I have a confession to make. I’ve never actually watched Strictly Come Dancing; I’ve always been more of an X Factor girl. So when the request to review the launch show for the new series dropped into my inbox, I must admit my heart sank a little. How was I going to write a decent view of such a well-loved show, having had no experience of previous series? Then I realised - that’s kind of the point of a review, right? An impartial and carefully considered evaluation of a piece of culture. I therefore present to you the first impressions of a Strictly newbie.

Actually, my first impression was that I might not be so far from The X Factor after all. There were the same cheering crowds, pyrotechnics, and judges arriving in swanky forms of transport. I got the feeling everyone was rather excited. They even did a dance to The Pointer Sisters to prove it. So far so good.

Now to the contestants. They range from TV presenters to rugby players via soap stars, a Hairy Biker and Vanessa Feltz. Also in the mix is noughties dance floor murderer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Dragon Deborah Meaden and former pro-golfer Tony Jacklin.

I will say that for a show in which pretty much nothing happens, it managed to be fairly entertaining. The revealing of couples, however, could have been done in half the time. Admittedly the repetitiveness of this segment was diminished slightly by interspersing the announcements with a lively performance from Jessie J and the return of last year’s winner, Olympic gymnast Louis Smith and his partner Flavia. Their sparkling Charleston was the highlight of the show – which does suggest that it might be worth persevering with the series (or ducking back in when it gets to the final six).

Still, the end of the episode dragged. Former Bond Girl and current contestant Fiona Fullerton proclaimed that she had been ‘watching this series for ten years!’ and I think I might know how she feels.

I started to flag at Rod Stewart’s performance but soon after it was (to quote Brucie) ‘the moment you’ve all been waiting for!’ No, not the end of the show, but a group performance in which the contestants and their partners strutted their stuff for the first time. I’d love to finish off with suggesting a favourite to win, or making some savvy statement about the ones to watch. However, I’m not going to flatter myself by pretending I have any idea. I will say, though, it’s probably not going to be the Hairy Biker.