They’ve been paired up with the professionals. They’ve undergone weeks of tough preparation. And they’ve strutted their stuff for the judges in a two-night ballroom-dance bonanza. Now it’s time for this year’s Strictly Come Dancing celebrities to get down to business and face the public vote for the first time. And let’s face it, we’re a much harder crowd to please than Darcey, Craig, Bruno and Len.
It’s never easy to be the first celeb to waltz off a series of Strictly. The hours upon hours of relentless training, the squeezing into sparkly outfits and that first nerve-wracking step onto the dance floor, all for the chance of glory to be scuppered at the first opportunity.
But here at RadioTimes.com we celebrate the underdog, which is why we’ve compiled a roll call of early Strexits in all their forgotten glory…
2004 (series 1): Jason Wood
While Natasha Kaplinsky and Brendan Cole can bask in the glory of being the first ever Strictly champions, Jason Wood holds the less esteemed ‘honour’ of being the first contestant to be eliminated from the show. The comedian deserved to feel a tad unlucky not to make the cut, however, after he beat fellow contestant David Dickinson in the judges scores. Sadly, the tanned auctioneer won out in the public vote and poor Jason had to waltz off the stage in week one.
2004 (series 2): Quentin Willson
Less unfortunate is series two evictee Quentin Wilson, who was voted off the show in week one. It’s not all bad for the motoring journalist – he at least holds the record for the lowest ever total score from the judges. That’s something right? Dancing the cha-cha with Hazel Newberry, Quentin only managed to score 8 points and was dubbed ‘Britain’s Worst Dancer’ by arch-meanie Craig Revel Horwood.
2005: Siobhan Hayes
Best known for playing blundering student Abi Harper on BBC sitcom My Family, actress Siobhan Hayes became the first contestant to be given her marching orders in series three after her clumsy waltz failed to wow either the judges or the public at home.
2006: Nicholas Owen
Another early Strexiter who struggled to get to grips with the waltz (if only he had access to our handy guide to the dance), BBC presenter Nicholas Owen was first to be shown the door in series 4 after coming bottom of the judges’ scores with a modest 14.
2007: Brian Capron
Coronation Street fans finally had their chance to take revenge on nasty serial killer Richard Hillman when actor Brian Capron was paired with Karen Hardy in Strictly’s fifth series. Having seen him struggle with the waltz, the public helped to ensure Capron was eliminated in the first week with only the equally devious Craig Revel Horwood voting to keep him in the show.
2008: Phil Daniels
Dancing the waltz to Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing, Eastenders star Phil Daniels certainly left the show empty handed in series six. Despite beating both Don & Lilia and Gary & Karen in the scoring charts, poor Phil was forced to leave the competition after failing to win a big enough slice of the public vote.
2009: Martina Hingis
Another early evictee who possibly deserved to stay longer, tennis champion Martina Hingis finished fourth in the scoring charts with an impressive waltz but sadly missed out on the chance to perform for a second week after losing the public vote.
His music has been used to fill dance floors for decades, but legendary DJ Goldie proved his own moves weren’t up to scratch after appearing on Strictly’s eighth series. Despite earning commendable scores for his cha-cha and foxtrot, Goldie was given his marching orders from the competition at the first opportunity in week 2.
2011: Edwina Currie
More familiar with charming the British public with political policies, former MP Edwina Currie’s dance moves proved far less effective in currying favour (pun entirely intended) as she became first evictee of series nine. This despite performing in the same series as Nancy Dell’Olio, who infamously stumbled on for another three weeks despite finishing bottom of the scoring charts every week.
2012: Johnny Ball
That Johnny Ball was the first to be shown the door in series ten might not be the biggest surprise. Things did not get off to the best of starts when the TV mathematician accidentally broke the leg of partner Aliona Vilani before the live shows had even begun. Johnny was eventually repaired with Iveta Lukosiute as a temporary measure but he was sadly eliminated from the competition before Aliona could return to the dance floor.
2013: Tony Jacklin
Poor Aliona didn’t get on much better the following year. Offered the chance to make a triumphant comeback, the professional dancer was paired-up with golf champion Tony Jacklin following an injury to his original partner Natalie Lowe. Sadly the couple bogeyed their first two dances, the waltz and charleston, to finish bottom of the score card and failed to make the cut for week three.
2014: Gregg Wallace
He might be a master chef, but Gregg Wallace is no master of the ballroom if his brief appearance on Strictly’s twelfth series is anything to go by. Having been paired with Aliona (surely the unluckiest professional dancer in show’s history by this point), Gregg struggled with both the cha-cha and the charleston before bowing out of the competition at the first opportunity.
2015: Iwan Thomas
He won a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, but Iwan Thomas barely got out of the starting blocks in last year’s series of Strictly. Paired with Ola Jordan, Iwan narrowly avoided coming bottom of the scoring charts in the first week before coming bottom of the pile the following week and being politely asked to leave the dance floor.