Last night saw the long-awaited return of Strictly Come Dancing for the series 18 launch show – and fans were delighted to see the ballroom extravaganza back on the air.
Viewers took to Twitter in their droves to celebrate the beginning of the new series, praising everything from the way the show handled social distancing to the first same-sex pairing in the programme’s history.
One viewer even went so far as to suggest that the launch went so well that the producers should be given another job, writing, “Has the government considered putting the Strictly bosses in charge of national Covid planning because honestly I think they could do really well.”
Has the government considered putting the #Strictly bosses in charge of national Covid planning because honestly I think they could do really well.
— Rachel McGrath (@RachelMcGrath) October 17, 2020
Perhaps the best response was reserved for the announcement that boxer Nicola Adams – one of the celebs in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing line-up – was to be partnered with Katya Jones for the series.
It had already been announced that Adams would form part of the show’s first same-sex pairing, but this was the first time the identity of her partner had been officially revealed.
The announcement clearly went down well with viewers and among those to express their support for Nicola and Katya was radio DJ Sara Cox, who wrote, “These two giving me all the feels. They’re going to be brilliant. I’m team @NicolaAdamsOBE & @Mrs_katjones alllllll the way.”
— sara cox (@sarajcox) October 17, 2020
Another fan-made use of a popular meme format to show their delight at the announcement, posting a tweet showing Pope Francis appearing to hold up a picture of the pairing.
— smonster smash ???? (@diplobrocus) October 17, 2020
Many viewers responded to the previous backlash to the pairing, one user Tweeting how easy it was to explain the same-sex pairing to his nine-year-old child.
9yo: Why is she partnered with another woman?
Me: Because Nicola is a lesbian and wants to dance with a woman.
9yo: What's a lesbian?
Me: A woman who fancies other women instead of men.
9yo: Okay. Can I have an ice cream?
It's that easy.
— Paul ???? (@MPCmonkey) October 17, 2020
Nicola and Katya weren’t the only pairing to please the fans though, the decision to partner comedian Bill Bailey with 2019 champ Oti Mabuse also getting a lot of support from audiences. In fact, one fan claimed that the news was so good that it had saved 2020.
Oti and Bill.
2020 has been saved.
— Olivia Hope????️ (@Hopewrites) October 17, 2020
Some viewers were also surprised to see that Bill appears to have some decent dancing skills, with one fan writing, “I can’t decide if I’m more excited for Nicola and Katya or the fact that Bill Bailey actually appears to have moves.”
I can’t decide if I’m more excited for Nicola and Katya or the fact that Bill Bailey actually appears to have moves #Strictly
— Louise Griffin (@LouGriffinn) October 17, 2020
Bill wasn’t the only dancer who some viewers think might surprise people. Former Strictly professional James Jordan pointed out that Men Behaving Badly star Caroline Quentin could also be a dark horse.
I can see just by the way Caroline stands that she’s going to be better than people think
She has a natural elegance about her. I like x
Nice pairing with Johannes #Strictly
— James Jordan (@The_JamesJordan) October 17, 2020
From a more practical perspective, fans were impressed with the social distancing seen on set, and how little impact it had on the enjoyment of the show.
One fan particularly admired the ability of hosts Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman to explain social distancing, claiming they did a better job than the government.
Tess & Claud explained social distancing and bubbles better than the government #Strictly
— Sid (@HertsSid) October 17, 2020
Although one fan thought it a shame that we didn’t get to see legendary presenter Bruce Forsyth present during the age of Covid – paying tribute to the late entertainer with a very Brucey joke.
Shame Bruce’s not with us any more. He could’ve done “Nice 2 meters, 2 meters nice” #Strictly
— Matt Oakley (@MattOakleyMojo) October 17, 2020
Some fans were pleased to see the show back just to add a little normality to 2020, with artist Grayson Perry among those to sing Strictly’s praises.
Loving #Strictly a good natured gust of normality. Such an abundance of goodwill. Cheesy but so human
— Grayson Perry (@Alan_Measles) October 17, 2020
And finally, to help get fans in the mood for the show, weather presenter and viral drummer Owain Wyn Evans reshared his remixed version of the Strictly theme tune from earlier in the year, writing, “Who else is excited that #Strictly is back?!”
— Owain Wyn Evans (@OwainWynEvans) October 17, 2020