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Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Our all-time favourite joke acts and this year’s comedy contenders

We can't wait for the laughs to begin!

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The Strictly Come Dancing 2021 live shows start tonight (September 25), with the public desperate to see who’ll be a dancing hit or miss.

The thing the ED! gang are most excited about, though, is this year’s joke act.

If you ask us, they make the series – and it’s certainly those performances that we remember for years to come.

Here, we round up our most favourite comedy performances from Strictly past, and hazard a guess as to who’ll be making our sides split for all the wrong reasons this year.

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Can Ann Widdecombe’s disastrous turn on Strictly Come Dancing be topped in 2021? (Credit: BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing comedy genius Ann Widdecombe

You can’t write a rundown of Strictly comedy greats and fail to include politician Ann Widdecombe.

She was paired with Anton Du Beke back in 2010 and was miraculously the ninth celebrity to be eliminated.

Read more: Aljaz Skorjanec hits back after being taunted about ‘chances of winning’

During that time she wore some spectacular outfits, was dragged around the dance floor (literally) by her pro partner and even soared above the dance floor like an ostrich during one pretty spectacular routine that saw her “fly”.

She always had a clever comeback for Craig Revel Horwood, too, which is maybe why she made it to week 10 of series eight!

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Ed Balls danced his way into Strictly history with his Gangnam Style routine (Credit: BBC)

What a Balls up!

When it comes to iconic routines, Ed Balls and Katya Jones’ dance to Gangnam Style is most definitely up there.

Read more: Which celebrity is dancing with which pro for the 2021 series of Strictly?

It’s pretty much impossible to erase the memory of the former politician doing the iconic moves during his energetic salsa in series 14.

However, while it only scored 25 points with the judges, his moved caused quite a stir with the viewing public and the routine has since become the stuff of Strictly legend.

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John Sergeant quit the show because it would be a ‘joke too far’ if he won the series (Credit: BBC)

Strictly and the ‘dancing pig’

Political journalist John Sergeant ended up quitting Strictly back in 2008 because he feared he might win the series.

After Arlene Phillips called him a “dancing pig in Cuban heels”, John danced his way through the weeks. He eventually threw in the towel and finished in seventh place.

Even Len Goodman said that John making it as far as he did “made a nonsense of the show”.

Speaking about his exit, he revealed: “There was a real danger I could win the show. Even for me that would be a joke too far.”

His performances were iconic.

Who can forget when he famously dragged partner Kristina Rihanoff across the floor like a sack of potatoes during their paso?

Or how she shoved him around the floor during their cha-cha-cha?

He raised the judges’ eyebrows and more than a few laughs with viewers. And even responded to rumours he was pushed to quit the show by BBC bosses.

“I certainly wasn’t pushed Brucey,” he told host Bruce Forsyth. “I have had a marvellous time. It has been Strictly fantastic.”

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Russell Grant was seen being fired out of a cannon when Strictly went to Wembley (Credit: BBC)

Russell Grant’s cannon hijinks

One Strictly sight we don’t think we’ll ever forget is that of astrologer Russell Grant being fired out of a cannon when the BBC dance show decamped to Wembley.

Russell opened the show with his pretty bizarre jive, with the judges awarding him a paltry 24 points.

His outfits were our favourite thing about his Strictly stint though and it seems he loved them too.

After leaving, Russell revealed: “I bought some of them!”

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Ruth Langsford covered Anton’s blushes when he tripped during their paso (Credit: BBC)

Ruth Langford’s bum steer

Now, we’re by no means saying that This Morning favourite Ruth Langsford was a joke act when she joined the celebrity line up back in 2017.

However, one performance was particularly iconic after partner Anton Du Beke lost his footing and stumbled at the end of the routine.

It happened during the couple’s passionate paso doble. However, instead of having the desired mean and moody effect, it left the audience in stitches.

Somehow, seasoned pro Anton managed to tumble at the end of the performance and Ruth was on hand to style it out.

After tripping and bringing Ruth down with him, the presenter decided the only way to make up for the fall would be to climb on top of Anton and straddle him on the dance floor.

You made the series, Ruth!

Bill Bailey: Strictly ‘joke’ act who won the show

When comedian Bill Bailey signed up to take part in the 2020 show, many wrote him off as the series joke act.

Bill himself even admitted: “I fully expected not to be able to do it.

“I had the full range of outcomes I’d prepared for. From being the joke act that goes out first, to actually even worse,” he admitted.

“Falling over in the middle of the routine, lurching, knocking one of the judges off their chair, setting fire to the studio, kicking a camera over, seeing the set burst into flames.”

However, that clearly wasn’t to be. Bill wowed audiences and judges alike and won the Glitter Ball trophy with partner Oti Mabuse.

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Will Robert Webb provide the laughs for Strictly Come Dancing 2021? (Credit: BBC)

Strictly Come Dancing 2021: Who will be this year’s joke act?

Pro dancer Aljaz Skorjanec hit out at trolls ahead of the first live show after they threw cold water over his chances of winning.

He’s been paired with Sara Davies, with some Strictly fans predicting that he’ll become the “new Anton”.

It seems the commenter was highlighting how Anton was frequently saddled with celebs who often struggled to make it past the first few weeks of the competition.

Nonetheless, Aljaz ignored the implication and reversed the jibe so it became words of praise for Anton.

Aljaz Skorjanec with dance partner Sara Davies
Aljaz urged viewers to ‘be kind’ to Sara (Credit: BBC)

Surely the biggest contender has to be Robert Webb, going on his Flashdance routine for Let’s Dance for Comic Relief.

Or could the hijinks have all been designed to throw us off the scent, and could he follow in Bill’s shoes and lift the Glitter Ball trophy this year?

There’s one way to find out, you’ll have to tune in!

Strictly Come Dancing is on BBC One Saturday (September 25) at 7pm.

So will you be tuning in? Head to our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and tell us.