Strictly’s first live show scores highest ratings in years as 10 million tune in for ‘dynamite’ Nicola Adams

Nicola Adams and Katya Jones dancing together on Strictly

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.

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.

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.

“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.”