Strictly’s first live show scores highest ratings in years as 10 million tune in for ‘dynamite’ Nicola Adams
Strictly Come Dancing scored its best ratings for a first live show in years this weekend.
Nicola Adams and her partner Katya Jones made history on Saturday (October 24) by becoming the first competitive same-sex couple to take to the Strictly ballroom floor.
Despite warnings of a homophobic boycott by the likes of Ann Widdecombe, millions more tuned in to watch Nicola and Katya’s first dance – as well as the other 11 couples – than did last year.
Strictly topped Saturday’s ratings with 10.1 million viewers at its peak. That’s 1.6 million more than the peak of last year’s first live show, which drew 8.5 million, and slightly more than the 10 million peak of 2018’s first live show.
On average, 9.3 million watched Saturday’s Strictly, also 1.6 million up year on year, translating to a mammoth 44 per cent audience share. It’s the second-biggest entertainment show of the year, behind Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
Nicola Adams and Katya Jones tipped for Strictly success
The lesbian boxer made her Strictly debut proper this weekend, dancing the quickstep to “Get Happy” by Ella Fitzgerald.
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) October 24, 2020
Nicola Adams and Katya Jones soared straight into third place on Saturday’s leaderboard, winning 21 points from the judges for their “fantastic partnership”.
Judge Motsi Mabuse told them: “I have to say I was very curious how it was going to happen, how it was going to work out.” Her verdict? “You rocked it!”
Head judge Shirley Ballas praised Jones for her “genius” choreography, while Craig Revel-Horwood told the pair he “adored” their routine, calling them “absolutely dynamite” together.
At home, fans were just as impressed.
You cannot underestimate how important it is for gay kids, even more so black gay kids, to see themselves represented on prime time Saturday television.
And for non-gay kids to grow up watching stuff like this, learning that it is ‘normal’ not ‘weird’ or ‘different’ #strictly
— hannah ?️? BLM (@Hannanar) October 24, 2020
listen. i'm almost 20 and have been out for a long time. but seeing nicola and katya dance together on strictly last night still made me well up. i felt seen and loved and represented. now imagine what affect this will have on young closeted gay girls. representation is VITAL ?
— lilly (@lillyfrncs) October 25, 2020
I haven’t watched Strictly yet but you can be certain this family will enjoy watching Nicola Adams more than Ann Widdecombe. pic.twitter.com/bif1DfNIRt
— Ferret (@Ferretgrove) October 19, 2020
Strictly’s ratings follow a similarly strong showing for last week’s launch show – putting the final nail in the coffin for the idea that same-sex partnerships are anything but a massive draw for families.
Nicola Adams is the first celebrity in Strictly’s 18-year history to be allowed to dance with a professional of the same sex. The Olympic gold medallist has confirmed being paired with a woman was a condition of her taking part, and before making her debut shared a few choice words for her critics.
Speaking to Radio Times in October, Adams said: “I’m expecting the same sort of thing I got with women’s boxing in the beginning – there will always be some resisters, but once they know you’re here to stay, they get used to it.
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“Women dance together all the time in nightclubs. Traditionally I guess men and women would dance together when they were courting, so the older generation have that in their heads. They see it as a sexual thing rather than a sport.
“So someone’s going to comment on Twitter? It’s nothing, it won’t faze me at all.”