Strictly Come Dancing fans were wowed by an incredible group performance in Saturday's launch episode, which was dedicated to absent pro dancer Amy Dowden.


The five-minute medley of popular songs saw the Strictly professionals join forces with the four expert judges for a lively routine, which ended with a roaring round of applause.

Prior to the performance, presenters Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman explained that the dance was dedicated to Dowden, who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

"We are, of course, missing one of our professional dancers," began Daly. "Our gorgeous Amy Dowden is unwell and she can't be with us for the start of the series. But she is our Welsh dragon and we know she will be back soon."

Winkleman continued: "Amy, from all your Strictly family, we are sending all our love and we cannot wait to have you back on the dance floor."

Tess concluded: "This one's for you!"

Then began the jaw-dropping routine, which saw Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse, Anton Du Beke and Craig Revel Horwood prove their own dancing credentials, ahead of another season together on the judging panel. Watch below:

Dowden has become a popular figure among Strictly Come Dancing fans, having joined the show back in 2017 and performed some breathtaking routines in the time since.

Her most successful run to date was season 17 (which aired in 2019), when she was partnered up with TV presenter and actor Karim Zeroual, with the two of them going all the way to the finals – finishing in second place.

Later partners have included Invictus Games medallist JJ Chalmers, musician Tom Fletcher and soap star James Bye.

Many viewers took to social media last night to offer their well wishes to Dowden during this incredibly difficult time.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One at 6:15pm on Saturday 23rd September 2023. Check out more of our Entertainment coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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