1. The first series of Strictly Come Dancing was broadcast in 1955 on the radio, or the wireless, as it was then known. Compered by David Jacobs, the line-up reads like a Who’s Who of popular entertainment from the era: Arthur Askey, Lord Boothby, Diana Dors, Mrs Mills, Dame Edith Sitwell, Russ Conway, Fanny Cradock and The Kray Twins.
2. In A time of austerity, the show was an immediate success with Home Service listeners, who delighted in David Jacobs’ vivid descriptions of the colourful dresses and flamboyant dances.
‘Goodness me, Dame Edith is executing her cha-cha-cha with tremendous aplomb, but the Kray Twins are dancing awfully close to her, with their legs out!’ Jacobs can be heard saying, on the only surviving recording. ‘Oh deary me! Dame Edith just took a terrible tumble! She’s fallen flat on her face! And now this little accident puts the Kray Brothers within an ace of the top place!’
The first series of Strictly Come Dancing was broadcast in 1955 on the radio, or the wireless, as it was then known
3. In fact, the overall winner of that very first Strictly Come Dancing was TV chef Fanny Cradock. Judges Bertrand Russell, Mr Pastry and Harold Macmillan were impressed by the exuberance of her Tango, which she performed with a replica Strawberry Fruit Sundae on her head.
4. Strictly finally made it to television for the very first time in 1967, as part of that year’s Royal Tournament. ‘It was early days, and we hadn’t really finessed the format,’ recalls veteran TV producer Bill Duckville.
The overall winner of that very first Strictly Come Dancing was TV chef Fanny Cradock
‘The first televised Strictly had lads from the Fleet Air Arm waltzing with lads from the Royal Horse Artillery, with Field Marshall Montgomery as principal judge.
‘I’ll always remember the way Monty marked the soldiers down if they danced too close together. “Let’s keep it manly” was his watchword. But it was all the most tremendous fun, even if it did lack something of the glamour and razzamatazz of later shows.’
5. The only member of the Royal Family ever to have taken part in Strictly Come Dancing was HRH Sarah, Duchess of York, in 2003. Partnered by Anton du Beke, she made it through to the fourth round, finally exiting after her Paso Doble was judged ‘vulgar beyond belief’ by waspish judge Craig Revel Horwood.
‘How he could have called it vulgar I do not know,’ the Duchess wrote in her autobiography, Strictly Come Sarah, ‘especially as my Minnie Mouse costume came well below the knee.’
6. The lowest score awarded to any contestant — 1,2,1, 0 — came in 2011, when former MP Edwina Currie danced The Pogo to Pretty Vacant by The Sex Pistols.
‘In actual fact, I danced it perfectly well,’ Currie confided to a reporter from The Spectator, ‘but, as we all know, the panel was riddled with socialists, so I didn’t stand a chance.’ The second lowest score ever — 2, 1, 1, 1 — was awarded to another former Conservative MP, Eric Pickles, after he fell over while performing the Rumba to Judy Collins’ classic rendition of Amazing Grace.
7. Former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was the surprise success of the 2016 series of Strictly. ‘My career has literally skyrocketed,’ he says. ‘Not long ago, I was stuck in a low-paid, high-pressure political job, going nowhere. But after Strictly, I’ve been on Celebrity Fat Club, Celebrity Stars in the Eyes (as Engelbert Humperdinck), Celebrity Big Brother and Celebrity Come Dine with Me. And if my audition for Geordie Shore goes well, I’ll be guesting on their Christmas special.’
The lowest score awarded to any contestant — 1,2,1, 0 — came in 2011, when former MP Edwina Currie danced The Pogo to Pretty Vacant by The Sex Pistols
8. Balls has since become a role-model for politicians from all parties. Political insiders have revealed that Theresa May’s recent dance routine at a South African primary school was intended as a direct bid for inclusion on Strictly Come Dancing in 2019.
‘Theresa calculated that she could be at a loose end next year, so she was keen to put down a marker,’ reveals a former top aide. ‘When she retires from front-line politics, she is determined to carve out a career on Reality TV, and where better to start than Strictly?’
Though her South African dance debut attracted poor reviews, Mrs May remains undeterred. ‘The Prime Minister is saving her best routines for later in the year,’ explains an insider. ‘Just wait until you see her Samba at this year’s Tory Party Conference. She’s hoping it’ll take people’s minds off Brexit.’
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Article source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-6153487/Eight-things-didnt-know-strictly-come-dancing.html