Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood says this year’s celebrity dancers are the best ever

"The standard this year has been the highest we've ever had," says an uncharacteristically generous Craig

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This year’s group of celebrity dancers are the best Strictly Come Dancing has seen in its 12-year history, says judge Craig Revel Horwood.

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“From week one, the standard this year has been the highest we’ve ever had,” Horwood tells us, with uncharacteristic generosity, in the new issue of Radio Times magazine.

“Almost across the board, the dancing has been absolutely brilliant,” he adds. “There are very few weak dancers in the group so it’s almost impossible to predict who’ll be in the bottom two every Sunday.”

And while he admits that voting by the public in the early stages is “a popularity contest”, Craig doesn’t accept the claims of racism that have been levelled at the show after three non-white stars left in the first three weeks.

“The colour of someone’s skin doesn’t explain anything,” says Craig. “Prove it and I might listen to what the tabloids have to say about it. But I don’t think the public vote on that basis, and as far as the judges are concerned, the better dancer is always the one that goes through.”

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Read Craig’s half-term report on all the Strictly dancers in the new issue of Radio Times magazine, on sale in newsagents and at the Apple iTunes Store from Tuesday