‘Congrats’ Piers Morgan takes swipe at TV rival Dan Walker as Strictly viewers switch off

Strictly: Dan Walker says he is 'a bit behind' in training

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Dan Walker, 44, has expressed his excitement over taking part in the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing, but unfortunately for him, the viewers don’t seem to have shared the same sentiment, as the dance contest faced its lowest viewing figures in over a decade when it launched last weekend. The BBC Breakfast host’s former TV rival Piers Morgan could not help but gloat at the news, as he took to social media to aim a searing jibe at his one-time ratings opponent today.

Sharing an article on Strictly’s viewing figures with the headline “Strictly Come Dancing’s launch show gets lowest viewer rating in 11 years”, the former Good Morning Britain host tagged Dan in the post and typed sarcastically: “Congrats,” with a thumbs-up emoji.

In response, some of his followers agreed with him as they criticised the show’s line-up.

@DarrenJ said: “It’s still an enjoyable show but in need of a revamp and people the public have heard of. A chef’s daughter is not a celebrity.”

@TimWilde replied: “I know it’s me, I’m old, but I only know two of the ‘celebrities’. It’s also so predictable when the celeb meets their pro. ‘You’re the one I was hoping to get’. It’s a shame they couldn’t talk @louiseminchin into doing it. Louise is so competitive, she would have been great.”

While @TomHedley commented: “Could do with some famous people on it!”

However, others said they were excited to watch Dan on the show as they gushed over the TV host.

@LaurieHann added: “First time for 15 years I’ve watched Strictly thanks to Dan.”

@DarrenWatts remarked: “It would be great to see Dan incorporate the Piers Morgan walk-off into a routine! That’s the mission, Dan.”

Strictly launched with seven million viewers on Saturday, the lowest audience since the series introduced a standalone “pairing up” show back in 2010.

It fell way behind last year’s opener – delayed because of Covid – which aired in October and pulled in 8.6 million viewers, the show’s highest launch since 2017 (8.8 million) and up 800,000 on the 2019 audience of 7.8 million.

Last weekend, the show peaked with 7.3 million viewers, as the contestants were shown meeting their professional partners in pre-recorded films.

The standalone launch episodes were introduced for the eighth series of Strictly in 2010. 

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They traditionally involve a red carpet entrance and hugging from the contestants and pros as they are introduced in the studio, there’s also group dance.

The first one, 11 years ago, pulled in 8.7 million viewers.

The highest-rating launch show to date came in 2016, when 9.3 million tuned in to see who was dancing with who, in a series eventually won by Ore Oduba.

This weekend’s disappointing figures were put down to the warm weather. One source told The Mirror: “Lots of people had been out and about enjoying the early autumn sunshine and will probably watch on catch-up today.

“The ratings are sure to pick up once the live shows start next weekend, and viewers get to see whether the celebs can actually dance – or not.”

While the launch show may have been at a low, the series still has time to make a comeback with the competition officially kicking off this Saturday night.

Two couples have made history on the show this year – with the first same-sex couple, John Whaite and Johannes Radebe, and the introduction of the first-ever deaf participant, Eastenders’ Rose Ayling-Ellis.

It’s also the first year with Anton Du Beke as an official judge, while pro-Janette Manrara is stepping away from the dancefloor after seven years and making her debut as the new It Takes Two presenter.

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