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Strictly Come Dancing 2021 – BBC faces fresh FIXING allegations as Dan Walker survives dance-off despite harsh criticism

BBC bosses faced fresh fix allegations after its Breakfast host Dan Walker survived another week on Strictly.

Dan, the bookies’ favourite for the chop, swerved the dance-off on Saturday despite flak from judge Craig Revel Horwood. Instead, Tilly Ramsay, 20, and Rhys Stephenson, 28, went head to head ? with Tilly bowing out.

Craig told Dan, 44, on Saturday his rumba was “jolty”. He added: “Yeah, you wiggled your hips but anyone can do that. You were marching it and stomping on every two and stopping still rather than doing the dance.”

But Dan and partner Nadiya Bychkova got enough marks from Anton Du Beke, Shirley Ballas, Cynthia Erivo and viewers’ votes to be safe.

One viewer asked: “How is Dan Walker still in this competition?” And another wrote: “Is Dan Walker the biggest ever fix on Strictly? He shouldn’t be there anymore.”

Read our Strictly Come Dancing live blog for the latest news and gossip…

  • Does the Strictly winner get to keep the Glitterball Trophy?

    So the answer is yes, and no – as it’s not as straight forward as you think.

    After the Strictly winner gets handed the Glitterball by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, they have to hand it back after pictures are taken.

    Instead both the celebrity and their professional dance partner are handed smaller versions of the trophy.

    Chatting on Sunday Brunch, 2011 winner Harry Judd explained: “They give you the big [Glitterball] and then they take it straight off you and give you this tiny little one.”

  • Rylan Clarke teases Tilly and Nikita about potential romance

    Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin squirmed on the It Takes Two sofa last night after Rylan Clarke teased them over romance rumours.

    Rylan joked with the TV couple after Nikita accused Gordon Ramsay’s daughter of unbuttoning “my button”.

    Tilly and Nikita were eliminated from Sunday’s show, but not before they danced the Samba and Nikita suffered a wardrobe malfunction and removed his shirt mid-shimmy.

    As Rylan questioned them about Nikita’s shirt and how it “fell off”, the dancer confirmed the top “had a mind of its own”.

    But he added: “But, the first step was Tilly’s, she was the one who unbuttoned my button.”

    While Tilly cried: “That’s not true!”

    Rylan exclaimed: “This is how rumours start, come on!”

  • Who is still left in the competition?

    There are still five celebrities all dancing for that Glitterball trophy.

    The stars that are left in the competition are:

  • How does the voting system work?

    Strictly Come Dancing results are calculated through a mix of audience vote and panel scores.

    The four judges give points out of 10, with a maximum of 40. This is then placed on a leaderboard.

    The BBC site claims: “These ranks are converted into points, with the highest scoring couple ranked first receiving a number of points equal to the number of couples.”

    A similar point system is used for the public vote – via online and phone services – which is then added to the points from the judges.

    In the result of any tie in score – Head Judge Shirley Ballas – decides who to save from participating in the dance-off.

    She also has the ultimate say in which of the bottom two couples stays, if the judges don’t reach a unanimous decision.

    The scores from the judges on the first show and the public vote will be combined 50-50 and announced in the results show.

    Read the full story.

  • When is Strictly next on TV?

    Strictly continues on Saturday, December 4, 2021 at 6.55pm.

    The results show will air the following day at 7.20pm on Sunday, December 5, 2021.

    The final is on December 18, 2021.

    You can also catch any missed episodes on the BBC iPlayer.

  • Nadiya Bychkova shows she’s a hot date while posing for her new calendar.

    The pro dancer, 32, features in shots drinking champagne in the bath and in a cream gown cuddled up in bed.

    She is hoping to grab some high scores tonight as she takes to the dance floor with BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker, 44.

    The pair are set to dance the rumba to Desperado by The Eagles.

    Ukrainian Nadiya is in a relationship with Slovenian footballer Matija Škarabot, 33.

    They have a daughter.

    The calendar is available to buy at

  • Strictly was nearly called ‘Pro-Celebrity Dancing’

    Producer Richard Hopkins, who had produced the first UK series of Big Brother, unsuccessfully pitched the idea of a modern Come Dancing to the BBC under the title of Pro-Celebrity Dancing in 2003.

    Later, entertainment executive Fenia Vardanis also suggested reviving Come Dancing, so Jane Lush, the then head of BBC Entertainment, put Hopkins and Vardanis together to develop the show.

    Hopkins then called in Karen Smith, who had just produced Comic Relief Does Fame Academy for BBC One and The Games for Channel 4, to help lead the development of the show and launch the series.

    Smith was the show-running Executive Producer of the first three series, and of sister show It Takes Two. She then took the role of Creative Director of BBC Entertainment whilst still overseeing series 4 and 5.

    Hopkins later took the format to America himself when the BBC dismissed the idea of selling it abroad, as they felt it was too British.

  • Why are all the BBC stars winning Strictly?

    The BBC is accused of favouritism as its stars have won nearly half of all Strictlys.

    The 18 completed series have seen eight Beeb celebs coming out on top.

    That is 44 per cent — and includes mainstream presenters Stacey Dooley, Ore Oduba and Chris Hollins plus Holby City actor Tom Chambers.

    Two EastEnders actors — Jill Halfpenny in 2004 and Kara Tointon in 2010 — also scooped the title while no equivalent star of ITV’s Coronation Street has ever won.

    The exclusive Sun analysis follows Adam Peaty’s mum declaring the popular TV dance show was a “fix”.

    The early exit of the Olympic swimmer had Caroline Peaty saying: “I believe in fairness, it’s frustrating when you can see it isn’t.”

    There have been 264 contestants in Strictly’s history and 102 — 39 per cent — have worked for the Beeb.

    Read the full story here.

  • Judge Craig and fans back McFly star’s portrayal of Maurius from Les Mis

    Tom Fletcher and pro Amy Dowden were criticised by the judges for a lack of emotion and not showing any love in his couples choice performance to Les Miserables’ On My Own.

    But fans on social media – including choreographer Matthew Bourne – pointed out that the song was about unrequited love and that the character Tom was portraying (Marius) shouldn’t be showing any love towards Amy’s Eponine.

    Craig agrees, and admits he would have disagreed with his fellow judges and thought that the performance was “great”.

    He also says that he would have chosen to save Tom over Rhys and sided with Shirley Ballas.

  • How can I vote by phone?

    To vote by phone, these are the numbers to add onto the end for each performer. So it is 09015 2252 and followed by:

    Costs vary – see the BBC’s Terms and Conditions for full details.

  • Could there be FIVE judges next season instead of four?

    Craig Revel Horwood has revealed that he hopes Anton du Beke will stay on.

    Craig explained: ‘I’d love to see Anton stay on permanently and Bruno back.

    “Bruno adds something Anton can’t and vice-versa, if you look at it that way, so I think they’ve both got different opinions which I think is perfectly good.”

    While the idea of five judges appeals to the theatre director, he did admit time would be limited when feedback is given to the celebrities.

    An extra person would mean even less air time than what is currently offered but the 56-year-old author said he was optimistic.

    He added: “We would make it count.”

  • How can I vote online on Strictly Come Dancing 2021?

    To vote online for Strictly Come Dancing, you will firstly need to register – or if you have BBC account already set up from last year, you can just sign in.

    Waltz on over to the Strictly homepage. When the vote is open the link to vote will appear at the top of the page.

    The couples will be listed in alphabetical order. Select the button next to their names and click “vote now” to submit your choice.

    And you’re able to vote more than once, although there is an upper limit on how many times you can vote per episode.

    There is no charge for voting online.

  • What theme is the Strictly Come Dancing final 2021?

    The theme for Strictly’s last round has yet to be revealed. Based on past editions, finalists will be performing up to three routines in the hopes of dancing all the way to victory.

    There is typically the traditional show dance and celebrities will reprise two past dances of the programme.

    One of them will be chosen by the Strictly judges who, as usual, will be giving the stars feedback and tips on how to improve their groove.

    The public alone can decide who wins as the marks from the judges are only for guidance.

    While the theme is expected to be disclosed in the weeks ahead of the Strictly final, details of the quarter-finals have been released.

  • Amy Dowden hoping to be back for live show next week

    The dancer, who was partnered up with Tom Fletcher this series, explained that she had a Crohn’s disease flare-up missing last week’s episode, though is now “recovering well”.

    Amy and Tom were eliminated the weekend before last, while last weekend’s episode saw Tilly Ramsay and Nikita Kuzmin leave the competition.

  • Songs and dances for quarter-final announced

    AJ Odudu and her partner Kai Widdrington are set to perform the energetic dance to ‘Rhythm Is Gonna Get You / Get On Your Feet’ by Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine / Gloria Estefan.

    Also taking on the Salsa are John Whaite and his partner Johannes Radebe, who will perform their routine to Sister Sledge classic ‘We Are Family’.

    The Tango will also be well-represented, with Dan Walker and Nadiya Bychkova performing a Tango to ‘Santa Maria’ by Gotan Project and Rhys Stephenson and his partner Nancy Xu dancing an Argentine Tango to Phil Collins hit ‘In The Air Tonight’.

    Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice, meanwhile, will perform an American Smooth to ‘This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)’ by Natalie Cole.

  • Rose Ayling-Ellis can’t train when it’s raining

    Rose Ayling-Ellis is unable to train when it’s raining because of her deafness.

    The popular actress relies on the vibration of music to rehearse with dance partner Giovanni Pernice, but when heavy rain is thundering down outside it makes it all the more challenging.

    Show host Claudia Winkleman told The Big Issue: “Rose is fantastic…she’s properly funny. I hope that comes across. She’s a fabulous dancer. The fact she’s deaf comes way down the list of the extraordinariness of the charm of Rose.

    “She finds it difficult to train when it’s really raining as it messes with the vibrations in her chest.”

    Read the full story.

  • When is the Strictly Come Dancing 2021 final?

    The Strictly Come Dancing 2021 final will air on BBC One on Saturday, December 18, 2021.

    This means one contestant will be celebrating Christmas as Strictly’s fiercest dancer.

    The series will have been on the air for three months when the finale will hit the screens.

    The finale will then be available for viewers wishing to catch up with the programme on BBC iPlayer.

    While the competition has accustomed viewers to separate results shows on Sunday, the final result is expected to be revealed on the Saturday night.

  • Judge Craig says watching the show ‘strange’ experience after Covid diagnosis

    “It was really strange for me but I really enjoyed it and it gave me a whole new appreciation for the show because I was watching it not as a judge but as a punter, a normal person just watching it.

    “It’s funny because when I’m at work, I’m really looking at it technically and I’m concentrating only on the technique and only on how the dance is presented in a professional fashion. So for me, watching it at home was amazing.

    “Plus, when we’re judging we’re judging the full body and when you’re at home you see cutaways. You’re not necessarily watching the footwork all the way through because you can’t see it. So I can understand people at home thinking, ‘Oh, I missed that heel lead’.”

  • Craig on why people vote for Dan

    “You’re more involved in the celebrity’s story at home,” he says. “Whereas at work I’m not as influenced by the VTs or anything, because I’m just there to judge that 1min 30 dance and not the actual story that surrounds it. Whereas when I was sat at home, you do.

    “And then I see why people vote for people like Dan. It’s interesting, isn’t it? Because he’s probably one of the weaker dancers out of everyone that is left in this programme but you still feel for him.

    “So you sort of invest in that. It’s a totally different sort of experience so I understand now why the audience are given 50% of the vote. I’m just there to uphold and wave the dance flag professionally, but then the people at home, they’ve invested in the human being themselves and their story and journey throughout it.

  • Craig Revel Horwood’s Top three finalists

    He says: “For me, out of everybody that’s left who should be in the final it should be John and Johannes, because they’ve been consistent all the way through. I think Rose and Giovanni, because they’ve been consistently good at every different form of dance. AJ I think is fantastic.

    “I think I can see those three celebrities definitely in the final – from a professional point of view, whether they’re loved at home is completely up to the public.

    “They’ve all been really good. Obviously AJ had a rough week when she had to do the Paso Doble but she excelled in something like the Charleston, which is just amazing.

  • Max Bowden not doing great but being supported by colleagues

    Eastenders’ Max Bowden is being supported by the BBC soap’s crew as he “isn’t doing great” after three friends tragically passed away.

    The 26-year-old star has endured a difficult few months, and is understandably struggling following the bereavements.

    Taking to his Instagram Story last night, the Ben Mitchell actor shared a photo of a handwritten note he’d received, captioning it: “I work with some amazing people”.

    The sweet message read: “Hey Max, just wanted to say we know you’re not great at the moment, but we are always here if you need a rant or a cry.”

  • Strictly pro Amy Dowden moves in with Tom & Giovanna

    Giovanna Fletcher said her family has “gained a new member” after Strictly Come Dancing professional Amy Dowden, who was partnered with her husband, McFly star Tom, moved into their family home after suffering a flare-up of her Crohn’s disease.

    Appearing on Good Morning Britain, she said: “It is more of a hostage situation possibly. But I do think that is something that is not focused on – the friendships that can be made through Strictly.

    “We absolutely adore her. For us it is not a Strictly curse. We have actually gained a new member.”

    Speaking about Dowden’s recovery, she said: “She is good. She was sat on the sofa last night. The colour is back in her cheeks.

    “She has still got her hot water bottle and every now and then you can see she is in pain. People with Crohn’s are living with pain. But it is nice to see the pink going back into her cheeks.”

  • Strictly’s John Whaite forced to rest as he’s in ‘so much pain’

    Strictly Come Dancing star John Whaite was forced to rest after being left in ‘so much pain’.

    The 32-year-old and Johannes Radebe are currently in training for the BBC dance contest’s quarter-finals.

    The dancing pair made it through on Sunday night after getting a near-perfect score for their Argentine tango.

    But on Tuesday, John had to leave rehearsals early, telling his Instagram followers he was off to rest.

    He took a snap of himself in the back of a car, and said: “Going home to rest. My hip flexors are in so much pain and the physio has recommended a day of rest.

    “I’ll watch Christmas films all day and eat Haribo.”

  • John Whaite topped the leaderboard

    Topping the scores this weekend were John Whaite and his partner Johannes Radebe who scored a near perfect 39 points for their Argentine tango.

    Craig was full of praise for the “fantastic” routine – although still scored a 9 – while Shirley described the performance as “fabulous”.

    AJ Odudu and Kai Widdrington ranked in second spot with 36 points and bouncing back from the dance off last weekend, Rhys Stephenson scored 35 points for his waltz with pro partner Nancy Xu.

  • Dan forced to hit back at critics before

    Dan has been forced to hit back at critics several times throughout the series.

    On Sunday night he took to his social media page yet again to remind fans it’s just a TV show.

    He tweeted: “Thank you to everyone who is sending lovely messages & enjoying us having fun on #Strictly and to the few who say…

    “‘Just leave’. ‘Aren’t you ashamed?’ ‘You’re a disgrace’. ‘It’s a fix’ (which I don’t get). or ‘Who is voting for them?’ IT’S A TV SHOW! See you in the 1/4 finals.”

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