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Craig Revel Horwood thinks this year's Strictly is the most competitive yet

Craig Revel Horwood - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

Craig Revel Horwood thinks this year's Strictly will be the most competitive yet.

The star judge reckons there's no "weak link" in the line up, who first took to the dancefloor last weekend in the pre-recorded launch.

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Speaking ahead of this Saturday's first live show, Craig said: "I think it's fantastic, I think the standard of dancing this year is going to be amazing, better than we've ever seen.

"And all round, I don't think there is a weak link in the whole cast which is fantastic. So, something to really look forward to."

Craig added: "I didn’t know any of them personally but I love the line-up this year. The energy in the room is just absolutely magnificent. Everyone seems to be really up for it.

"It looks and feels competitive this year which is really great as well as being a lot of fun."

Meanwhile this year's Strictly will welcome Anton Du Beke to the panel in place of Bruno Tonioli.

Craig said of the addition: "Anton is going to bring sensibility which will be good plus he's been through it so he knows all about it.

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"He knows what it's like for the contestants, he knows what it’s like for the pros, so he'll come with that sense of knowledge that none of us have because we haven't been through the competition in that way. So, I think he will come with some compassion."

Craig went on to say of the upcoming live shows: "I think it's really important for people's mental health and for people to get excited about live shows again. When you're watching it on the telly live, it feels like you’re at a live performance.

"If someone falls over or forgets their steps, or has an amazing performance, you’re the first one to see it so I think that keeps excitement up.

"I think it's really important for people to keep social in that way and by watching Strictly, you can then have conversations with friends and family about it which I think is why people love it so much."

He added: "I love being a judge, I love having a front row seat to all the dances. I love seeing all the pro dancers as well, because dance has been my life anyway, ever since I was a kid, so it's lovely to be able to come to work and actually enjoy it."

And sharing of his all-time highlights, Craig revealed: "Mark Ramprakash’s Salsa, because he was amazing way back when. Jill Halfpenny’s Jive, of course. Ashley Roberts - everything she did was amazing. Danny Mac was amazing as well. We've seen some really great dances, but I can't specifically say one dance.

"Although, there is a standout moment and that’s when Ann Widdecombe came down on the big bird. It’s not often I give out 10s, I always hope to but a 10 has to be worked for and it has to be truly amazing. I give a 9 if there is even one mistake, but Jill’s Jive was the first 10 I ever gave."

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Strictly Come Dancing goes live on Saturday at 7PM on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Picture: Craig Revel Horwood - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

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