Strictly Come Dancing loses over a million viewers from 2018 series

The BBC entertainment extravaganza has slumped in the ratings – but is still king of Saturday night telly by far

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After a two-week break, Strictly Come Dancing returned, with the 2019 contest enjoying its rhinestone-filled first live outing on Saturday. But, despite a night that saw the celebs face new judge Motsi Mabuse for the first time, the show didn’t draw in as many viewers as last year.

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In fact, with an audience of 7.7 million (with a peak of 8.5 million), viewing figures have slumped 1.2 million from 2018, when the same Strictly show received 8.9 million with a peak audience of 10 million.

Despite this, Strictly was by far the biggest programme on TV on Saturday. Its closest rival, ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions brought in only 3.7 million viewers.

Soap star Kelvin Fletcher topped the Strictly leaderboard after week one with judge Shirley Ballas labelling his Samba “outstanding”. The routine, performed with professional dancer Oti Mabuse, sister of new judge Motsi Mabuse, received 32 points.

Pulling in 31 points was Karim Zeroual and Amy Dowden, who finished second on the night with their Cha Cha Cha.

On the other end of the table, Olympic rower James Cracknell picked up only 11 points for his Tango with partner Luba Mushtuk. Fortunately for him, however, all celebs were safe from elimination after the first show. However, next week will see the first dancing duo dumped from the competition, meaning Cracknell still has time to secure his place.

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Strictly Come Dancing continues 6.40pm Saturday, BBC One