Strictly Come Dancing begins - and Helen George leads with ‘glimmers of Ginger Rogers’

(Image credit: BBC/Guy Levy)

The Strictly Come Dancing 2015 competition began on Friday night, with six of the 15 celebrity contestants performing live for the first time in a bid for glitter ball glory - and it was Call the Midwife star Helen George who tripped the light most fantastic, scoring 29/40 for her Waltz.

Dancing with Aljac Skorjanec, Helen admitted she was keen to impress her idol Darcey Bussell and she did.

“You were able to give such feeling to the dance,” Darcey told Helen. “Such grace and romance. There was glimmers of Ginger Rogers. You are going to be beautiful in the Ballroom dances.”

Even the notoriously difficult to please judge Craig Revel Horwood was impressed, telling Helen she has “tremendous potential”.

At the end of the night, Helen and Aljac were two points clear on the leaderboard, with EastEnders star Kellie Bright and Countryfile presenter Anita Rani next, tied on 27 points.

Kellie, whose Enders co-star Danny Dyer was in the audience to support her, opened this year’s contest, dancing a Tango with partner Kevin Clifton that the judges loved.

“A very daring Tango set in the 1960s… I loved it,” said Darcey.

“I thought that was absolutely marvellous,” added Craig. “A huge surprise. But you have a peculiar wrist scenario.”

Anita danced a Cha Cha with new pro Gleb Savchenko that Craig though was “really competent and fantastic to see”.

Craig didn’t like Daniel O’Donnell’s Waltz with Kristina Rihanoff, though, which scored 24/40.

“It was pretty uneventful,” Craig said, “until you gave the wrong grip for the floor spin and nearly ripped Kristina’s arm out of its socket.”

But Len Goodman thought Daniel’s footwork was “the best I’ve seen”.

Boxer Anthony Ogogo’s Jive wasn’t a knock-out, either with Craig, who described it as “pigeon-toed”.

But Anthony, who’s dancing with new pro Oti Mabuse, scored 21/40 for a “wonderfully enthusiastic” said Bruno Tonioli - so enthusiastic he split his trousers during the dance.

Bottom of leaderboard with 16/40 was weather presenter Carol Kirkwood, who’s dancing with reigning champion Pasha Kovalev. It doesn’t look like Pasha will be retaining his glitter ball trophy.

Carol’s Cha Cha was described by Bruno as “a flood of errors combined with a total technical drought”.

“But you made it a lot of fun to watch,” added Darcey kindly.

There is no public vote in the first weekend of dances, but the judges scores will be added to next week’s scores.

Our photo special includes all the dances of the first night - plus Craig's face when asked what he thought of Carol Kirkwood's Cha Cha. Have a look here.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC1, Saturday, September 26, 6.15pm.