The stars of Strictly Come Dancing have really shone tonight as the show celebrates the centenary of the BBC, although Ellie Simmonds found herself penalised after a rule violation.


The Paralympian performed a dance to Montagues and Capulets by Sergei Prokofiev, also known as The Apprentice theme music, which made use of props including a boardroom table and briefcases.

Early in the performance, Simmonds was stood atop the table and was graciously lifted down by her partner, Nikita Kuzmin, which looked superb to those watching at home.

However, rather than being praised by the expert panel, it actually resulted in a lost point for the couple as head judge Shirley Ballas clarified that it was an illegal move.

"I have to deduct one point for an assisted lift at the beginning because that's not allowed. But other than that, you are absolutely phenomenal," she said.

Kuzmin politely countered that he needed to find some way to get Simmonds down to the ballroom floor, to which Craig Revel Horwood offered some additional guidance.

"I've got to agree with Shirley," he began. "The lift was illegal because it went on too long. If it was just a matter of getting Ellie off the platform, then fine, but then she should have landed on the floor."

If you're wondering what exactly is meant by the term "illegal lift", it comes from the traditional rules of professional ballroom dance competitions, which specify which styles allow lifts and which do not.

Ellie Simmonds on Strictly Come Dancing
Ellie Simmonds on Strictly Come Dancing BBC/Ray Burmiston

Simmonds and Kuzmin were dancing a Paso Doble, which along with Cha Cha, Foxtrot, Jive, Rhumba, Samba, Tango, Waltz, Viennese Waltz and Quickstep, does not allow lifts.

However, there would have been no issue had the couple been performing in the style of Argentine Tango, Charleston, Jazz, Salsa, or Contemporary.

In the end, they scored a respectable 30/40 points, with Ballas awarding them a strong eight, although it could have been their first nine had that error been avoided.

This week's episode of Strictly Come Dancing is particularly special as it celebrates the BBC's centenary, with contestants performing routines to the broadcaster's famous theme tunes, from Line of Duty to Doctor Who and Casualty.

Fans have been thrilled to see more from some of this year's breakout Strictly Come Dancing contestants, including Molly Rainford, Fleur East, Hamza Yassin and Will Mellor, as they take on this unique challenge.

Strictly Come Dancing airs on BBC One on Saturdays and Sundays.

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