12 November 2017Strictly Come Dancing 2017, week 8, Sunday results: Ruth Langsford knocked out after dance-off defeat to Jonnie Peacock
Ruth Langsford and Anton Du Beke become seventh couple eliminated from Strictly 2017
Jonnie Peacock and Oti Mabuse survive the dreaded dance-off
Remembrance Day routine from the pros, plus music from Seal on tonight's show
Remaining eight couples progress to next week's Blackpool special
After last week’s controversial elimination, it was the right result this time. Here’s all the talking points and social media reaction from Sunday night’s pre-Blackpool results show…
Ruth’s exit ensured that justice was done
Daytime TV doyenne Ruth Langsford has been bookies’ favourite for elimination these past few weeks, so her exit here wasn’t a huge surprise. Viewer votes have regularly lifted the likeable 57-year-old clear of the bottom two but not this time and rightly so.
Ruth finished rock bottom of the scoreboard again and it was her turn to go. She’d already seen off a far superior dancer in Aston Merrygold. Another would have sparked sofa grumbles.
She’s been warm, hard-working and whole-hearted but Ruth never looked much of a dancer. Her footwork was hesitant, her timing erratic and she often seemed hamstrung by nerves.
Her standout routines were week four's moody tango and Halloween's Bewitched-themed quickstep. She’ll also be fondly remembered for her eclectic selection of wigs, Buck Fizz-style samba outfit-ripping and that pratfall at the climax of last week’s comedy paso doble. Olé! And adios, senorita.
Anton also goes - but will he bow out permanently?
Ruth’s exit, of course, also meant the end of ever-popular pro Anton Du Beke’s Strictly 2017 journey. He’d formed an affectionate partnership with Ruth, leapt to her defence gallantly whenever she was criticised and was visibly moved when they bowed out. Anton would have adored a turn around the Tower Ballroom floor next weekend but frankly, he did well to get Ruth as far as week eight.
For the last few years, there’s been speculation that it could be 51-year-old Tony Beak’s swansong series. Many thought he might land a job on the judging panel but it wasn’t to be, as Shirley Ballas claimed Len Goodman’s seat instead. He’s still a hugely entertaining member of Team Strictly. Let's hope there’s life in the evergreen dancing dog yet.
Jonnie’s competitive spirit saw him through
Paralympic sprint gold medallist Jonnie Peacock is used to performing when it matters and duly delivered in the dance-off. He took the judges’ critiques on board, improved his foxtrot second time around and got a unanimous decision in his favour.
He’s deservedly popular with viewers but needs to turn around his sudden slump in dancefloor form. Jonnie was clocking up eights and nines a few weeks ago but has recently gone backwards, tumbling into sixes and sevens territory. The sprung ballroom floor at Blackpool might suit him, especially if he's back on his blade.
Remembrance Day dance captured mood perfectly
Tonight’s show opened with an emotional Remembrance Day dance from the professional troupe, accompanied by the RAF Spitfires Choir.
Set to a special, slowed-down arrangement of The Proclaimers' 500 Miles, it told an affecting story of separated spouses, starred Kevin and Karen Clifton, and featured marching on travelators, Forties styling, red roses and poppies. A stirring and bittersweet routine.
Meanwhile, servicemen and women watched on from the front row of the Elstree Studios audience. There was a heart-warming VT segment about the Strictly team doing their bit for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. Red petals even fell during crooner Seal's classy guest performance.
It's the sort of thing that both the BBC and Strictly do so well. Worthy and well-judged.
Curse of the foxtrot could strike again
It used to be the rumba and samba which were dubbed “the dance of death”, often leading to a celebrity’s elimination. This series, it’s the cha cha cha they’ve struggled with. Suddenly, though, it seems to be the foxtrot, which both tonight’s bottom two couples had danced - and which also spelt the end of Chizzy Akudolu earlier in the contest.
It could be the slow-slow-quick-quick rhythm that’s proving problematic. It certainly did in Ruth Langsford’s case. There’s also that elusive glide, Rolls Royce action and the fact that it tends to expose fluffed footwork or topline troubles.
Only three of the remaining celebs are yet to tackle the foxtrot and it happens to be some of the frontrunners: Alexandra Burke, Debbie McGee and Davood Ghadami. Could it claim one of those scalps too?
Gemma and Mollie mop their brows
Two female celebrities were breathing sizeable sighs of relief tonight. After finishing in the scoreboard’s bottom three, Mollie King must have thought she was doomed for her third consecutive dance-off. Her hard work and whole-hearted paso doble performance won her viewer votes, though, and she was touchingly, tearfully grateful.
Gemma Atkinson also looked at risk, having suffered a worrying slump in form this past fortnight. Both need to bring out something special in Blackpool or it could be curtains.
Blackpool beckons for surviving ballroom eightsome
The eight remaining couples now pack their wheely suitcases and head up the M6 to Blackpool (did they mention that?) for next week’s sequin-spangled seaside spectacular from the gorgeous surroundings of Tower Ballroom.
Who’ll be a dancing donkey and who’ll make a scoreboard splash? The ninth live show airs next Saturday at 6.45m on BBC One. Please join us back on the liveblog for buckets of coverage and spades of analysis. Until then, the usual applies: keeeeeep dancing!