Strictly Come Dancing judge Dame Darcey Bussell has admitted she has been shocked by the high standard of this year’s contestants.
The first round of the BBC dancing competition saw former Pussycat Dolls star Ashley Roberts and Steps singer Faye Tozer top the leaderboard with 29 points.
The judges also awarded high marks to vlogger Joe Sugg, TV medis Dr Ranj Singh and actor Danny John-Jules.
Asked which famous face had caught her eye, Dame Darcey replied: “They are all impressing me, actually, it’s such a shock.
“On the first show, there was so much ability there it was extraordinary. It’s going to be really hard seeing people go, I don’t want anybody to go, because there were so many surprises.
“You would never know that people had it in them and they were that daring just to throw themselves on to that dance floor.
“It is so nerve-racking on that dance floor, you’ve got a camera running around you, the audience are right at your feet. It’s very daunting but they all went for it.”
The retired ballerina was speaking at an event for National Fitness Day in London where she led a community workout with former Strictly contestant and athlete Colin Jackson.
Former sprint and hurdling world champion Jackson came second in the 2005 series with dance partner Erin Boag, just losing out to cricketer Darren Gough.
Jackson said he believed if Dame Darcey had been on the panel while he was competing she would have liked what she saw from him on the dance floor.
He said: “If you asked Darcey if I’ve still got it from Strictly days, she’d go, ‘you need a little bit of practice, Colin, you are a little ring rusty’. Which is fair enough, I can accept that. The most important thing is that I had a good time learning something different.
“I’m pretty sure if Darcey was a judge back in the day for me, I was a much better dancer back then, she would have been impressed, that’s for sure!”
Strictly Come Dancing continues on BBC One at 6.30pm.