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Strictly’s Ellie Taylor describes topping scoreboard as ‘one of the best moments’

Ellie Taylor (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)
Ellie Taylor (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Comedian Ellie Taylor has described being joint top of the Strictly Come Dancing scoreboard as “one of the best moments of my life” after her Hocus Pocus inspired routine.

The Ted Lasso actress, 38, and her professional partner Johannes Radebe closed Halloween week on the BBC’s flagship show scoring 35 for their couple’s choice dance to I Put A Spell On You by Bette Midler.

The routine, which involved a smoking cauldron, received a standing ovation and rapturous applause from the audience – and put them top of the scoreboard alongside Kiss FM DJ Tyler West and partner Dianne Buswell for their Beetlejuice inspired cha cha cha.

After her performance, Taylor said: “To close Halloween, to get those comments, to dance with Jojo as my sister wearing a corset – once of the best moments of my life.

“No annoying heels, didn’t have to worry about bent knees, could just be us and be silly. I have loved this week, so much.”

Judges Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Anton dubbed “Phathon” Du Beke – in reference to his Halloween costume – agreed it was the comedian’s best dance of the series to date.

Meanwhile West, who danced to Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) by Klaus Hallen Tanz Orchester, received the only 10 of the show from Du Beke.

He said: “The cha cha cha is a revolting dance to do well. Let me tell you, I thought that was brilliant.

“That’s one of the best cha cha chas I’ve seen on Strictly Come Dancing.”

The episode saw plenty of themed costumes, including from TV and radio presenter Helen Skelton who was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and her partner Gorka Marquez as The Wolf.

Receiving a score of 32 for their foxtrot, Mabuse said the couple were giving her “final vibes”, with Ballas adding: “I think you are giving us a bit of your soul week after week.”

Meanwhile, performing another foxtrot was Olympian Ellie Simmonds and Nikita Kuzmin – who were dressed as Velma Dinkley and Shaggy Rogers from the American TV series Scooby Doo.

Despite their elaborate outfits, judge Craig Revel Horwood, who was sporting a Morticia Addams costume, said: “It was very stop-and-start and that annoyed me to no end. It wasn’t my favourite, it was slightly boring.”

The show also saw the cast and audience sing Happy Birthday to singer Fleur East after she performed a salsa to Beyonce’s Break My Soul with professional partner Vito Coppola.

Receiving a score of 32, Mabuse added: “You bring a different type of energy. Maybe we’re not used to seeing it, seeing a woman so powerful on the dancefloor. Maybe we aren’t used to it.”

After appearing in the dance-off last week, singer and TV star Molly Rainford was desperate for a comeback, but split the judges’ opinions with her Argentine tango to Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) by Kate Bush.

Struggling to hold back the tears after the dance, Rainford said: “We definitely were nervous, having that taste of going home – I really want to be here.”

Revel Horwood, who awarded the singer a six, told the audience to “shut up” after his negative comments.

Dressed as a beekeeper, EastEnders star James Bye performed a lift he had not been able to nail during dress run for his Charleston to Bumble Bee by LaVern Baker – but placed bottom of the scoreboard.

Professional partner Amy Dowden – dressed as a bee – celebrated after the dance, saying: “I’m buzzing. Up until dress run, one of those lifts actually didn’t happen. He did such a good job.”

After head judge Ballas got up to show the actor how to add more energy into his performance, Bye said: “There’s a place for you on EastEnders.”

Meanwhile Du Beke got booed for his comments, saying: “You do tend to throw Amy down rather than place her down.”

Elsewhere, former Hear’Say singer Kym Marsh was “back on form”, scoring 34 with her rumba to Frozen by Madonna with Graziano Di Prima – which marked his first rumba on the show.

Coronation Street star Will Mellor appeared out of a sarcophagus alongside his partner Nancy Xu for their mummy-inspired cha cha cha to Mama Told Me Not To Come by Sir Tom Jones and Stereophonics.

He said after the dance: “I was so nervous tonight, I don’t know why. I was so scared, I so wanted to get it right. I’m so glad it’s over.

“I love Halloween on a normal day, but to be here is a real box ticked. It was an honour to be able to do that.”

The audience chanted wildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin’s name after his tango with professional partner Jowita Przystal to Wicked Game by Chris Isaak, which scored 33.

Yassin, who was dressed as a king and collapsed to the ground at the end of the routine, said it was a difficult week “without smiling”.

Meanwhile former England footballer Tony Adams received his highest score of 31 for his quickstep to The Devil Went Down To Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band.

Opening the Halloween TV special dressed as the devil, Adams and his partner Katya Jones “shocked” Du Beke, who said: “It is very easy to get stuck in a situation perceived to not be the best dancer on the show doing tricks.

“Don’t worry, I have been down that road. But that’s not you. You are a proper dancer, this was a proper dance. Keep it up, I loved it.”