More incognito celebs in The Masked Dancer

The Masked Dancer
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(ITV, 6.30pm)

When they needed a new regular panellist for the latest series of The Masked Dancer, they thought long and hard about who to pick.

It would have to be someone who is known for their dancing skills, someone synonymous with dance itself, a light-footed legend whose every movement is sheer poetry…

Joel Dommett, Peter Crouch, Davina McCall, Oti Mabuse and Jonathan RossJoel Dommett, Peter Crouch, Davina McCall, Oti Mabuse and Jonathan Ross
Joel Dommett, Peter Crouch, Davina McCall, Oti Mabuse and Jonathan Ross
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So welcome none other than former footballer Peter Crouch, the man whose goal celebration interpretation of ‘the Robot’ inspired countless dads to embarrass their families at weddings.

‘Crouchy’ joins Jonathan Ross, Davina McCall and Oti Mabuse after Mo Gilligan had to step down due to touring commitments. We expect the erstwhile England striker will be on target with his guesses as a new batch of incognito celebs perform show-stopping routines in flamboyant disguises.

Crouch said: “The show is a firm favourite in our household and when [I was] asked, I jumped at the chance to take part. I am competitive and I’m currently scrolling through friends’ socials looking for those tell-tale dance moves.

“Another plus is, by being on the panel my social media, family and friends won’t be constantly speculating that I’m hiding behind one of the masks!”

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Last series saw Olympic gymnast Louis Smith storm to victory while dressed as a car wash. We also saw Radio 2 DJ and presenter Zoe Ball unmasked as Llama, choreographer and Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood as Knickerbocker Glory, ice skating star Christopher Dean as Beagle and TV presenter Kelly Brook as Frog.

Compared to its progenitor The Masked Singer, the costumes require more thought here, as they can’t restrict movement too much. The challenge is in being delightfully outlandish, as well as disguising the celebs’ body shape and identifying features – all while allowing as much freedom to move as possible.

Of course there’s always the clue packages that accompany each performance, so those who want to play detective at home can do so. But be warned: there will be as many red herrings as genuine hints.

Joel Dommett, who has hosted both this and The Masked Singer since their first episodes, returns to the job once more. He says of this series: “It’s so great to be back for some dancing and guessing! I’m super excited to find out who is dancing behind the masks. We’re losing Mo… but we have Peter ‘the Robot’ Crouch to fill his much smaller shoes. I’m very excited as I’ve always looked up to him – in his career, and because he is massive.”

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Mabuse, meanwhile, told ITV: “I love being a part of the show. It was such a highlight. I take my hat off to the celebrities, they make dancing in those huge but wonderful costumes look effortless. I’m so excited to see this year’s characters.”

And Ross added: “As the current reigning champion amongst the panel I will be using my expert knowledge in all things dance to take the title again. Who knows, this year my dream might come true and Mary Berry might just be behind one of the masks!”