'Strictly Come Dancing's' Bill Bailey wins fans' hearts with feelgood routine

Picture Shows:  Oti Mabuse, Bill Bailey - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Picture Shows: Oti Mabuse, Bill Bailey - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

If you need cheering up at any point over the coming weeks, look no further than Bill Bailey on Strictly Come Dancing.

The comedian may be used to drawing laughs on stage, but he’s shown that he is determined not to be the joke act in this year’s line-up.

Read more: Strictly couple missing each other in COVID bubble

Saturday’s live show must have had one of the most sobering starts ever in the contest’s history, coming directly after Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcement and scrapping the traditional Halloween theme week.

But viewers found the cheer they needed in Bailey and his pro dance partner Oti Mabuse’s energetic Quickstep to Talk to the Animals, performed alongside a giant VR elephant.

Anyone who had written off Bailey as likely to be one of the first to leave was firmly put in their place by his polished routine, full of a sorely-needed feelgood factor.

Judges Shirley Ballas, Motsi Mabuse and Craig Revel Horwood loved the dance just as much, each scoring it eight points for a total of 24 out of 30 (Bruno Tonioli is still missing from judging as he completes filming commitments in the US).

At the other end of the dancing scale, former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith appeared to be fitting into the expected role of Anton Du Beke’s celebrity partners, who often find themselves at the bottom of the leader board.

Their Samba left many viewers cringing and saw Revel Horwood tell her: “You were limping around like you were at a party somewhere drunk.”

Another star of this weekend’s show was Olympic boxer Nicola Adams, who performed a Couple’s Choice routine with Katya Jones to tell the story of her tough childhood and rise to fame in sport.

The moving performance saw them match Bailey and Mabuse for scores.

Revel Horwood said: “It’s like seeing someone’s life in literally one minute thirty - well done, really well done.”

Sunday night’s results show will see the first public vote and one couple sent home from the competition.

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Sunday at 7.15pm on BBC One.