Three things we learned from the return of Strictly Come Dancing

The countdown to Christmas officially began on Saturday as we saw the return of Strictly Come Dancing, where this year’s batch of celebrities found out which dancers they would be paired up with for the rest of the series.

So with all pairs confirmed, Ladbrokes News takes a look at three things we learned from Saturday night’s show – as well as a quick scan of the betting numbers so far.

Strictly the best

Once again, viewing figures soared for BBC’s most prized asset, with Saturday’s audience numbers peaking at around 10.1m. That’s not bad for an opening show which contained no competitive dancing.

Such figures have become the norm for Strictly in recent years, while its ITV rival X Factor has seen a gradual decline in the last few series’.

However, Saturday’s 8.3m viewers of the singing competition is a huge improvement on the opening night the weekend before, which saw only 6.8m people tune in.

But Simon Cowell has already lost the first head-to-head of the year in terms of audience numbers – and we reckon it’ll be the first of many.

Will Young looks set to be a hit

When it was announced that the first ever Pop Idol winner would be appearing on this year’s Strictly, he was originally priced up at 6/1 to win the show.

But in just two weeks his odds have fallen dramatically and he’s now 3/1 favourite to win a second Saturday night entertainment show of his career.

This comes despite it being announced he would be partnered with Karen Clifton, who is participating in her fifth series on the show and is yet to progress further than the final four.

The curse of Anton Du Beke looks set to strike again

It’s a running joke that Anton Du Beke draws the short straw every year, and this series is no different.

Having never won the Glitterball Trophy since it aired back in 2004, Anton is perhaps the unluckiest of all professional dancers, having been partnered with celebrities such as Ann Widdecombe, Esther Rantzen and Judy Murray in previous years.

And he’ll be teaming up with Birds of a Feather star Lesley Joseph this year, who is a 66/1 rank outsider to win.

The numbers so far:

Most backed celebrity – Will Young (12.6 per cent of bets)

Least backed celebrity – Ed Balls (1.1 per cent of bets)

Biggest market mover – Judge Rinder (was 25/1, NOW 12/1)

Biggest bet(s) taken so far – £100 (Will Young, Laura Whitmore, Louise Redknapp, Ore Oduba)

Biggest potential payout so far – £2000 – Ed Balls

Click here for the latest odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.