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Strictly Come Dancing: Kelvin Fletcher ‘heavy favourite’ to be crowned champion

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After I tipped Michelle Visage to surprisingly receive the Blackpool boot, it would be fair to say there was less of a shock in the latest episode as Saffron Barker continued AJ Pritchard’s salsa slump by departing Sunday night’s show in tears.

The 19-year-old social media influencer lost out to Karim Zeroual, who demonstrated once again that a high score from the judges (38/40) does not necessarily guarantee a place in the following week at this late stage of proceedings, in the dance-off.

It was the ultra-talented Zeroual’s first appearance in the dance-off, meaning he shockingly now has more appearances in the dreaded final two than comedian Chris Ramsay!

In fairness to Ramsay, he upped his game with his ultra-serious Pasodoble on Saturday night, receiving judge Craig Revel Horwood’s joint-second highest score of the night (8/10).

Horwood was far less complimentary towards Barker and Alex Scott, who many would have expected to have been in the dance-off given that she was joint-bottom with Barker in terms of the judges scoring (26/40), giving them a 5 and a 4 respectively.

Fellow judge Bruno Tonioli was pictured with his head in his hands in reaction to the latter score, questioning, “What is going on with this show?!” before giving Scott an 8.

There appears to be no stopping Emmerdale actor Kelvin Fletcher, meanwhile, as he received three 10’s and, unlike his main competitor Zeroual, once again avoided the dance-off.

Fletcher is now heavily odds-on favourite to win this year’s series at 2/5, with Zeroual bumped up to as far as 11/2.

Eastenders actress Emma Barton, dancing alongside show staple Anton du Beke, who has never won the show despite this year being his 17th series, appears to be gaining momentum and may offer slight value at 11/1.

The snake-hipped Fletcher is certainly the rightful favourite for the time being, though, and is difficult to oppose.

I'm a freelance sports journalist who has worked for Goal & Bleacher Report amongst others. Get in touch, you're more than welcome to do so via Twitter or contact me via email .

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TV Specials

Sports Personality of the Year 2019: Money on ‘Stokes to clinch honour’ after sensational year

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Sports Personality of the Year returns this month, with the 2019 winner to be announced on Sunday 15th.

Scottish city Aberdeen will host the awards ceremony for the first time at the new 10,000-capacity P&J Live arena.

Along with the SPOTY award, there are several other categories including Greatest Sporting Moment and World Sport Star of the Year. Also on the list is the Helen Rollason award, the Young SPOTY and Team of the Year. 

And completing the night of honours is the Unsung Hero, Coach of the Year and Team of the Year awards, as well as the Lifetime Achievement award.

But undoubtedly at the top of that long list is the main award, where six nominees will battle it out for the top prize of SPOTY.

And Ben Stokes is the current favourite to secure the honour in 2019 at 1/7. The England cricketer has had an astonishing year, helping his country lift the World Cup in July. Stokes played a key role throughout the tournament, including a starring performance in the dramatic Super Over final win over New Zealand.

He’s followed by Dina Asher-Smith at 10/1. The sprinter broke her own British records to win silver in the 100m and gold in the 200m at the 2019 World Championships. The 23-year-old then helped Team GB and NI secure silver in the 4x100m in Qatar.

Footballer Raheem Sterling is available at 20/1 to win the award.

And rugby player Alun Wyn Jones is currently 22/1 to clinch the honour. 

Sterling was highly commended for his behaviour surrounding racial abuse in football throughout the year. The 24-year-old also helped Manchester City win a second-successive English Premier League title. Sterling was also crucial to the England national team in qualifying for next summer’s Euro 2020 tournament.

Wales rugby captain Jones was named as the best player of the 2019 Six Nations as his country clinched their Grand Slam victory. The lock forward then went on to become Wales’ most-capped player in their 2019 Rugby World Cup meeting with Australia.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is currently 22/1 to win SPOTY 2019, with heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson currently 50/1.

South African rugby captain Siya Kolisi is favourite to win the World Sport Star of the Year award at 4/6. He’s followed by women’s footballer Megan Rapinoe at 5/1.

Kenyan long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge is currently 6/1, with Tiger woods currently 8/1. Gymnast Simone Biles and cricketer Steve Smith complete the overseas list at 10/1 and 14/1 respectively.

2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas won the award last time out. And it was England Netball who won the Team of the Year. 

England manager Gareth Southgate clinched the Coach of the Year award last time out. And Italian golfer Francesco Molinari was named the World Sport Star of the Year.

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TV Specials

I’m A Celebrity 2019: Andrew Whyment ‘heavily backed’ to be crowned king of the jungle

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Saturday night’s episode of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Here! featured fans’ favourite ‘Celebrity Cyclone’ Bushtucker Trial, in which the final four dress up as superheroes aiming to save the day by collecting stars for camp.

Eastenders actress Jacqueline Jossa could not contain her excitement about the prospect:

“I’m really excited about this, I never thought I’d get this far where you can actually do the cyclone,” she revealed.

“This is an iconic moment and I just can’t believe I’m here wearing this luminous orange suit.”

And so the Cyclone began!

A screaming Kate Garraway nervously went first, but the TV presenter showed remarkable resistance in face of the onrushing stream by managing to keep control of her stars in a firm squat position.

Jossa was next to meet Garraway to collect some stars off her, but she could not overpower the onrushing stream and giant balls in order gain any momentum and quickly found herself marooned to the surface.

Jossa’s stars were washed back to the starting point, but with time running out, she managed to find a sprint from no where to get back to her position.

Radio presenter Roman Kemp swiftly scampered and dodged his way to Jossa and onto his position.

Last up was the bookmakers’ favourite to win the show, Coronation Street actor Andrew Whyment, who nonchalantly strolled his way to the top – and subsequent victory for camp – not once, but twice, after a pink-coloured waterfall had knocked him back down to the bottom.

“That was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life, it was unreal,” Kemp told Ant and Dec.

It was an epic watch, too, no doubt, but perhaps even more entertaining was the incredible lizard which joined them later on in camp.

Whyment admitted he had forgotten to clear the bins the night before, with the lizard finding himself a tasty piece of kangaroo tail.

It proceeded to shock camp-mates and viewers alike by dislocating its jaw to eat the tail whole.

Garraway likened it to watching a “scene from Jurassic Park,” while Jossa described it as “ugly and hideous” but admitted she “couldn’t turn away.”

Me neither. Who needs Sir David Attenborough when you’ve got late night reality TV, eh?!

Unfortunately we said goodbye to Garraway later in the episode as it was revealed that Kemp, Jossa and Whyment would be this year’s three finalists.

Whyment is heavily backed to win the show, finding himself odds-on at 1/3 to be crowned king of the jungle on Sunday night’s final.

Jossa is 7/2, with Kemp clearly expected to finish third at 9/1.

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Kate Garraway ‘favourite to leave in fourth-place’ after surprise double elimination

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There was a surprise double elimination on Friday night’s episode of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! as Caitlyn Jenner and Nadine Coyle both departed the jungle in sixth and fifth place respectively.

“Can you believe it? We came in together,” Jenner was heard saying to her camp-mates live on air.

It was a fitting end for two women who had given everything during their time in camp.

As Jenner referred to, they’d sky-dived from around 10,000 feet into the jungle together, with Coyle visibly distressed beforehand, and Jenner remaining typically ice-cool.

However, the reality TV star and former Olympic gold medalist revealed in her exit interview that she didn’t think she’d make it beyond the first night.

“I came here to kind of test myself… I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” the 70-year-old told presenters Ant and Dec.

“The first night I didn’t think I’d make it to the next night. I can’t believe I made it all the way to three weeks.”

Earlier in the episode, we’d seen Roman Kemp and Andrew Whyment win four out of a possible six stars, as well as a cocktail each, in a bruising Bushtucker Trial.

The radio presenter and Coronation Street actor were placed within a rotating framework, which immersed itself beneath water, and were tasked with pairing up two words together.

‘The’ and ‘Body’ was one example, after Ant and Dec had asked for the famous Australian model Elle Macpherson’s nickname.

Kate Garraway, meanwhile, who is the odds-on 1/3 favourite to leave the show in fourth place on Saturday night, admitted she couldn’t help herself thinking about sex on the beach.

Ooh la la! The cocktail, of course.

Either way, that was certainly a less strange admission than revealing she “quite likes” and misses the smell of her husband’s farts.

Although Jacqueline Jossa, who is second-favourite to win the show behind Whyment at 9/2, revealed she loves her husband Dan Osborne’s morning breath.

Whatever floats your boat, eh?!

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