Angela Rippons a hot contender to bag the Glitterball, says Vanessa Feltz

Strictly: Nigel and Katya get highest score of week one

Oh my goodness the walloping shock of the first live Strictly show! At home on the sofa all is delightful anticipation. Behind the scenes the contestants are in such a tailspin of nerves and panic breathing is a distant memory. Even thinking about it 10 years on brings me out in hives.

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This year’s alumni miraculously triumphed over the butterflies rampaging in their stomachs and – as the judges kept exclaiming – did a bang up job. Ex-EastEnder Nigel Harman’s dynamic paso doble with the sizzling Katya Jones burned up the floor, ignited the audience, sent him straight to the top of the leaderboard and saw him dubbed “the one to beat” by a smitten Shirley.

In an evening which turned out to be acutely emotional 18 year old Bobby Brazier’s exuberant fox trot with perfectly matched Dianne Buswell brought more than one tear to his devoted dad Jeff’s eye. Those of us who knew his late mother Jade Goody and remember Bobby as a bereft five year old wept alongside him. How proud she would have been of her talented self-deprecating boy.

In the words of A Chorus Line, Angela Rippon was “one singular sensation every little step she takes”. Shimmering in gold, graceful and exuding elegance, she danced with such verve her position as oldest contestant ever at 78 became instantly irrelevant. She can, as partner Kai demonstrated, lift her gorgeous legs right over her head. She’s a hot contender to bag the legendary Glitterball and she’s going to have a world of fun trying.

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Les Dennis, moving somewhat like a determined grandpa scored a mere two from Craig but was taken straight to the audience’s heart. He’s such a showman he confided, he’ll “act” being a dancer so thoroughly we’ll believe in him. Les, we already do.

My personal favourite is the willowy former tennis champion Annabel Croft, doing her level best to find joy after the sudden loss of her adored husband. At 57 she is a beautiful and athletic adornment to the show, working round the clock to master technique and timing. She deserves to go far

Anton was right. For Week One standards were unprecedentedly high. Layton Williams, Ellie Leach and Amanda Abington dazzled. Eddie Kadi, Zara McDermott and Angela Scanlon are fizzing with promise and potential. I still think Krishnan Guru Murthy will be first to go home but – as Strictly fans know – a week is a long time on the dance floor.

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