The ladies have taken to the dancefloor in competition for the first time in the sixth series of Strictly Come Dancing – with mixed results.

First to perform was former EastEnders star Jessie Wallace, who together with partner Darren Bennett kicked the show off with a lively salsa.

However despite her best efforts the panel were none too impressed. “The salsa is like walking on the wild side, but I didn’t see that,” Bruno Tonioli told her, while Craig Revel Horwood described the routine as “laboured”.

One Show presenter Christine Bleakley received a rather better response to her foxtrot, with Len describing her and Matthew Cutler’s performance as “beautiful” and Bruno calling it “ethereal”.

Next it was the turn of Lisa Snowdon and Brendan Cole, performing a salsa to the Gloria Estefan song Rhythm Is Gonna Get Ya. While Len liked the dance, the others weren’t so keen. “The rhythm didn’t really get you,” Arlene Phillips said, while Craig Revel Horwood said she was “lacklustre”.

Model Jodie Kidd took to the floor next and received a largely favourable response for her foxtrot with partner Ian Waite.

Len Goodman told her it was a “lovely effort”, although Craig added a note of caution when he pointed out to the six-foot-two Kidd that “height magnifies all flaws”.

There was also a mixed response for Heather Small’s salsa, while the panel tried to be kind about Gillian Taylforth’s foxtrot. Arlene complained there was “lots of fox but not enough trot”, while Craig said it was “rough around the edges but not a complete disaster.

The final two performers, Rachel Stevens and Cherie Lunghi, both fared rather better. Stevens and partner Vincent Simone were described as “amazing” by Craig while Arlene said she was “enthralled” by their routine.

However it was Lunghi who captured the biggest scores of the night. “You’ll give the rugby playing motor car Austin Healy a run for his money,” Arlene told her after her foxtrot, while Len told her it was “the best dance of the night”.

The results will be revealed on Sunday evening’s show, with one of the ladies leaving the dancefloor for good.