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Everybody’s talking about…

...Strictly Come Dancing. The stalwart BBC celeb dance contest is back, baby, and I'm all about the rubbish dancers. That's you, James Cracknell!

Never mind the equinox – the true sign that autumn has arrived is when Strictly returns to the Saturday night TV schedule. Did you hunker down and watch it at the weekend? It’s the one time I get to sit down and kick back with my 12-year-old daughter and we both adore it, in all its naff, spangled, fake-tanned glory.

And I particularly love the rubbish contestants. For me, it’s all about the journey – usually from bad to, er, slightly less bad. While I totally understand that the show is broadening its appeal by bringing in perky, bright-eyed youngsters, like YouTuber Saffron Barker (me neither, but my daughter’s a fan of her vlogging) and CBBC presenter Karim Zeroual, it’s much less fun watching sexy twentysomethings who are used to performing being – surprise surprise! – actually rather good at performing.

Nope, gimme the underdogs any time. This year I’m rooting for immensely-irritating-and-yet-strangely-affecting BBC News sports reporter Mike Bushell, veteran TV personality Anneka Rice (looking incredible at 60), footballer David James and – my absolute favourite – Olympic rower James Cracknell. Poor Crackers. Imagine being so world-beatingly brilliant at your chosen sport… but so utterly terrible at another one. Looming awkwardly above his partner at 6’5 and with all the dance charisma of one of his wooden oars, he is, not surprisingly, right at the bottom of the points table and the bookies’ favourite to be the first one to leave. But wouldn’t it be brilliant if he rose, Phoenix-like, from the ashes next weekend? Go James, I say – take us on a journey please.

Dare to disagree? Who have you got your money on this year? Comments below please!

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