davies:  "Bit disappointed with Strictly this year, dahhling. Too many professional dancers posing as amateurs for our liking. The whole point of this show surely is to make people into dancers who have never danced before. It's great to see them start with two left feet in week one, then emerge two months later into really good, accomplished dancers. Another Ore Oduba, please! Oh better still, the lovely Abbey Clancy! So come on BBC, find 'em what can't dance and make them into one." 8:14PM Voting is now open While they shake maracas and recap the action on-screen, stay with us for reaction, analysis and your comments.  8:10PM Jonnie and Oti's quickstep The blade is back on for a fast, bouncy dance that should suit the gold medal-winning Paralympic sprinter. Last couple out and it's a supermarket theme for no apparent reason. Into hold and a bouncy quickstep full of flicks, kicks, skippy strides and synchronisation. Covering the floor well, even if there's some slight gapping and frame issues. Catches an apple to end. Jubilant Jonnie shouts "Yes!" at the end. Music: Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "gosh you made it look easy, light and speedy, cheeky character, impressive detail but your right elbow drops, yes?" Shirley says "you put a spring in your step, it was light, pendulum swings, didn't miss a beat, no mistakes and ease of movement, outstanding". Craig says "the stars are aligning and elements coming together". Some awkwardness from Tess and Shirley, though. Eights? A nine? Judges' scores: 7, 8, 9 for a total of 24 points. His first nine and equal third place.  8:03PM Alexandra and Gorka's samba Can she maintain the sky-high standard of last week's Tina Turner jive? "Alexandra Berserk" is going from Tina Turner to Rio carnival queen. It's fast, frilly and flouncy with lots of travel arond the floor and some nice hip-shaking. Sexy, spicy mood, footwork a bit messy at times but full of spirit. Powers, bounce and a pose to finish.  Music: Shape of You by Ed Sheeran Judges’ verdict: Craig says "you're an amazing dancer, love watching you, loved the tribal touches but your pigeon-toes ruined it". Darcey says "your body doesn't stop moving, you bring the floor to life but work on the tiny details". Shirley says "you have immense power, you're a fantastic performer, upper is exquisite but work on  foot and ankle position". Eights?  Judges' scores: 7, 8, 8 for a total of 23 points - tumbling to mid-table. 7:58PM Joe and Katya's paso doble Cha cha dis-ah-ster for Holby's Dr Di Luca last time but now he's going from Latin lovegod to butch bullfighter. Macho matador. Traditional jacket, no shirt underneath. Form a queue, female Holby City fans. Commanding character and knee-walks. Dramatic shapes, lacking a little fluidity but arching curves, body resistance, a nice blend of the classic and contemporary. And a kicking kill to finish. Ole! Music: Diablo Rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriela Judges' comments: Shirley says "you're back, that was the best male paso doble so far". Craig says "you did it really well". Darcey says "Spanish style, loved it".  Judges' scores: 7, 9, 10 (blimey) for a total of 26 points - second place so far. Wildly fluctuating scores.  7:48PM Gemma and Alijaz's foxtrot A powerful paso took the ever-improving Ms Atkinson to second on the scoreboard last Saturday. Can she now nail pro partner Alijaz's favourite dance (and, apparently, her least favourite)? Slightly drab brown frock for Gemma. Slow and moody to open, then rather beautiful once they're into hold.  Footwork and lines falters at times but lovely leg extensions and swirling around the floor with style. Storytelling too. Liked that.  Music: Madilyn Bailey’s stripped-back, slowed-down version of Cher’s Believe  Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you're becoming so versatile, impressive mood, quality and grace but in hold you over-stretched the neck, yes? Have a focus, yes?" Shirley says "last week you were fierce, today you bought romance and classic elegance, lovely and gentle but watch the length of your steps". Craig concludes "the front-runners in this competition need to start looking behind them, darling." Eights a-coming? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second. 7:42PM Ruth and Anton's samba After last week's much improved tango, it's an old-style samba set on an aeroplane. Flicky hair extensions and a drinks trolley for Ruth. And then passenger Anton rips off his business suit to reveal some preposterously flouncy pink sleeves and sequin-spangled slacks. Ruth's arms are equally eye-catching but not in a good way. Severe lack of bounce, hip action and spice. Anton's outfit steals the show but you don't get many marks for that.  Music: Love Is In The Air by John Paul Young Judges’ verdict: Craig thought he "was at the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix from Strictly Ballroom , it was more of a send-up than a samba, loved it for its comedy but not its technique". Darcey says `'you came alive and went crazy, work on your arm but hold onto the energised fun side". Shirley concludes "brilliant parody, hey, who cares about technique?" Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points - joining the cluster at the bottom.  7:32PM Aston and Janette's waltz The pocket rockets are back in hold for a proper, traditional, back-to-basics waltz. Aston needs footwork finesse after last week’s slight dip. Gorgeously romantic and contemporary style. He's leading well. Took too long to get into hold but good body contact. Slow, soppy and exquisite but Shirley might have her red specs and red pen all over his footwork.  Music: Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley - a stripped-back accoustic version with a female vocalist.  Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "emotional, gentlemanly, beautiful positions and pretty impressive". Craig says `'too sharped, lacked flow, your hands bother me slightly but love the contemporary opening and could watch you all night". Darcey found the opening moves "too fussy and overly detailed but once in hold, control and grace was maintained".  Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second with Mollie.  7:24PM Susan and Kevin's cha cha cha They brought us sunshine last Saturday. Now can Calman 'n' Kev get a Cuban party started? She's playing a heartbroken Bridget Jones type, he's her friend who's come round to cheer her up. Way too much "messin' abaht" to start but much better once they finally launch into a high-impact cha cha. Lots of spins and hip action, Susan looking great in the silver frock that was hiding beneath her dressing gown. Lacking technique at times, sure, but loads of character and sheer joy to watch.   Music: Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "packed with content but you step out too much and the technique suffers, keep it tighter, not your best but you sold it". Shirley says "I love you and could never break up with you, cheeky and committed, co-ordinate your arms and work on the details". Craig says "I'm a little upset that you ripped up my photo, I love your energy and performance but it was turned in and no hip action, thought you were going to snap something when you did the splits - I'm still crying, darling, and it's not with laughter".  Judges' scores: 4 (boo!), 5, 7 for a total of 16 points - tied at the bottom with Brian and Simon.  7:17PM Brian and Amy's jive A Valleys anthem that means a lot to Welsh pro Amy Dowden. Crowd-pleasing Hi-De-Hi theme, with the couple dressed in banana yellow and royal blue. But will it be hi-de-high scoring? Start with a Gladys Pugh-style announcement and Brian's giving it the full 70s disco dad. Lacks bounce and energy, as you might expect fro the contest's senior gent, and he's struggling a smidge to keep up. But a knee slide, some character, gurning a-go-go and high entertainment value.  Music: It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones Judges’ verdict: Craig says "flat-footed, no retraction, but energy and facial expressions were to die for". Darcey says "put the facial energy in your body and lift your wight forward, yes?" Shirley says "it had the feelgood factor, transported me back in time, lots of content and basics but stay in hold more". Fives and sixes? Judges' scores: 4 (boo), 6, 6 for a total of 16 points - equal bottom with Simon.  Brian and Amy's jive 7:08PM Debbie and Giovanni's rumba  It's Flexy McGee, Britain's bendiest woman™, tackling the notoriously tricky rumba. An emotional VT with Debbie reminsicing about her late husband Paul Daniels.  And then into a moody, slow and sensuous rumba. She looks nervous again. Needs to settle in her hips and get more grounded but some great spins, flicks and leg extensions. Lifts and a rumba walk to finish. Bravo. Music: Baby Can I Hold You by Tracy Chapman (no, Boyzone fans, not the watery cover version by Ronan Keating) Judges’ verdict: Shirley Ballas says "very emotional, I've lost a loved one so I know what it means, no bells or whistles, classic rumba, poised and balanced, and I've never seen such a beautiful standing leg". Craig "feels the need to channel Bruno:, so shouts Giovanni a lot, waves his arms around and galls off his chair. Genuine LOLZ. Darcey "loved the way you caressed the floor with your feet, that is your best dance". Nines? Judges' scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points - top of the leaderboard. Brilliant, Debbie is over the moon. 7:00PM Simon and Karen's charleston He's bookies' favourite for elimination again this weekend but can the Scouse chef continue to defy the odds? Rupert bear trousers. Some messin' abaht with violins to start. He's been stuck on 19 points for the past three weeks, so is desperate to get his first seven. This should suit his cheeky character but Simon doesn't look like he's having much fun. Lacks swivel, pace and energy. Laboured. Some comedy moves at the end but Karen;s dancing her socks off to cover Simon's inadequacies.  Music: Gene Kelly's Fit As A Fiddle (And Ready For Love) from Singin’ In The Rain Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you went for it, it was sweet and charming but the recipe was missing some ingredients, lacked swivel, musicality and character". Simon says he snapped his Achilles a few years ago, so can't swivel. Did he bring a sicknote? Shirley says "entertaining, impressed with the change of pace, slapstick comedy was right up my alley, good synchronisation, a step up". Craig says "no swivel on your good leg either, darling, but I loved the train step". Fives? Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points. Bottom as it stands. Dance-off danger.  Simon and Karen's charleston 6:53PM Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz There'll be a lorra lorra spins to this Cilla classic. Classic white, pink and silver frock for Mollie. Romantic opening on a bridge-cum-pier. Romantic mood, footwork falters at times and her balance looks shaky during some of the spins but floaty, delicate and very decent.  Music: Anyone Who Had A Heart by Cilla Black  Judges’ verdict: Craig "loved the opening armography up on the pier, posture good, swing and sway, a lot of wonderful Viennese". Darcey says "you've grown as a partnership, you were gliding and graceful but relax the topline, yes?" Shirley concludes "believable chemistry (showmance implications?) and great turns". Eights? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - highest of the night so far.  Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz 6:44PM Davood and Nadiya's jive Last week's dance-off survivors are first out and trying to shake off the shock with a fast, furious party jive. Wake and smell the random barista theme. Spectacular cartwheel from Kushy. Full-on, fun and furious, high performance level and cream cakey climax but lacking some bounce and knee action Music: Tell Her About It by Billy Joel Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "your best performance, posture suits the dance". Craig says "too much upper body, watch your free arm, heavy-footed and lacked retraction but it was bright, lively and you sold it well". Darcey concludes "carefree, light and energised, yes? But fabulous beginning". Sevens, maybe an eight, do we think? Judges' scores: 6, 8, 8 for a total of 22 points. Out of 30 not 40, remember. Solid start and a nice shot of Davood's lucky socks up on the Clauditorium. The socksy thing.  Davood and Nadiya's jive 6:40PM Here's our Strictly stars Some eye-watering primary coloured outfits, unwise checks and undone shirts. Joe McFadden's in a traditional paso doble jacket with nothing beneath. Be still your hearts, Holby fans.  6:39PM Frockwatch Our regular style smackdown. Tess Daly is sporting a restrained-for-her red slashed frock. Claudia Winkleman's in black trousers, white ruffled blouse and undone tie-type affair. Chic Claudia edges it. And here come the judges: Darcey Bussell in red with embellished red, Shirley Ballas in blue with a bejewelled neckline. Craig in dapper black. Bruno invisible.  6:36PM And we're off! Roll recap of last week's action, when Alexandra Burke streaked clear at the top of the leaderbaord and Charlotte Hawkins was packed off home. Now we're down to a dancefloor dozen. budding to get through to next week's pumpkin-crazed Halloween spooktacular. 6:33PM See ya, sizeable ears Last knockings of Celebrity Pointless on BBC One now, hosted by Alexander Armstrong's ample lugholes. Over to the Elstree Studios ballroom any minute now... 6:29PM Girl power in the ballroom A Strictly milestone tonight: for the first time in the show's history, the judging panel will feature more women than men. Smashing the patriarchy, one sequin at a time. Five minutes until that ba-ba-da theme tune. .. 6:22PM Will Burke go berserk again? Last week's show saw Alexandra Burke score the first perfect 10s of the series for her big-haired, tassel-frocked Tina Turner jive. La Burke 's dancing a hip-shaking samba to Ed Sheeran tonight. Fifteen minutes to wait... 6:15PM Ciao, Signor Tonioli? The judging panel will be without its right-hand bookend tonight, with Italian stallion Bruno Tonioli absent for the first time in 13 years. He's cited a demanding schedule due to jetting between the UK and US versions of the show and says he needs a break. But is Bruno, like his old mucker Len Goodman, prioritising America's Dancing With The Stars over Blighty's Strictly?  Does tonight's absence herald his imminent departure from the UK show too? Such speculation is inevitable. Twenty minutes until showtime... 6:10PM Who'll be the fourth celebrity sent home from Strictly 2017?  We've waved a glittery goodbye to Charlotte, Chizzy and the disco vicar. So who's next for the sequin-spangled scrapheap? Yes, it's the fourth elimination weekend , with our dancefloor dozen hoofing for survival once again. The night's big news is that, for the first time ever, it's a three-person judging panel tonight because Bruno Tonioli has the week off.  Ballroom battle commences at 6.35pm on BBC One. Can anyone match Alexandra Burke's spectacular 39-point Tina Turner jive from last week? And will head judge Shirley Ballas remember the celebrities' names? I'm Michael, the Telegraph's sore feet and spatulistic hands correspondent. I'll be liveblogging from 6pm, providing build-up, rolling coverage, recaps, analysis and flippant gags, so do join me and watch along with this blog.  And please join in too - you can email me on michael.hogan@ telegraph.co.uk, tweet me on @michaelhogan or leave comments at the bottom of this blog. I'll keep an eye on them all and report the highlights here.  Nearly time to staaaaart Saturday night dancing!

Strictly Come Dancing 2017, week five live show: Debbie McGee's romantic rumba tops scoreboard but four couples tied at bottom

Debbie McGee tops the leaderboard with romantic rumba Joe McFadden jumps to second spot after scoring a perfect 10 for his paso doble  Simon Rimmer, Brian Conley, Susan Calman and Ruth Langsford all joint bottom Bruno Tonioli's week off meant three-strong judging panel for first time in Strictly history Results show airs 7.15pm Sunday on BBC One. Join us back on the liveblog then Missing judges. Magic rumbas. Anton's outfit. Craig's impressions. After a busy night in the ballroom, here's all the talking points and social media reaction from Saturday's show... Debbie McGee's emotional rumba returned her to the top She's this year's oldest contestant but there's no way you would know it. Debbie McGee struggled with the cha cha last time out but had worked hard all week on her earthy style and hip action to tackle the notoriously tricky rumba. There were spins, kicks, lifts and extensions. The judges raved about her poise and leg placement. Debbie duly scored a clean sweep of nines to top the standings. This was an affectingly heartfelt routine, too. After a VT which saw Debbie reminiscing about her late husband Paul Daniels and proudly showing footage of the magician to pro partner Giovanni Pernice, head judge Shirley Ballas revealed that she too had lost a loved one and felt Debbie's pain. Lovely to see the fiftysomething females bonding - especially on an evening when women dominated the judging panel for the first time in Strictly history. Hear them roar.  still teary at #debbiemcgee on #strictly nearly 3 hours later— James Muller (@JamesAMuller) October 21, 2017 #scd Debbie McGee is looking like she might win this. She’s always at or around the top of the scoreboard.— Leanne (@Leanne_Cee) October 21, 2017 Debbie and Giovanni's rumba Was there more to Bruno's absence than met the eye? The night's big news was that flamboyant Italian judge Bruno Tonioli missed his first show in 13 years, citing a demanding Transatlantic work schedule. But something didn't smell quite right. The BBC claimed Bruno's break was planned but if that was truly the case, why wasn't he replaced with a guest judge, like when Len Goodman had a knee op? With the couples judged by a panel of three for the first time ever, it messed up the scoring system and negated the need for the head judge’s casting vote on Sunday's results show.  Has Bruno prioritised his role on Strictly's US sister show, Dancing With The Stars? Is there friction with his fellow judges, hence he's lining up a new gig? Has the 61-year-old booked himself into a discreet clinic for a mystery youth-defying procedure? Is something else afoot? Whichever way, it was strange to see a three-person panel with no gesticulating, shouty Italian on the far end, falling off his chair. Although colleague Craig Revel Horwood did an uncanny impression of him, to much amusement.  Shame they didn’t put Brendan on the panel tonight Oh no .... he’s just a dancer— James Jordan (@The_JamesJordan) October 21, 2017 Half expecting Bruno to descend from the ceiling half way through. #scd#strictly— Richard Cardall (@Hum_Con) October 21, 2017 Bruno, I'm going to have to convert all my scores to percentages because of you. THINK OF THE STATTOS! #scd#strictly— Keep Dancing Podcast (@keepdancingpod) October 21, 2017 "A very busy work schedule", i.e. couldn't be bothered to pop back from doing Dancing With The Stars. #strictly— Ian Jones (@metro_land) October 21, 2017 This would have been a perfect opportunity for Donny Osmond to come back... #Strictly#StrictlyComeDancing2017— David Brown (@MrDavidEBrown) October 21, 2017 Four-way fight to dodge the dreaded dance-off The public vote might well change the picture, of course, but we ended the evening with four celebrities locked together down the bottom of the leaderboard, all on 16 points.  Stompy chef Simon Rimmer's charleston was criminally lacking in swivel action, despite his protestations about a long-standing ankle injury. In the midst of Storm Brian, its namesake Brian Conley failed to ruffle any feathers with his flat-footed, holiday camp-themed jive. And Ruth Langsford's air hostess samba was far more memorable for Anton Du Beke's flamboyant outfit than any actual dancing. The one who surely didn't deserve to be down there was Susan Calman, whose cha cha was packed with content, cheeky character and charm. As Kevin Clifton's rhythm-keeping motto went: "Su-san Cal-man is an awe-some dan-cer". Hopefully viewer votes will see justice done. Simon and Brian deserve to battle it out on Sunday night.  So love watching @SusanCalman and @keviclifton in action. They just make Saturday nights #SCD— Clare Balding (@clarebalding) October 21, 2017 Looks like the Sunday Brunch guy might be toast. Sorry, I'll get my coat. #scd2017— Tony Peters (@tonypetersss) October 21, 2017 Why oh why do we still have Simon AND Brian? One dad dancer is more than enough #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 @EverydaySexism how come nobody says Brian Conley did well for his age but they do with Debbie McGee? #Strictly— Sarah Banham (@sjbwrites) October 21, 2017 How can you not love them? #teamcalman#StrictlyComeDancing— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 21, 2017 Susan and Kevin's cha cha Alexandra plummeted as Joe bounced back Was Alexandra Burke being punished for her near-perfect 39-point jive last week? Her Ed Sheeran samba was spicy, fierce and fast but the judges seemed overly picky, as if taking her down a peg or two. She fell six places down the leaderboard and surely didn't deserve to end up in the bottom half.  In sharp contrast, Joe McFadden was this week's comeback kid. Following last week's awkward cha ch, he came storming back with a powerful paso doble full of commanding character and Spanish lines. It was an impressive performance but Shirley Ballas still surprised us all by pulling out her perfect 10 paddle for the only time this week. Joe finished just one point behind Debbie McGee. If Holby hospital ever finds itself hosting a bullfight, they've got just the man.  Three-person panel was odd but no dance disaster It might have been a Strictly first but the downsized judges' table had its plus points. Bruno Tonioli long ago descended into self-parody with his yelling, arm-waving and leering, so nobody much missed his input. And with the show's running time not reduced, it meant more room to hear from the other three judges. They responded by giving far more detailed critiques, which were technically interesting if not always much fun, often feeling like they were merely reading their notes aloud. There was occasionally a three-point variation in their scoring too.  Darcey Bussell lapsed back into her old "yes? yah?" tic. Shirley Ballas seemed so anxious not to get any more names wrong, she lacked spontaneity. Thus the show was stolen by Craig Revel Horwood, who was as spikily unpredictable as ever - plus witty, wise and even showing signs of softening in his old age. He'd also clearly been practising his Bruno impression in the mirror, complete with pratfall.  Craig doing an even more convincing Bruno than Bruno �� #Strictly— Sid (@StrictlySid) October 21, 2017 Craig imitation Bruno and falling off his chair. Highlight of my day. #scd#Strictly— nikki (@x_allowaygrove) October 21, 2017 Craig making the case that we kind of don't need Bruno here - all done in one quick impression �� #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 Anton Du Beke was on fab-ew-lous form Was he pitching for Bruno's seat, perchance? The longest standing pro was on fire tonight, mainly thanks to that extraordinary outfit change. Playing a passenger on-board air hostess partner Ruth Langsford's flight, Anton du Beke was dressed in a dapper business suit - which he promptly tore off to reveal the most colourful samba outfit this side of Copacabana beach: sequin-spangled pink slacks and a cerise shirt with frilly, flouncy sleeves straight off a carnival float. If the plan was to distract from Ruth's faltering footwork, it worked a treat.    Anton proceeded to have the studio audience in stitches with his repartee. He bickered with Craig, gave balcony backchat to Claudia Winkleman and quipped: "For the first time in 15 series, I'm sort of disappointed Bruno's not here. We could've done with that extra four points." Ah, dear old Tony Beak. Don't ever retire.  Anton Du Beke should be co-presenting this show instead of Claudia Winkleman. He makes jokes that are actually funny. #StrictlyComeDancing— Agent S(ean Bassett) (@WhoPotterVian) October 21, 2017 Serious question. Why is Tess Daly in Bruce's place over Anton du Beke? Surely he's a shoo-in? #strictly— Vittoria Gallowe'en (@Vitt2tsnoc) October 21, 2017 Ruth and Anton's samba Chasing pack are closing the glitterball gap During the first month of the contest, it looked like former X Factor rivals Alexandra Burke and Aston Merrygold were way ahead of the rest. The leaderboard landscape is now changing. Debbie McGee is definitely a threat. Gemma Atkinson is ever-improving. The popular Joe McFadden and Jonnie Peacock are also both impressing. With the judges starting to clamp down on Alexandra and Aston's footwork, it's all throwing the glitterball race wide open again.  Aston and Janette's waltz 9:41PM Saturday night's action in full Here's your routine-by-routine recap... 9:21PM Darcey's vocal tic annoying viewers An email in from Telegraph reader Meryl Tomblin: "When Darcey Bussell first joined Strictly as a judge, her comments were littered with 'yes?' all the time. This was commented on and she stopped. This series, though, she is doing it again and again and again. She ought to stop as it's becoming extremely annoying." 9:12PM Standard too high, says reader This just in from Telegraph reader Martin Davies:  "Bit disappointed with Strictly this year, dahhling. Too many professional dancers posing as amateurs for our liking. The whole point of this show surely is to make people into dancers who have never danced before. It's great to see them start with two left feet in week one, then emerge two months later into really good, accomplished dancers. Another Ore Oduba, please! Oh better still, the lovely Abbey Clancy! So come on BBC, find 'em what can't dance and make them into one." 8:14PM Voting is now open While they shake maracas and recap the action on-screen, stay with us for reaction, analysis and your comments.  8:10PM Jonnie and Oti's quickstep The blade is back on for a fast, bouncy dance that should suit the gold medal-winning Paralympic sprinter. Last couple out and it's a supermarket theme for no apparent reason. Into hold and a bouncy quickstep full of flicks, kicks, skippy strides and synchronisation. Covering the floor well, even if there's some slight gapping and frame issues. Catches an apple to end. Jubilant Jonnie shouts "Yes!" at the end. Music: Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "gosh you made it look easy, light and speedy, cheeky character, impressive detail but your right elbow drops, yes?" Shirley says "you put a spring in your step, it was light, pendulum swings, didn't miss a beat, no mistakes and ease of movement, outstanding". Craig says "the stars are aligning and elements coming together". Some awkwardness from Tess and Shirley, though. Eights? A nine? Judges' scores: 7, 8, 9 for a total of 24 points. His first nine and equal third place.  8:03PM Alexandra and Gorka's samba Can she maintain the sky-high standard of last week's Tina Turner jive? "Alexandra Berserk" is going from Tina Turner to Rio carnival queen. It's fast, frilly and flouncy with lots of travel arond the floor and some nice hip-shaking. Sexy, spicy mood, footwork a bit messy at times but full of spirit. Powers, bounce and a pose to finish.  Music: Shape of You by Ed Sheeran Judges’ verdict: Craig says "you're an amazing dancer, love watching you, loved the tribal touches but your pigeon-toes ruined it". Darcey says "your body doesn't stop moving, you bring the floor to life but work on the tiny details". Shirley says "you have immense power, you're a fantastic performer, upper is exquisite but work on  foot and ankle position". Eights?  Judges' scores: 7, 8, 8 for a total of 23 points - tumbling to mid-table. 7:58PM Joe and Katya's paso doble Cha cha dis-ah-ster for Holby's Dr Di Luca last time but now he's going from Latin lovegod to butch bullfighter. Macho matador. Traditional jacket, no shirt underneath. Form a queue, female Holby City fans. Commanding character and knee-walks. Dramatic shapes, lacking a little fluidity but arching curves, body resistance, a nice blend of the classic and contemporary. And a kicking kill to finish. Ole! Music: Diablo Rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriela Judges' comments: Shirley says "you're back, that was the best male paso doble so far". Craig says "you did it really well". Darcey says "Spanish style, loved it".  Judges' scores: 7, 9, 10 (blimey) for a total of 26 points - second place so far. Wildly fluctuating scores.  7:48PM Gemma and Alijaz's foxtrot A powerful paso took the ever-improving Ms Atkinson to second on the scoreboard last Saturday. Can she now nail pro partner Alijaz's favourite dance (and, apparently, her least favourite)? Slightly drab brown frock for Gemma. Slow and moody to open, then rather beautiful once they're into hold.  Footwork and lines falters at times but lovely leg extensions and swirling around the floor with style. Storytelling too. Liked that.  Music: Madilyn Bailey’s stripped-back, slowed-down version of Cher’s Believe  Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you're becoming so versatile, impressive mood, quality and grace but in hold you over-stretched the neck, yes? Have a focus, yes?" Shirley says "last week you were fierce, today you bought romance and classic elegance, lovely and gentle but watch the length of your steps". Craig concludes "the front-runners in this competition need to start looking behind them, darling." Eights a-coming? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second. 7:42PM Ruth and Anton's samba After last week's much improved tango, it's an old-style samba set on an aeroplane. Flicky hair extensions and a drinks trolley for Ruth. And then passenger Anton rips off his business suit to reveal some preposterously flouncy pink sleeves and sequin-spangled slacks. Ruth's arms are equally eye-catching but not in a good way. Severe lack of bounce, hip action and spice. Anton's outfit steals the show but you don't get many marks for that.  Music: Love Is In The Air by John Paul Young Judges’ verdict: Craig thought he "was at the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix from Strictly Ballroom , it was more of a send-up than a samba, loved it for its comedy but not its technique". Darcey says `'you came alive and went crazy, work on your arm but hold onto the energised fun side". Shirley concludes "brilliant parody, hey, who cares about technique?" Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points - joining the cluster at the bottom.  7:32PM Aston and Janette's waltz The pocket rockets are back in hold for a proper, traditional, back-to-basics waltz. Aston needs footwork finesse after last week’s slight dip. Gorgeously romantic and contemporary style. He's leading well. Took too long to get into hold but good body contact. Slow, soppy and exquisite but Shirley might have her red specs and red pen all over his footwork.  Music: Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley - a stripped-back accoustic version with a female vocalist.  Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "emotional, gentlemanly, beautiful positions and pretty impressive". Craig says `'too sharped, lacked flow, your hands bother me slightly but love the contemporary opening and could watch you all night". Darcey found the opening moves "too fussy and overly detailed but once in hold, control and grace was maintained".  Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second with Mollie.  7:24PM Susan and Kevin's cha cha cha They brought us sunshine last Saturday. Now can Calman 'n' Kev get a Cuban party started? She's playing a heartbroken Bridget Jones type, he's her friend who's come round to cheer her up. Way too much "messin' abaht" to start but much better once they finally launch into a high-impact cha cha. Lots of spins and hip action, Susan looking great in the silver frock that was hiding beneath her dressing gown. Lacking technique at times, sure, but loads of character and sheer joy to watch.   Music: Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "packed with content but you step out too much and the technique suffers, keep it tighter, not your best but you sold it". Shirley says "I love you and could never break up with you, cheeky and committed, co-ordinate your arms and work on the details". Craig says "I'm a little upset that you ripped up my photo, I love your energy and performance but it was turned in and no hip action, thought you were going to snap something when you did the splits - I'm still crying, darling, and it's not with laughter".  Judges' scores: 4 (boo!), 5, 7 for a total of 16 points - tied at the bottom with Brian and Simon.  7:17PM Brian and Amy's jive A Valleys anthem that means a lot to Welsh pro Amy Dowden. Crowd-pleasing Hi-De-Hi theme, with the couple dressed in banana yellow and royal blue. But will it be hi-de-high scoring? Start with a Gladys Pugh-style announcement and Brian's giving it the full 70s disco dad. Lacks bounce and energy, as you might expect fro the contest's senior gent, and he's struggling a smidge to keep up. But a knee slide, some character, gurning a-go-go and high entertainment value.  Music: It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones Judges’ verdict: Craig says "flat-footed, no retraction, but energy and facial expressions were to die for". Darcey says "put the facial energy in your body and lift your wight forward, yes?" Shirley says "it had the feelgood factor, transported me back in time, lots of content and basics but stay in hold more". Fives and sixes? Judges' scores: 4 (boo), 6, 6 for a total of 16 points - equal bottom with Simon.  Brian and Amy's jive 7:08PM Debbie and Giovanni's rumba  It's Flexy McGee, Britain's bendiest woman™, tackling the notoriously tricky rumba. An emotional VT with Debbie reminsicing about her late husband Paul Daniels.  And then into a moody, slow and sensuous rumba. She looks nervous again. Needs to settle in her hips and get more grounded but some great spins, flicks and leg extensions. Lifts and a rumba walk to finish. Bravo. Music: Baby Can I Hold You by Tracy Chapman (no, Boyzone fans, not the watery cover version by Ronan Keating) Judges’ verdict: Shirley Ballas says "very emotional, I've lost a loved one so I know what it means, no bells or whistles, classic rumba, poised and balanced, and I've never seen such a beautiful standing leg". Craig "feels the need to channel Bruno:, so shouts Giovanni a lot, waves his arms around and galls off his chair. Genuine LOLZ. Darcey "loved the way you caressed the floor with your feet, that is your best dance". Nines? Judges' scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points - top of the leaderboard. Brilliant, Debbie is over the moon. 7:00PM Simon and Karen's charleston He's bookies' favourite for elimination again this weekend but can the Scouse chef continue to defy the odds? Rupert bear trousers. Some messin' abaht with violins to start. He's been stuck on 19 points for the past three weeks, so is desperate to get his first seven. This should suit his cheeky character but Simon doesn't look like he's having much fun. Lacks swivel, pace and energy. Laboured. Some comedy moves at the end but Karen;s dancing her socks off to cover Simon's inadequacies.  Music: Gene Kelly's Fit As A Fiddle (And Ready For Love) from Singin’ In The Rain Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you went for it, it was sweet and charming but the recipe was missing some ingredients, lacked swivel, musicality and character". Simon says he snapped his Achilles a few years ago, so can't swivel. Did he bring a sicknote? Shirley says "entertaining, impressed with the change of pace, slapstick comedy was right up my alley, good synchronisation, a step up". Craig says "no swivel on your good leg either, darling, but I loved the train step". Fives? Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points. Bottom as it stands. Dance-off danger.  Simon and Karen's charleston 6:53PM Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz There'll be a lorra lorra spins to this Cilla classic. Classic white, pink and silver frock for Mollie. Romantic opening on a bridge-cum-pier. Romantic mood, footwork falters at times and her balance looks shaky during some of the spins but floaty, delicate and very decent.  Music: Anyone Who Had A Heart by Cilla Black  Judges’ verdict: Craig "loved the opening armography up on the pier, posture good, swing and sway, a lot of wonderful Viennese". Darcey says "you've grown as a partnership, you were gliding and graceful but relax the topline, yes?" Shirley concludes "believable chemistry (showmance implications?) and great turns". Eights? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - highest of the night so far.  Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz 6:44PM Davood and Nadiya's jive Last week's dance-off survivors are first out and trying to shake off the shock with a fast, furious party jive. Wake and smell the random barista theme. Spectacular cartwheel from Kushy. Full-on, fun and furious, high performance level and cream cakey climax but lacking some bounce and knee action Music: Tell Her About It by Billy Joel Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "your best performance, posture suits the dance". Craig says "too much upper body, watch your free arm, heavy-footed and lacked retraction but it was bright, lively and you sold it well". Darcey concludes "carefree, light and energised, yes? But fabulous beginning". Sevens, maybe an eight, do we think? Judges' scores: 6, 8, 8 for a total of 22 points. Out of 30 not 40, remember. Solid start and a nice shot of Davood's lucky socks up on the Clauditorium. The socksy thing.  Davood and Nadiya's jive 6:40PM Here's our Strictly stars Some eye-watering primary coloured outfits, unwise checks and undone shirts. Joe McFadden's in a traditional paso doble jacket with nothing beneath. Be still your hearts, Holby fans.  6:39PM Frockwatch Our regular style smackdown. Tess Daly is sporting a restrained-for-her red slashed frock. Claudia Winkleman's in black trousers, white ruffled blouse and undone tie-type affair. Chic Claudia edges it. And here come the judges: Darcey Bussell in red with embellished red, Shirley Ballas in blue with a bejewelled neckline. Craig in dapper black. Bruno invisible.  6:36PM And we're off! Roll recap of last week's action, when Alexandra Burke streaked clear at the top of the leaderbaord and Charlotte Hawkins was packed off home. Now we're down to a dancefloor dozen. budding to get through to next week's pumpkin-crazed Halloween spooktacular. 6:33PM See ya, sizeable ears Last knockings of Celebrity Pointless on BBC One now, hosted by Alexander Armstrong's ample lugholes. Over to the Elstree Studios ballroom any minute now... 6:29PM Girl power in the ballroom A Strictly milestone tonight: for the first time in the show's history, the judging panel will feature more women than men. Smashing the patriarchy, one sequin at a time. Five minutes until that ba-ba-da theme tune. .. 6:22PM Will Burke go berserk again? Last week's show saw Alexandra Burke score the first perfect 10s of the series for her big-haired, tassel-frocked Tina Turner jive. La Burke 's dancing a hip-shaking samba to Ed Sheeran tonight. Fifteen minutes to wait... 6:15PM Ciao, Signor Tonioli? The judging panel will be without its right-hand bookend tonight, with Italian stallion Bruno Tonioli absent for the first time in 13 years. He's cited a demanding schedule due to jetting between the UK and US versions of the show and says he needs a break. But is Bruno, like his old mucker Len Goodman, prioritising America's Dancing With The Stars over Blighty's Strictly?  Does tonight's absence herald his imminent departure from the UK show too? Such speculation is inevitable. Twenty minutes until showtime... 6:10PM Who'll be the fourth celebrity sent home from Strictly 2017?  We've waved a glittery goodbye to Charlotte, Chizzy and the disco vicar. So who's next for the sequin-spangled scrapheap? Yes, it's the fourth elimination weekend , with our dancefloor dozen hoofing for survival once again. The night's big news is that, for the first time ever, it's a three-person judging panel tonight because Bruno Tonioli has the week off.  Ballroom battle commences at 6.35pm on BBC One. Can anyone match Alexandra Burke's spectacular 39-point Tina Turner jive from last week? And will head judge Shirley Ballas remember the celebrities' names? I'm Michael, the Telegraph's sore feet and spatulistic hands correspondent. I'll be liveblogging from 6pm, providing build-up, rolling coverage, recaps, analysis and flippant gags, so do join me and watch along with this blog.  And please join in too - you can email me on michael.hogan@ telegraph.co.uk, tweet me on @michaelhogan or leave comments at the bottom of this blog. I'll keep an eye on them all and report the highlights here.  Nearly time to staaaaart Saturday night dancing!

Strictly Come Dancing 2017, week five live show: Debbie McGee's romantic rumba tops scoreboard but four couples tied at bottom

Debbie McGee tops the leaderboard with romantic rumba Joe McFadden jumps to second spot after scoring a perfect 10 for his paso doble  Simon Rimmer, Brian Conley, Susan Calman and Ruth Langsford all joint bottom Bruno Tonioli's week off meant three-strong judging panel for first time in Strictly history Results show airs 7.15pm Sunday on BBC One. Join us back on the liveblog then Missing judges. Magic rumbas. Anton's outfit. Craig's impressions. After a busy night in the ballroom, here's all the talking points and social media reaction from Saturday's show... Debbie McGee's emotional rumba returned her to the top She's this year's oldest contestant but there's no way you would know it. Debbie McGee struggled with the cha cha last time out but had worked hard all week on her earthy style and hip action to tackle the notoriously tricky rumba. There were spins, kicks, lifts and extensions. The judges raved about her poise and leg placement. Debbie duly scored a clean sweep of nines to top the standings. This was an affectingly heartfelt routine, too. After a VT which saw Debbie reminiscing about her late husband Paul Daniels and proudly showing footage of the magician to pro partner Giovanni Pernice, head judge Shirley Ballas revealed that she too had lost a loved one and felt Debbie's pain. Lovely to see the fiftysomething females bonding - especially on an evening when women dominated the judging panel for the first time in Strictly history. Hear them roar.  still teary at #debbiemcgee on #strictly nearly 3 hours later— James Muller (@JamesAMuller) October 21, 2017 #scd Debbie McGee is looking like she might win this. She’s always at or around the top of the scoreboard.— Leanne (@Leanne_Cee) October 21, 2017 Debbie and Giovanni's rumba Was there more to Bruno's absence than met the eye? The night's big news was that flamboyant Italian judge Bruno Tonioli missed his first show in 13 years, citing a demanding Transatlantic work schedule. But something didn't smell quite right. The BBC claimed Bruno's break was planned but if that was truly the case, why wasn't he replaced with a guest judge, like when Len Goodman had a knee op? With the couples judged by a panel of three for the first time ever, it messed up the scoring system and negated the need for the head judge’s casting vote on Sunday's results show.  Has Bruno prioritised his role on Strictly's US sister show, Dancing With The Stars? Is there friction with his fellow judges, hence he's lining up a new gig? Has the 61-year-old booked himself into a discreet clinic for a mystery youth-defying procedure? Is something else afoot? Whichever way, it was strange to see a three-person panel with no gesticulating, shouty Italian on the far end, falling off his chair. Although colleague Craig Revel Horwood did an uncanny impression of him, to much amusement.  Shame they didn’t put Brendan on the panel tonight Oh no .... he’s just a dancer— James Jordan (@The_JamesJordan) October 21, 2017 Half expecting Bruno to descend from the ceiling half way through. #scd#strictly— Richard Cardall (@Hum_Con) October 21, 2017 Bruno, I'm going to have to convert all my scores to percentages because of you. THINK OF THE STATTOS! #scd#strictly— Keep Dancing Podcast (@keepdancingpod) October 21, 2017 "A very busy work schedule", i.e. couldn't be bothered to pop back from doing Dancing With The Stars. #strictly— Ian Jones (@metro_land) October 21, 2017 This would have been a perfect opportunity for Donny Osmond to come back... #Strictly#StrictlyComeDancing2017— David Brown (@MrDavidEBrown) October 21, 2017 Four-way fight to dodge the dreaded dance-off The public vote might well change the picture, of course, but we ended the evening with four celebrities locked together down the bottom of the leaderboard, all on 16 points.  Stompy chef Simon Rimmer's charleston was criminally lacking in swivel action, despite his protestations about a long-standing ankle injury. In the midst of Storm Brian, its namesake Brian Conley failed to ruffle any feathers with his flat-footed, holiday camp-themed jive. And Ruth Langsford's air hostess samba was far more memorable for Anton Du Beke's flamboyant outfit than any actual dancing. The one who surely didn't deserve to be down there was Susan Calman, whose cha cha was packed with content, cheeky character and charm. As Kevin Clifton's rhythm-keeping motto went: "Su-san Cal-man is an awe-some dan-cer". Hopefully viewer votes will see justice done. Simon and Brian deserve to battle it out on Sunday night.  So love watching @SusanCalman and @keviclifton in action. They just make Saturday nights #SCD— Clare Balding (@clarebalding) October 21, 2017 Looks like the Sunday Brunch guy might be toast. Sorry, I'll get my coat. #scd2017— Tony Peters (@tonypetersss) October 21, 2017 Why oh why do we still have Simon AND Brian? One dad dancer is more than enough #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 @EverydaySexism how come nobody says Brian Conley did well for his age but they do with Debbie McGee? #Strictly— Sarah Banham (@sjbwrites) October 21, 2017 How can you not love them? #teamcalman#StrictlyComeDancing— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 21, 2017 Susan and Kevin's cha cha Alexandra plummeted as Joe bounced back Was Alexandra Burke being punished for her near-perfect 39-point jive last week? Her Ed Sheeran samba was spicy, fierce and fast but the judges seemed overly picky, as if taking her down a peg or two. She fell six places down the leaderboard and surely didn't deserve to end up in the bottom half.  In sharp contrast, Joe McFadden was this week's comeback kid. Following last week's awkward cha ch, he came storming back with a powerful paso doble full of commanding character and Spanish lines. It was an impressive performance but Shirley Ballas still surprised us all by pulling out her perfect 10 paddle for the only time this week. Joe finished just one point behind Debbie McGee. If Holby hospital ever finds itself hosting a bullfight, they've got just the man.  Three-person panel was odd but no dance disaster It might have been a Strictly first but the downsized judges' table had its plus points. Bruno Tonioli long ago descended into self-parody with his yelling, arm-waving and leering, so nobody much missed his input. And with the show's running time not reduced, it meant more room to hear from the other three judges. They responded by giving far more detailed critiques, which were technically interesting if not always much fun, often feeling like they were merely reading their notes aloud. There was occasionally a three-point variation in their scoring too.  Darcey Bussell lapsed back into her old "yes? yah?" tic. Shirley Ballas seemed so anxious not to get any more names wrong, she lacked spontaneity. Thus the show was stolen by Craig Revel Horwood, who was as spikily unpredictable as ever - plus witty, wise and even showing signs of softening in his old age. He'd also clearly been practising his Bruno impression in the mirror, complete with pratfall.  Craig doing an even more convincing Bruno than Bruno �� #Strictly— Sid (@StrictlySid) October 21, 2017 Craig imitation Bruno and falling off his chair. Highlight of my day. #scd#Strictly— nikki (@x_allowaygrove) October 21, 2017 Craig making the case that we kind of don't need Bruno here - all done in one quick impression �� #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 Anton Du Beke was on fab-ew-lous form Was he pitching for Bruno's seat, perchance? The longest standing pro was on fire tonight, mainly thanks to that extraordinary outfit change. Playing a passenger on-board air hostess partner Ruth Langsford's flight, Anton du Beke was dressed in a dapper business suit - which he promptly tore off to reveal the most colourful samba outfit this side of Copacabana beach: sequin-spangled pink slacks and a cerise shirt with frilly, flouncy sleeves straight off a carnival float. If the plan was to distract from Ruth's faltering footwork, it worked a treat.    Anton proceeded to have the studio audience in stitches with his repartee. He bickered with Craig, gave balcony backchat to Claudia Winkleman and quipped: "For the first time in 15 series, I'm sort of disappointed Bruno's not here. We could've done with that extra four points." Ah, dear old Tony Beak. Don't ever retire.  Anton Du Beke should be co-presenting this show instead of Claudia Winkleman. He makes jokes that are actually funny. #StrictlyComeDancing— Agent S(ean Bassett) (@WhoPotterVian) October 21, 2017 Serious question. Why is Tess Daly in Bruce's place over Anton du Beke? Surely he's a shoo-in? #strictly— Vittoria Gallowe'en (@Vitt2tsnoc) October 21, 2017 Ruth and Anton's samba Chasing pack are closing the glitterball gap During the first month of the contest, it looked like former X Factor rivals Alexandra Burke and Aston Merrygold were way ahead of the rest. The leaderboard landscape is now changing. Debbie McGee is definitely a threat. Gemma Atkinson is ever-improving. The popular Joe McFadden and Jonnie Peacock are also both impressing. With the judges starting to clamp down on Alexandra and Aston's footwork, it's all throwing the glitterball race wide open again.  Aston and Janette's waltz 9:41PM Saturday night's action in full Here's your routine-by-routine recap... 9:21PM Darcey's vocal tic annoying viewers An email in from Telegraph reader Meryl Tomblin: "When Darcey Bussell first joined Strictly as a judge, her comments were littered with 'yes?' all the time. This was commented on and she stopped. This series, though, she is doing it again and again and again. She ought to stop as it's becoming extremely annoying." 9:12PM Standard too high, says reader This just in from Telegraph reader Martin Davies:  "Bit disappointed with Strictly this year, dahhling. Too many professional dancers posing as amateurs for our liking. The whole point of this show surely is to make people into dancers who have never danced before. It's great to see them start with two left feet in week one, then emerge two months later into really good, accomplished dancers. Another Ore Oduba, please! Oh better still, the lovely Abbey Clancy! So come on BBC, find 'em what can't dance and make them into one." 8:14PM Voting is now open While they shake maracas and recap the action on-screen, stay with us for reaction, analysis and your comments.  8:10PM Jonnie and Oti's quickstep The blade is back on for a fast, bouncy dance that should suit the gold medal-winning Paralympic sprinter. Last couple out and it's a supermarket theme for no apparent reason. Into hold and a bouncy quickstep full of flicks, kicks, skippy strides and synchronisation. Covering the floor well, even if there's some slight gapping and frame issues. Catches an apple to end. Jubilant Jonnie shouts "Yes!" at the end. Music: Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "gosh you made it look easy, light and speedy, cheeky character, impressive detail but your right elbow drops, yes?" Shirley says "you put a spring in your step, it was light, pendulum swings, didn't miss a beat, no mistakes and ease of movement, outstanding". Craig says "the stars are aligning and elements coming together". Some awkwardness from Tess and Shirley, though. Eights? A nine? Judges' scores: 7, 8, 9 for a total of 24 points. His first nine and equal third place.  8:03PM Alexandra and Gorka's samba Can she maintain the sky-high standard of last week's Tina Turner jive? "Alexandra Berserk" is going from Tina Turner to Rio carnival queen. It's fast, frilly and flouncy with lots of travel arond the floor and some nice hip-shaking. Sexy, spicy mood, footwork a bit messy at times but full of spirit. Powers, bounce and a pose to finish.  Music: Shape of You by Ed Sheeran Judges’ verdict: Craig says "you're an amazing dancer, love watching you, loved the tribal touches but your pigeon-toes ruined it". Darcey says "your body doesn't stop moving, you bring the floor to life but work on the tiny details". Shirley says "you have immense power, you're a fantastic performer, upper is exquisite but work on  foot and ankle position". Eights?  Judges' scores: 7, 8, 8 for a total of 23 points - tumbling to mid-table. 7:58PM Joe and Katya's paso doble Cha cha dis-ah-ster for Holby's Dr Di Luca last time but now he's going from Latin lovegod to butch bullfighter. Macho matador. Traditional jacket, no shirt underneath. Form a queue, female Holby City fans. Commanding character and knee-walks. Dramatic shapes, lacking a little fluidity but arching curves, body resistance, a nice blend of the classic and contemporary. And a kicking kill to finish. Ole! Music: Diablo Rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriela Judges' comments: Shirley says "you're back, that was the best male paso doble so far". Craig says "you did it really well". Darcey says "Spanish style, loved it".  Judges' scores: 7, 9, 10 (blimey) for a total of 26 points - second place so far. Wildly fluctuating scores.  7:48PM Gemma and Alijaz's foxtrot A powerful paso took the ever-improving Ms Atkinson to second on the scoreboard last Saturday. Can she now nail pro partner Alijaz's favourite dance (and, apparently, her least favourite)? Slightly drab brown frock for Gemma. Slow and moody to open, then rather beautiful once they're into hold.  Footwork and lines falters at times but lovely leg extensions and swirling around the floor with style. Storytelling too. Liked that.  Music: Madilyn Bailey’s stripped-back, slowed-down version of Cher’s Believe  Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you're becoming so versatile, impressive mood, quality and grace but in hold you over-stretched the neck, yes? Have a focus, yes?" Shirley says "last week you were fierce, today you bought romance and classic elegance, lovely and gentle but watch the length of your steps". Craig concludes "the front-runners in this competition need to start looking behind them, darling." Eights a-coming? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second. 7:42PM Ruth and Anton's samba After last week's much improved tango, it's an old-style samba set on an aeroplane. Flicky hair extensions and a drinks trolley for Ruth. And then passenger Anton rips off his business suit to reveal some preposterously flouncy pink sleeves and sequin-spangled slacks. Ruth's arms are equally eye-catching but not in a good way. Severe lack of bounce, hip action and spice. Anton's outfit steals the show but you don't get many marks for that.  Music: Love Is In The Air by John Paul Young Judges’ verdict: Craig thought he "was at the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix from Strictly Ballroom , it was more of a send-up than a samba, loved it for its comedy but not its technique". Darcey says `'you came alive and went crazy, work on your arm but hold onto the energised fun side". Shirley concludes "brilliant parody, hey, who cares about technique?" Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points - joining the cluster at the bottom.  7:32PM Aston and Janette's waltz The pocket rockets are back in hold for a proper, traditional, back-to-basics waltz. Aston needs footwork finesse after last week’s slight dip. Gorgeously romantic and contemporary style. He's leading well. Took too long to get into hold but good body contact. Slow, soppy and exquisite but Shirley might have her red specs and red pen all over his footwork.  Music: Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley - a stripped-back accoustic version with a female vocalist.  Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "emotional, gentlemanly, beautiful positions and pretty impressive". Craig says `'too sharped, lacked flow, your hands bother me slightly but love the contemporary opening and could watch you all night". Darcey found the opening moves "too fussy and overly detailed but once in hold, control and grace was maintained".  Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second with Mollie.  7:24PM Susan and Kevin's cha cha cha They brought us sunshine last Saturday. Now can Calman 'n' Kev get a Cuban party started? She's playing a heartbroken Bridget Jones type, he's her friend who's come round to cheer her up. Way too much "messin' abaht" to start but much better once they finally launch into a high-impact cha cha. Lots of spins and hip action, Susan looking great in the silver frock that was hiding beneath her dressing gown. Lacking technique at times, sure, but loads of character and sheer joy to watch.   Music: Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "packed with content but you step out too much and the technique suffers, keep it tighter, not your best but you sold it". Shirley says "I love you and could never break up with you, cheeky and committed, co-ordinate your arms and work on the details". Craig says "I'm a little upset that you ripped up my photo, I love your energy and performance but it was turned in and no hip action, thought you were going to snap something when you did the splits - I'm still crying, darling, and it's not with laughter".  Judges' scores: 4 (boo!), 5, 7 for a total of 16 points - tied at the bottom with Brian and Simon.  7:17PM Brian and Amy's jive A Valleys anthem that means a lot to Welsh pro Amy Dowden. Crowd-pleasing Hi-De-Hi theme, with the couple dressed in banana yellow and royal blue. But will it be hi-de-high scoring? Start with a Gladys Pugh-style announcement and Brian's giving it the full 70s disco dad. Lacks bounce and energy, as you might expect fro the contest's senior gent, and he's struggling a smidge to keep up. But a knee slide, some character, gurning a-go-go and high entertainment value.  Music: It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones Judges’ verdict: Craig says "flat-footed, no retraction, but energy and facial expressions were to die for". Darcey says "put the facial energy in your body and lift your wight forward, yes?" Shirley says "it had the feelgood factor, transported me back in time, lots of content and basics but stay in hold more". Fives and sixes? Judges' scores: 4 (boo), 6, 6 for a total of 16 points - equal bottom with Simon.  Brian and Amy's jive 7:08PM Debbie and Giovanni's rumba  It's Flexy McGee, Britain's bendiest woman™, tackling the notoriously tricky rumba. An emotional VT with Debbie reminsicing about her late husband Paul Daniels.  And then into a moody, slow and sensuous rumba. She looks nervous again. Needs to settle in her hips and get more grounded but some great spins, flicks and leg extensions. Lifts and a rumba walk to finish. Bravo. Music: Baby Can I Hold You by Tracy Chapman (no, Boyzone fans, not the watery cover version by Ronan Keating) Judges’ verdict: Shirley Ballas says "very emotional, I've lost a loved one so I know what it means, no bells or whistles, classic rumba, poised and balanced, and I've never seen such a beautiful standing leg". Craig "feels the need to channel Bruno:, so shouts Giovanni a lot, waves his arms around and galls off his chair. Genuine LOLZ. Darcey "loved the way you caressed the floor with your feet, that is your best dance". Nines? Judges' scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points - top of the leaderboard. Brilliant, Debbie is over the moon. 7:00PM Simon and Karen's charleston He's bookies' favourite for elimination again this weekend but can the Scouse chef continue to defy the odds? Rupert bear trousers. Some messin' abaht with violins to start. He's been stuck on 19 points for the past three weeks, so is desperate to get his first seven. This should suit his cheeky character but Simon doesn't look like he's having much fun. Lacks swivel, pace and energy. Laboured. Some comedy moves at the end but Karen;s dancing her socks off to cover Simon's inadequacies.  Music: Gene Kelly's Fit As A Fiddle (And Ready For Love) from Singin’ In The Rain Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you went for it, it was sweet and charming but the recipe was missing some ingredients, lacked swivel, musicality and character". Simon says he snapped his Achilles a few years ago, so can't swivel. Did he bring a sicknote? Shirley says "entertaining, impressed with the change of pace, slapstick comedy was right up my alley, good synchronisation, a step up". Craig says "no swivel on your good leg either, darling, but I loved the train step". Fives? Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points. Bottom as it stands. Dance-off danger.  Simon and Karen's charleston 6:53PM Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz There'll be a lorra lorra spins to this Cilla classic. Classic white, pink and silver frock for Mollie. Romantic opening on a bridge-cum-pier. Romantic mood, footwork falters at times and her balance looks shaky during some of the spins but floaty, delicate and very decent.  Music: Anyone Who Had A Heart by Cilla Black  Judges’ verdict: Craig "loved the opening armography up on the pier, posture good, swing and sway, a lot of wonderful Viennese". Darcey says "you've grown as a partnership, you were gliding and graceful but relax the topline, yes?" Shirley concludes "believable chemistry (showmance implications?) and great turns". Eights? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - highest of the night so far.  Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz 6:44PM Davood and Nadiya's jive Last week's dance-off survivors are first out and trying to shake off the shock with a fast, furious party jive. Wake and smell the random barista theme. Spectacular cartwheel from Kushy. Full-on, fun and furious, high performance level and cream cakey climax but lacking some bounce and knee action Music: Tell Her About It by Billy Joel Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "your best performance, posture suits the dance". Craig says "too much upper body, watch your free arm, heavy-footed and lacked retraction but it was bright, lively and you sold it well". Darcey concludes "carefree, light and energised, yes? But fabulous beginning". Sevens, maybe an eight, do we think? Judges' scores: 6, 8, 8 for a total of 22 points. Out of 30 not 40, remember. Solid start and a nice shot of Davood's lucky socks up on the Clauditorium. The socksy thing.  Davood and Nadiya's jive 6:40PM Here's our Strictly stars Some eye-watering primary coloured outfits, unwise checks and undone shirts. Joe McFadden's in a traditional paso doble jacket with nothing beneath. Be still your hearts, Holby fans.  6:39PM Frockwatch Our regular style smackdown. Tess Daly is sporting a restrained-for-her red slashed frock. Claudia Winkleman's in black trousers, white ruffled blouse and undone tie-type affair. Chic Claudia edges it. And here come the judges: Darcey Bussell in red with embellished red, Shirley Ballas in blue with a bejewelled neckline. Craig in dapper black. Bruno invisible.  6:36PM And we're off! Roll recap of last week's action, when Alexandra Burke streaked clear at the top of the leaderbaord and Charlotte Hawkins was packed off home. Now we're down to a dancefloor dozen. budding to get through to next week's pumpkin-crazed Halloween spooktacular. 6:33PM See ya, sizeable ears Last knockings of Celebrity Pointless on BBC One now, hosted by Alexander Armstrong's ample lugholes. Over to the Elstree Studios ballroom any minute now... 6:29PM Girl power in the ballroom A Strictly milestone tonight: for the first time in the show's history, the judging panel will feature more women than men. Smashing the patriarchy, one sequin at a time. Five minutes until that ba-ba-da theme tune. .. 6:22PM Will Burke go berserk again? Last week's show saw Alexandra Burke score the first perfect 10s of the series for her big-haired, tassel-frocked Tina Turner jive. La Burke 's dancing a hip-shaking samba to Ed Sheeran tonight. Fifteen minutes to wait... 6:15PM Ciao, Signor Tonioli? The judging panel will be without its right-hand bookend tonight, with Italian stallion Bruno Tonioli absent for the first time in 13 years. He's cited a demanding schedule due to jetting between the UK and US versions of the show and says he needs a break. But is Bruno, like his old mucker Len Goodman, prioritising America's Dancing With The Stars over Blighty's Strictly?  Does tonight's absence herald his imminent departure from the UK show too? Such speculation is inevitable. Twenty minutes until showtime... 6:10PM Who'll be the fourth celebrity sent home from Strictly 2017?  We've waved a glittery goodbye to Charlotte, Chizzy and the disco vicar. So who's next for the sequin-spangled scrapheap? Yes, it's the fourth elimination weekend , with our dancefloor dozen hoofing for survival once again. The night's big news is that, for the first time ever, it's a three-person judging panel tonight because Bruno Tonioli has the week off.  Ballroom battle commences at 6.35pm on BBC One. Can anyone match Alexandra Burke's spectacular 39-point Tina Turner jive from last week? And will head judge Shirley Ballas remember the celebrities' names? I'm Michael, the Telegraph's sore feet and spatulistic hands correspondent. I'll be liveblogging from 6pm, providing build-up, rolling coverage, recaps, analysis and flippant gags, so do join me and watch along with this blog.  And please join in too - you can email me on michael.hogan@ telegraph.co.uk, tweet me on @michaelhogan or leave comments at the bottom of this blog. I'll keep an eye on them all and report the highlights here.  Nearly time to staaaaart Saturday night dancing!

Strictly Come Dancing 2017, week five live show: Debbie McGee's romantic rumba tops scoreboard but four couples tied at bottom

Debbie McGee tops the leaderboard with romantic rumba Joe McFadden jumps to second spot after scoring a perfect 10 for his paso doble  Simon Rimmer, Brian Conley, Susan Calman and Ruth Langsford all joint bottom Bruno Tonioli's week off meant three-strong judging panel for first time in Strictly history Results show airs 7.15pm Sunday on BBC One. Join us back on the liveblog then Missing judges. Magic rumbas. Anton's outfit. Craig's impressions. After a busy night in the ballroom, here's all the talking points and social media reaction from Saturday's show... Debbie McGee's emotional rumba returned her to the top She's this year's oldest contestant but there's no way you would know it. Debbie McGee struggled with the cha cha last time out but had worked hard all week on her earthy style and hip action to tackle the notoriously tricky rumba. There were spins, kicks, lifts and extensions. The judges raved about her poise and leg placement. Debbie duly scored a clean sweep of nines to top the standings. This was an affectingly heartfelt routine, too. After a VT which saw Debbie reminiscing about her late husband Paul Daniels and proudly showing footage of the magician to pro partner Giovanni Pernice, head judge Shirley Ballas revealed that she too had lost a loved one and felt Debbie's pain. Lovely to see the fiftysomething females bonding - especially on an evening when women dominated the judging panel for the first time in Strictly history. Hear them roar.  still teary at #debbiemcgee on #strictly nearly 3 hours later— James Muller (@JamesAMuller) October 21, 2017 #scd Debbie McGee is looking like she might win this. She’s always at or around the top of the scoreboard.— Leanne (@Leanne_Cee) October 21, 2017 Debbie and Giovanni's rumba Was there more to Bruno's absence than met the eye? The night's big news was that flamboyant Italian judge Bruno Tonioli missed his first show in 13 years, citing a demanding Transatlantic work schedule. But something didn't smell quite right. The BBC claimed Bruno's break was planned but if that was truly the case, why wasn't he replaced with a guest judge, like when Len Goodman had a knee op? With the couples judged by a panel of three for the first time ever, it messed up the scoring system and negated the need for the head judge’s casting vote on Sunday's results show.  Has Bruno prioritised his role on Strictly's US sister show, Dancing With The Stars? Is there friction with his fellow judges, hence he's lining up a new gig? Has the 61-year-old booked himself into a discreet clinic for a mystery youth-defying procedure? Is something else afoot? Whichever way, it was strange to see a three-person panel with no gesticulating, shouty Italian on the far end, falling off his chair. Although colleague Craig Revel Horwood did an uncanny impression of him, to much amusement.  Shame they didn’t put Brendan on the panel tonight Oh no .... he’s just a dancer— James Jordan (@The_JamesJordan) October 21, 2017 Half expecting Bruno to descend from the ceiling half way through. #scd#strictly— Richard Cardall (@Hum_Con) October 21, 2017 Bruno, I'm going to have to convert all my scores to percentages because of you. THINK OF THE STATTOS! #scd#strictly— Keep Dancing Podcast (@keepdancingpod) October 21, 2017 "A very busy work schedule", i.e. couldn't be bothered to pop back from doing Dancing With The Stars. #strictly— Ian Jones (@metro_land) October 21, 2017 This would have been a perfect opportunity for Donny Osmond to come back... #Strictly#StrictlyComeDancing2017— David Brown (@MrDavidEBrown) October 21, 2017 Four-way fight to dodge the dreaded dance-off The public vote might well change the picture, of course, but we ended the evening with four celebrities locked together down the bottom of the leaderboard, all on 16 points.  Stompy chef Simon Rimmer's charleston was criminally lacking in swivel action, despite his protestations about a long-standing ankle injury. In the midst of Storm Brian, its namesake Brian Conley failed to ruffle any feathers with his flat-footed, holiday camp-themed jive. And Ruth Langsford's air hostess samba was far more memorable for Anton Du Beke's flamboyant outfit than any actual dancing. The one who surely didn't deserve to be down there was Susan Calman, whose cha cha was packed with content, cheeky character and charm. As Kevin Clifton's rhythm-keeping motto went: "Su-san Cal-man is an awe-some dan-cer". Hopefully viewer votes will see justice done. Simon and Brian deserve to battle it out on Sunday night.  So love watching @SusanCalman and @keviclifton in action. They just make Saturday nights #SCD— Clare Balding (@clarebalding) October 21, 2017 Looks like the Sunday Brunch guy might be toast. Sorry, I'll get my coat. #scd2017— Tony Peters (@tonypetersss) October 21, 2017 Why oh why do we still have Simon AND Brian? One dad dancer is more than enough #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 @EverydaySexism how come nobody says Brian Conley did well for his age but they do with Debbie McGee? #Strictly— Sarah Banham (@sjbwrites) October 21, 2017 How can you not love them? #teamcalman#StrictlyComeDancing— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 21, 2017 Susan and Kevin's cha cha Alexandra plummeted as Joe bounced back Was Alexandra Burke being punished for her near-perfect 39-point jive last week? Her Ed Sheeran samba was spicy, fierce and fast but the judges seemed overly picky, as if taking her down a peg or two. She fell six places down the leaderboard and surely didn't deserve to end up in the bottom half.  In sharp contrast, Joe McFadden was this week's comeback kid. Following last week's awkward cha ch, he came storming back with a powerful paso doble full of commanding character and Spanish lines. It was an impressive performance but Shirley Ballas still surprised us all by pulling out her perfect 10 paddle for the only time this week. Joe finished just one point behind Debbie McGee. If Holby hospital ever finds itself hosting a bullfight, they've got just the man.  Three-person panel was odd but no dance disaster It might have been a Strictly first but the downsized judges' table had its plus points. Bruno Tonioli long ago descended into self-parody with his yelling, arm-waving and leering, so nobody much missed his input. And with the show's running time not reduced, it meant more room to hear from the other three judges. They responded by giving far more detailed critiques, which were technically interesting if not always much fun, often feeling like they were merely reading their notes aloud. There was occasionally a three-point variation in their scoring too.  Darcey Bussell lapsed back into her old "yes? yah?" tic. Shirley Ballas seemed so anxious not to get any more names wrong, she lacked spontaneity. Thus the show was stolen by Craig Revel Horwood, who was as spikily unpredictable as ever - plus witty, wise and even showing signs of softening in his old age. He'd also clearly been practising his Bruno impression in the mirror, complete with pratfall.  Craig doing an even more convincing Bruno than Bruno �� #Strictly— Sid (@StrictlySid) October 21, 2017 Craig imitation Bruno and falling off his chair. Highlight of my day. #scd#Strictly— nikki (@x_allowaygrove) October 21, 2017 Craig making the case that we kind of don't need Bruno here - all done in one quick impression �� #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 Anton Du Beke was on fab-ew-lous form Was he pitching for Bruno's seat, perchance? The longest standing pro was on fire tonight, mainly thanks to that extraordinary outfit change. Playing a passenger on-board air hostess partner Ruth Langsford's flight, Anton du Beke was dressed in a dapper business suit - which he promptly tore off to reveal the most colourful samba outfit this side of Copacabana beach: sequin-spangled pink slacks and a cerise shirt with frilly, flouncy sleeves straight off a carnival float. If the plan was to distract from Ruth's faltering footwork, it worked a treat.    Anton proceeded to have the studio audience in stitches with his repartee. He bickered with Craig, gave balcony backchat to Claudia Winkleman and quipped: "For the first time in 15 series, I'm sort of disappointed Bruno's not here. We could've done with that extra four points." Ah, dear old Tony Beak. Don't ever retire.  Anton Du Beke should be co-presenting this show instead of Claudia Winkleman. He makes jokes that are actually funny. #StrictlyComeDancing— Agent S(ean Bassett) (@WhoPotterVian) October 21, 2017 Serious question. Why is Tess Daly in Bruce's place over Anton du Beke? Surely he's a shoo-in? #strictly— Vittoria Gallowe'en (@Vitt2tsnoc) October 21, 2017 Ruth and Anton's samba Chasing pack are closing the glitterball gap During the first month of the contest, it looked like former X Factor rivals Alexandra Burke and Aston Merrygold were way ahead of the rest. The leaderboard landscape is now changing. Debbie McGee is definitely a threat. Gemma Atkinson is ever-improving. The popular Joe McFadden and Jonnie Peacock are also both impressing. With the judges starting to clamp down on Alexandra and Aston's footwork, it's all throwing the glitterball race wide open again.  Aston and Janette's waltz 9:41PM Saturday night's action in full Here's your routine-by-routine recap... 9:21PM Darcey's vocal tic annoying viewers An email in from Telegraph reader Meryl Tomblin: "When Darcey Bussell first joined Strictly as a judge, her comments were littered with 'yes?' all the time. This was commented on and she stopped. This series, though, she is doing it again and again and again. She ought to stop as it's becoming extremely annoying." 9:12PM Standard too high, says reader This just in from Telegraph reader Martin Davies:  "Bit disappointed with Strictly this year, dahhling. Too many professional dancers posing as amateurs for our liking. The whole point of this show surely is to make people into dancers who have never danced before. It's great to see them start with two left feet in week one, then emerge two months later into really good, accomplished dancers. Another Ore Oduba, please! Oh better still, the lovely Abbey Clancy! So come on BBC, find 'em what can't dance and make them into one." 8:14PM Voting is now open While they shake maracas and recap the action on-screen, stay with us for reaction, analysis and your comments.  8:10PM Jonnie and Oti's quickstep The blade is back on for a fast, bouncy dance that should suit the gold medal-winning Paralympic sprinter. Last couple out and it's a supermarket theme for no apparent reason. Into hold and a bouncy quickstep full of flicks, kicks, skippy strides and synchronisation. Covering the floor well, even if there's some slight gapping and frame issues. Catches an apple to end. Jubilant Jonnie shouts "Yes!" at the end. Music: Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "gosh you made it look easy, light and speedy, cheeky character, impressive detail but your right elbow drops, yes?" Shirley says "you put a spring in your step, it was light, pendulum swings, didn't miss a beat, no mistakes and ease of movement, outstanding". Craig says "the stars are aligning and elements coming together". Some awkwardness from Tess and Shirley, though. Eights? A nine? Judges' scores: 7, 8, 9 for a total of 24 points. His first nine and equal third place.  8:03PM Alexandra and Gorka's samba Can she maintain the sky-high standard of last week's Tina Turner jive? "Alexandra Berserk" is going from Tina Turner to Rio carnival queen. It's fast, frilly and flouncy with lots of travel arond the floor and some nice hip-shaking. Sexy, spicy mood, footwork a bit messy at times but full of spirit. Powers, bounce and a pose to finish.  Music: Shape of You by Ed Sheeran Judges’ verdict: Craig says "you're an amazing dancer, love watching you, loved the tribal touches but your pigeon-toes ruined it". Darcey says "your body doesn't stop moving, you bring the floor to life but work on the tiny details". Shirley says "you have immense power, you're a fantastic performer, upper is exquisite but work on  foot and ankle position". Eights?  Judges' scores: 7, 8, 8 for a total of 23 points - tumbling to mid-table. 7:58PM Joe and Katya's paso doble Cha cha dis-ah-ster for Holby's Dr Di Luca last time but now he's going from Latin lovegod to butch bullfighter. Macho matador. Traditional jacket, no shirt underneath. Form a queue, female Holby City fans. Commanding character and knee-walks. Dramatic shapes, lacking a little fluidity but arching curves, body resistance, a nice blend of the classic and contemporary. And a kicking kill to finish. Ole! Music: Diablo Rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriela Judges' comments: Shirley says "you're back, that was the best male paso doble so far". Craig says "you did it really well". Darcey says "Spanish style, loved it".  Judges' scores: 7, 9, 10 (blimey) for a total of 26 points - second place so far. Wildly fluctuating scores.  7:48PM Gemma and Alijaz's foxtrot A powerful paso took the ever-improving Ms Atkinson to second on the scoreboard last Saturday. Can she now nail pro partner Alijaz's favourite dance (and, apparently, her least favourite)? Slightly drab brown frock for Gemma. Slow and moody to open, then rather beautiful once they're into hold.  Footwork and lines falters at times but lovely leg extensions and swirling around the floor with style. Storytelling too. Liked that.  Music: Madilyn Bailey’s stripped-back, slowed-down version of Cher’s Believe  Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you're becoming so versatile, impressive mood, quality and grace but in hold you over-stretched the neck, yes? Have a focus, yes?" Shirley says "last week you were fierce, today you bought romance and classic elegance, lovely and gentle but watch the length of your steps". Craig concludes "the front-runners in this competition need to start looking behind them, darling." Eights a-coming? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second. 7:42PM Ruth and Anton's samba After last week's much improved tango, it's an old-style samba set on an aeroplane. Flicky hair extensions and a drinks trolley for Ruth. And then passenger Anton rips off his business suit to reveal some preposterously flouncy pink sleeves and sequin-spangled slacks. Ruth's arms are equally eye-catching but not in a good way. Severe lack of bounce, hip action and spice. Anton's outfit steals the show but you don't get many marks for that.  Music: Love Is In The Air by John Paul Young Judges’ verdict: Craig thought he "was at the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix from Strictly Ballroom , it was more of a send-up than a samba, loved it for its comedy but not its technique". Darcey says `'you came alive and went crazy, work on your arm but hold onto the energised fun side". Shirley concludes "brilliant parody, hey, who cares about technique?" Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points - joining the cluster at the bottom.  7:32PM Aston and Janette's waltz The pocket rockets are back in hold for a proper, traditional, back-to-basics waltz. Aston needs footwork finesse after last week’s slight dip. Gorgeously romantic and contemporary style. He's leading well. Took too long to get into hold but good body contact. Slow, soppy and exquisite but Shirley might have her red specs and red pen all over his footwork.  Music: Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley - a stripped-back accoustic version with a female vocalist.  Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "emotional, gentlemanly, beautiful positions and pretty impressive". Craig says `'too sharped, lacked flow, your hands bother me slightly but love the contemporary opening and could watch you all night". Darcey found the opening moves "too fussy and overly detailed but once in hold, control and grace was maintained".  Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second with Mollie.  7:24PM Susan and Kevin's cha cha cha They brought us sunshine last Saturday. Now can Calman 'n' Kev get a Cuban party started? She's playing a heartbroken Bridget Jones type, he's her friend who's come round to cheer her up. Way too much "messin' abaht" to start but much better once they finally launch into a high-impact cha cha. Lots of spins and hip action, Susan looking great in the silver frock that was hiding beneath her dressing gown. Lacking technique at times, sure, but loads of character and sheer joy to watch.   Music: Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "packed with content but you step out too much and the technique suffers, keep it tighter, not your best but you sold it". Shirley says "I love you and could never break up with you, cheeky and committed, co-ordinate your arms and work on the details". Craig says "I'm a little upset that you ripped up my photo, I love your energy and performance but it was turned in and no hip action, thought you were going to snap something when you did the splits - I'm still crying, darling, and it's not with laughter".  Judges' scores: 4 (boo!), 5, 7 for a total of 16 points - tied at the bottom with Brian and Simon.  7:17PM Brian and Amy's jive A Valleys anthem that means a lot to Welsh pro Amy Dowden. Crowd-pleasing Hi-De-Hi theme, with the couple dressed in banana yellow and royal blue. But will it be hi-de-high scoring? Start with a Gladys Pugh-style announcement and Brian's giving it the full 70s disco dad. Lacks bounce and energy, as you might expect fro the contest's senior gent, and he's struggling a smidge to keep up. But a knee slide, some character, gurning a-go-go and high entertainment value.  Music: It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones Judges’ verdict: Craig says "flat-footed, no retraction, but energy and facial expressions were to die for". Darcey says "put the facial energy in your body and lift your wight forward, yes?" Shirley says "it had the feelgood factor, transported me back in time, lots of content and basics but stay in hold more". Fives and sixes? Judges' scores: 4 (boo), 6, 6 for a total of 16 points - equal bottom with Simon.  Brian and Amy's jive 7:08PM Debbie and Giovanni's rumba  It's Flexy McGee, Britain's bendiest woman™, tackling the notoriously tricky rumba. An emotional VT with Debbie reminsicing about her late husband Paul Daniels.  And then into a moody, slow and sensuous rumba. She looks nervous again. Needs to settle in her hips and get more grounded but some great spins, flicks and leg extensions. Lifts and a rumba walk to finish. Bravo. Music: Baby Can I Hold You by Tracy Chapman (no, Boyzone fans, not the watery cover version by Ronan Keating) Judges’ verdict: Shirley Ballas says "very emotional, I've lost a loved one so I know what it means, no bells or whistles, classic rumba, poised and balanced, and I've never seen such a beautiful standing leg". Craig "feels the need to channel Bruno:, so shouts Giovanni a lot, waves his arms around and galls off his chair. Genuine LOLZ. Darcey "loved the way you caressed the floor with your feet, that is your best dance". Nines? Judges' scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points - top of the leaderboard. Brilliant, Debbie is over the moon. 7:00PM Simon and Karen's charleston He's bookies' favourite for elimination again this weekend but can the Scouse chef continue to defy the odds? Rupert bear trousers. Some messin' abaht with violins to start. He's been stuck on 19 points for the past three weeks, so is desperate to get his first seven. This should suit his cheeky character but Simon doesn't look like he's having much fun. Lacks swivel, pace and energy. Laboured. Some comedy moves at the end but Karen;s dancing her socks off to cover Simon's inadequacies.  Music: Gene Kelly's Fit As A Fiddle (And Ready For Love) from Singin’ In The Rain Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you went for it, it was sweet and charming but the recipe was missing some ingredients, lacked swivel, musicality and character". Simon says he snapped his Achilles a few years ago, so can't swivel. Did he bring a sicknote? Shirley says "entertaining, impressed with the change of pace, slapstick comedy was right up my alley, good synchronisation, a step up". Craig says "no swivel on your good leg either, darling, but I loved the train step". Fives? Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points. Bottom as it stands. Dance-off danger.  Simon and Karen's charleston 6:53PM Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz There'll be a lorra lorra spins to this Cilla classic. Classic white, pink and silver frock for Mollie. Romantic opening on a bridge-cum-pier. Romantic mood, footwork falters at times and her balance looks shaky during some of the spins but floaty, delicate and very decent.  Music: Anyone Who Had A Heart by Cilla Black  Judges’ verdict: Craig "loved the opening armography up on the pier, posture good, swing and sway, a lot of wonderful Viennese". Darcey says "you've grown as a partnership, you were gliding and graceful but relax the topline, yes?" Shirley concludes "believable chemistry (showmance implications?) and great turns". Eights? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - highest of the night so far.  Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz 6:44PM Davood and Nadiya's jive Last week's dance-off survivors are first out and trying to shake off the shock with a fast, furious party jive. Wake and smell the random barista theme. Spectacular cartwheel from Kushy. Full-on, fun and furious, high performance level and cream cakey climax but lacking some bounce and knee action Music: Tell Her About It by Billy Joel Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "your best performance, posture suits the dance". Craig says "too much upper body, watch your free arm, heavy-footed and lacked retraction but it was bright, lively and you sold it well". Darcey concludes "carefree, light and energised, yes? But fabulous beginning". Sevens, maybe an eight, do we think? Judges' scores: 6, 8, 8 for a total of 22 points. Out of 30 not 40, remember. Solid start and a nice shot of Davood's lucky socks up on the Clauditorium. The socksy thing.  Davood and Nadiya's jive 6:40PM Here's our Strictly stars Some eye-watering primary coloured outfits, unwise checks and undone shirts. Joe McFadden's in a traditional paso doble jacket with nothing beneath. Be still your hearts, Holby fans.  6:39PM Frockwatch Our regular style smackdown. Tess Daly is sporting a restrained-for-her red slashed frock. Claudia Winkleman's in black trousers, white ruffled blouse and undone tie-type affair. Chic Claudia edges it. And here come the judges: Darcey Bussell in red with embellished red, Shirley Ballas in blue with a bejewelled neckline. Craig in dapper black. Bruno invisible.  6:36PM And we're off! Roll recap of last week's action, when Alexandra Burke streaked clear at the top of the leaderbaord and Charlotte Hawkins was packed off home. Now we're down to a dancefloor dozen. budding to get through to next week's pumpkin-crazed Halloween spooktacular. 6:33PM See ya, sizeable ears Last knockings of Celebrity Pointless on BBC One now, hosted by Alexander Armstrong's ample lugholes. Over to the Elstree Studios ballroom any minute now... 6:29PM Girl power in the ballroom A Strictly milestone tonight: for the first time in the show's history, the judging panel will feature more women than men. Smashing the patriarchy, one sequin at a time. Five minutes until that ba-ba-da theme tune. .. 6:22PM Will Burke go berserk again? Last week's show saw Alexandra Burke score the first perfect 10s of the series for her big-haired, tassel-frocked Tina Turner jive. La Burke 's dancing a hip-shaking samba to Ed Sheeran tonight. Fifteen minutes to wait... 6:15PM Ciao, Signor Tonioli? The judging panel will be without its right-hand bookend tonight, with Italian stallion Bruno Tonioli absent for the first time in 13 years. He's cited a demanding schedule due to jetting between the UK and US versions of the show and says he needs a break. But is Bruno, like his old mucker Len Goodman, prioritising America's Dancing With The Stars over Blighty's Strictly?  Does tonight's absence herald his imminent departure from the UK show too? Such speculation is inevitable. Twenty minutes until showtime... 6:10PM Who'll be the fourth celebrity sent home from Strictly 2017?  We've waved a glittery goodbye to Charlotte, Chizzy and the disco vicar. So who's next for the sequin-spangled scrapheap? Yes, it's the fourth elimination weekend , with our dancefloor dozen hoofing for survival once again. The night's big news is that, for the first time ever, it's a three-person judging panel tonight because Bruno Tonioli has the week off.  Ballroom battle commences at 6.35pm on BBC One. Can anyone match Alexandra Burke's spectacular 39-point Tina Turner jive from last week? And will head judge Shirley Ballas remember the celebrities' names? I'm Michael, the Telegraph's sore feet and spatulistic hands correspondent. I'll be liveblogging from 6pm, providing build-up, rolling coverage, recaps, analysis and flippant gags, so do join me and watch along with this blog.  And please join in too - you can email me on michael.hogan@ telegraph.co.uk, tweet me on @michaelhogan or leave comments at the bottom of this blog. I'll keep an eye on them all and report the highlights here.  Nearly time to staaaaart Saturday night dancing!

Strictly Come Dancing 2017, week five live show: Debbie McGee's romantic rumba tops scoreboard but four couples tied at bottom

Debbie McGee tops the leaderboard with romantic rumba Joe McFadden jumps to second spot after scoring a perfect 10 for his paso doble  Simon Rimmer, Brian Conley, Susan Calman and Ruth Langsford all joint bottom Bruno Tonioli's week off meant three-strong judging panel for first time in Strictly history Results show airs 7.15pm Sunday on BBC One. Join us back on the liveblog then Missing judges. Magic rumbas. Anton's outfit. Craig's impressions. After a busy night in the ballroom, here's all the talking points and social media reaction from Saturday's show... Debbie McGee's emotional rumba returned her to the top She's this year's oldest contestant but there's no way you would know it. Debbie McGee struggled with the cha cha last time out but had worked hard all week on her earthy style and hip action to tackle the notoriously tricky rumba. There were spins, kicks, lifts and extensions. The judges raved about her poise and leg placement. Debbie duly scored a clean sweep of nines to top the standings. This was an affectingly heartfelt routine, too. After a VT which saw Debbie reminiscing about her late husband Paul Daniels and proudly showing footage of the magician to pro partner Giovanni Pernice, head judge Shirley Ballas revealed that she too had lost a loved one and felt Debbie's pain. Lovely to see the fiftysomething females bonding - especially on an evening when women dominated the judging panel for the first time in Strictly history. Hear them roar.  still teary at #debbiemcgee on #strictly nearly 3 hours later— James Muller (@JamesAMuller) October 21, 2017 #scd Debbie McGee is looking like she might win this. She’s always at or around the top of the scoreboard.— Leanne (@Leanne_Cee) October 21, 2017 Debbie and Giovanni's rumba Was there more to Bruno's absence than met the eye? The night's big news was that flamboyant Italian judge Bruno Tonioli missed his first show in 13 years, citing a demanding Transatlantic work schedule. But something didn't smell quite right. The BBC claimed Bruno's break was planned but if that was truly the case, why wasn't he replaced with a guest judge, like when Len Goodman had a knee op? With the couples judged by a panel of three for the first time ever, it messed up the scoring system and negated the need for the head judge’s casting vote on Sunday's results show.  Has Bruno prioritised his role on Strictly's US sister show, Dancing With The Stars? Is there friction with his fellow judges, hence he's lining up a new gig? Has the 61-year-old booked himself into a discreet clinic for a mystery youth-defying procedure? Is something else afoot? Whichever way, it was strange to see a three-person panel with no gesticulating, shouty Italian on the far end, falling off his chair. Although colleague Craig Revel Horwood did an uncanny impression of him, to much amusement.  Shame they didn’t put Brendan on the panel tonight Oh no .... he’s just a dancer— James Jordan (@The_JamesJordan) October 21, 2017 Half expecting Bruno to descend from the ceiling half way through. #scd#strictly— Richard Cardall (@Hum_Con) October 21, 2017 Bruno, I'm going to have to convert all my scores to percentages because of you. THINK OF THE STATTOS! #scd#strictly— Keep Dancing Podcast (@keepdancingpod) October 21, 2017 "A very busy work schedule", i.e. couldn't be bothered to pop back from doing Dancing With The Stars. #strictly— Ian Jones (@metro_land) October 21, 2017 This would have been a perfect opportunity for Donny Osmond to come back... #Strictly#StrictlyComeDancing2017— David Brown (@MrDavidEBrown) October 21, 2017 Four-way fight to dodge the dreaded dance-off The public vote might well change the picture, of course, but we ended the evening with four celebrities locked together down the bottom of the leaderboard, all on 16 points.  Stompy chef Simon Rimmer's charleston was criminally lacking in swivel action, despite his protestations about a long-standing ankle injury. In the midst of Storm Brian, its namesake Brian Conley failed to ruffle any feathers with his flat-footed, holiday camp-themed jive. And Ruth Langsford's air hostess samba was far more memorable for Anton Du Beke's flamboyant outfit than any actual dancing. The one who surely didn't deserve to be down there was Susan Calman, whose cha cha was packed with content, cheeky character and charm. As Kevin Clifton's rhythm-keeping motto went: "Su-san Cal-man is an awe-some dan-cer". Hopefully viewer votes will see justice done. Simon and Brian deserve to battle it out on Sunday night.  So love watching @SusanCalman and @keviclifton in action. They just make Saturday nights #SCD— Clare Balding (@clarebalding) October 21, 2017 Looks like the Sunday Brunch guy might be toast. Sorry, I'll get my coat. #scd2017— Tony Peters (@tonypetersss) October 21, 2017 Why oh why do we still have Simon AND Brian? One dad dancer is more than enough #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 @EverydaySexism how come nobody says Brian Conley did well for his age but they do with Debbie McGee? #Strictly— Sarah Banham (@sjbwrites) October 21, 2017 How can you not love them? #teamcalman#StrictlyComeDancing— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 21, 2017 Susan and Kevin's cha cha Alexandra plummeted as Joe bounced back Was Alexandra Burke being punished for her near-perfect 39-point jive last week? Her Ed Sheeran samba was spicy, fierce and fast but the judges seemed overly picky, as if taking her down a peg or two. She fell six places down the leaderboard and surely didn't deserve to end up in the bottom half.  In sharp contrast, Joe McFadden was this week's comeback kid. Following last week's awkward cha ch, he came storming back with a powerful paso doble full of commanding character and Spanish lines. It was an impressive performance but Shirley Ballas still surprised us all by pulling out her perfect 10 paddle for the only time this week. Joe finished just one point behind Debbie McGee. If Holby hospital ever finds itself hosting a bullfight, they've got just the man.  Three-person panel was odd but no dance disaster It might have been a Strictly first but the downsized judges' table had its plus points. Bruno Tonioli long ago descended into self-parody with his yelling, arm-waving and leering, so nobody much missed his input. And with the show's running time not reduced, it meant more room to hear from the other three judges. They responded by giving far more detailed critiques, which were technically interesting if not always much fun, often feeling like they were merely reading their notes aloud. There was occasionally a three-point variation in their scoring too.  Darcey Bussell lapsed back into her old "yes? yah?" tic. Shirley Ballas seemed so anxious not to get any more names wrong, she lacked spontaneity. Thus the show was stolen by Craig Revel Horwood, who was as spikily unpredictable as ever - plus witty, wise and even showing signs of softening in his old age. He'd also clearly been practising his Bruno impression in the mirror, complete with pratfall.  Craig doing an even more convincing Bruno than Bruno �� #Strictly— Sid (@StrictlySid) October 21, 2017 Craig imitation Bruno and falling off his chair. Highlight of my day. #scd#Strictly— nikki (@x_allowaygrove) October 21, 2017 Craig making the case that we kind of don't need Bruno here - all done in one quick impression �� #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 Anton Du Beke was on fab-ew-lous form Was he pitching for Bruno's seat, perchance? The longest standing pro was on fire tonight, mainly thanks to that extraordinary outfit change. Playing a passenger on-board air hostess partner Ruth Langsford's flight, Anton du Beke was dressed in a dapper business suit - which he promptly tore off to reveal the most colourful samba outfit this side of Copacabana beach: sequin-spangled pink slacks and a cerise shirt with frilly, flouncy sleeves straight off a carnival float. If the plan was to distract from Ruth's faltering footwork, it worked a treat.    Anton proceeded to have the studio audience in stitches with his repartee. He bickered with Craig, gave balcony backchat to Claudia Winkleman and quipped: "For the first time in 15 series, I'm sort of disappointed Bruno's not here. We could've done with that extra four points." Ah, dear old Tony Beak. Don't ever retire.  Anton Du Beke should be co-presenting this show instead of Claudia Winkleman. He makes jokes that are actually funny. #StrictlyComeDancing— Agent S(ean Bassett) (@WhoPotterVian) October 21, 2017 Serious question. Why is Tess Daly in Bruce's place over Anton du Beke? Surely he's a shoo-in? #strictly— Vittoria Gallowe'en (@Vitt2tsnoc) October 21, 2017 Ruth and Anton's samba Chasing pack are closing the glitterball gap During the first month of the contest, it looked like former X Factor rivals Alexandra Burke and Aston Merrygold were way ahead of the rest. The leaderboard landscape is now changing. Debbie McGee is definitely a threat. Gemma Atkinson is ever-improving. The popular Joe McFadden and Jonnie Peacock are also both impressing. With the judges starting to clamp down on Alexandra and Aston's footwork, it's all throwing the glitterball race wide open again.  Aston and Janette's waltz 9:41PM Saturday night's action in full Here's your routine-by-routine recap... 9:21PM Darcey's vocal tic annoying viewers An email in from Telegraph reader Meryl Tomblin: "When Darcey Bussell first joined Strictly as a judge, her comments were littered with 'yes?' all the time. This was commented on and she stopped. This series, though, she is doing it again and again and again. She ought to stop as it's becoming extremely annoying." 9:12PM Standard too high, says reader This just in from Telegraph reader Martin Davies:  "Bit disappointed with Strictly this year, dahhling. Too many professional dancers posing as amateurs for our liking. The whole point of this show surely is to make people into dancers who have never danced before. It's great to see them start with two left feet in week one, then emerge two months later into really good, accomplished dancers. Another Ore Oduba, please! Oh better still, the lovely Abbey Clancy! So come on BBC, find 'em what can't dance and make them into one." 8:14PM Voting is now open While they shake maracas and recap the action on-screen, stay with us for reaction, analysis and your comments.  8:10PM Jonnie and Oti's quickstep The blade is back on for a fast, bouncy dance that should suit the gold medal-winning Paralympic sprinter. Last couple out and it's a supermarket theme for no apparent reason. Into hold and a bouncy quickstep full of flicks, kicks, skippy strides and synchronisation. Covering the floor well, even if there's some slight gapping and frame issues. Catches an apple to end. Jubilant Jonnie shouts "Yes!" at the end. Music: Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "gosh you made it look easy, light and speedy, cheeky character, impressive detail but your right elbow drops, yes?" Shirley says "you put a spring in your step, it was light, pendulum swings, didn't miss a beat, no mistakes and ease of movement, outstanding". Craig says "the stars are aligning and elements coming together". Some awkwardness from Tess and Shirley, though. Eights? A nine? Judges' scores: 7, 8, 9 for a total of 24 points. His first nine and equal third place.  8:03PM Alexandra and Gorka's samba Can she maintain the sky-high standard of last week's Tina Turner jive? "Alexandra Berserk" is going from Tina Turner to Rio carnival queen. It's fast, frilly and flouncy with lots of travel arond the floor and some nice hip-shaking. Sexy, spicy mood, footwork a bit messy at times but full of spirit. Powers, bounce and a pose to finish.  Music: Shape of You by Ed Sheeran Judges’ verdict: Craig says "you're an amazing dancer, love watching you, loved the tribal touches but your pigeon-toes ruined it". Darcey says "your body doesn't stop moving, you bring the floor to life but work on the tiny details". Shirley says "you have immense power, you're a fantastic performer, upper is exquisite but work on  foot and ankle position". Eights?  Judges' scores: 7, 8, 8 for a total of 23 points - tumbling to mid-table. 7:58PM Joe and Katya's paso doble Cha cha dis-ah-ster for Holby's Dr Di Luca last time but now he's going from Latin lovegod to butch bullfighter. Macho matador. Traditional jacket, no shirt underneath. Form a queue, female Holby City fans. Commanding character and knee-walks. Dramatic shapes, lacking a little fluidity but arching curves, body resistance, a nice blend of the classic and contemporary. And a kicking kill to finish. Ole! Music: Diablo Rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriela Judges' comments: Shirley says "you're back, that was the best male paso doble so far". Craig says "you did it really well". Darcey says "Spanish style, loved it".  Judges' scores: 7, 9, 10 (blimey) for a total of 26 points - second place so far. Wildly fluctuating scores.  7:48PM Gemma and Alijaz's foxtrot A powerful paso took the ever-improving Ms Atkinson to second on the scoreboard last Saturday. Can she now nail pro partner Alijaz's favourite dance (and, apparently, her least favourite)? Slightly drab brown frock for Gemma. Slow and moody to open, then rather beautiful once they're into hold.  Footwork and lines falters at times but lovely leg extensions and swirling around the floor with style. Storytelling too. Liked that.  Music: Madilyn Bailey’s stripped-back, slowed-down version of Cher’s Believe  Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you're becoming so versatile, impressive mood, quality and grace but in hold you over-stretched the neck, yes? Have a focus, yes?" Shirley says "last week you were fierce, today you bought romance and classic elegance, lovely and gentle but watch the length of your steps". Craig concludes "the front-runners in this competition need to start looking behind them, darling." Eights a-coming? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second. 7:42PM Ruth and Anton's samba After last week's much improved tango, it's an old-style samba set on an aeroplane. Flicky hair extensions and a drinks trolley for Ruth. And then passenger Anton rips off his business suit to reveal some preposterously flouncy pink sleeves and sequin-spangled slacks. Ruth's arms are equally eye-catching but not in a good way. Severe lack of bounce, hip action and spice. Anton's outfit steals the show but you don't get many marks for that.  Music: Love Is In The Air by John Paul Young Judges’ verdict: Craig thought he "was at the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix from Strictly Ballroom , it was more of a send-up than a samba, loved it for its comedy but not its technique". Darcey says `'you came alive and went crazy, work on your arm but hold onto the energised fun side". Shirley concludes "brilliant parody, hey, who cares about technique?" Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points - joining the cluster at the bottom.  7:32PM Aston and Janette's waltz The pocket rockets are back in hold for a proper, traditional, back-to-basics waltz. Aston needs footwork finesse after last week’s slight dip. Gorgeously romantic and contemporary style. He's leading well. Took too long to get into hold but good body contact. Slow, soppy and exquisite but Shirley might have her red specs and red pen all over his footwork.  Music: Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley - a stripped-back accoustic version with a female vocalist.  Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "emotional, gentlemanly, beautiful positions and pretty impressive". Craig says `'too sharped, lacked flow, your hands bother me slightly but love the contemporary opening and could watch you all night". Darcey found the opening moves "too fussy and overly detailed but once in hold, control and grace was maintained".  Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second with Mollie.  7:24PM Susan and Kevin's cha cha cha They brought us sunshine last Saturday. Now can Calman 'n' Kev get a Cuban party started? She's playing a heartbroken Bridget Jones type, he's her friend who's come round to cheer her up. Way too much "messin' abaht" to start but much better once they finally launch into a high-impact cha cha. Lots of spins and hip action, Susan looking great in the silver frock that was hiding beneath her dressing gown. Lacking technique at times, sure, but loads of character and sheer joy to watch.   Music: Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "packed with content but you step out too much and the technique suffers, keep it tighter, not your best but you sold it". Shirley says "I love you and could never break up with you, cheeky and committed, co-ordinate your arms and work on the details". Craig says "I'm a little upset that you ripped up my photo, I love your energy and performance but it was turned in and no hip action, thought you were going to snap something when you did the splits - I'm still crying, darling, and it's not with laughter".  Judges' scores: 4 (boo!), 5, 7 for a total of 16 points - tied at the bottom with Brian and Simon.  7:17PM Brian and Amy's jive A Valleys anthem that means a lot to Welsh pro Amy Dowden. Crowd-pleasing Hi-De-Hi theme, with the couple dressed in banana yellow and royal blue. But will it be hi-de-high scoring? Start with a Gladys Pugh-style announcement and Brian's giving it the full 70s disco dad. Lacks bounce and energy, as you might expect fro the contest's senior gent, and he's struggling a smidge to keep up. But a knee slide, some character, gurning a-go-go and high entertainment value.  Music: It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones Judges’ verdict: Craig says "flat-footed, no retraction, but energy and facial expressions were to die for". Darcey says "put the facial energy in your body and lift your wight forward, yes?" Shirley says "it had the feelgood factor, transported me back in time, lots of content and basics but stay in hold more". Fives and sixes? Judges' scores: 4 (boo), 6, 6 for a total of 16 points - equal bottom with Simon.  Brian and Amy's jive 7:08PM Debbie and Giovanni's rumba  It's Flexy McGee, Britain's bendiest woman™, tackling the notoriously tricky rumba. An emotional VT with Debbie reminsicing about her late husband Paul Daniels.  And then into a moody, slow and sensuous rumba. She looks nervous again. Needs to settle in her hips and get more grounded but some great spins, flicks and leg extensions. Lifts and a rumba walk to finish. Bravo. Music: Baby Can I Hold You by Tracy Chapman (no, Boyzone fans, not the watery cover version by Ronan Keating) Judges’ verdict: Shirley Ballas says "very emotional, I've lost a loved one so I know what it means, no bells or whistles, classic rumba, poised and balanced, and I've never seen such a beautiful standing leg". Craig "feels the need to channel Bruno:, so shouts Giovanni a lot, waves his arms around and galls off his chair. Genuine LOLZ. Darcey "loved the way you caressed the floor with your feet, that is your best dance". Nines? Judges' scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points - top of the leaderboard. Brilliant, Debbie is over the moon. 7:00PM Simon and Karen's charleston He's bookies' favourite for elimination again this weekend but can the Scouse chef continue to defy the odds? Rupert bear trousers. Some messin' abaht with violins to start. He's been stuck on 19 points for the past three weeks, so is desperate to get his first seven. This should suit his cheeky character but Simon doesn't look like he's having much fun. Lacks swivel, pace and energy. Laboured. Some comedy moves at the end but Karen;s dancing her socks off to cover Simon's inadequacies.  Music: Gene Kelly's Fit As A Fiddle (And Ready For Love) from Singin’ In The Rain Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you went for it, it was sweet and charming but the recipe was missing some ingredients, lacked swivel, musicality and character". Simon says he snapped his Achilles a few years ago, so can't swivel. Did he bring a sicknote? Shirley says "entertaining, impressed with the change of pace, slapstick comedy was right up my alley, good synchronisation, a step up". Craig says "no swivel on your good leg either, darling, but I loved the train step". Fives? Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points. Bottom as it stands. Dance-off danger.  Simon and Karen's charleston 6:53PM Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz There'll be a lorra lorra spins to this Cilla classic. Classic white, pink and silver frock for Mollie. Romantic opening on a bridge-cum-pier. Romantic mood, footwork falters at times and her balance looks shaky during some of the spins but floaty, delicate and very decent.  Music: Anyone Who Had A Heart by Cilla Black  Judges’ verdict: Craig "loved the opening armography up on the pier, posture good, swing and sway, a lot of wonderful Viennese". Darcey says "you've grown as a partnership, you were gliding and graceful but relax the topline, yes?" Shirley concludes "believable chemistry (showmance implications?) and great turns". Eights? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - highest of the night so far.  Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz 6:44PM Davood and Nadiya's jive Last week's dance-off survivors are first out and trying to shake off the shock with a fast, furious party jive. Wake and smell the random barista theme. Spectacular cartwheel from Kushy. Full-on, fun and furious, high performance level and cream cakey climax but lacking some bounce and knee action Music: Tell Her About It by Billy Joel Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "your best performance, posture suits the dance". Craig says "too much upper body, watch your free arm, heavy-footed and lacked retraction but it was bright, lively and you sold it well". Darcey concludes "carefree, light and energised, yes? But fabulous beginning". Sevens, maybe an eight, do we think? Judges' scores: 6, 8, 8 for a total of 22 points. Out of 30 not 40, remember. Solid start and a nice shot of Davood's lucky socks up on the Clauditorium. The socksy thing.  Davood and Nadiya's jive 6:40PM Here's our Strictly stars Some eye-watering primary coloured outfits, unwise checks and undone shirts. Joe McFadden's in a traditional paso doble jacket with nothing beneath. Be still your hearts, Holby fans.  6:39PM Frockwatch Our regular style smackdown. Tess Daly is sporting a restrained-for-her red slashed frock. Claudia Winkleman's in black trousers, white ruffled blouse and undone tie-type affair. Chic Claudia edges it. And here come the judges: Darcey Bussell in red with embellished red, Shirley Ballas in blue with a bejewelled neckline. Craig in dapper black. Bruno invisible.  6:36PM And we're off! Roll recap of last week's action, when Alexandra Burke streaked clear at the top of the leaderbaord and Charlotte Hawkins was packed off home. Now we're down to a dancefloor dozen. budding to get through to next week's pumpkin-crazed Halloween spooktacular. 6:33PM See ya, sizeable ears Last knockings of Celebrity Pointless on BBC One now, hosted by Alexander Armstrong's ample lugholes. Over to the Elstree Studios ballroom any minute now... 6:29PM Girl power in the ballroom A Strictly milestone tonight: for the first time in the show's history, the judging panel will feature more women than men. Smashing the patriarchy, one sequin at a time. Five minutes until that ba-ba-da theme tune. .. 6:22PM Will Burke go berserk again? Last week's show saw Alexandra Burke score the first perfect 10s of the series for her big-haired, tassel-frocked Tina Turner jive. La Burke 's dancing a hip-shaking samba to Ed Sheeran tonight. Fifteen minutes to wait... 6:15PM Ciao, Signor Tonioli? The judging panel will be without its right-hand bookend tonight, with Italian stallion Bruno Tonioli absent for the first time in 13 years. He's cited a demanding schedule due to jetting between the UK and US versions of the show and says he needs a break. But is Bruno, like his old mucker Len Goodman, prioritising America's Dancing With The Stars over Blighty's Strictly?  Does tonight's absence herald his imminent departure from the UK show too? Such speculation is inevitable. Twenty minutes until showtime... 6:10PM Who'll be the fourth celebrity sent home from Strictly 2017?  We've waved a glittery goodbye to Charlotte, Chizzy and the disco vicar. So who's next for the sequin-spangled scrapheap? Yes, it's the fourth elimination weekend , with our dancefloor dozen hoofing for survival once again. The night's big news is that, for the first time ever, it's a three-person judging panel tonight because Bruno Tonioli has the week off.  Ballroom battle commences at 6.35pm on BBC One. Can anyone match Alexandra Burke's spectacular 39-point Tina Turner jive from last week? And will head judge Shirley Ballas remember the celebrities' names? I'm Michael, the Telegraph's sore feet and spatulistic hands correspondent. I'll be liveblogging from 6pm, providing build-up, rolling coverage, recaps, analysis and flippant gags, so do join me and watch along with this blog.  And please join in too - you can email me on michael.hogan@ telegraph.co.uk, tweet me on @michaelhogan or leave comments at the bottom of this blog. I'll keep an eye on them all and report the highlights here.  Nearly time to staaaaart Saturday night dancing!

Strictly Come Dancing 2017, week five live show: Debbie McGee's romantic rumba tops scoreboard but four couples tied at bottom

Debbie McGee tops the leaderboard with romantic rumba Joe McFadden jumps to second spot after scoring a perfect 10 for his paso doble  Simon Rimmer, Brian Conley, Susan Calman and Ruth Langsford all joint bottom Bruno Tonioli's week off meant three-strong judging panel for first time in Strictly history Results show airs 7.15pm Sunday on BBC One. Join us back on the liveblog then Missing judges. Magic rumbas. Anton's outfit. Craig's impressions. After a busy night in the ballroom, here's all the talking points and social media reaction from Saturday's show... Debbie McGee's emotional rumba returned her to the top She's this year's oldest contestant but there's no way you would know it. Debbie McGee struggled with the cha cha last time out but had worked hard all week on her earthy style and hip action to tackle the notoriously tricky rumba. There were spins, kicks, lifts and extensions. The judges raved about her poise and leg placement. Debbie duly scored a clean sweep of nines to top the standings. This was an affectingly heartfelt routine, too. After a VT which saw Debbie reminiscing about her late husband Paul Daniels and proudly showing footage of the magician to pro partner Giovanni Pernice, head judge Shirley Ballas revealed that she too had lost a loved one and felt Debbie's pain. Lovely to see the fiftysomething females bonding - especially on an evening when women dominated the judging panel for the first time in Strictly history. Hear them roar.  still teary at #debbiemcgee on #strictly nearly 3 hours later— James Muller (@JamesAMuller) October 21, 2017 #scd Debbie McGee is looking like she might win this. She’s always at or around the top of the scoreboard.— Leanne (@Leanne_Cee) October 21, 2017 Debbie and Giovanni's rumba Was there more to Bruno's absence than met the eye? The night's big news was that flamboyant Italian judge Bruno Tonioli missed his first show in 13 years, citing a demanding Transatlantic work schedule. But something didn't smell quite right. The BBC claimed Bruno's break was planned but if that was truly the case, why wasn't he replaced with a guest judge, like when Len Goodman had a knee op? With the couples judged by a panel of three for the first time ever, it messed up the scoring system and negated the need for the head judge’s casting vote on Sunday's results show.  Has Bruno prioritised his role on Strictly's US sister show, Dancing With The Stars? Is there friction with his fellow judges, hence he's lining up a new gig? Has the 61-year-old booked himself into a discreet clinic for a mystery youth-defying procedure? Is something else afoot? Whichever way, it was strange to see a three-person panel with no gesticulating, shouty Italian on the far end, falling off his chair. Although colleague Craig Revel Horwood did an uncanny impression of him, to much amusement.  Shame they didn’t put Brendan on the panel tonight Oh no .... he’s just a dancer— James Jordan (@The_JamesJordan) October 21, 2017 Half expecting Bruno to descend from the ceiling half way through. #scd#strictly— Richard Cardall (@Hum_Con) October 21, 2017 Bruno, I'm going to have to convert all my scores to percentages because of you. THINK OF THE STATTOS! #scd#strictly— Keep Dancing Podcast (@keepdancingpod) October 21, 2017 "A very busy work schedule", i.e. couldn't be bothered to pop back from doing Dancing With The Stars. #strictly— Ian Jones (@metro_land) October 21, 2017 This would have been a perfect opportunity for Donny Osmond to come back... #Strictly#StrictlyComeDancing2017— David Brown (@MrDavidEBrown) October 21, 2017 Four-way fight to dodge the dreaded dance-off The public vote might well change the picture, of course, but we ended the evening with four celebrities locked together down the bottom of the leaderboard, all on 16 points.  Stompy chef Simon Rimmer's charleston was criminally lacking in swivel action, despite his protestations about a long-standing ankle injury. In the midst of Storm Brian, its namesake Brian Conley failed to ruffle any feathers with his flat-footed, holiday camp-themed jive. And Ruth Langsford's air hostess samba was far more memorable for Anton Du Beke's flamboyant outfit than any actual dancing. The one who surely didn't deserve to be down there was Susan Calman, whose cha cha was packed with content, cheeky character and charm. As Kevin Clifton's rhythm-keeping motto went: "Su-san Cal-man is an awe-some dan-cer". Hopefully viewer votes will see justice done. Simon and Brian deserve to battle it out on Sunday night.  So love watching @SusanCalman and @keviclifton in action. They just make Saturday nights #SCD— Clare Balding (@clarebalding) October 21, 2017 Looks like the Sunday Brunch guy might be toast. Sorry, I'll get my coat. #scd2017— Tony Peters (@tonypetersss) October 21, 2017 Why oh why do we still have Simon AND Brian? One dad dancer is more than enough #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 @EverydaySexism how come nobody says Brian Conley did well for his age but they do with Debbie McGee? #Strictly— Sarah Banham (@sjbwrites) October 21, 2017 How can you not love them? #teamcalman#StrictlyComeDancing— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 21, 2017 Susan and Kevin's cha cha Alexandra plummeted as Joe bounced back Was Alexandra Burke being punished for her near-perfect 39-point jive last week? Her Ed Sheeran samba was spicy, fierce and fast but the judges seemed overly picky, as if taking her down a peg or two. She fell six places down the leaderboard and surely didn't deserve to end up in the bottom half.  In sharp contrast, Joe McFadden was this week's comeback kid. Following last week's awkward cha ch, he came storming back with a powerful paso doble full of commanding character and Spanish lines. It was an impressive performance but Shirley Ballas still surprised us all by pulling out her perfect 10 paddle for the only time this week. Joe finished just one point behind Debbie McGee. If Holby hospital ever finds itself hosting a bullfight, they've got just the man.  Three-person panel was odd but no dance disaster It might have been a Strictly first but the downsized judges' table had its plus points. Bruno Tonioli long ago descended into self-parody with his yelling, arm-waving and leering, so nobody much missed his input. And with the show's running time not reduced, it meant more room to hear from the other three judges. They responded by giving far more detailed critiques, which were technically interesting if not always much fun, often feeling like they were merely reading their notes aloud. There was occasionally a three-point variation in their scoring too.  Darcey Bussell lapsed back into her old "yes? yah?" tic. Shirley Ballas seemed so anxious not to get any more names wrong, she lacked spontaneity. Thus the show was stolen by Craig Revel Horwood, who was as spikily unpredictable as ever - plus witty, wise and even showing signs of softening in his old age. He'd also clearly been practising his Bruno impression in the mirror, complete with pratfall.  Craig doing an even more convincing Bruno than Bruno �� #Strictly— Sid (@StrictlySid) October 21, 2017 Craig imitation Bruno and falling off his chair. Highlight of my day. #scd#Strictly— nikki (@x_allowaygrove) October 21, 2017 Craig making the case that we kind of don't need Bruno here - all done in one quick impression �� #strictly#scd2017— Marianka Swain (@mkmswain) October 21, 2017 Anton Du Beke was on fab-ew-lous form Was he pitching for Bruno's seat, perchance? The longest standing pro was on fire tonight, mainly thanks to that extraordinary outfit change. Playing a passenger on-board air hostess partner Ruth Langsford's flight, Anton du Beke was dressed in a dapper business suit - which he promptly tore off to reveal the most colourful samba outfit this side of Copacabana beach: sequin-spangled pink slacks and a cerise shirt with frilly, flouncy sleeves straight off a carnival float. If the plan was to distract from Ruth's faltering footwork, it worked a treat.    Anton proceeded to have the studio audience in stitches with his repartee. He bickered with Craig, gave balcony backchat to Claudia Winkleman and quipped: "For the first time in 15 series, I'm sort of disappointed Bruno's not here. We could've done with that extra four points." Ah, dear old Tony Beak. Don't ever retire.  Anton Du Beke should be co-presenting this show instead of Claudia Winkleman. He makes jokes that are actually funny. #StrictlyComeDancing— Agent S(ean Bassett) (@WhoPotterVian) October 21, 2017 Serious question. Why is Tess Daly in Bruce's place over Anton du Beke? Surely he's a shoo-in? #strictly— Vittoria Gallowe'en (@Vitt2tsnoc) October 21, 2017 Ruth and Anton's samba Chasing pack are closing the glitterball gap During the first month of the contest, it looked like former X Factor rivals Alexandra Burke and Aston Merrygold were way ahead of the rest. The leaderboard landscape is now changing. Debbie McGee is definitely a threat. Gemma Atkinson is ever-improving. The popular Joe McFadden and Jonnie Peacock are also both impressing. With the judges starting to clamp down on Alexandra and Aston's footwork, it's all throwing the glitterball race wide open again.  Aston and Janette's waltz 9:41PM Saturday night's action in full Here's your routine-by-routine recap... 9:21PM Darcey's vocal tic annoying viewers An email in from Telegraph reader Meryl Tomblin: "When Darcey Bussell first joined Strictly as a judge, her comments were littered with 'yes?' all the time. This was commented on and she stopped. This series, though, she is doing it again and again and again. She ought to stop as it's becoming extremely annoying." 9:12PM Standard too high, says reader This just in from Telegraph reader Martin Davies:  "Bit disappointed with Strictly this year, dahhling. Too many professional dancers posing as amateurs for our liking. The whole point of this show surely is to make people into dancers who have never danced before. It's great to see them start with two left feet in week one, then emerge two months later into really good, accomplished dancers. Another Ore Oduba, please! Oh better still, the lovely Abbey Clancy! So come on BBC, find 'em what can't dance and make them into one." 8:14PM Voting is now open While they shake maracas and recap the action on-screen, stay with us for reaction, analysis and your comments.  8:10PM Jonnie and Oti's quickstep The blade is back on for a fast, bouncy dance that should suit the gold medal-winning Paralympic sprinter. Last couple out and it's a supermarket theme for no apparent reason. Into hold and a bouncy quickstep full of flicks, kicks, skippy strides and synchronisation. Covering the floor well, even if there's some slight gapping and frame issues. Catches an apple to end. Jubilant Jonnie shouts "Yes!" at the end. Music: Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "gosh you made it look easy, light and speedy, cheeky character, impressive detail but your right elbow drops, yes?" Shirley says "you put a spring in your step, it was light, pendulum swings, didn't miss a beat, no mistakes and ease of movement, outstanding". Craig says "the stars are aligning and elements coming together". Some awkwardness from Tess and Shirley, though. Eights? A nine? Judges' scores: 7, 8, 9 for a total of 24 points. His first nine and equal third place.  8:03PM Alexandra and Gorka's samba Can she maintain the sky-high standard of last week's Tina Turner jive? "Alexandra Berserk" is going from Tina Turner to Rio carnival queen. It's fast, frilly and flouncy with lots of travel arond the floor and some nice hip-shaking. Sexy, spicy mood, footwork a bit messy at times but full of spirit. Powers, bounce and a pose to finish.  Music: Shape of You by Ed Sheeran Judges’ verdict: Craig says "you're an amazing dancer, love watching you, loved the tribal touches but your pigeon-toes ruined it". Darcey says "your body doesn't stop moving, you bring the floor to life but work on the tiny details". Shirley says "you have immense power, you're a fantastic performer, upper is exquisite but work on  foot and ankle position". Eights?  Judges' scores: 7, 8, 8 for a total of 23 points - tumbling to mid-table. 7:58PM Joe and Katya's paso doble Cha cha dis-ah-ster for Holby's Dr Di Luca last time but now he's going from Latin lovegod to butch bullfighter. Macho matador. Traditional jacket, no shirt underneath. Form a queue, female Holby City fans. Commanding character and knee-walks. Dramatic shapes, lacking a little fluidity but arching curves, body resistance, a nice blend of the classic and contemporary. And a kicking kill to finish. Ole! Music: Diablo Rojo by Rodrigo y Gabriela Judges' comments: Shirley says "you're back, that was the best male paso doble so far". Craig says "you did it really well". Darcey says "Spanish style, loved it".  Judges' scores: 7, 9, 10 (blimey) for a total of 26 points - second place so far. Wildly fluctuating scores.  7:48PM Gemma and Alijaz's foxtrot A powerful paso took the ever-improving Ms Atkinson to second on the scoreboard last Saturday. Can she now nail pro partner Alijaz's favourite dance (and, apparently, her least favourite)? Slightly drab brown frock for Gemma. Slow and moody to open, then rather beautiful once they're into hold.  Footwork and lines falters at times but lovely leg extensions and swirling around the floor with style. Storytelling too. Liked that.  Music: Madilyn Bailey’s stripped-back, slowed-down version of Cher’s Believe  Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you're becoming so versatile, impressive mood, quality and grace but in hold you over-stretched the neck, yes? Have a focus, yes?" Shirley says "last week you were fierce, today you bought romance and classic elegance, lovely and gentle but watch the length of your steps". Craig concludes "the front-runners in this competition need to start looking behind them, darling." Eights a-coming? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second. 7:42PM Ruth and Anton's samba After last week's much improved tango, it's an old-style samba set on an aeroplane. Flicky hair extensions and a drinks trolley for Ruth. And then passenger Anton rips off his business suit to reveal some preposterously flouncy pink sleeves and sequin-spangled slacks. Ruth's arms are equally eye-catching but not in a good way. Severe lack of bounce, hip action and spice. Anton's outfit steals the show but you don't get many marks for that.  Music: Love Is In The Air by John Paul Young Judges’ verdict: Craig thought he "was at the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix from Strictly Ballroom , it was more of a send-up than a samba, loved it for its comedy but not its technique". Darcey says `'you came alive and went crazy, work on your arm but hold onto the energised fun side". Shirley concludes "brilliant parody, hey, who cares about technique?" Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points - joining the cluster at the bottom.  7:32PM Aston and Janette's waltz The pocket rockets are back in hold for a proper, traditional, back-to-basics waltz. Aston needs footwork finesse after last week’s slight dip. Gorgeously romantic and contemporary style. He's leading well. Took too long to get into hold but good body contact. Slow, soppy and exquisite but Shirley might have her red specs and red pen all over his footwork.  Music: Can't Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley - a stripped-back accoustic version with a female vocalist.  Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "emotional, gentlemanly, beautiful positions and pretty impressive". Craig says `'too sharped, lacked flow, your hands bother me slightly but love the contemporary opening and could watch you all night". Darcey found the opening moves "too fussy and overly detailed but once in hold, control and grace was maintained".  Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - equal second with Mollie.  7:24PM Susan and Kevin's cha cha cha They brought us sunshine last Saturday. Now can Calman 'n' Kev get a Cuban party started? She's playing a heartbroken Bridget Jones type, he's her friend who's come round to cheer her up. Way too much "messin' abaht" to start but much better once they finally launch into a high-impact cha cha. Lots of spins and hip action, Susan looking great in the silver frock that was hiding beneath her dressing gown. Lacking technique at times, sure, but loads of character and sheer joy to watch.   Music: Shout Out To My Ex by Little Mix Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "packed with content but you step out too much and the technique suffers, keep it tighter, not your best but you sold it". Shirley says "I love you and could never break up with you, cheeky and committed, co-ordinate your arms and work on the details". Craig says "I'm a little upset that you ripped up my photo, I love your energy and performance but it was turned in and no hip action, thought you were going to snap something when you did the splits - I'm still crying, darling, and it's not with laughter".  Judges' scores: 4 (boo!), 5, 7 for a total of 16 points - tied at the bottom with Brian and Simon.  7:17PM Brian and Amy's jive A Valleys anthem that means a lot to Welsh pro Amy Dowden. Crowd-pleasing Hi-De-Hi theme, with the couple dressed in banana yellow and royal blue. But will it be hi-de-high scoring? Start with a Gladys Pugh-style announcement and Brian's giving it the full 70s disco dad. Lacks bounce and energy, as you might expect fro the contest's senior gent, and he's struggling a smidge to keep up. But a knee slide, some character, gurning a-go-go and high entertainment value.  Music: It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones Judges’ verdict: Craig says "flat-footed, no retraction, but energy and facial expressions were to die for". Darcey says "put the facial energy in your body and lift your wight forward, yes?" Shirley says "it had the feelgood factor, transported me back in time, lots of content and basics but stay in hold more". Fives and sixes? Judges' scores: 4 (boo), 6, 6 for a total of 16 points - equal bottom with Simon.  Brian and Amy's jive 7:08PM Debbie and Giovanni's rumba  It's Flexy McGee, Britain's bendiest woman™, tackling the notoriously tricky rumba. An emotional VT with Debbie reminsicing about her late husband Paul Daniels.  And then into a moody, slow and sensuous rumba. She looks nervous again. Needs to settle in her hips and get more grounded but some great spins, flicks and leg extensions. Lifts and a rumba walk to finish. Bravo. Music: Baby Can I Hold You by Tracy Chapman (no, Boyzone fans, not the watery cover version by Ronan Keating) Judges’ verdict: Shirley Ballas says "very emotional, I've lost a loved one so I know what it means, no bells or whistles, classic rumba, poised and balanced, and I've never seen such a beautiful standing leg". Craig "feels the need to channel Bruno:, so shouts Giovanni a lot, waves his arms around and galls off his chair. Genuine LOLZ. Darcey "loved the way you caressed the floor with your feet, that is your best dance". Nines? Judges' scores: 9, 9, 9 for a total of 27 points - top of the leaderboard. Brilliant, Debbie is over the moon. 7:00PM Simon and Karen's charleston He's bookies' favourite for elimination again this weekend but can the Scouse chef continue to defy the odds? Rupert bear trousers. Some messin' abaht with violins to start. He's been stuck on 19 points for the past three weeks, so is desperate to get his first seven. This should suit his cheeky character but Simon doesn't look like he's having much fun. Lacks swivel, pace and energy. Laboured. Some comedy moves at the end but Karen;s dancing her socks off to cover Simon's inadequacies.  Music: Gene Kelly's Fit As A Fiddle (And Ready For Love) from Singin’ In The Rain Judges’ verdict: Darcey says "you went for it, it was sweet and charming but the recipe was missing some ingredients, lacked swivel, musicality and character". Simon says he snapped his Achilles a few years ago, so can't swivel. Did he bring a sicknote? Shirley says "entertaining, impressed with the change of pace, slapstick comedy was right up my alley, good synchronisation, a step up". Craig says "no swivel on your good leg either, darling, but I loved the train step". Fives? Judges' scores: 5, 5, 6 for a total of 16 points. Bottom as it stands. Dance-off danger.  Simon and Karen's charleston 6:53PM Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz There'll be a lorra lorra spins to this Cilla classic. Classic white, pink and silver frock for Mollie. Romantic opening on a bridge-cum-pier. Romantic mood, footwork falters at times and her balance looks shaky during some of the spins but floaty, delicate and very decent.  Music: Anyone Who Had A Heart by Cilla Black  Judges’ verdict: Craig "loved the opening armography up on the pier, posture good, swing and sway, a lot of wonderful Viennese". Darcey says "you've grown as a partnership, you were gliding and graceful but relax the topline, yes?" Shirley concludes "believable chemistry (showmance implications?) and great turns". Eights? Judges' scores: 8, 8, 8 for a total of 24 points - highest of the night so far.  Mollie and AJ's Viennese waltz 6:44PM Davood and Nadiya's jive Last week's dance-off survivors are first out and trying to shake off the shock with a fast, furious party jive. Wake and smell the random barista theme. Spectacular cartwheel from Kushy. Full-on, fun and furious, high performance level and cream cakey climax but lacking some bounce and knee action Music: Tell Her About It by Billy Joel Judges’ verdict: Shirley says "your best performance, posture suits the dance". Craig says "too much upper body, watch your free arm, heavy-footed and lacked retraction but it was bright, lively and you sold it well". Darcey concludes "carefree, light and energised, yes? But fabulous beginning". Sevens, maybe an eight, do we think? Judges' scores: 6, 8, 8 for a total of 22 points. Out of 30 not 40, remember. Solid start and a nice shot of Davood's lucky socks up on the Clauditorium. The socksy thing.  Davood and Nadiya's jive 6:40PM Here's our Strictly stars Some eye-watering primary coloured outfits, unwise checks and undone shirts. Joe McFadden's in a traditional paso doble jacket with nothing beneath. Be still your hearts, Holby fans.  6:39PM Frockwatch Our regular style smackdown. Tess Daly is sporting a restrained-for-her red slashed frock. Claudia Winkleman's in black trousers, white ruffled blouse and undone tie-type affair. Chic Claudia edges it. And here come the judges: Darcey Bussell in red with embellished red, Shirley Ballas in blue with a bejewelled neckline. Craig in dapper black. Bruno invisible.  6:36PM And we're off! Roll recap of last week's action, when Alexandra Burke streaked clear at the top of the leaderbaord and Charlotte Hawkins was packed off home. Now we're down to a dancefloor dozen. budding to get through to next week's pumpkin-crazed Halloween spooktacular. 6:33PM See ya, sizeable ears Last knockings of Celebrity Pointless on BBC One now, hosted by Alexander Armstrong's ample lugholes. Over to the Elstree Studios ballroom any minute now... 6:29PM Girl power in the ballroom A Strictly milestone tonight: for the first time in the show's history, the judging panel will feature more women than men. Smashing the patriarchy, one sequin at a time. Five minutes until that ba-ba-da theme tune. .. 6:22PM Will Burke go berserk again? Last week's show saw Alexandra Burke score the first perfect 10s of the series for her big-haired, tassel-frocked Tina Turner jive. La Burke 's dancing a hip-shaking samba to Ed Sheeran tonight. Fifteen minutes to wait... 6:15PM Ciao, Signor Tonioli? The judging panel will be without its right-hand bookend tonight, with Italian stallion Bruno Tonioli absent for the first time in 13 years. He's cited a demanding schedule due to jetting between the UK and US versions of the show and says he needs a break. But is Bruno, like his old mucker Len Goodman, prioritising America's Dancing With The Stars over Blighty's Strictly?  Does tonight's absence herald his imminent departure from the UK show too? Such speculation is inevitable. Twenty minutes until showtime... 6:10PM Who'll be the fourth celebrity sent home from Strictly 2017?  We've waved a glittery goodbye to Charlotte, Chizzy and the disco vicar. So who's next for the sequin-spangled scrapheap? Yes, it's the fourth elimination weekend , with our dancefloor dozen hoofing for survival once again. The night's big news is that, for the first time ever, it's a three-person judging panel tonight because Bruno Tonioli has the week off.  Ballroom battle commences at 6.35pm on BBC One. Can anyone match Alexandra Burke's spectacular 39-point Tina Turner jive from last week? And will head judge Shirley Ballas remember the celebrities' names? I'm Michael, the Telegraph's sore feet and spatulistic hands correspondent. I'll be liveblogging from 6pm, providing build-up, rolling coverage, recaps, analysis and flippant gags, so do join me and watch along with this blog.  And please join in too - you can email me on michael.hogan@ telegraph.co.uk, tweet me on @michaelhogan or leave comments at the bottom of this blog. I'll keep an eye on them all and report the highlights here.  Nearly time to staaaaart Saturday night dancing!

How Prince Harry is creating the next generation of coaches

Five years after he had watched the Olympic closing ceremony there, Prince Harry was back at the London Stadium. This time he and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were at the graduation ceremony of the latest bunch of apprentices from Coach Core, the organisation the Princes had established to create a whole new generation of sports coaches. It was, Harry said, the most appropriate place he could be. Because it was on that occasion, watching the end of London 2012, that he and his brother had come up with an idea that they felt would provide a tangible, lasting Olympic legacy. “We believe our graduates are the future of coaching,” he said in a speech delivered from a podium which had been built roughly where Usain Bolt crossed the line to win the 100 metres in 2012. “We believe they are not just great coaches, but great mentors and great leaders of their community.” Watching him speak were some of the 250 young people who have gone through the intensive, year-long apprenticeship programme. People like 18-year-old Alisha Wilson, now working as a full-time swimming coach in Glasgow after graduating in June. Or 19-year-old Muhammed Mumin, who spent a year on Coach Core before heading off to college to study business. Or Andre Nathaniel-George, an 18-year-old from Harrow, who is now working as a tennis coach for the London school sports charity Greenhouse.  Prince Harry attended a ceremony for 250 young graduates at the London Stadium on Wednesday along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images “It’s been amazing,” he said of the course. “It’s not just the people who you coach who benefit from this. I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve become so much more confident, more outgoing. In all honesty, I don’t reckon I’d have been able to stand here and talk to you a year ago.” The statistics Harry delivered about the programme are impressive indeed. 98 per cent of Coach Core graduates are now in employment or further education, 80 per cent are still engaged in coaching six months after graduating. But the Princes’ purpose in setting up the scheme was not simply to create an employment pathway. They wanted to change the way in which coaching is learned, to ensure that their graduates were as versed in psychology as they were in the technical aspects of their sport. In an era when an England football coach can be sacked for inappropriate behaviour and a Paralympic swimming coach removed from his position for systematic bullying, it is clear there is work to be done. The Duchess of Cambridge with some of the scheme's graduates Credit: Getty images To that end, Coach Core involved elite coaches, asking them to mentor those on the programme. And on the day of the graduation, the London Stadium was given over to sessions being led by Will Greenwood, Judy Murray, Mark Hunter and Max Whitlock. Though in truth some of those taking part were more interested in getting a selfie with West Ham’s Mark Noble and Javier Hernandez, who, along with their manager Slaven Bilic, were interested bystanders, than they were in throwing a rugby ball around with Greenwood. As he watched the sessions unfold, Scott Hann, the coach who had progressed Whitlock from a young hopeful to a double Olympic and world champion gymnast, was particularly impressed by the Coach Core philosophy. “I’ve seen so many kids damaged by bad coaching,” he said. “The scariest quote I ever heard was that an athlete should be more scared of their coach than of the skill they need to learn, that way they won’t be frightened of learning the skill. When I was first a coach it was the received wisdom. And then we wonder why we didn’t produce a gold medallist before Max.” West Ham's Javier Hernandez, Mark Noble and Slaven Bilic meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images Greenwood too insisted that no-one ever improves as a sports person by being shouted at. “I played under a coach who was literally purple with rage every time we went into the dressing room at half time,” he said. “He’d spray the walls with rage. Did it make me a better player? No. Did it makes us a better team? Of course not.” Meanwhile, as the royal party joined in the groups, throwing themselves into Judy Murray’s tennis game with particular gusto, Prince William was asked what he believed was the most important thing a coach needs to do. “Listen,” he said. It was sound advice.

How Prince Harry is creating the next generation of coaches

Five years after he had watched the Olympic closing ceremony there, Prince Harry was back at the London Stadium. This time he and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were at the graduation ceremony of the latest bunch of apprentices from Coach Core, the organisation the Princes had established to create a whole new generation of sports coaches. It was, Harry said, the most appropriate place he could be. Because it was on that occasion, watching the end of London 2012, that he and his brother had come up with an idea that they felt would provide a tangible, lasting Olympic legacy. “We believe our graduates are the future of coaching,” he said in a speech delivered from a podium which had been built roughly where Usain Bolt crossed the line to win the 100 metres in 2012. “We believe they are not just great coaches, but great mentors and great leaders of their community.” Watching him speak were some of the 250 young people who have gone through the intensive, year-long apprenticeship programme. People like 18-year-old Alisha Wilson, now working as a full-time swimming coach in Glasgow after graduating in June. Or 19-year-old Muhammed Mumin, who spent a year on Coach Core before heading off to college to study business. Or Andre Nathaniel-George, an 18-year-old from Harrow, who is now working as a tennis coach for the London school sports charity Greenhouse.  Prince Harry attended a ceremony for 250 young graduates at the London Stadium on Wednesday along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images “It’s been amazing,” he said of the course. “It’s not just the people who you coach who benefit from this. I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve become so much more confident, more outgoing. In all honesty, I don’t reckon I’d have been able to stand here and talk to you a year ago.” The statistics Harry delivered about the programme are impressive indeed. 98 per cent of Coach Core graduates are now in employment or further education, 80 per cent are still engaged in coaching six months after graduating. But the Princes’ purpose in setting up the scheme was not simply to create an employment pathway. They wanted to change the way in which coaching is learned, to ensure that their graduates were as versed in psychology as they were in the technical aspects of their sport. In an era when an England football coach can be sacked for inappropriate behaviour and a Paralympic swimming coach removed from his position for systematic bullying, it is clear there is work to be done. The Duchess of Cambridge with some of the scheme's graduates Credit: Getty images To that end, Coach Core involved elite coaches, asking them to mentor those on the programme. And on the day of the graduation, the London Stadium was given over to sessions being led by Will Greenwood, Judy Murray, Mark Hunter and Max Whitlock. Though in truth some of those taking part were more interested in getting a selfie with West Ham’s Mark Noble and Javier Hernandez, who, along with their manager Slaven Bilic, were interested bystanders, than they were in throwing a rugby ball around with Greenwood. As he watched the sessions unfold, Scott Hann, the coach who had progressed Whitlock from a young hopeful to a double Olympic and world champion gymnast, was particularly impressed by the Coach Core philosophy. “I’ve seen so many kids damaged by bad coaching,” he said. “The scariest quote I ever heard was that an athlete should be more scared of their coach than of the skill they need to learn, that way they won’t be frightened of learning the skill. When I was first a coach it was the received wisdom. And then we wonder why we didn’t produce a gold medallist before Max.” West Ham's Javier Hernandez, Mark Noble and Slaven Bilic meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images Greenwood too insisted that no-one ever improves as a sports person by being shouted at. “I played under a coach who was literally purple with rage every time we went into the dressing room at half time,” he said. “He’d spray the walls with rage. Did it make me a better player? No. Did it makes us a better team? Of course not.” Meanwhile, as the royal party joined in the groups, throwing themselves into Judy Murray’s tennis game with particular gusto, Prince William was asked what he believed was the most important thing a coach needs to do. “Listen,” he said. It was sound advice.

How Prince Harry is creating the next generation of coaches

Five years after he had watched the Olympic closing ceremony there, Prince Harry was back at the London Stadium. This time he and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were at the graduation ceremony of the latest bunch of apprentices from Coach Core, the organisation the Princes had established to create a whole new generation of sports coaches. It was, Harry said, the most appropriate place he could be. Because it was on that occasion, watching the end of London 2012, that he and his brother had come up with an idea that they felt would provide a tangible, lasting Olympic legacy. “We believe our graduates are the future of coaching,” he said in a speech delivered from a podium which had been built roughly where Usain Bolt crossed the line to win the 100 metres in 2012. “We believe they are not just great coaches, but great mentors and great leaders of their community.” Watching him speak were some of the 250 young people who have gone through the intensive, year-long apprenticeship programme. People like 18-year-old Alisha Wilson, now working as a full-time swimming coach in Glasgow after graduating in June. Or 19-year-old Muhammed Mumin, who spent a year on Coach Core before heading off to college to study business. Or Andre Nathaniel-George, an 18-year-old from Harrow, who is now working as a tennis coach for the London school sports charity Greenhouse.  Prince Harry attended a ceremony for 250 young graduates at the London Stadium on Wednesday along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images “It’s been amazing,” he said of the course. “It’s not just the people who you coach who benefit from this. I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve become so much more confident, more outgoing. In all honesty, I don’t reckon I’d have been able to stand here and talk to you a year ago.” The statistics Harry delivered about the programme are impressive indeed. 98 per cent of Coach Core graduates are now in employment or further education, 80 per cent are still engaged in coaching six months after graduating. But the Princes’ purpose in setting up the scheme was not simply to create an employment pathway. They wanted to change the way in which coaching is learned, to ensure that their graduates were as versed in psychology as they were in the technical aspects of their sport. In an era when an England football coach can be sacked for inappropriate behaviour and a Paralympic swimming coach removed from his position for systematic bullying, it is clear there is work to be done. The Duchess of Cambridge with some of the scheme's graduates Credit: Getty images To that end, Coach Core involved elite coaches, asking them to mentor those on the programme. And on the day of the graduation, the London Stadium was given over to sessions being led by Will Greenwood, Judy Murray, Mark Hunter and Max Whitlock. Though in truth some of those taking part were more interested in getting a selfie with West Ham’s Mark Noble and Javier Hernandez, who, along with their manager Slaven Bilic, were interested bystanders, than they were in throwing a rugby ball around with Greenwood. As he watched the sessions unfold, Scott Hann, the coach who had progressed Whitlock from a young hopeful to a double Olympic and world champion gymnast, was particularly impressed by the Coach Core philosophy. “I’ve seen so many kids damaged by bad coaching,” he said. “The scariest quote I ever heard was that an athlete should be more scared of their coach than of the skill they need to learn, that way they won’t be frightened of learning the skill. When I was first a coach it was the received wisdom. And then we wonder why we didn’t produce a gold medallist before Max.” West Ham's Javier Hernandez, Mark Noble and Slaven Bilic meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images Greenwood too insisted that no-one ever improves as a sports person by being shouted at. “I played under a coach who was literally purple with rage every time we went into the dressing room at half time,” he said. “He’d spray the walls with rage. Did it make me a better player? No. Did it makes us a better team? Of course not.” Meanwhile, as the royal party joined in the groups, throwing themselves into Judy Murray’s tennis game with particular gusto, Prince William was asked what he believed was the most important thing a coach needs to do. “Listen,” he said. It was sound advice.

How Prince Harry is creating the next generation of coaches

Five years after he had watched the Olympic closing ceremony there, Prince Harry was back at the London Stadium. This time he and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were at the graduation ceremony of the latest bunch of apprentices from Coach Core, the organisation the Princes had established to create a whole new generation of sports coaches. It was, Harry said, the most appropriate place he could be. Because it was on that occasion, watching the end of London 2012, that he and his brother had come up with an idea that they felt would provide a tangible, lasting Olympic legacy. “We believe our graduates are the future of coaching,” he said in a speech delivered from a podium which had been built roughly where Usain Bolt crossed the line to win the 100 metres in 2012. “We believe they are not just great coaches, but great mentors and great leaders of their community.” Watching him speak were some of the 250 young people who have gone through the intensive, year-long apprenticeship programme. People like 18-year-old Alisha Wilson, now working as a full-time swimming coach in Glasgow after graduating in June. Or 19-year-old Muhammed Mumin, who spent a year on Coach Core before heading off to college to study business. Or Andre Nathaniel-George, an 18-year-old from Harrow, who is now working as a tennis coach for the London school sports charity Greenhouse.  Prince Harry attended a ceremony for 250 young graduates at the London Stadium on Wednesday along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images “It’s been amazing,” he said of the course. “It’s not just the people who you coach who benefit from this. I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve become so much more confident, more outgoing. In all honesty, I don’t reckon I’d have been able to stand here and talk to you a year ago.” The statistics Harry delivered about the programme are impressive indeed. 98 per cent of Coach Core graduates are now in employment or further education, 80 per cent are still engaged in coaching six months after graduating. But the Princes’ purpose in setting up the scheme was not simply to create an employment pathway. They wanted to change the way in which coaching is learned, to ensure that their graduates were as versed in psychology as they were in the technical aspects of their sport. In an era when an England football coach can be sacked for inappropriate behaviour and a Paralympic swimming coach removed from his position for systematic bullying, it is clear there is work to be done. The Duchess of Cambridge with some of the scheme's graduates Credit: Getty images To that end, Coach Core involved elite coaches, asking them to mentor those on the programme. And on the day of the graduation, the London Stadium was given over to sessions being led by Will Greenwood, Judy Murray, Mark Hunter and Max Whitlock. Though in truth some of those taking part were more interested in getting a selfie with West Ham’s Mark Noble and Javier Hernandez, who, along with their manager Slaven Bilic, were interested bystanders, than they were in throwing a rugby ball around with Greenwood. As he watched the sessions unfold, Scott Hann, the coach who had progressed Whitlock from a young hopeful to a double Olympic and world champion gymnast, was particularly impressed by the Coach Core philosophy. “I’ve seen so many kids damaged by bad coaching,” he said. “The scariest quote I ever heard was that an athlete should be more scared of their coach than of the skill they need to learn, that way they won’t be frightened of learning the skill. When I was first a coach it was the received wisdom. And then we wonder why we didn’t produce a gold medallist before Max.” West Ham's Javier Hernandez, Mark Noble and Slaven Bilic meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Credit: Getty images Greenwood too insisted that no-one ever improves as a sports person by being shouted at. “I played under a coach who was literally purple with rage every time we went into the dressing room at half time,” he said. “He’d spray the walls with rage. Did it make me a better player? No. Did it makes us a better team? Of course not.” Meanwhile, as the royal party joined in the groups, throwing themselves into Judy Murray’s tennis game with particular gusto, Prince William was asked what he believed was the most important thing a coach needs to do. “Listen,” he said. It was sound advice.

Why I'm glad pole dancing is finally being recognised as a sport

I first came across the pole at a health and fitness convention when one of the sellers was bringing it out for the home market. I bought one and started practicing, making up loads of different moves, and started a class in my local area - but I didn't want it to be an exotic dance, as its reputation has long suggested.  I'm very sporty and pole does not suddenly transform me into someone who frequents a particular kind of late-night club at all. I admit, though, that it's not a traditional sport. While we have a strict criteria, we have so much freedom: it has elements of acrobatics, gymnastics, jumping, flying, holding. I took it up purely for the benefits it gave me - a great fitness routine.  I was very fortunate enough to have a husband who worked in IT, long before YouTube came along, so he was able to upload videos of me doing pole dancing. This led to me becoming well known, and people began to watch the videos and got in touch to say they had been inspired to pick up the sport too.  We built a whole community in the UK and it began to spread all over the world. That's when competitions started popping up - just local ones, where nobody made too much effort. The community became a bit fed up of the fact that they would train really hard, spend a lot of money on costumes and then the judges would be friend of friends. So back in 2006, I set up an online petition to make pole an Olympic sport. We received over 10,000 signatures and formed the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), of which I am still President, in 2009.  Kerri N'Fuego competes in the 'Exotic' performance category during the 2017 Pacific Pole Championships at the Convention Center in Los Angeles, California on April 9, 2017 Credit:  MARK RALSTON/AFP Things really kicked into gear in 2012, when we ran the first world championships. Then, we had basic scoring system, basic judging, basic criteria and a few standards, but over the last six years we've built on that and created a rule book is in excess of 150 pages. More than 300 moves have now been catalogued: it's basically our little bible of what you can and can't do.  We effectively created a sport in six years. Do you know any other sport that's been created in six years? It's no mean feat. Our next steps would be getting pole sports onto TV, and then of course, the Olympics. To get Olympic status you needed to be recognised by the highest sports governing body in the land. We couldn't manage this before the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) changed their statute. Originally you had to have 40 federations in four continents, all recognised by their government or the National Olympic Committee. However, they would only recognise the national federation if they were a part of an international governing body - us - who would have to be recognised by GAISF. So it was an impossible task. In 2015 over 2,500 athletes competed in 26 countries to qualify for the World championships Credit:  BraunS/E+ Back in April they voted to change the statute and add a new 'observer' status which means they will provisionally recognise us for two years and in that time they will contact all the governments and Olympic committees and say pole is now an officially recognised sport. It's finally an opening for us to achieve our dream.  Now Pole has today been officially recognised it can be viewed as it should be - a sport - rather than just controversial titillation. I've always dreamed that maybe Nike would sponsor our athletes and competitions, and now that's a possibility. There will still be some naysayers who still associate it with traditional pole dancing, but it is as far removed from the world of strip-clubs and nightclubs as can be. That still exists and has its place in society, but it's almost like saying BMX riding is the same as Tour de France. While we use the same apparatus - the pole - our communities are different. What we do is for children as well as adults. If you put two videos side by side - traditional pole and pole sports - you would see so much difference in how its staged, the lighting, costume, movement - everything.  Katie Coates, 41, has finally won her 11-year fight to get pole dancing recognised as a sport Credit:  IPSF / SWNS.com You start these things just hoping to get into the Olympics, but you don't realise how much goes on behind the scenes - all the paperwork creating policies, constitutions, complaint procedures. Now we've moved onto the Para Pole, which is split into three categories in line with Paralympic criteria, so that people in a wheelchair or other disabilities can get involved. When it does eventually get to the Olympics - and I know it will - I hope I won't be there with a zimmer frame in tow. It's become a sport so quickly -who's to say where we'll be in the another six years?  

Why I'm glad pole dancing is finally being recognised as a sport

I first came across the pole at a health and fitness convention when one of the sellers was bringing it out for the home market. I bought one and started practicing, making up loads of different moves, and started a class in my local area - but I didn't want it to be an exotic dance, as its reputation has long suggested.  I'm very sporty and pole does not suddenly transform me into someone who frequents a particular kind of late-night club at all. I admit, though, that it's not a traditional sport. While we have a strict criteria, we have so much freedom: it has elements of acrobatics, gymnastics, jumping, flying, holding. I took it up purely for the benefits it gave me - a great fitness routine.  I was very fortunate enough to have a husband who worked in IT, long before YouTube came along, so he was able to upload videos of me doing pole dancing. This led to me becoming well known, and people began to watch the videos and got in touch to say they had been inspired to pick up the sport too.  We built a whole community in the UK and it began to spread all over the world. That's when competitions started popping up - just local ones, where nobody made too much effort. The community became a bit fed up of the fact that they would train really hard, spend a lot of money on costumes and then the judges would be friend of friends. So back in 2006, I set up an online petition to make pole an Olympic sport. We received over 10,000 signatures and formed the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), of which I am still President, in 2009.  Kerri N'Fuego competes in the 'Exotic' performance category during the 2017 Pacific Pole Championships at the Convention Center in Los Angeles, California on April 9, 2017 Credit:  MARK RALSTON/AFP Things really kicked into gear in 2012, when we ran the first world championships. Then, we had basic scoring system, basic judging, basic criteria and a few standards, but over the last six years we've built on that and created a rule book is in excess of 150 pages. More than 300 moves have now been catalogued: it's basically our little bible of what you can and can't do.  We effectively created a sport in six years. Do you know any other sport that's been created in six years? It's no mean feat. Our next steps would be getting pole sports onto TV, and then of course, the Olympics. To get Olympic status you needed to be recognised by the highest sports governing body in the land. We couldn't manage this before the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) changed their statute. Originally you had to have 40 federations in four continents, all recognised by their government or the National Olympic Committee. However, they would only recognise the national federation if they were a part of an international governing body - us - who would have to be recognised by GAISF. So it was an impossible task. In 2015 over 2,500 athletes competed in 26 countries to qualify for the World championships Credit:  BraunS/E+ Back in April they voted to change the statute and add a new 'observer' status which means they will provisionally recognise us for two years and in that time they will contact all the governments and Olympic committees and say pole is now an officially recognised sport. It's finally an opening for us to achieve our dream.  Now Pole has today been officially recognised it can be viewed as it should be - a sport - rather than just controversial titillation. I've always dreamed that maybe Nike would sponsor our athletes and competitions, and now that's a possibility. There will still be some naysayers who still associate it with traditional pole dancing, but it is as far removed from the world of strip-clubs and nightclubs as can be. That still exists and has its place in society, but it's almost like saying BMX riding is the same as Tour de France. While we use the same apparatus - the pole - our communities are different. What we do is for children as well as adults. If you put two videos side by side - traditional pole and pole sports - you would see so much difference in how its staged, the lighting, costume, movement - everything.  Katie Coates, 41, has finally won her 11-year fight to get pole dancing recognised as a sport Credit:  IPSF / SWNS.com You start these things just hoping to get into the Olympics, but you don't realise how much goes on behind the scenes - all the paperwork creating policies, constitutions, complaint procedures. Now we've moved onto the Para Pole, which is split into three categories in line with Paralympic criteria, so that people in a wheelchair or other disabilities can get involved. When it does eventually get to the Olympics - and I know it will - I hope I won't be there with a zimmer frame in tow. It's become a sport so quickly -who's to say where we'll be in the another six years?  

Why I'm glad pole dancing is finally being recognised as a sport

I first came across the pole at a health and fitness convention when one of the sellers was bringing it out for the home market. I bought one and started practicing, making up loads of different moves, and started a class in my local area - but I didn't want it to be an exotic dance, as its reputation has long suggested.  I'm very sporty and pole does not suddenly transform me into someone who frequents a particular kind of late-night club at all. I admit, though, that it's not a traditional sport. While we have a strict criteria, we have so much freedom: it has elements of acrobatics, gymnastics, jumping, flying, holding. I took it up purely for the benefits it gave me - a great fitness routine.  I was very fortunate enough to have a husband who worked in IT, long before YouTube came along, so he was able to upload videos of me doing pole dancing. This led to me becoming well known, and people began to watch the videos and got in touch to say they had been inspired to pick up the sport too.  We built a whole community in the UK and it began to spread all over the world. That's when competitions started popping up - just local ones, where nobody made too much effort. The community became a bit fed up of the fact that they would train really hard, spend a lot of money on costumes and then the judges would be friend of friends. So back in 2006, I set up an online petition to make pole an Olympic sport. We received over 10,000 signatures and formed the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), of which I am still President, in 2009.  Kerri N'Fuego competes in the 'Exotic' performance category during the 2017 Pacific Pole Championships at the Convention Center in Los Angeles, California on April 9, 2017 Credit:  MARK RALSTON/AFP Things really kicked into gear in 2012, when we ran the first world championships. Then, we had basic scoring system, basic judging, basic criteria and a few standards, but over the last six years we've built on that and created a rule book is in excess of 150 pages. More than 300 moves have now been catalogued: it's basically our little bible of what you can and can't do.  We effectively created a sport in six years. Do you know any other sport that's been created in six years? It's no mean feat. Our next steps would be getting pole sports onto TV, and then of course, the Olympics. To get Olympic status you needed to be recognised by the highest sports governing body in the land. We couldn't manage this before the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) changed their statute. Originally you had to have 40 federations in four continents, all recognised by their government or the National Olympic Committee. However, they would only recognise the national federation if they were a part of an international governing body - us - who would have to be recognised by GAISF. So it was an impossible task. In 2015 over 2,500 athletes competed in 26 countries to qualify for the World championships Credit:  BraunS/E+ Back in April they voted to change the statute and add a new 'observer' status which means they will provisionally recognise us for two years and in that time they will contact all the governments and Olympic committees and say pole is now an officially recognised sport. It's finally an opening for us to achieve our dream.  Now Pole has today been officially recognised it can be viewed as it should be - a sport - rather than just controversial titillation. I've always dreamed that maybe Nike would sponsor our athletes and competitions, and now that's a possibility. There will still be some naysayers who still associate it with traditional pole dancing, but it is as far removed from the world of strip-clubs and nightclubs as can be. That still exists and has its place in society, but it's almost like saying BMX riding is the same as Tour de France. While we use the same apparatus - the pole - our communities are different. What we do is for children as well as adults. If you put two videos side by side - traditional pole and pole sports - you would see so much difference in how its staged, the lighting, costume, movement - everything.  Katie Coates, 41, has finally won her 11-year fight to get pole dancing recognised as a sport Credit:  IPSF / SWNS.com You start these things just hoping to get into the Olympics, but you don't realise how much goes on behind the scenes - all the paperwork creating policies, constitutions, complaint procedures. Now we've moved onto the Para Pole, which is split into three categories in line with Paralympic criteria, so that people in a wheelchair or other disabilities can get involved. When it does eventually get to the Olympics - and I know it will - I hope I won't be there with a zimmer frame in tow. It's become a sport so quickly -who's to say where we'll be in the another six years?  

Why I'm glad pole dancing is finally being recognised as a sport

I first came across the pole at a health and fitness convention when one of the sellers was bringing it out for the home market. I bought one and started practicing, making up loads of different moves, and started a class in my local area - but I didn't want it to be an exotic dance, as its reputation has long suggested.  I'm very sporty and pole does not suddenly transform me into someone who frequents a particular kind of late-night club at all. I admit, though, that it's not a traditional sport. While we have a strict criteria, we have so much freedom: it has elements of acrobatics, gymnastics, jumping, flying, holding. I took it up purely for the benefits it gave me - a great fitness routine.  I was very fortunate enough to have a husband who worked in IT, long before YouTube came along, so he was able to upload videos of me doing pole dancing. This led to me becoming well known, and people began to watch the videos and got in touch to say they had been inspired to pick up the sport too.  We built a whole community in the UK and it began to spread all over the world. That's when competitions started popping up - just local ones, where nobody made too much effort. The community became a bit fed up of the fact that they would train really hard, spend a lot of money on costumes and then the judges would be friend of friends. So back in 2006, I set up an online petition to make pole an Olympic sport. We received over 10,000 signatures and formed the International Pole Sports Federation (IPSF), of which I am still President, in 2009.  Kerri N'Fuego competes in the 'Exotic' performance category during the 2017 Pacific Pole Championships at the Convention Center in Los Angeles, California on April 9, 2017 Credit:  MARK RALSTON/AFP Things really kicked into gear in 2012, when we ran the first world championships. Then, we had basic scoring system, basic judging, basic criteria and a few standards, but over the last six years we've built on that and created a rule book is in excess of 150 pages. More than 300 moves have now been catalogued: it's basically our little bible of what you can and can't do.  We effectively created a sport in six years. Do you know any other sport that's been created in six years? It's no mean feat. Our next steps would be getting pole sports onto TV, and then of course, the Olympics. To get Olympic status you needed to be recognised by the highest sports governing body in the land. We couldn't manage this before the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) changed their statute. Originally you had to have 40 federations in four continents, all recognised by their government or the National Olympic Committee. However, they would only recognise the national federation if they were a part of an international governing body - us - who would have to be recognised by GAISF. So it was an impossible task. In 2015 over 2,500 athletes competed in 26 countries to qualify for the World championships Credit:  BraunS/E+ Back in April they voted to change the statute and add a new 'observer' status which means they will provisionally recognise us for two years and in that time they will contact all the governments and Olympic committees and say pole is now an officially recognised sport. It's finally an opening for us to achieve our dream.  Now Pole has today been officially recognised it can be viewed as it should be - a sport - rather than just controversial titillation. I've always dreamed that maybe Nike would sponsor our athletes and competitions, and now that's a possibility. There will still be some naysayers who still associate it with traditional pole dancing, but it is as far removed from the world of strip-clubs and nightclubs as can be. That still exists and has its place in society, but it's almost like saying BMX riding is the same as Tour de France. While we use the same apparatus - the pole - our communities are different. What we do is for children as well as adults. If you put two videos side by side - traditional pole and pole sports - you would see so much difference in how its staged, the lighting, costume, movement - everything.  Katie Coates, 41, has finally won her 11-year fight to get pole dancing recognised as a sport Credit:  IPSF / SWNS.com You start these things just hoping to get into the Olympics, but you don't realise how much goes on behind the scenes - all the paperwork creating policies, constitutions, complaint procedures. Now we've moved onto the Para Pole, which is split into three categories in line with Paralympic criteria, so that people in a wheelchair or other disabilities can get involved. When it does eventually get to the Olympics - and I know it will - I hope I won't be there with a zimmer frame in tow. It's become a sport so quickly -who's to say where we'll be in the another six years?  

Why 'homecooked' food is often anything but: the buzzwords restaurants use to trick you 

From clichés to catchphrases, the buzzword is a restaurant staple.  Tonight, the new series of Channel 4's popular show Tricks of the Restaurant Trade will unpick the words used to entice us to order their food.  The series aims to lift the lid on the things consumers should be aware of when they eat out. Presenter Simon Rimmer is joined by Sophie Morgan, a lead presenter on Channel 4’s Rio Paralympics. Roving reporter Adam Pearson is returning and Seyi Rhodes, a reporter on Channel 4’s Unreported World, also joins the team. According to Sophie Morgan, the language restaurants use - exotic, authentic, fresh tasting, handcrafted - is alluring. "But look beneath the surface, and the meaning may not be quite what it seems,” she warns.  Ahead of the first episode, here's three of the most common buzzwords to look out for: 1. Home-cooked The word home cooked calls to mind family cooking, but according to the show's Associate Professor of Law Richard Hyde, it’s not so simple. The so-called "home-cooked" tortilla chips the team examine from a Latin American restaurant chain may not be cooked anywhere near a home, but in a restaurant kitchen using deep frying techniques. Surprisingly, this is completely acceptable according to the Food Standards Agency. According to Hyde, provided you cook something in a way that you could do in your own home, you can call it home-cooked. 2. Handmade This seems self-explanatory - but not when it comes to Pret a Manger’s "handmade" soup, which the show reveals is in fact made in a centralised factory. “Handmade claims don’t actually refer to things necessarily being made by hand,” explains Hyde. You can use a blender or a chopping machine, provided it’s the sort that could be used on a domestic scale. “The line is not between use of hands and use of machines - it’s between industrial scale and not industrial scale,” he says. According to Pret, the soup is indeed made in a factory. The wording was based on an old production process, and has now been updated. We want our plates back 10 of the most ridiculous alternatives used by restaurants 3. Fresh We all want our food to be as fresh as possible - but as the show reveals, the seemingly simple word "fresh" is often open to interpretation. Le Pain Quotidien claims to make “fresh” orange juice each morning, but although not concentrated, it is squeezed off the premises, and arrives already bottled. Fresh, Hyde says, has a “wide meaning.” It doesn’t mean freshly squeezed - all it means is “not preserved in any unnatural way.” The real shocker? Their organic scrambled egg is in fact made of pasteurised liquid egg that has been made off site. Legally, that’s ok - when a menu says fresh, all it really means is that it's not preserved or frozen. Café Rouge also uses “fresh” ingredients - even though their boeuf de bourguignon arrives boiled in a bag. Meanwhile, Pizza Express describe their dishes as fresh to order - but the dough is ready made, and the spinach is cooked from frozen. Provided that something is made "in response to an order", you can call something freshly prepared. Simon Wilkinson, Managing Director, Café Rouge, said:  “Our very popular Boeuf Bourguignon dish is made using the traditional French ‘sous vide’ method, which is commonplace in fine dining restaurants, both in the UK and France. The sous vide process, which is endorsed by many Michelin-starred chefs, is popular for its ability to consistently produce high quality and tender meat dishes that develop and retain deep, rich flavours.  “For the record we are happy to confirm that contrary to some misconceptions, our Boeuf Bourguignon dish is absolutely and categorically not made using a so-called ‘boil in the bag’ method, and any suggestion otherwise is completely false, and misrepresents the care, craft and authenticity behind this dish. “We are also very happy to confirm that fresh food and ingredients are used in many of our dishes, and that Café Rouge applies various traditional French cooking methods in creating a range of high quality and authentic dishes for our customers.” The conclusion? Don’t buy a dish based on the words used to sell it.  

Strictly odds: who will win and who will be this year's Ed Balls?

We got a first gawp at the Strictly Come Dancing’s class of 2017 during Saturday night’s red carpet launch show. Some showed hoofing promise. Others, well, not so much. Now that all 15 famous - in the loosest sense of the word - faces have been paired with their pros and taken their first tentative steps onto the ballroom floor, we predict the title contenders, surprise packages, rank outsiders and comedy contestants. Altogether now: oppa Ed Balls style! The glitterball contenders Aston Merrygold Credit:  Ray Burmiston/PA Bookies’ early favourite is the 29-year-old former frontman of boyband JLS. Not only is Merrygold known for his back-flips (expect to see those on the ballroom floor) but he was a judge on Sky1’s Got To Dance - hence rumblings about him being a ringer. His JLS bandmate JB Gill won the Strictly Christmas special, so Merrygold will want to go one better. If so, he’d become the third consecutive male champion. Forming a “pocket rocket” partnership with Janette Manrara, Aston looked comfortable among the pros during the Footloose group routine. But is he a tad too good? The public like to see progression and improvement, after all. Odds: 11/4 Alexandra Burke Credit:  Ray Burmiston R&B diva Burke won the 2008 series of Strictly’s arch rival The X Factor - beating JLS (them again) into second place. As with Merrygold, there are grumbles about the 28-year-old having too much dance pedigree. She was a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance, before starring in West End musicals The Bodyguard and Sister Act - the latter directed and choreographed by a certain Craig Revel Horwood. Hmm. A possible finalist but probably not likeable enough to win, despite being paired with loveable Spanish pro Gorka “The Corka” Marquez. Odds: 5/1 Mollie King Credit: Getty The first member of this year’s Strictly line-up to be unveiled was 30-year-old King, an alumnus of girl group The Saturdays. She was a champion skier in her teens, so possesses competitive grit. Bandmate Frankie Bridge finished runner-up three years ago, so King will be keen to continue that success. Strictly’s male pros were jostling to land the leggy blonde as their partner and it was AJ Pritchard who got her, forming a toothy all-blond dream team who could go far. Odds: 4/1 Jonnie Peacock Credit:  Ray Burmiston/PA Paralympic sprinter Peacock is the first ever contestant with a disability to appear on the main show. The 24-year-old is a below-the-knee amputee due to childhood meningitis, so will have obvious physical challenges to overcome - but that’s proved little obstacle in his gold medal-garlanded, MBE-earning athletics career. He’s also been paired with popular South African pro Oti Mabuse, who got to the final last year. Their Strictly story is bound to be an inspiring one - enough to propel them all the way? Odds: 9/1 Gemma Atkinson  Credit: Getty The actress - who has done the soapy rounds of Hollyoaks, Casualty and Emmerdale - is a former lingerie model and lads’ mag pin-up. The 32-year-old Mancunian has hired a full-time personal trainer, embarked on a 12-week fitness regime and given up alcohol ahead of the show. She’s taking it seriously and has a terrific partner in smiley Slovenian Aljaž Škorjanec, who’ll fancy repeating his 2013 win with Abbey Clancey. Gemma looked one of the most impressive celebrities during the group number, so hopes are high.  Odds: 6/1 The comedy contestants Susan Calman Credit: Ray Burmiston/PA The dry-witted Scottish comic and Radio 4 favourite describes herself as “an enthusiastic home dancer” and has vowed to bring the entertainment factor. The 42-year-old former lawyer stands just 4ft 11in and recently tweeted: “I haven't worn heels or a dress since I was 17. Haven't danced with a man in over a decade. Strictly, I'm ready.” She’s a superfan of pro dancer Kevin Clifton (from Grimsby™) and thankfully, was partnered with him. Cue heart-melting tears of happiness. He’ll look after her and they should be excellent value - although Kev’s unlikely to extend his record of reaching the final in all his four years on the show.  Odds: 80/1 Chizzy Akudolu  Credit: getty The 43-year-old actress is best-known for playing heart surgeon Mo Effanga in Holby City but was also a fanatical disco dancer in her teens - and judging by her full-on Footloose performance, hasn’t forgotten the moves. The accomplished comedienne came second in Let’s Sing & Dance For Comic Relief and has been partnered with Siberian sweetheart Pasha Kovalev, forming a highly likeable pairing. He’s a good teacher. She’s fitter and more confident than she might look. The fun factor might just win her new fans.  Odds: 50/1 Reverend Richard Coles Credit:  Guy Levy As the man himself says: “Cometh the hour, cometh the overweight vicar with arthritic knees.” Already a crowd favourite, the pop star-turned-priest had a huge hit with The Communards’ Don’t Leave Me This Way, so don’t be surprised to see Coles cha-cha-ing to that chart-topper come late September. Paired with new Aussie pro Dianne Buswell, the 55-year-old panel show regular should be hilarious - and certainly looked game for a laugh during the group dance, when he sprawled on the judges’ table and busted out Jeremy Vine-esque disco moves. The Strictly wardrobe department are doubtless sewing sequins onto clerical collars as we speak.  Odds: 33/1  The surprise packages Debbie McGee Credit:  Ray Burmiston/PA The recent widow and former assistant of magician Paul Daniels will be following in the footsteps of her late husband, who was eliminated second from the 2010 contest. ThelovelyDebbieMcGee™ should fare better, since she’s a former ballerina who became artistic director of her own ballet company - although she insists she hasn’t danced for three decades. The 58-year-old will attract the expert eye of judge Darcey Bussell and, paired with Italian stallion Giovanni Pernice, could surprise a few people. Now that’s magic. Odds: 16/1 Davood Ghadami  Credit: Guy Levy The 35-year-old Brit-Iranian actor, who plays Walford market’s resident ladies’ man Kush Kazemi in EastEnders, is quite the muscle-bound beefcake. Expect him to be ripping his shirt off, in the noble lineage of Steve Backshall, Rav Wilding, Judge Rinder, plus various soap hunks and rugby players from Strictlys of yore. He’s been partnered with new Ukrainian pro (and former Playboy Playmate) Nadiya Bychkova and there are already rumours of potential “curse of Strictly” showmance. From the group number, Ghadami looked more of a partner-lifter and pose-striker than a mover, but it’s early days.  Odds: 9/1 Joe McFadden  Credit: PA The Glaswegian actor is best-known for playing surgeon Raf di Lucca in Holby City, PC Joe Mason in Heartbeat and the lead role in the BBC adaptation of Iain Banks novel The Crow Road. The 41-year-old housewives’ favourite has also appeared in West End musicals, so is accustomed to jazzhand-waving. He’s paired with Katya Jones, who partner Ed Balls last year. McFadden looked quietly proficient during the group danced so should be an upgrade, in hoofing ability if not headline-grabbing.  Odds: 16/1 Ruth Langsford The 57-year-old, who presents daytime shows Loose Women and This Morning, is a self-confessed dance novice. She’s warmly likeable but will that be enough? Being paired with the much-loved Anton du Beke - who always gets landed with the more mature ladies - should keep her in for a few weeks at least.  Odds: 40/1 The first-out fodder Brian Conley Credit: Guy levy It’s a puppet! The 56-year-old comedian and panto stalwart has stage school and West End experience but insists he isn’t much of a dancer. Will Strictly viewers warm to him hamming it up and mugging to camera? Middle-aged men are often sent home first, after all. Might just be helped by being paired with new arrival Amy Dowden - the contest’s first ever Welsh pro, which could get them patriotic votes from the Valleys.  Odds: 25/1 Charlotte Hawkins  Credit:  Ray Burmiston/PA In the TV tradition of Angela Rippon on Morecambe & Wise, newsreader Hawkins will be stepping out from behind her desk to hit the dancefloor. The sporty 42-year-old follows her Good Morning Britain colleagues Susanna Reid and Kate Garraway into the Strictly tanning booths. Will she be a finalist like the former or a flop like the latter? Judging by her stiff, mistake-ridden performance in the launch show’s group dance, it looks more Garraway-shaped. Expect scowling from her partner Brendan Cole when the judges raise their scoring paddles.  Odds: 25/1  Simon Rimmer Credit: PA Omens aren’t promising for the 54-year-old Scouse chef and Sunday Brunch presenter. TV foodie types don’t have a great track record in the ballroom: Gregg Wallace was first out three years ago, Gary Rhodes was third out and Ainsley Harriott fourth out. Strictly senorita Karen Clifton will do her best to cover his faults but Rimmer has the distinct whiff of dad-dancer. Odds: 66/1 Strictly Come Dancing returns to BBC1 on Saturday September 23 Strictly 2017: Who are this years contestants?

Tanni Grey-Thompson says Britain must ‘clear the fear’ to maintain Olympics and Paralympic medal factory

Tanni Grey-Thompson says Britain must ‘clear the fear’ to maintain Olympics and Paralympic medal factory

JSC reveals 1/500 scale miniature of the New National Stadium in Tokyo

Japan Sport Council reveals 1/500 scale miniature of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, during a media opportunity in Tokyo, Japan October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

A man works at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo

A man works at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

A construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, is seen in Tokyo

A construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, is seen in Tokyo, Japan, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Men work at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo

Men work at the construction site of the New National Stadium, the main stadium of Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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