The new series of Strictly Come Dancing has kicked off on BBC1, with eight of the 16 couples taking to the floor in competition for the first time.

The first two weeks of this series will take place over Friday and Saturday nights, with the second eight couples due to perform next weekend.

This year however the performance order has been chosen at random – rather than the men and the women taking it in turns to dance.

As such, this week’s celebrity dancers include Crimewatch presenter Rav Wilding, boxer Joe Calzaghe, actress Lynda Bellingham and Bill star Ali Bastian.

The line-up is completed by EastEnders star Ricky Groves, BBC Breakfast presenter Chris Hollins, tennis ace Martina Hingis and athlete Jade Johnson.

The eight performed a ballroom routine on Friday’s show, and will perform a Latin dance on Saturday’s.

First on to the dancefloor was Wilding and his professional partner Aliona Vilani – but he got off to a somewhat shaky start with his tango.

Craig Revel Horwood said that he had “an awful lot of work to do. You looked as if you had velcro stuck to your hands,” he added. However new judge Alesha Dixon was kinder. “You were a little bit stompy but I have to say well done,” she said.

Ricky Groves was next, dancing a waltz with partner Erin Boag. Len Goodman described the performance as “elegant”, although Bruno Tonioli wasn’t so sure. “I’ve seen more romance between Gordon Brown and David Cameron,” he complained.

Chris Hollins, meanwhile, fared rather better with his tango with Ola Jordan. “You were a little troutmouthed, but it was a fine effort,” Craig told him.

There was also praise for Jade Johnson and Ian Waite’s waltz – with Alesha telling her she had “great potential” – while Martina Hingis’ waltz with Matthew Cutler was described by Craig as “gorgeous”.

Lynda Bellingham followed, dancing the tango with Darren Bennett – and all the judges loved it except for Craig. “That was the longest one minute thirty seconds,” he told her, only to be shouted down by the others.

The final two performances of the evening delighted and disappointed the panel in equal measures. Ali Bastian’s waltz with Brian Fortuna was described by Len as “fantastic” and scored her the top marks of the night.

However it wasn’t such good news for Joe Calzaghe and dance partner Kristina Rihanoff, who slumped to the bottom of the scoreboard despite an energetic tango. “That was a dance only a mother could love,” Len concluded.

The show also featured a group mambo from the remaining eight couples.

Saturday’s show will see this week’s contenders perform either a cha cha cha or a rumba, with the bottom two facing the dance-off and one couple leaving the competition.