Sir Bruce bids Strictly goodbye

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Sir Bruce Forsyth bid an emotional goodbye to Strictly Come Dancing as he bowed out of presenting the BBC show.

The veteran presenter announced earlier this year he was quitting after a decade fronting the show, but he made a return to introduce this year’s glittering line-up.

Sir Bruce told viewers: “I’ll really miss being here with this atmosphere, with Dave and the band and the singer. It is that kind of night for me.”

In a special opening sequence in which Sir Bruce sat behind a grand desk with the judges as his servants, he told viewers: “I’m really looking forward to putting my feet up this year.

“But I have one last thing to do for Strictly – get everyone back together again and to get the nation dancing.”

The 86-year-old was greeted with loud cheers as he appeared on stage to pass the presenting baton to Claudia Winkleman and his old co-host Tess Daly, who will front the programme this year.

And Brucie slipped on his dancing shoes and gave a tap performance to kick the show off.

Fifteen celebrities, including pop star Pixie Lott, tennis coach Judy Murray and MasterChef presenter Gregg Wallace will battle it out on the dance floor in a bid to win the coveted glitterball trophy.

Professional dancer Iveta Lukosiute was lost for words as she was partnered with rugby hunk and model Thom Evans.

And the couple were tipped as early favourites by judge Len Goodman, who told viewers: “The one I’m going to look out for is Tom. He is used to being in a scrum, and with Iveta they are going to be scrumptious.”

Food-lover Wallace is hoping to cook up a storm on the dance floor with Aliona Vilani. He declared: “I am very happy because I know what an amazing dancer she is. I am really chuffed, I’ve watched Aliona dance and she is amazing.”

But he might get a grilling from Craig Revel Horwood as the judge revealed he was out to dish up some revenge after Wallace panned his food when he appeared on MasterChef.

Horwood said: “I’m dying to see Greg Wallace dance, darling. He said some very nasty things to me on Celebrity MasterChef and I don’t know whether I should forgive him.”

Judy Murray was partnered with Anton Du Beke – and revealed that she would “wipe” her son Andy’s Wimbledon trophy from the mantelpiece for the glitterball trophy.

And judge Bruno Tonioli declared Season 12’s line-up the sexiest yet.

Last year’s winning pair Abbey Clancy and Aljaz Skorjanec reunited to perform a stunning waltz on the opening show – and the model revealed she had a touch of envy as she wished she could do the show again.

The celebrities took to the floor for the first time and strutted their stuff to Wilson Pickett’s Land of 1,000 Dances in a lively performance that had the audience on their feet.

The full list of pairings are:

:: Pixie Lott and Trent Whiddon

:: Jennifer Gibney and Tristan McManus

:: Judy Murray and Anton Du Beke

:: Alison Hammond and Aljaz Skorjanec

:: Sunetra Sarker and Brendan Cole

:: Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev

:: Frankie Bridge and Kevin Clifton

:: Gregg Wallace and Aliona Vilani

:: Scott Mills and Joanne Clifton

:: Tim Wonnacott and Natalie Lowe

:: Mark Wright and Karen Hauer

:: Simon Webbe and Kristina Rihanoff

:: Thom Evans and Iveta Lukosiute

:: Jake Wood and Janette Manrara

:: Steve Backshall and Ola Jordan

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