Spooky Strictly Come Dancing Hallowe’en

Saturday:Strictly Come Dancing; (BBC1, 7.10pm)

Many viewers were just grateful that Strictly Come Dancing took place at all last year, given the ever-changing rules, but the Covid restrictions did mean that we missed a couple of the show’s best-loved traditions. There was no trip to Blackpool – and no Halloween special.

Sadly, this year Blackpool is still out of bounds, but the good news is that the BBC has been able to bring back its spooky spectacular, so prepare for plenty of tricks and treats tonight.

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Of course, some might argue that this series had plenty of thrills and spills, especially when it comes to the leaderboard.

Judges Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood, Anton Du Beke and Shirley Ballas

The very first live show saw Dragons’ Den star Sara Davies and her professional partner Aljaž Škorjanec languishing at the bottom of the table following a hesitant cha cha. By week four though, they were at the top with a tango that new judge Anton Du Beke described as almost perfect.

Also in week four, presenter AJ Odudu, who had seemed like she could do anything after an exuberant jive and a romantic American smooth, came unstuck with the notoriously tricky samba, although she did get voted through to dance again. So, it seems it really is anyone’s game this year.

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There’s also been some dramas off the dancefloor. McFly’s Tom Fletcher and his partner Amy Dowden missed the second show as they were isolating after testing positive for Covid-19. Then comedian and actor Robert Webb withdrew from the competition on health grounds, while former Ugo Monye also had to miss a week due to back problems.

At this rate, fans may be wondering if the producers are less worried about the so-called ‘Strictly Curse’ than the ghost of Dancing on Ice, which was hit by so many injuries and positive coronavirus tests earlier this year that the final took place a week ahead of schedule, and one show had to be skipped completely.

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Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly

Hopefully, there won’t be any unplanned scares this week though as the remaining celebs take to the floor – although there’s a chance that some of them won’t be recognisable.

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Halloween is the night that the make-up, hair and wardrobe departments really get to let their imaginations run riot, so expect some monster make-overs. (Although they will have their work cut out coming up with anything more unsettling than the Miss Piggy mask dancer Dianne Buswell wore for her Muppets-themed movie week quickstep with Webb.)

The show is also starting in style as the professional dancers treat us to a dance showing a sweeter side of some famous villains.

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As always, judges Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, Craig Revel Horwood and Anton Du Beke will be scoring the routines, before the viewers get their own chance to decide who should waltz into next week and who has to face the horrors of Sunday’s dance-off. At least the results show has a performance by singer Gregory Porter and another haunting routine from the professionals to cheer up the departing dancers.

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